Plant-based "Made in Hawaii" Potluck, Oct 15th

I just spent the afternoon shopping and preparing a few dishes for the “Made in Hawaii” potluck my friend Joy and I are hosting tonight. It was difficult to choose what to make because so many ideas flew into my mind while all the veggies simultaneously flew into the shopping cart. Approximately $100 later and I was on my way!!! I have a hard time with restraint when it comes to quality ingredients. 🙂 (But I will choose quality ingredients over other treats any time.)

I had a hard time with the flavor of the oil that I picked up (which shall remain unnamed) so my executive decision was to change to olive oil and use some balsamic vinegar too. Those were the only non-local ingredients in these dishes.

One of the items that I’d like to incorporate into a dessert is some kona coffee…. How to do this vegan style??? Hmmm…… Ok will work on that.

Here are some of the things that I was working with…..

Chinese cabbage, red radish, daikon, asparagus, basil, thyme, mint, lemon, orange, strawberry, lilikoi, tomato, Waialua chocolate, Japanese cucumbers, mac nuts, beets, beet greens, kale, and arugula.






Cold French Lentil Salad

My friend Kathy turned me onto this dish that combines French lentils with fennel. I have to admit, even though I am adventurous, I was at first a little bit skeptical, until I tasted it.

The flavors exploded in my mouth, and boy, did I change my mind quickly! It was absolutely stunning!

It was so good that I immediately decided to highlight this recipe in my Grains and Beans cooking class.

When I took out the fennel, everyone got nervous and squirmed a little bit in their seats (kinda like how I had too). I could see them looking at me and thinking, “What is she about to do?!”Here everything is ready and we are just about to eat.

(photos by Ruth)

My Trip to Waikiki Worm Company

I’ve dabbled in composting before, but I was told that I wasn’t doing it quite right. I had a spinning composter, but worms don’t like to get tossed around. When I changed living arrangements, I sold my spinning composter and took a hiatus from the whole endeavor.

Throwing vegetable scraps away just didn’t feel right, and after attending the recent agriculture conference, I committed to seriously getting back into composting. I made my visit to the Waikiki Worm Company this afternoon and purchased all my new composting items. Here is the store owner getting my worms ready for me.

Mindy explained to me how to set up my system. First, I have to shred paper and place it into my composting bin.
Then, I take the pile of worms and separate it from the vermicast, sprinkling the vermicast onto the paper to make a nice bed for the earthworms. It’s important to water it so that it stays moist.
From there I take the ball of earthworms and place them onto the bed and let them wriggle their way into their bed of paper and vermicast.

Now I can begin to feed them, so I grabbed some alfalfa sprouts that I had leftover from a cooking class and sprinkled them in.

Finally, it’s important to cover the food with more paper, and then wet everything down, and place on the lid.

My system is now operational! I’m heading back to her shop on Saturday to pick up some compost tea to spray on the foilage of my plants.

I’m really seriously working on getting a big container garden going. Here is my kale, basil, thyme, chives, parsley, and Maui onions…. (hard to see but they are all in there!).

Cilantro and arugula are sprouting in some other containers…

Hawaii State Agriculture Conference

On September 23rd and 24th, I attended the Hawaii State Agriculture Conference at the beautiful Ko’Olina Resort. For two days, I thoroughly enjoyed and took in as much of the information as possible, and here is my interpretation and summary of the issues for you:

