Sunday, September 25, 2011

S'more Camping Food

On of the best parts about living in Hawaii is camping on (or very close to) the beach!  Over Labor Day weekend my friends and I went camping in Waimanalo, on the East side of Oahu.  We spent our days hanging out on the beach, relaxing, and of course eating!

The campsite is right on the beach.  The ocean is literally just steps away.  

View to my right!

View to my left!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy 89th Birthday Pap

This week would have been my Pap Pap's 89th Birthday and the 5th year we've been without him.  I stuck with tradition and had a nice Italian meal in his honor.  This time it was pasta with Italian sausage and a homemade sauce made from whatever I could find around my kitchen.  A major improvement from last year is that I made the cannoli filling myself, rather than buying the cannoli pre-made.

There are 5 of us cousins, Pap's grandkids.  Darren is 4th in the lineup and I'm 8 years after him, the baby by far!  Darren moved to Hawaii in 2002 and I followed suit in 2008.  So, since he's so close by I thought we could have our "Pap's Birthday Dinner" together!  What was supposed to be dinner had to be rescheduled for lunch... then Darren forgot about the change of plans!  Long and really funny story short - we ate dinner together the day after Pap's birthday.  We agreed that pasta and cannoli filling are probably better on the day after they're made anyways.

Dinner was delicious.  Darren told me stories that reminded me so much of Pap - like how he rigged chopsticks to a drill to stir organic peanut butter!  I cracked Pap's typical jokes "You know why I like chocolate?  Because you can't see the dirt!"  And we toasted our cannoli to our Pap Pap.  

We (all) miss and love you Pap.  

Monday, September 19, 2011

Honolulu Greek Festival

Every August there's a Greek festival in Honolulu.  People from Pittsburgh LOVE gyros and pronounce the word just as it looks, albeit very incorrect: gi-row.  I've only missed this festival once in the 4 Augusts that I've been in Hawaii :)  It's so much fun and the food is amazing!

Behold, course 1: the gyro!

Bryce enjoying our lunch in the shade.

There's live music and lots of dancing.

It's at a pavilion inside a park and gets really crowded, as you can see.

Everywhere you look there are wonderful Grecian things happening, like pitas being grilled!

The Olive Tree Cafe, which I've been to before, had a booth.  Their sign was so clever and ouzo sorbet sounds dangerously delicious!

Always up for an adventure, I tried the lukoumathes.  They're fried dough topped with a honey syrup, yum!

They're fried fresh inside the tent.

Course 2: lukoumathes.  I am a happy girl.

It's not all about food and dancing, there's also shopping!  You can find just about any type of jewelry, decor, religious items, accessories, and so on.

New clothes, anyone?

They have canned foods for sale, too.  I got that big jar of HUGE capers and a jar of tahini (for making hummus) for half the price of what I pay at Whole Foods.  Hooray!

Finally, course 3 and the very best part: dessert!  We wanted to try the chocolate baklava but you could only get it in the "bento box", which was a horrible tragedy.  I'll try to tell you what's in here:

  • 2 classic walnut baklava (top and bottom left)
  • chocolate baklava (brown triangle)
  • kourabiethes - almond butter cookie with powdered sugar (left middle)
  • melomacarona - vegas spice cookie (top right)
  • kataifi - shredded dough with nuts (right middle)
  • pecan queens baklava - (bottom right)

My favorite was the shredded dough with nuts, although all of the cookies were delicious!  Greek pastries are always so delectable and buttery.  We shared a few with our friends and polished off the entire box by sundown that day.

Until next year, Greek Festival!

Busy, hungry, busy

I've been very busy lately!  Moving into a new apartment (for the 478392753th time) and eating regularly, just not blogging!  I'll try to catch up but have to make it quick if we're going to get it all covered...

