Joe Kaakua and a snippet of my high school reunion

13 06 2017

Our Punahou School Class of 1967’s 50th reunion is now a pleasant memory shared with a gazillion photos and well wishes on Facebook. After many activities on both Hawaii and Oahu islands, including the annual Alumni Luau on campus that honors the 50th Year class especially, the finale was a picnic at our classmate’s family’s large rural estate.

Me and Joe after the Memorial Service for our classmates who died. Joe played his ukulele for our choir that I directed.

Hats off to my buddy Joseph Kaakua who organized the event and his wife Joann (we call her Girly), his right hand. Joe requested my now-celebrated mountain apple pie for the picnic. “Maybe two,” he said. Well, you can’t say no to Joe.

But was he kidding? That’s not enough for 150-200.  So I made more than two!

Mountain apple (ʻōhiʻa ʻai in Hawaiian) pies. The fresh fruit tastes a bit like a pear. My pie resembles rhubarb.

(Copyright 2017 Rebekah Luke)

(Photos by Valerie Lam)





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.








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