  • We as a nation and world are in completely uncharted territory in terms of CO2 emissions and are in dire need of innovation and new ideas.
  • The most critical issues facing the islands seem to be the price and/or availability of energy, land, water, and the number of farmers. In addition, financing and transportation are important issues. ‘Energy’ and ‘Agriculture’ may see some big fights to come. The main recommendation is for everyone (conventional and organic farmers and ranchers) to try to “get along” and to communicate well regarding our shared issues.
  • UH’s College of Tropical Ag is working on aquaponics to meet some of the new sustainability standards set for 2050. Aquaponics helps solve problems of access to land. Some of the components of farming this way are expensive, so they are looking at ways to source items locally (e.g., fish food and fertilizers).
  • We currently have 90% of our energy shipped to the islands in the form of oil. There is a big push to move to biofuels (and I was sitting between someone from the Department of Energy and another person from the Navy who were both asking lots of questions and taking many notes), but farmers and ranchers are losing their land so that biofuels can be grown and produced. Although it was left unsaid, it was implied that the biofuels are GMO crops.
  • It’s critical that we all move to organic and sustainable methods of production. For health reasons in particular, organics were strongly recommended. We heard from ex-conventional farmers who have completely changed their methods and yielded some incredible crop results.
  • Consumers need to educate themselves that food doesn’t come from a store, it comes from the farmers. We all really need to stop shopping at places that offer “cheap” food and start prioritizing local producers. Buying “cheap” creates more long term systemic problems.
  • Ranchers and farmers are people on whom we all currently rely every day (so we really need to value and respect them).
  • Ranchers are moving toward grass fed beef. The cow is becoming a key part of the biofuel industry. It’s predicted that perhaps the ranchers will start building some bio-refineries and when this happens, they will be selling energy back to HECO. (Seems like we really ought to be nice to our farmers!)
  • Cows and worms are some pretty valuable creatures.
  • Korean Natural Farming Methods and biochar are a couple of things to seriously learn about and incorporate into current farming.

Although the mood was hopeful and optimistic, I came home concerned about our food and energy security.

Photos from the Lunch: Wraps & Spreads cooking class



Thanks again to Ruth for sharing her photos from the afternoon cooking class! I had some help rolling everything up for everyone so that we could move on to the next recipe. Looking forward to next week’s class, Lunch: Gourmet Bento Box Items

Recovering Your Health

From The Book of Macrobiotics by Michio Kushi

In order to recover and develop our physical, mental, and spiritual health, we need to reorient our way of life in the following ways:

  • we should reflect upon our own daily life, whether we are pursuing only sensory pleasures and emotional comfort, and thus forgetting our native potential for greater happiness and higher freedom
  • we should reflect further upon our daily food and drink and consider whether our meals are really balanced to produce the best quality of blood and cells as well as to secure the best mental and spiritual conditions.
  • we should also reflect upon our thought and behavior toward our family, friends, and other people and consider whether our respect and love are really dedicated from the heart and whether our behavior toward them is really serving for their health and happiness

The beginning of self recovery from all personal unhappiness, including physical and mental disorders, is our understanding of the perceptual order of yin and yang. In order to release ourselves from all physical and mental disorders changing our degenerative tendencies towards health and happiness, we must first apply our understanding of yin and yang to our daily dietary practice, how to choose, prepare, and take our food and drink. Through proper eating, our blood and body will become sound and whole. Mental and spiritual well being will naturally follow. food is creating us. If the nourishment we receive is proper, we are naturally more energetic physically, more comfortable emotionally, and more elevated spiritually than when our way of eating is imbalanced and disorderly. If our daily food is improper, our health declines, our emotions are disturbed, and our spirit becomes chaotic. Personal feelings, social relations, and our approach to any problems are influenced by what we eat. When we feel any frustration and disturbance, we should first reflect upon what we have been eating. Our physical and mental habits, as well as tendencies in our thinking and capacities of our consciousness all depend upon what we have been eating for a long period, from the embryonic stage through childhood up to the present. To change our food is to wholly change ourselves. Through food, consciously or unconsciously, we shape our destiny.

Kanu Hawaii Eat Local Cooking Class

Date: October 1, 2010
Time: 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm

As part of the Kanu Hawaii Eat Local Campaign, I will be teaching a class emphasizing local produce and how we can use it in quick, easy, nourishing, and delicious meals. This class is great for anyone who wants to use more local produce and even for those who use local produce often, but may want new recipe ideas.

Location: Pan American MOA, 3510 Nuuanu Pali Road, Honolulu, HI

Prices and more details can be found on my website:
Kanu Hawaii Eat Local Cooking Class

Myths and Misconceptions about Macrobiotics and Nutrition

Would you like to find a new level of health and vitality? Warren Kramer shares how the understanding of macrobiotic principles can transform your health and lead you to an even more amazing life. This lecture will take place on Thursday, April 15th, 2010. See Leslie’s website for more information.