Hawaiian HomeOur home base for the entire visit to Hawaii was at Patti and Marty Kimball's beautiful home high in the Kona Mountains with a panoramic view of the ocean below.Ocean liners and their entourage of smaller boats looked like toy boats in one's bathtub. The first thing we both noticed before entering the house was this stunning 'dinosaur egg' cement planter made by Marty's brother Mark Kimball. Imagine being able to go out into one's half acre yard to pick passion fruit, several varieties of avocado (Marty explained that the most delicious, the large and plump Kahalu'u variety cannot be exported because of it's loose pit that shakes around during transport damaging the flesh), mangoes, oranges, apple bananas, papaya, pineapple, star fruit, and all manner of vegetables. Truly we had landed in tropical paradise. A paradise with no snakes as years ago the mongoose population wiped them out, however, the Coqui frogs, which have no other natural predators, abound. We were serenaded by their bird-like chirping all night until the roosters took over at 4:00 am (Many Hawaiians have a slightly different opinion of this concert!). This created a life-style of early to bed and early to rise--ideal as the best time for ocean swims to prevent sunburn is before the sun rises too high. During our swim at Kahalu'u, a favorite of the locals, we saw many of the fish that I had seen growing up in my cousin's aquarium. Hector held up a rock to attract them. The black, white, and yellow angelfish and butterfly fish with their long streamers, the bright yellow tang fish, and blue parrotfish all flocked to him. After our swim we went to Sam Choy's for lunch, recommended by my dear friend Leslie Harlib, formerly food editor of the Marin County News. She said it was the best view on the Big Island but she didn't know at the time about the view we were to have chez Kimballs! The food was quite good. We had our first fish, poke, two ways: marinated, w/onions and chives, and fried w/cabbage. We also sampled another of Hector's favorite fish, ono w/ brown rice and purple sweet potatoes.
Mornings began with freshly squeezed orange juice from oranges harvested from the backyard, while Woody was busy answering blog questions, and Hector was busy organizing and reorganizing the rest of the trip. Hector had brought a house gift assorted Hawaiian coffees and made us cappuccini. We presented Hector with daily gifts ranging from a book--to a copper tin-lined cake pan--to a white satin jacket with "The Cake Bible" embroidered in hot pink. We also brought gifts for Patti. Patti's large and well-organized semi-commercial open kitchen was a dream to work in. We all walked barefoot on the most satiny-exquisite wood flooring I've ever seen, made from Robusta Eucalyptus trees. The walls were decorated with beautiful paintings by their daughter Sean Kimball. Patti and I worked together making the coffee panacotta I had contributed several years ago to a booklet on the Hawaiian Sugar in The Raw. And Hector, Woody, and I worked together at last, creating an adaptation of one of my favorite pastries using many Hawaiian ingredients such as Sugar in the Raw, macadamia nuts, and Hawaiian Rum. (The wonderful pastry will be included in our next book, even though we had said we were done adding recipes.) Hector and Patti turned out many fabulous lunches and dinners. Patti prepared specialties such as Mexican style black bean cakes with a chunky avocado , Mahi Mahi, purple sweet potatoes, delicately delicious baby Kale greens, and shrimp/chicken gumbo. She honored me by making my pizza and my mother's coleslaw with avocado. Hector made some of his Spanish specialties from his childhood in Peru. A crisp and delicious onion salad called Salsa Criolla with lemon and hot pepper, and a savory sofrito rice with passion fruit juice. Hector's dear friend, astronomer Luca Rizzi, brought a lovely Tira Misu and entertained us eloquently and informatively about the Keck telescopes and our upcoming visit to it. With all this wonderful eating we tried to get some exercise by walking, but the mountain road was so steep Hector and Woody had to hold me on either side to keep me from rolling down. Next posting: the demo at Leeward Community College in Honolulu!