The Kapiolani Farmer's Market has benefited from my business twice more since my first trip, I officially love it.  A few weeks ago I dragged my dear and pregnant friend - who doesn't want to make it internet official just yet and will remain unnamed :) - along with me.  I gladly carried the heavy items for her and we spent the morning deciding what the items the baby "wanted" and which fruits and veggies he or she is bigger than!  That trip I got a lot of Hawaii-local foods.

Here's what I got that day (second trip) and some photos of what I made with said items:

Taro dip - olive flavor (taro is a popular vegetable in Hawaii, most well known for being the main ingredient in poi).  I love sharing food with loved ones.  Sometimes, I also love having certain food items all to myself!  Bryce hates olives so this dip belonged to me and a large bag of tortilla chips ONLY.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Ever heard of a malasada?  Say it with me, it's just like it looks: mall-a-sawed-a.  Good job!

When I first moved to Hawaii I'd never heard of or eaten a malasada.  People would hear me say this and immediately panic.  "What!? You've never had a malasada?!"  No, I don't even know what the hell you're talking about.  They would describe the Portuguese baked good to me - some type of fried dough coated with sugar or cinnamon sugar or with filling in the middle.  It sounded a lot like a doughnut without the hole to me, and that sounded delicious!  Eventually I got to experience these wonderful treats and I was hooked. 

I did a little research and found out that malasadas are made from balls of yeast dough, deep fried in oil, and then coated with sugar.  They're Portuguese and malasada (or malassada) means light-roasted.  Malasadas were originally made on Madeira Island, part of Portugal's archipelago (islands).  They were brought to Hawaii in 1878 by laborers who came here to work on sugar plantations. 

Most of that information I just gave you (Portugal has Islands, deep frying, manual labor) is completely foreign to me.  Malasadas are something I'm relatively new to, although Ive just discovered that part of their tradition is actually something that's very familiar to me.  The reason malasadas were originally made was to use up the lard and sugar in your house before Lent, when luxuries like sweets are forbidden!  They were made and eaten on Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras, before Lent began on Ash Wednesday.  Here in Hawaii, Fat Tuesday is actually declared Malasada Day!

Being Catholic, I can tell you all about Lenten sacrifices!  First of all - Catholics don't eat meat on Ash Wednesday or any of the Fridays during Lent.  Nowadays, you can indulge in luxuries like malasadas, although you can chose to "give something up" on your own for the 40 days of Lent.  My Mom gives up chocolate every single year!  I know people who give up alcohol altogether.  Being that my biggest vice is indulging in food, I usually chose something edible to test my dedication with.  I've given up fast food (including delivery pizza) once, "designer" coffees once, and french fries twice!  French fries are the hardest because you always find yourself trying to take just one from your friend's plate :)  Maybe next year I'll give up malasadas!             

Leonard's is one of the bakeries here in Hawaii that's known for its malasadas.  Leonard's didn't just stick to traditional malasadas, they created the Malasada Puff (with filling inside) and the Malasadamobile!  They even have a store in Japan.

Now you know all about malasasas and their history, let's get to the drool-worthy photos!  We spotted the Malasadamobile recently while BBQing in Waikiki.

I always get the same thing, but was amazed by the many options available from the roaming truck!

Just in case you confused the Malasadamobile with the Weinermobile or the Batmobile, there's a little sign.

From top to bottom: a cinnamon sugar malasada, my favorite the li hing malasada (red), a haupia (coconut) malasada puff, and a custard malasada puff.

Christine's happy we caught the Malasadamobile!

Two original malasadas for her!  Just kidding, she shared one with her husband :)

Chris, Bryce, and Jaclyn taking a delicious bite, yum!

The inside of the custard filled Malasada Puff!

Here's a better look at my favorite - the li hing malasada (no filling).  Li hing is salty dried plum and it's turned into a powder.  The flavor is sweet, sour, and salty all at the same time.  I like this powder on apples, candy, on the rim of drinks, but the best way to have it is on a malasada!


So, if you don't already have the desire to come visit me in Hawaii, these delicious malasadas should convince you to make the trip!  They're so good they'll have you begging for more! 

Begging pose by Bailey :)