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Posts Tagged ‘Hawaii’

There’s certainly a plus to fertile soil, constant rain and amped-up grow seasons. Within fifty yards of my front door, for example, I can scrounge up avos, papayas, grapefruits, lemons, limes, coconuts, guavas, mac nuts and ginger. A lil’ walk around the ‘hood adds noni, mangos, aloe, apple bananas, mountain apples, tangerines, breadfruit, ‘shrooms (yeah, da kine), Hawaiian peppers, lemongrass, taro, sugarcane and pineapples. For a longer hike, I grab the backpack for coffee beans, cacao pods, sapote, soursop, jackfruit, dragonfruit, warabi, lychee, rambutan, starfruit… And that’s not even mentioning what’s planted in the garden or the amazing array of tropical flowers available to decorate a feast.

One machete, telescoping saw, fruit picker, spear and a dash of ingenuity (plus a little trespassing) and you can certainly survive off the land. The ability to climb a coconut tree doesn’t hurt either.

A locale with such a variety of fruits ripening at different times makes for fun foraging for cocktail beverage ingredients. A huge plus if corn syrup, artificial flavors and sodium benzoate make you wanna hurl (and let’s face it, most margarita mixes are disgusting).

Now for the tequila. Foraging on the cheap in Hawai’i stores can be difficult, so I opt for Costco’s Kirkland Añejo. Though most connoisseurs will say añejo and extra añejo are best sipped as they’re too expensive for mixing and don’t mix well with citrus, this one is different. It’s inexpensive and comes in a nice huge bottle, is decently smooth and masks well in large quantities. And I think the fact that it’s not as good as most quality añejos actually works to its advantage in this case. Other agave tequilas in this price range just don’t compete (and I don’t like clear tequila). Plus if the mixers are mostly free, and the alcohol is relatively inexpensive, you can afford to invite more friends over to share.

Right now, it’s lilikoi (aka passionfruit) season. Typically, lilikoi is sweet and sour with some grounding bitterness in the seeds. It’s quite refreshing but the most common varieties can be a little too tart. Then there are Jamaican lilikois – a whole other ball game. A perfectly well-rounded blend of all those flavors without the sharp edges. They grow on vines and cover certain landscapes, usually hanging  just out of reach on trees. This is where a fruit picker comes in handy. Often, you will find pinhole bug pricks but unlike guava, the skin is thick and the fruit acidic, so the insides are typically clean – but definitely keep your eye on soft fruit.

The amounts I’m giving aren’t precise. I’m leaving room for people to feel it out and create to taste. You may want less alcohol on a full moon, more alcohol after a stressful day ;P. Depending on the mood, I make it different every time and usually serve it on the rocks. If you like your margaritas blended, you should pre-freeze some lime juice.

One shaker’s worth of The Lilikoi Margarita:

  • 3 Jamaican lilikoi. Cut and squeeze out contents: juice and seeds. You can also in a cheese cloth to get the most juice out of it but I don’t bother. I like to freeze these in ice cube trays for the off-season; also works well for the blended version.
  • 3-4 Key limes, depending on size and juiciness; best if you can pick fresh and let them sit a few days. Those cheap mesh bags full of key limes at the grocery store, usually from Mexico, picked too green, coated in carnauba wax, that you can barely squeeze a drop of juice out of? Yeah, skip those.
  • 1 orange (optional)
  • 1 tbsp coconut syrup or 1-3 tbsp simple syrup* made with raw coconut sugar (optional; if you add the orange you probably don’t need any; note that raw coconut sweeteners are less glycemic than agave syrup)
  • 3 shots tequila (Kirkland’s Agave or a nice reposado)
  • 1/2 shot Cointreau
  • 1/2 shot Maui Okolehao Liqueur
  • Ice cubes
  • Alaea salt (pink Hawaiian) or Li Hing Mui (ume/dried plum; OnoPops makes a natural variety as most are chock full o’ red dye and aspartame.)
* Simple sugar: On a stove top, low heat, equal parts sugar and water. Stir. No need to overdo it; only heat just enough for the sugar to dissolve.

Add ingredients and ice to shaker; shake well; strain over ice. I allow some lilikoi seeds and lime pulp to pour into my drinks. If you like salted rims, rub lime on the rim and dip in the finely ground Hawai’i Alaea or Li Hing Mui. If starfruit is in season, cut a star-shaped slice and use as garnish.

P.S. If you are visiting Kauai and would rather snorkel than forage, the best margaritas on the North Shore can be found at the St. Regis (they make a nice one with ginger) and The Tavern (get the Lychee-Rita; if you don’t like yours too tart, ask for a little extra lychee puree). By the way, I often add ginger to my margaritas (fresh or I use a few teaspoons of my fermented ginger “bug”), but I make those with grapefruit and lychee. I’ll do that recipe when I’m drunk during lychee season. :P

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Lots of headlines like this over the past couple days:

“O’ahu’s South Shores Invaded by Mysterious Creature”

People are tying the “mysterious creatures” to tsunami debris, Fukushima radiation, and – why not – End Times. And because KHON2 news couldn’t seem to find anyone on the beach or at the local aquarium who’d ever seen them before, or had a name for them, it’s a big mystery being posted across mainstream news and conspiracy web sites.

It’s something many have never seen before. And no one we found knew what they were.

“I definitely want to know where they came from and what they are all about,” says beach goer Scott Paddock.

Even the biologists at the Waikiki Aquarium are scratching their heads. They’ve been getting reports of the pea-sized crabs from Kahala to Ala Moana, all this week.

“The lifeguard called and asked what these things were because she had reports of surfers were actually have these things crawl up on their boards and onto them,” says Norton Chan, Waikiki Aquarium Biologist.

Some scientists tentatively tagged them as baby 7-11 crabs, a few molts shy of forming a shell.

Well, I don’t know about other surfers out there, but I’ve had these almost translucent, purple-ish “larve” crabs crawl up my legs many times when surfing on Hawai’i Island (although, ehem, the Big Isle could be considered by some a sort of “End Times” destination). Anyway, this occurred well before 311.

So really the only mystery is why they are “beaching” themselves. Not to dismiss possible pollution issues, Fukushima radiation dangers, but more than likely this is related to recent hurricanes in the area, not the impending apocalypse.

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We had to deploy Trap-A-Roach Hoyhoys last week to deal with those 4″ long tropical flying cockroaches that have been making their presence all too known. These glue traps are the best option to chemicals and they actually work. Only problem is, on occasion, other lil’ creatures check them out. I’m guessing the geckos, who eat bugs, are trying to get to the ones that are still alive, caught on the trap.

This morning when I looked at the Hoyhoy I had in the hall closet, I thought a leaf or something had gotten caught in it. But after a double take, I realized that the something was breathing. It was a Mourning Gecko, otherwise known as Lepidodactylus lugubris.

Emergency surgery performed today without a license. Patient: 3 1/4″ long, brave and cold blooded.

There was only ten minutes before I had to leave to help with a surf lesson. Here’s my think-quick play-by-play solution (accomplished #1 and #2 before I left and the rest upon return):

Items needed: scissors, water, tweezers, coconut oil, towel, small bowl and plate.

Time: Approximately 30 minutes.

1) Cut the cardboard of the glue trap just around the gecko.

2) Place gecko in tepid water (or hold her* and place portions of her glued body in the water. Avoid getting her head wet). This will soften the cardboard and make it easy to seperate from the glue. (She may also be thirsty. Allow her the opportunity to drink – though my gecko was not interested.)

3) Pour an ounce or two of coconut oil onto a small plate or bowl and dip gecko in it. As my gecko was getting free, she got more squirmy. I held her and lightly massaged the coconut oil into the affected areas, dripping more oil on stubborn spots. She seemed to like the belly rub and relaxed. Be careful to keep oil out of their nose, glottis (they can suffocate) or their eyes (they don’t have eyelids, but clean their eyes with their tongue).

4) Be patient. The gecko’s skin is thin and you don’t want to tear it or remove limbs by pulling too hard (though yes, they will grow their tail back if they “drop” it). The coconut oil will start breaking apart the glue. I carefully used the tweezers to pull the glue off.

5) Remove excess oil before releasing her back into the wild. Since geckos breath from their noses, the coconut oil isn’t going to be a problem on their scaly skin, and their setae are self-cleaning, but it seemed better to rinse/towel off the oil, since it attracts dirt.

6) One kiss goodbye (not necessary for normal people).

Geckos are considered good luck in Hawai’i. Hopefully she’s having better luck outdoors!

*This species is parthenogenic, with no known males. Females engage in pseudocopulations to produce viable eggs. (Uh-huh, you go grrl!)

All clean.

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WHO: The Kaua’i chapter of the Surfrider Foundation will monitor the environmental impacts of battleships and warplanes of twenty two nations.

WHAT: 2012 RIMPAC (the Rim of the Pacific War Exercise), will surround Hawai’i with weaponry and war in order to practice at potential Naval sea battle.

WHERE: Off the coast of Hawaii

WHEN: June 29 to August 7
(more…)

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There are a few groups I like to donate to when I can, and this is one of them: Project Hawai’i. Project Hawai’i helps with homeless families on the Big Island and Oahu including day camps, sleepover camps, holiday meals, Christmas gifts… little things that are HUGE things in the lives of homeless keiki. Summer camp is just around the corner and right now, for just $4.50 (as they say, the cost of a latte) you can provide a meal, or $12.50 for whole day’s worth of meals. Tax-deductible donations can be made through their goal chart page “Summer Camp Food Menu Drive”, or mail a check direct to: Project Hawai’i, POB 1844, Kea’au, HI 96749. Mahalo for your kokua!

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There’s been little news regarding what coastal communities should expect as the debris from the March 2011 tsunami starts showing up on the shores of Hawai’i. As it hits Midway and makes its way down the island chain, we can’t ignore the reality: It is coming. Considering how many people chose Hawai’i as their vacation destination; how many billionaires chose it as their home (or second or third home); and that our current President is from Hawai’i, one might imagine that more action would be taken to prevent the trash from dirtying our shorelines in the first place. Will it carry radioactive materials? Will it have diluted enough to not have a major impact? How will it effect our beaches? The marine life? Surfrider is bringing together experts in the field of marine biology, marine debris and ocean currents for this conference, which will take place at Kauai Community College cafeteria on Saturday, December 10th from 9am-12pm. Everyone who lives in or visits Hawai’i, everyone who cares about the environment and oceans, should either be at this event or watch it streaming at Livestream.com/surfriderkauai.

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Testing south of Tokyo showing large amounts of radiation in car air filters. Burning of radioactive materials throughout Japan. Why? And how will the children be paying for this? If we’re not removing the kids from these contaminated areas, how can we protect them? Everyone on this planet should be seriously concerned about and proactive regarding this situation, as it has and will continue to effect us all.

(Pass this link on to friends living in Japan: Chris Busby Foundation for the Children of Fukushima http://bit.ly/rn1KkO)

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