Growing my own; sorry, mister peacock

13 01 2017
  • img_8591Good morning! The larger brussel sprout plant fell over from its weight, and I harvested the leaves. Because the plant uprooted, DH will saw up the trunk. The roaming neighborhood peacock will be disappointed. What to do with the harvest? Rinse like spinach. I’ll discard the tough stems and slice the leaves into 1-inch squares. I’ll blanch and freeze most and steam some until tender. I’ll simmer them in bone broth or vegetable broth with some chopped onion and finish off the soup with some coconut milk (being careful not to boil), salt and pepper. I am so thankful we are growing our own food. Read the rest of this entry »




Pictures of healing for the new year

1 01 2017

Happy new year, studio fans! For my first post of 2017 I’m pleased to share our success with growing turmeric and making turmeric powder. The process is a labor-intensive yet a very satisfying endeavor. Similar photos of this super anti-inflammatory healing herb were originally published on my Facebook wall in December. Please also see my Dec. 11, 2016, post for comments about the harvest. Then press your back button to return to this page.

This is turmeric growing in my garden in Kaaawa, Oahu. The beautiful flowers died back in November.

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That was a sign it was soon time to harvest. I trimmed and tossed most of the leaves—that I later learned are also edible—leaving some to continue to grow. DH helped me unearth the rhizomes with a pitchfork. Aren’t they gorgeous?!

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After washing and scrubbing the orange pieces under running water—do don gloves because turmeric stains!, I boiled the segments, cooled them, peeled them with a potato peeler, sliced them, and then dried the turmeric in the oven at the lowest temperature for a couple of hours. Boiling is necessary to kill any bacteria.

Below are photos of the progressive stages of drying on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I turned off the oven and kept the door closed overnight while the turmeric continued to dry with the leftover heat.

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Below is what the food looks like when completely dry. You can feel it is hard like a cinnamon stick.

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The next step is to grind it with a dedicated spice grinder.

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Sift, return the larger pieces to the grinder, and sift again.

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My final product: a small air-tight jar of turmeric powder!

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Of course, turmeric is also good used fresh. Use it in recipes with ground black pepper. Hawaiians call this spice ʻōlena and use it for cleansing and in ceremonies. I keep any surplus in the freezer.

Here’s to a healthy new year! Be well! ~ Rebekah





A famous coconut

21 12 2016

Here’s the famous The Coconut dessert of Alan Wong’s restaurant in Honolulu. The occasion was Darling Husband’s (D.H.’s) 70th birthday dinner last evening. President Barack Obama, if he dines here as usual during Christmas vacation, is likely to enjoy this signature masterpiece, too. Reportedly, it’s his favorite!

Alan Wong's Coconut

The Coconut by Alan Wong’s: haupia sorbet in a shell of chocolate, served with fresh fruit in liliko‘i (passion fruit) sauce. How do they make it?!

 





I have a gold mine in ʻōlena

11 12 2016
Turmeric from my garden

Turmeric from my garden. Hawaiians call it ʻōlena.

ʻōlena.  Turmeric (Curcuma domestica), a kind of ginger; used medicinally and as a source of dyes  . . . —Pukui and Elbert

Today’s harvest yielded this bounty of ʻōlena, or turmeric. I had planted some a few years ago, and this year it produced gorgeous flowers. Then the flowers died back, and it dawned on me that it was time to harvest the rhizome.

I first paid attention to ʻōlena during trips to Kahoʻolawe, where ʻōlena water was brought from Maui and used for cleansing altars and in the spiritual ceremonies.

In more recent years I learned that besides uses in cuisine, turmeric is a healing herb that guards against inflammation in our bodies. Sautéing with black pepper in cooking and combined with other food provides benefits. We can add this to our diet on a regular basis.

When I had a spell of pain in my wrist, I chopped up some fresh turmeric into a poultice and applied it with plastic wrap to hold it in place. The ʻōlena was very cooling to the skin and I felt better.

Most recently a friend who is taking care of a cancer patient volunteered to help harvest my plants. When someone asks for healing, I must oblige. I was grateful to have my friend remind me that an answer to healing was right under my nose in my own garden. Harvesting is something I have been meaning to do.

This afternoon I cut back the tall foliage, and DH helped to dig out this crop with a pitchfork. We left some in the ground so it will continue to grow.

I plan to share the bounty, make some powder, and freeze the surplus.

Mahalo e ke Akua!

 





Home harvest. Lonoikamakahiki!

23 11 2016
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From the studio garden and the neighbors’ gardens—this morning’s harvest of ulu (breadfruit Maafala v.), maiʻa (banana), avocado, and calamansi (a citrus). Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

“Come, ye thankful people, come,
raise the song of harvest home;
all is safely gathered in,
ere the winter storms begin.
God our maker doth provide
for our wants to be supplied;
come to God’s own temple, come,
raise the song of harvest home.”
– Henry Alford, 1810-1871





Say “cheese” :-)

20 08 2016

What went down last night. Down the hatch and into our bellies. So decadent, but my girlfriends and I enjoyed! The occasion was a soirée at Cynthia’s, a potluck. How’s this for potluck?!

