April 28, 2011

Hawaiian Gift Giveaway!

OK everyone, its that time of the year! April's almost to a close and everyone's starting to plan their vacations. Well, let me spice up your lives with some Hawaiian treats fresh off the island!

"Whats the treat" you ask?

I am offering one lucky commenter a chance to win $100 worth of assorted Hawaiian treats!

No, coconuts are hawaiian treats...

Macadamia Nuts, a Hawaiian favorite! Prepared in over a dozen different ways, all sent to that special commenter on a random upcoming post!

The give-away doesn't start until May 1st, and will end on May 31st.

So start reading and start commenting! 

Also, if the winner is allergic to nuts, I am willing to send $100 of another Hawaiian treat, so those with Nut allergies have something to look forward to!

You are only eligible to join this contest if you are A follower and have left a comment on a post on or after May 1st, and before May 31st. Must be 18 to enter, or have a parent or legal guardian's consent. Contest not limited to United States. $100USD is the estimated value of the prizes, including shipping and handling. I reserve the right to change decision if winner does not leave contact information in profile (email).

April 21, 2011

Hawaii Cuisine - Polynesian Delectables

Polynesia is home to a dynamic island culture. Perhaps best known for a culture incorporating tiki gods, Polynesia is also known for great food! If you're thinking of hosting a luau or a tropical party, one of the most important steps of your party planning process is to seek out Polynesian recipes. While many of these mirror similar dishes found in Hawaiian cuisine, others are unique to the native Polynesians, or blend a wide array of culinary traditions, including those found in Hawaii, Asia, and even the mainland U.S.

When most people think of Polynesian food, they think of dishes featuring chicken, poi, and/or pineapple. These are certainly a few staple ingredients found at most Polynesian meals. Traditionally the Polynesian diet also features taro root and sweet potatoes, as well as rice and beans. Hawaiian baked beans, one staple dish, often comprise a large part of both Hawaiian and Polynesian fare.

For sweet recipes, the Polynesian diet often incorporates banana and coconut, like many other tropical islands. Both of these crops are traditionally grown on the Polynesian islands, and using them as ingredients for your luau menu will certainly provide an added flavor of authenticity.

Of all of these traditional Polynesian ingredients, taro root and poi are the two that are typically unfamiliar to American audiences. Taro root is the root of a tuber plant, related to yams and potatoes. Considered a staple in many cultures of Africa, Oceania, and Asia, it has a texture similar to that of a sweet potato, with a flavor like that of a potato. In the U.S., it can be found at most supermarkets carrying a large selection of Asian foods. Poi is made from the taro plant, which is cooked and then mashed into a pudding-like consistency.

Although these two ingredients are not typically found in dishes created in the mainland U.S., most of the other ingredients needed for Polynesian recipes can easily be found in any grocery store. Who says that you must be in Hawaii to experience a luau, or Polynesia to experience a delicious Polynesian feast? You can cook easy Polynesian-inspired dishes in your own home, using ingredients you're already familiar with.

For the most part, Polynesian food is traditionally cooked in an earthen oven. For your own Polynesian party, this means plenty of baked dishes, though of course you can use your regular oven as an alternative to the traditional earthen oven.

Often, the key to creating the perfect menu for a luau or tiki-themed party lies in authentic Polynesian fare that's familiar enough to please mainland palates. This was certainly true in the tiki lounges that sprang up in the 1930s, tiki bars during the tiki craze of the 50's and 60's, and in today's restaurants around the world that feature Polynesian-inspired menus.

For the main course, look towards sweet and sour sauce for something that's a bit familiar to most mainland taste buds, yet also quite exotic and tropical. Most people are familiar with this sauce from Chinese restaurants. Recipes for Polynesian sweet and sour sauce typically require sugar and white vinegar, and are used to coat pork, chicken, or shrimp. As an alternative to sweet and sour, use soy sauce to coat the meat. Fried rice is another great dish that is certainly Polynesian, yet also familiar to those on the mainland.

April 17, 2011

Kona Coffee - More than Just "Gourmet"

Hawaiian peaberry coffee, grown in Kona, Hawaii, is known for its smooth, full-bodied flavor, unforgettable taste and rich aroma. The main secret of such tasteful and different beans is the perfect blend of all the six elements comprising of rich soil, proper elevation, cloud cover, sunshine, rain and a moderate slope helping in the drainage of the roots provided by the Hawaiian islands, have ensured an ideal environment to produce some of the richest product in the world.

Kona peaberry coffee is an estate coffee. Rare and most exclusive, these beans comprise only 5% of total crop. Coffee producers note that the peaberry cherries are usually found at the ends of the tree branches. Some farmers believe that these cherries with a single bean are formed when the wind blows half of the white coffee flower away before it forms the beginnings of the cherry. These rare beans are hand-picked by 600 working farms in Kona district of Hawaii Islands. Kona coffee producers use the special wet-method of processing and sun-drying to make sure they get a certified gourmet product.

As a result, the price and demand for Hawaiian peaberry coffee is higher than other types of this gourmet drink thanks to its rich, smooth flavor and low acid content.

This grade was awarded even a top 10 ranking as one of the best-quality coffee by Food and Wine Magazine in March, 2006.

You may choose either freshly roasted beans or ground coffee. Many coffee lovers prefer buying beans to grind them at home themselves.

Why are peaberry beans more expensive than other grades?

This grade is rare and therefore more expensive than other types, but really worth a modest added cost for the coffee lover. And even more valuable than you might think! Why? - Because these delicate beans with rich aroma are distinguished from commercial blends with the tremendous care taken at every step of the cultivation and gathering process. Experts around the world know this very well.

Perhaps that's why worldwide coffee drinking societies prefer drinking Hawaiian peaberry beans as the royalty of all coffees. All the above mentioned excellent features have made this highest grade Kona coffee one of the two most highly-valued gourmet beverages in the world.

It is a unique product of Hawaii, and like so many things about Hawaii, cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

April 12, 2011

Did You Know? - Hawaii's Celebreties

Hawaii is not all about beaches, luaus and beaches. It has given the world many famous people:

Alexander Cartwright: Known as the father of American baseball, Alexander Cartwright was born on April 17, 1820. He was officially credited with the invention of baseball. He established the Knickerbockers Baseball Club in 1842 and came up with the idea of a diamond shaped field for the game. He moved to California in 1849 and he taught baseball to all the towns on his way. Though he later became a successful businessman, he is still remembered as the inventor of baseball.

David Copperfield: David Copperfield was born on September 16, 1956. From the young age of 12, he started practicing magic and was the youngest magician in the The Society of American Magicians. His feats include walking through the Great Wall of China and making the Statue of Liberty disappear. He is the first magician who has received a star on the Hollywood walk of fame

Herman Frazier: Born on October 29, 1954, Herman Frazier went on to become one of the most famous athletes of his times. He started taking part in athletics during his school days in Germantown High School in Philadelphia. Though he started as a multiple sport athlete, it was the 4x400 m relay that earned him a gold medal in the Olympics in 1976. In one of the magazines called The Black Enterprise, he was named as one of the 50 most powerful African American sports persons.

This is not the end of the list of famous people from Hawaii. There are many others who were born in Hawaii and have gone on to become famous in their lives.

April 10, 2011

Hawaiian Fishing - A Sport Everyone can Enjoy!

Despite all of the Hawaii big game fishing and blue-water diving depicted in postcards and the media, some of islands' most popular fishing involves nothing more than a hand pole with a hook and sinker or some ultra-light tackle and bit of local fishing savvy!

During the summer two small but highly popular Hawaii fish, the "oama", or juvenile goatfish, and the halalu, smaller siblings of a type of mackerel known in the islands as "akule," make their appearance at beaches and deeper near-shore waters throughout the state. And, when they do appear, so do Hawaii's local folks!

The owama (pronounced o-wa'-ma) run about seven inches and congregate in large schools in shallow water often right off the beach while the similar-sized halalu (ha-la-loo') are generally found in deeper water such as harbors or beaches with a quicker depth drop. Appearing as schools in the thousands, these "summer fish" usually stay in the same vicinity for a few weeks causing something of an attraction as scores of anglers congregate in the shallow waters, breakwaters, piers, or beaches where the schools might be present.

When the schools are in, word goes out on the grapevine through kids, moms and dads, seniors, and just about anyone who likes fishing! Prized as bait for larger fish but even more so as delicious table fare, the oama and halalu are more than just fish, they're an island tradition.

Driving around the islands, it's not uncommon to spot groups of unrelated individuals in circles or standing abreast in thigh- or waist-deep water off the beach with short bamboo poles. These folks are fishing for oama and stand together so as to keep the school in one place with the cumulative draw of their baited hooks. It's a subdued excitement as in near silence the anglers alternately jerk their poles to lift a small fighting fish out of the water and into the small scoop nets which are hung conveniently at their sides.

If you come across a scene with a large group of people using either extended hand poles or ultra-light fishing tackle to cast and erratically reel in tiny feathered hooks or similar artificial bait, they're after the halalu. Like the groups fishing for oama, these larger crowds on the shore are fishing in a quiet so prevailing you can hear the splashing of the small fish as they're being reeled in. In these large groups you'll also find an array of styles for retrieving the lured hooks which characterizes the "pet" techniques that separate one angler from another.

Whether you have an appetite for the small fish or not, coming across either of these types of fishing scenes is a unique and interesting affair and one you'll probably only see in Hawaii. It's one of those things that go far beyond fishing. Rather, it's a slice of life that so many of us who've grown up in the islands return to year after year.

So as small as they may be, the oama and halalu play a big part of Hawaii's fishing scene and are as much or more a part of Hawaii fishing as sport fishing or diving. Indeed these small, seemingly insignificant fish are a big part of the fabric of life in these Hawaiian Islands... these two fish of summer!

April 8, 2011

Hawaii - Make it "Your" Getaway!

There are several beautiful islands on the planet, Crete ( Greece ), Bali ( Indonesia ) and Sicily ( Italy ), but Hawaii is the most beautiful island of the world. Why? Despite the small size of the island, it is world of wonders that words can't define but that luckily for you can be revealed live and in color place by place. Here you'll find everything you need to enjoy your stay. From natural wonders --  warm beaches, spectacular volcanoes, fantastic waterfalls, and nature sanctuaries -- and unique hospitality to modern wonders -- tall buildings, Olympic stadiums, transportation  network -- and amazing traditions -- as the "lei", the "hula dance" and the surfing. For this reason, no other island on Earth can compete with Hawaii. In addition to these selected wonders, Hawaii is a world-class resort destination with state-of-the-art accommodations. Certainly Hawaii seems to have discovered the secret of successful: Tourism.

The 47th largest state in the United States, Hawaii is the size of Northern Ireland. It is an American state of 132 islands stretching over 1,500 miles across the Pacific Ocean. The eight main islands are: Oahu, Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Kauai, and Nihau. Thanks to its natural wonders, Hawaii now has one of the highest standards of living in Oceania. Certainly Hawaii is a great example of what happens when the modern technology is applied to the economy.

Mauna Loa - A Natural Wonder of the World

Hawaii is also well-known for its famous volcanoes and craters. Haleakala --  the most popular tourist spot on the island of Maui -- is the world's largest dormant crater. The crater measures about 20 miles around and is about 3,000 feet. From the top, you can see the principal islands of the archipelago. But Haleakala is not the only volcano. The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to one of the world's most amazing volcanoes -- Mauna Loa ( 13,680 feet ). Here, too, is Kilauea volcano ( 4,009 feet ).

Like the Galapagos islands ( Ecuador ), Tanzania's Mount  Kilimanjaro and Nepal's Mount Everest, Mauna Loa is one of the world's most attractive natural wonders. Mauna Loa is not violent because the eruption occur only in limited sections of the crater. This eruption is one of the most impressive spectacle on Earth. It is surrounded by fern forest.

The Most Beautiful Girls

Here you can see some of the most beautiful girls of the world. Curiously Hawaii is an ideal place for fashion photographers, film directors, and models agents. Like Venezuela, Texas, and India, Hawaii is famous for its beautiful women. Certainly it is birthplace of several spectacular girls -- Nicole Kidman ( actress ), Patricia Ford ( fashion super model ), Carolyn Suzanne Sapp ( Miss America 1992 ), Tia Carrere ( singer and actress ), Renee Alway ( super model ), Kelly Ho ( actress ), Angela Perez Baraquio ( Miss America 2000 ), Agnes Nalani Lum ( top model ), Kelly Preston ( actress ), and Maggie Q ( actress ). In addition to this, Hawaii has won four Miss USA crowns and one Miss Universe title. In 1952 Kananiopepau Edsman finished second at the First Miss Universe pageant in Long Beach, California.

Astounding Oahu

In this island there are so many different types of scenery and climate. There are lots of beaches, where you can go swimming, fishing, surfing and sailing. Oahu is home to Waikiki Beach, one of the most popular beaches on Earth. It offers a mixture of wonders: world-class resorts, luxury restaurants, night clubs, and water sports facilities. Oahu is also home to Honolulu, the capital city. Honolulu - which is actually the biggest city in terms of population --is one of the world's top destinations for businessmen. Besides all that, the island of Oahu has other fantastic places. Diamond Head, an extinct volcano, is one of the world's most famous promontories and one of Oahu's most popular tourist spots. But it isn't the only wonder. The Underwater Coral Gardens of Kaneohe, in Heeia, is an amazing marine world.

There's also lots of beautiful historic buildings where you can stop. In Laie, for example, you can visit the world's most beautiful mormon temple. It is an architectural gem of the modern world.On the other hand, Nuuanu Pali, at the upper end of Nuuanu valley, offers an amazing view of the northeastern coast. And it was here that Kamehameha I won a battle.

To appreciate the history of Hawaii, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is recommended. Here are the remains of the more than 16,000 persons who lost their lives during the World War II and the Korean War. Under this historic atmosphere, you also can visit the Pearl Harbor Naval Base. This place, one of the largest natural harbors in the Pacific Ocean, is used as an American naval base. Sixty-eight years ago, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor plunging America into World War II. The battleship Arizona, sunk in the Asian attack, rests here.Finally, Makapuu Beach offers its outsiders a charming and comfortable environment. This beach -famous for its "perfect waves" - is a sanctuary for many body-surfers in the Pacific Ocean.

Hawaii - The Island of Orchids

Each Hawaiian island is a wonderland - a mixture of the modern, natural and the old. In this context, Hawaii  --the largest Hawaiian island- gathers many of the most beautiful orchids on Earth. In this island, there are more than 20,000 types of orchids. Here, too, is Pu'uhonua o Honaunau, a national park since 1972, which was an ancient Hawaiian religious sanctuary for criminals, ex warriors and other fugitives.

Captivating Kauai

Kauai -- a masterpiece of landscape gardening -- is home to one of the world's most stunning natural wonders : Hanalei Valley, also known as the birthplace of rainbows. With its unique tropical landscape, here you will find the most beautiful rainbows on the planet. According to many travel writers, it is Hawaii's greatest tourist spot.But it isn't the only wonder.  It's also home to Waimea Canyon -- it has an amazingly colored gorge 3,600 feet deep.  Waimea Canyon offers beautiful scenery for photographers, hikers ands naturalists. On the other hand, Mount Waialeale, in the center of the island, is the wettest spot on Earth. It has an average annual rainfall of 460 inches (1,170 centimeters).

Akaka Falls

Much of what offers to the tourist is amazing and unique. In addition to its black sand beaches, snow-covered mountains, perfect climate and other natural wonders, Hawaii is also home to some of the world's most beautiful waterfalls. In this land, the nature lover can satisfy a lifetime thirst for beauty in the incomparable waterfalls. The most important waterfalls in the island is Akaka Falls, 442 feet high. It, near Hilo (Hawaii island), is a long, slender waterfall on Kolekole stream. Likewise, Akaka is one of America's largest waterfalls.

March 27, 2011

Soakin' Up The Sun - Not Hawaiian For "Tan" Anymore

Hawaii has always been a place known for surf, spam and sunshine. With weather like no other, the Hawaii solar industry is in a perfect position to help educate the public about the importance of solar. With the tax credits available from the State (35%) and Federal (30%), not to mention a Hawaii solar rebate ($750) from Hawaii Energy to qualified homeowners, there's no reason why a home/business owner should take advantage of harnessing the sun's energy to help reduce their electricity bill.

Based on SunPluggers.com, Hawaii is the fastest growing state with the fastest growth rate for solar adoption in 2009, when it added 10.8 watts per resident. That is a huge jump considering that there were more photovoltaic installations in Hawaii 2008 than the 7 previous years combined. Each day more and more homes and businesses are making the switch to free renewable energy.

Hawaii solar experts are predicting the industry won't be slowing down anytime soon. The reason....high electricity rates! Hovering at around 25 cents per kilowatt and likely to go even higher, now is the right time for consumers to start thinking of benefits solar has to offer. The advice I tell my customers are "There is one way to offset high cost of living in Hawaii without hurting their pockets....SOLAR". Benefits of solar are endless.

You have:

  • Unlimited sunshine
  • Tax credits
  • Increased equity
  • More jobs
  • More money

Being a Hawaii solar company consultant for over 5 years, the number one concern I get from homeowners is "I don't have the money". Many assume a payment in full or a huge down payment which automatically turns them away from the subject of purchasing a solar system. With a down economy it would be easy to understand being frugal would be the right thing to do. The great thing about solar is, it's an investment that will pay for itself. With financing options available, getting a system installed is easy to do.

An average homeowner spends around $200 a month in electricity. A solar water heating system or start up photovoltaic system will save an average home around $50-$60 a month which is equivalent to a 25-30 percent savings.

With the new law in effect that all new homes must require solar water heating, the timing could have not gotten any better. It's our chance to help Hawaii less dependent on imported fossil fuel and reach its goal of being 70 percent powered using clean energy by 2030. In my opinion, with more Hawaii solar companies being established in just the last couple years, