Steve and I were considering a vacation to the Far East or Europe using airline miles later this fall. But in the end, we decided I needed a vacation now. I have been working nights and weekends for too many months.
As I thought about it, I realized that where I really wanted to spend my downtime was not on some foreign adventure, but in Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii, where I am from. Normally, I thrive on big-city vacations to cities like Paris, with its multitude of art museums, great restaurants and fabulous shopping.
But not this time. What I need is a vacation to decompress; not be stimulated further, and Hilo, a crescent strip of a town hugging Hilo Bay, fits the bill.
Situated on the opposite side of the Island from the Kona Coast, Hilo is not the glitzy tourist destination, a reputation reserved for its more glamorous sister. But there is so much charm to the old, Territorial (pre-statehood) buildings downtown. I love Hilo, and just want to walk around the grounds of my elementary school, stop at Hilo’s public library where I spent so much of my free time, eat plate lunches at the beach and poke around downtown, remembering my childhood.
I want to visit the Hilo Farmers’ Market and buy Hawaiian produce to cook at our vacation rental. I want to drive past my old house and see what the current owners have done with the yard.
Then I’ll be ready to return to the Mainland to plunge back into Special Fork, PR client work and being president of Les Dames d’Escoffier International. In the meantime, David is carrying on for both of us on Special Fork, as well as generously house sitting and looking after nana.
To get inspired, I started cooking from a wonderful cookbook, The Hawaii Farmers Market Cookbook, Fresh Island Products from A to Z, edited by my friends, Joan Namkoong and Hayley Matson-Mathes. Bringing the book to fruition was a labor of love by the Hawaii Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International as a Green Tables project, a farm and garden philanthropic initiative of the international organization. The book was published by Watermark Publishing.
And of course, in Hawaii, if I need a recipe, I’ll simply go to www.specialfork.com on my spiffy new HTC Sensation Android phone. This mobile cookbook will provide all the recipes I need and make my shopping list, too.
While I’m away, I’m tweeting pics -- fancy umbrella drinks, great food – and carrying on the typical chit-chat of vacation postcards. Please follow along on Twitter.
To get the recipe and shopping list on your smartphone (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android device) or PC, click here.
This fresh papaya salsa is delicious with tortilla chips, or as an accompaniment to char-broiled steak or chicken.
1 large papaya, seeds removed, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch cubes
½ medium sweet onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
2 large Anaheim chilis, roasted, peeled and cut into ¼-inch pieces (see note below)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
Salt to taste
In a bowl, toss together all ingredients. Adjust seasonings, adding more chili pepper flakes if desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes about 2 cups.
Note: You can also use canned Anaheim/green chilis
Recipe by Sandra Kunimoto, Director, Hawaii State Department of Agriculture, from the book, The Hawaii Farmers Market Cookbook, Fresh Island Products from A to Z, Watermark Publishing.
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