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Cynthia graciously mixed cocktails, poured wine, and provided cutely decorated chocolate cupcakes to start and finish. Valerie shared the fresh salmon she and the boat she was on caught in Alaskan waters, most welcome as I am hesitant to eat fish these days. Candice brought bruschetta con pomodoro, I brought cold brussel sprout leaf and coconut soup, and Lori brought and styled this fabulous once-in-a-lifetime special cheese/salami/fruit/condiment array. I am grateful to have been able to share this table.

My photo is real, untouched, just the way Lori arranged the food on the tray, and shot straight with existing light and my iPhone6. I like it a lot.





Family time and touring with adult siblings

30 05 2016

The third leg of the trip “abroad” was a visit to Pennsylvania where DH Pete’s sister lives and his brother works.

(For the first and second legs, please head back to rebekahstravels.wordpress.com for my travelogue.)

The siblings were born four years apart. Their parents planned it that way for the purpose of affording college tuition. The one other time they toured together as adults was in 2004, after both parents died in Winter 2003. We arrived to spread Dad’s remaining ashes on Memorial Day and went back to the geographical middle of the state and found the family farm of yore.

So last week’s reunion was a special occasion. Penny and Paul took time off from work, and Paul drove in from New Jersey. We were honored.

I am not going to bore you with the family dynamics because every family has them. Suffice it to say that everyone was on their best behavior, and we didn’t discuss religion or politics! 😉

We had fun touring several visitor attractions in the area. Here are the pictures.

The Wharton Escherick Studio in Malvern, PA, work place of the late artist, is open as a small museum showing his architecture, wood furniture, sculpture, and two-dimensional creations. Escherick was a master of free form design.

Stone, wood, and stucco comprise three sections of the artist's studio built in increments as they were needed.

Stone, wood, and stucco comprise three sections of the artist’s studio built in increments as they were needed.

 

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Color was mixed into the stucco for the tower. The fresco design represents sky, trees, and tree trunks. A free form deck emerges in the back and to the right.

 

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Workshop painted the color of the workers blue jeans, left, and the garage at right.

The boys were in heaven at the C. F. Martin & Co., Inc., factory in Nazareth, PA, where 250 new guitars are made every day. The fabrication, assembly, and finishing is done by human hands as well as by robots. But how does a Martin guitar sound? Visitors get a chance to play them.

Paul and Pete, two boys in a candy store, try out the Martins.

Paul and Pete, two boys in a candy store, try out the Martins.

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Winterthur is the mansion of the late Henry Francis du Pont. There he founded the premier museum of American decorative arts. Du Pont collected whole room interiors of period design and re-installed them in his own home. One time we visited at Yuletide, and the rooms were decorated as they would have been during the particular period. Very pretty! Only some floors are open for tours. There is just too much, impossible to see all of it. My favorite room was the Chinese Parlor where the wall covering was paper, hand painted in China.

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Longwood Gardens is the must-see for everyone, and particularly appreciated by horticulturists, landscape architects, and lay plant lovers. Beautiful! Everything at their prime. Like Winterthur, it’s impossible to see all the acreage. DH wanted to see the Italian water fountains, and I enjoyed the views of blooming rhododendrons along the way through Peirce’s Woods, named after the family who owned the land prior to Pierre du Pont, who maintained the designed of the “rooms,” as he called the gardens within a garden.

Plein air painters enjoy lots of subject matter

Plein air painters enjoy lots of subject matter.


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Italian Water Fountains

 

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Peirce’s Woods in bloom

 

Brother Paul treated us to a private tour of Philly Shipyard where he works. It is perhaps the largest builder of new commercial ships (like Matson container ships vs. military ships) in the US. Small pieces of steel are welded to larger pieces that are welded to even larger pieces, etc., until the vessel is finished and launched. They are humongous.

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I have to give a special shout out to Richard, Penny’s fiancé, who allowed us to ride with him in his pick-up to the Saturday-morning garage sales in Phoenixville and Collegeville. The hunt is his passion. Although the pickings were slim Memorial Day weekend, he found me a pair of brand-new Eddie Bauer shorts for a dollar. Just in time as Spring had turned to Summer in just a couple of days with temps reaching 90 degrees F.!

In between the visitor attractions we spent quality time catching up about our respective families (kids and grandkids) as well as seeing old and new friends. Hoagies, Thai food, and delicious home-cooked meals by Penny and Paul with ingredients from the fabulous Wegmans megastore…I have to mention those.

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Pete, Penny, and Paul

Pete, Penny, and Paul

Thanks Penny and Paul for your hospitality. We had a great time. Now I’m back in Kaaawa, Oahu. It’s great, too.








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