Cooking Under the Stars

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This past Saturday, at the King’s Shops of Waikoloa, the Culinary Arts Program of Hawaii Community College (both Hilo and West Hawaii Campuses) offered their annual “Cooking Under the Stars” to the public for spectacular tasting.

A bit of drama was added at the end of the evening as the full moon burst through the clouds to provide a glorious view to our Hawaiian locals and visitors.

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Watch the slideshow below to see some of the local chefs, instructors, and students as they cook, taste, and stroll among the booths.

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Pictures were taken by Becky Stalder and Chef Mark Johnson.
A hui hou!

Kele’s Garden

 

This past Saturday, our Big Island Self-Sustainability group (BISS) met to celebrate the Summer Solstice with a potluckat the home of one of the founding members, Kele, in Hilo. I love living in Ocean View, but I have to admit to more than a little envy when I see what can happen in a yard where there is actual soil and rain to help things grow.

These pictures are in order as I walked around the outside of his home. There were surprises with every step. I won’t try to give you the names of everything I saw, but most of you will recognize banana trees, and the amarylis in the foreground.

 

You might say that his entire garden is a banana grove.

 

 

Even with a house (and more flowering plants) on one side, the banana grove feeling remained.

 

The path curved down away from most of the bananas, guiding me around the corner of the house.

 

For those of you who are familiar with the tobacco plant, you might be surprised at the small size of the leaves on this specimen. Perhaps if it was in the ground instead of a pot, it would look more like the tobacco most of us know.

 

Oops! More bananas, plus some great-looking papayas!

 

These are ornamental bananas, a pretty pink, but not for eating!

 

And yet more bananas about ready for chopping off the tree.

 

Sometimes there are pieces of interest that are not growing.

 

I got a few ideas for how to handle some of my pots from Kele.

 

The bananas don’t seem to stop!

Here’s one of the striking spots of color.

 

A simply stunning display! Too bad I had to get a car in the background.

 

The bright blue ginger provides a colorful background for the salmon cannas.

 

And this takes me back to the driveway entrance to Kele’s home.

 

I had no idea that Betty Crocker offers landscape awards. Some of the community groups sponsor these awards here in Hawai`i and each year, they encourage local residents to nominate someone they believe has an unbelievable garden. There are four categories, and Kele won this year. He’ll be flying to Honolulu soon to accept the award. I think you’ll agree that his yard certainly deserves it.

Congratulations, Kele, and thank you for letting me share this beauty with my readers.

A hui hou!

Banyan Trees

 

Don’t you just love the old banyan trees lining Banyan Drive that circles a small peninsula extending out into Hilo Bay? The banyans there were planted as saplings by celebrities a mere 75 years ago. A plaque by each tree tells who planted it and when.

The banyan is actually a fig, a member of the ficus family. What we see are aerial prop roots that surround the actual trunk, making it spread out and look many times larger. The largest of this species is in India, but another one was planted in 1873 in Lahaina on Maui, and now covers almost an acre. The link above shows a picture of that particular one. Scroll down until you see it on the right.

I took the photo above one afternoon when I stopped at the beach park in Hilo to take a nap in my car. The cool shade and sea breeze made for perfect snoozing!

A hui hou!

Black & White Night in Hilo

On November 6, 2009, Hilo held its 9th Annual Black & White celebration. My natural tendency is to avoid events like this. I much prefer to stay home and write or work in my garden. A colleague at the college convinced me that I needed to get out more. Being the “loner” I am, I begrudgingly agreed.

I’m so glad I went! Not only did it give me some good blogging material, but I actually had a good time!

She made reservations at Uncle Billy’s Hotel for us to stay over that night, rather than drive back to our homes several hours away. The hotel receptionist graciously agreed to use my camera to take these photos of the four gals. The background is the patio area of Uncle Billy’s Hotel.

 

While this picture was being made, 87 year-old Uncle Billy himself wandered by. When I first moved to the Big Island thirteen years ago, I often saw him on his bicycle cruising the main drag of Kona. You might enjoy reading this article about the award he received a couple years ago and learn a little more about Uncle Billy (William J. Kimi Jr).

On our way to start the evening with supper, we came across a panda person running down the street, a black and white dog, and a barker dressed in her black and white. Everyone was dressed in black and white – some fancy costuming and some rather plain, but fitting into the black and white theme.

 

We met a fifth friend at Puka Puka Kitchen, a little hole in the wall with outstanding food! I can hardly wait to go back. Each of us chose something different.

 

My plate was a falafel pita and like a pig, I could have eaten two plates of it! What a pleasure!

 

I tried to get a picture of the menu, but the flash kept getting in the way.

 

But I did manage to get a good shot out the door toward the street and ocean.

 

While we were there, I asked someone to take a picture of the newly formed “Black Hat Society” ladies. Need I tell you we attracted quite a lot of attention? (giggling) I’m the one on your left, in case you couldn’t tell.

 

All the stores were open, and most offered some sort of pupu (snack). We wandered in and out, enjoying the merchandise and art work. Here the fifth addition to our foursome is examining these beautiful hand-woven baskets.

 

Here are just a few of the paintings on display (and for sale).

 

There were dresses . . .

 

. . . shorts and more made from rice bags. . .

 

. . . and hand-painted shopping bags. . .

 

. . . and novelty items like coasters made to resemble “slippahs” . . .

 

. . . and lei scarves hand-painted by Maya . . .

 

. . . and turtle sculptures.

 

You could buy any kind of produce . . .

 

. . . and plenty of other homemade goodies that were for sale.

 

My favorite of all the attractions was the number of street musicians everywhere.

 

Believe it or not, this introvert intends to go back again next year! Maybe I’ll see you there? In the meantime, if you’d like to see all these pictures individually, plus others that didn’t make it to the post, check out this slideshow.

http://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

To see it in full size, click here .

A hui hou!