» Food 'n Nutrition
16 November 2012
When you hear the word emu, most think of the large flightless bird of Australia. In Hawaii when we hear the word imu, we think of celebrations and feasting. Notice, we spell it differently. Well that’s because imu is the word for underground oven. When it comes to parties, celebrations, holidays, most of our meat and vegetables are cooked in an imu. The process that goes into an imu is intricate, specialized, and cultural. And nothing beats corn-beef hash, turkey, and fresh pig when cooked in an imu.
By far, our biggest imu takes place a few days before Thanksgiving. In preparation for an imu a large, wide whole must be dug, wood(preferably kiawe) needs to be gathered , medium size lava rocks need to be collected, one must harvest banana and ti leaves, and your food must be prepped in aluminum pans or a whole pig dressed. And that’s just the beginning. The imu usually starts around sun down the night before. A large fire is made in the ground/pit. Once the fire burns for a few hours into coals, the lava rocks are evenly distributed and smoothed over. All the food is placed on the lava rocks, then soaked banana leaves are put on top, followed by ti leaves. Once there is a nice layer of both ti and banana leaves the imu is covered with dirt, usually in a mound formation. The dirt is sprayed down with water periodically to keep moisture in. Easy, right? Now this is where all the hard work comes into play. Throughout the evening, into the morning there are puka’s (holes) that form from all the heat escaping. It comes down to a few people to stay awake or periodically check on the mound of dirt, looking for steam coming out. When they do find it, they cover it with more dirt and pat it down. This, obviously keeps the oven at a consistent temperature and ensures the best cooking conditions. The following late morning the food is unearthed and usually served potluck style, with rice of course!
I might not have what most people consider a traditional Thanksgiving. Instead I’ve started my own traditions with my Hawaiian Ohana.
How will you cook your turkey this year?
15 October 2012
Believe it or not summer has arrived in Volcano; it only took until October. The rain has stopped (at least for the day), the sun is shining, Gino is relaxing on the lanai, and the staff at Volcano Village Lodge are getting ready for Fall. Having grown up on the East Coast of the US, I would say the thing I miss the most besides family, is Fall. The fresh, crisp, clean air, the leaves changing colors, the warm beverages, pumpkin picking. Ah the list goes on. But in Hawaii, we have a very small window of Fall-like weather. Sure we get the fresh air coming down from Mauna Loa, but there are no seasonal plant changes before it really starts to rain. With that said, Fall being my favorite season, I’ve brought a certain element of warmth and spice to the lodge.
Naturally, around this time of year I always go pumpkin crazy. I think it’s just ingrained in my brain. My mom told me yesterday, “Why not go pumpkin crazy? You can take the girl out of NJ, but you can’t take the Jersey out of the girl!” All of those Fall days pumpkin picking, going on hay rides, drinking warm apple cider, and playing with the dogs in leaf piles. Those days have long passed, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make the most out of Hawaii’s fresh produce. I learned a few years ago that Fall in Hawaii doesn’t have to be seasonal, at least food wise. Actually, pumpkins grow year round and in many varieties. Whether you need a pumpkin for soup, bread, Thai food, or carving/seeds, we’ve got them and I love it! When I cook with pumpkins I like to use at least two different kinds to add extra flavor or I throw in butternut squash to add variety. When I carve pumpkins for Halloween, I can’t waste those tasty seeds. I usually roast them in herbs and olive oil/butter (they make a great, healthy snack).
After all those fluke summer days pass, we will have pumpkin flavored muffins, snicker doodle cookies, and warm, spiced apple cider. Those are just to name a few to tease the taste buds. Walk into the lodge and smell the freshly baked goods mixed with cinnamon, allspice, orange, apple cider. Sit next to our wood stove, relax, crack open a book, sip on cider and enjoy Fall. I know I will.
Easy Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
While I love carving pumpkins, I hate taking out the “guts”. Hint: let the kids do this, they usually like gooey, gross things. Make sure to rinse the seeds.
Preheat oven to 300oF
In a bowl mix 3 cups of pumpkin seeds with 4 teaspoons of melted butter or oil. Add salt, garlic powder, and other spices to taste.
Depending on my mood I like just sea salt. However, sometimes I like to add hot sauce and other herbs.
Bake for 30-45 minutes stirring occasionally until golden brown. Make sure that the seeds are evenly spread out as a single layer on a cookie sheet
Note to the readers: I love recipe sharing! If you have a favorite recipe and are willing to share with us, please do so. We are always looking for fun, flavorful new foods.
