Fall for Maui

Fall for Maui

Aloha!

It doesn’t seem like there would be much change in seasons in Hawaii, and it’s very subtle, but it is there. Especially in Upcountry Maui. On the mainland I always enjoyed the change of seasons… Getting out all of the fall decorations, the Halloween decorations, the Thanksgiving decorations… And the places to buy them were of course, endless.

Not so on Maui. Stores such as Walmart or Kmart only bring so much in to the island per season, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. So if you go to Ben Franklin Crafts and see something you like, you’d better buy it now. You also learn to improvise with what nature provides on Maui. In the same way that I might have gathered Fall-colored leaves in California, here I gather Fall-colored shells to make my dining room table centerpiece:

Our mango tree in the backyard also provides a clue that fall is here on Maui. If you look closely in this photo you’ll see that we have older yellow leaves dropping, healthy older dark green leaves, light green brand-new leaves coming in, and to top it all off: it’s flowering with new fruit (that’s the brown  fuzzy-stuff).

Mango Tree on Maui

What this means is there’s never a good time to prune a tree in Hawaii. Our citrus tree in the front yard does the same thing. It’s a tree that’s been grafted with tangerines, tangelos, and oranges on the same tree. The tree has become enormous because there is constantly a cycle of new leaves and new fruit. When the heck do you prune, without losing fruit?

It’s also a season of harvest here. We have more apple bananas (the very sweet ones that taste more like a pear) than we know what to do with. This morning I grilled bananas on the griddle when I made the french toast. Every morning we have smoothies with two bananas in them. We hang the bunch from a rafter in the garage to keep the rats out of them:

And why yes, that IS a surfboard hanging there in the rafters too. Thanks for asking. And that second refrigerator in the background is not a “beer frig”, because in Maui almost all dry goods have to be refrigerated or use lose them to bugs. So that frig has flour, sugar, bread crumbs, bread, cornmeal, etc. in it. If you don’t refrigerate your bread, it can mold in a day or two.

The other bounty we can barely keep up with is the lilikois (also known as passion fruit). Here is a few days’ worth that have been gathered:

It doesn’t help to call my friends and ask if they’d like some fruit, because they have the same problem. So I’ve taken to hauling fruit to Kahului when I go down the hill, and giving it away. Yesterday a doctor got eight apple bananas in a brown bag. He is a fierce Korean guy who pretty much scares me spitless. I gave him the bananas and he lit up. As he was leaving the room he said “This will be my lunch” and I teased him and said, “Hey, I know you have children!” and he just laughed, because those kids weren’t getting any of those bananas. That’s the first time I’ve heard him laugh! Food, the universal language.

Here’s a recipe for Lilikoi Martinis. My thanks to Shel and Clay Simpson for turning us on to these intoxicating gems.

Lilikoi Martini

1 ounce (a shot-glass) of lilikoi juice

1 ounce of Vanilla Vodka (I’m a wuss and use half that amount)

Fill a glass with ice. Shake the above two ingredients together, add to glass, then top it off with ice-cold water.

I get creative and substitute out recipes that involve lemon juice, such as a Lemontini or Lemon Drop. So, to the above recipe I will also add a little St. Germain (YUM) and substitute club soda or seltzer water for the plain water.

Next time you get your hands on some lilikoi juice, enjoy a martini. You can possibly find the Perfect Puree of Napa Valley lilkoi puree in your gourmet grocer’s freezer section. And if anyone has figured out a fool-proof method for pruning the ever-flowering fruit trees in Hawaii, give a shout.

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home Page. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

A Passion for Passionfruit

A Passion for Passionfruit

Aloha!

I think one my very favorite things about living on Maui is the Passionfruit, also known as Lilikoi. We grow vines on our fences in the purple, orange and yellow varieties. Here is a Passionfruit flower:

And here are the fruit on the vine:

Photo of Lilikois

Lilikoi juice can be substituted for anything you can make with lemon juice: lemon meringue pie, lemon squares, lemon tarts…I make them all with Lilikoi.

Lilikoi juice is tart, tangy and sweet all at the same time, but I don’t find it as acidic as lemon juice.

Photo of Lilikoi Fruit Seeds

If you have a chance to get your hands on some juice, try it. You can also look for Perfect Puree of Napa Valley lilikoi puree in your gourmet grocer’s freezer. But it’s expensive because it’s so much work to extract the seeds from the flesh. We tried everything and finally discovered that an old-fashioned food mill works best.

Look for Passionfruit in the cocktails on drinks menus in restaurants on Maui.

Here is the easiest recipe I’ve ever found to use lemon or Lilikoi juice in a baked good:  Recipe for Lilikoi Tart (also called Lilikoi Cream pie)

1 (8 oz.) pkg of cream cheese, softened

1 (14 oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk

1/2 Cup of Lilikoi juice (or lemon juice)

Pre-baked tart shell or pie shell. Note: May also use the filling as a mousse with no shell.

With a mixer, combine the three ingredients and beat till very smooth. Spoon into pre-baked shell. Refrigerate till set. Garnish with mint leaves if desired.

Lilikoi Cream Pie

More simple yet: drizzle pure Lilikoi juice over store-bought angel food cake. If you really want to get wild and crazy, top that with hot fudge sauce. A passion for passionfruit. YUM!

Thought for the Day: The best things in life…aren’t things.

A hui hou (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home Page.

Aloha, Jamaica