10 September 2012
Like most of Hawaii, there are little unknown treasures just around the corner. Most people come to Volcano for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the lava, the rainforest, cool hiking trails, etc. But there are a few people that come for wine and when others take a wrong turn and stumble upon the winery, they are pleasantly surprised. Just past mile marker 30 on Highway 11, turn onto Pii Mauna Dr and follow that road to the end and there awaits your oasis, the Volcano Winery. The grapes will give any visitors a warm Aloha, but the wine will leave visitors intrigued.
In the mid 1980′s on the slope of Mauna Loa, next door to Kilauea, Volcano Winery started planting symphony grapes. After many years of experimenting with different grapes and fruit, Volcano Winery opened its’ doors in 1993. Since then they have seen thousands of visitors and continue to progress as an Ohana and business. Currently, Volcano Winery offers seven wines total, all of which differ from the other, leaving your taste buds wanting more. With only one traditional wine (Pinot Noir) on the menu, you are truly in for a one-of-kind wine tasting. Names like Volcano Red, Symphony Mele, Hawaiian Guava-Grape, Macadamia Nut Honey, and Infusion Tea will spark the curiosity.
After numerous samples, I can safely say that my favorite is the Infusion Tea Wine. Really, tea in wine? That’s exactly what I thought as well, but like most wines there is a story. Volcano Winery has been actively planting and harvesting (hand picking) Japanese drinking tea. As of right now, they have five different varieties, all of which are blended to create a smooth, rich tea flavor. Infusion uses the estate black teas and ferments it with macadamia nut honey, bottled to perfection.
Not technically a wine, but consider a mead, but as soon as you take that first sip, all is forgiven and forgotten. Go ahead and open this dream bottle on a cold night, warm it up, squeeze some lemon in it, and you will get lost in the intense tea flavor with a hint of sweetness. It’ll leave your body, mind, and soul relaxed. On a hot day, serve it well chilled, sit and relax on your lanai watching the waves come and go, clearing your conscious. Either way, I don’t need an excuse to have a glass.
Sip away Volcano’s hidden treasure. Between the wines and the atmosphere, the Volcano Winery will leave smiling and wishing you had more room in your luggage.
Volcano Winery is open year round and offers daily wine tastings, private tours, and wine by the glass.
11 June 2012
To some, paradise on Hawaii Island includes mai tai’s on a beach while catching the green flash from the sun setting into the Pacific. Don’t get me wrong that is paradise, but here in Volcano our taste of paradise is a little different. Our innkeepers at Volcano Village Lodge have been baking and serving fresh Big Island breads. My personal favorite, the Banana/Macadamia Nut/Coconut Bread, is slice of heaven enjoyed any time of day with a cup of tea or Ka’u coffee. I love this bread for its complexity and texture, but I also love this bread for the fresh apple bananas. For those of you not familiar with apple bananas, they’re smaller and have a sweeter taste. Make sure to try them and other exotic fruit on your next visit to the islands.
So relax, sit in a rocking chair, sip fresh coffee, munch on a piece of banana bread, and fully immerse yourself in the rainforest.
Enjoy our version of paradise.
23 April 2012
BY brook0 comments
From The 30 Minute Vegan
Volcano Village Lodge’s vegetarian and vegan food service is designed and directed by well known health & wellness expert Tara Crawford. Tara Crawford lives on Maui where she coaches clients in the benefits of a plant based diet. Volcano Village Lodge uses only fresh ingredients from the Hawaiian Islands and is committed to promoting the agriculture and aquaculture of the area.
Nutritionally light years ahead of its egg counterpart, this scramble is one of our favorite recipes for introducing folks to tofu. Be sure to use extra-firm tofu. Watch as the turmeric creates a vibrant yellow in the dish.
Serves 2 to 4
• 1 ½ tablespoon safflower oil (optional) for lower fat option use small amount of water
• 1 cup yellow onion, chopped small
• 4 medium-size garlic cloves, pressed or minced
• 1 pound extra firm tofu, crumbled into large chunks
• ¾ teaspoon powered turmeric
• ¾ teaspoon paprika
• 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
• 1 ½ teaspoons soy sauce, or to taste
• Sea salt and black pepper
1. Place onion & garlic in large sauté pan with a little water or oil over medium-high heat. Cook until soft, or about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
2. Add the tofu. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
3. Add the remaining ingredients, cook 3-5 minutes more, season to taste, and enjoy.
4. Serve in a wrap for a tasty breakfast burrito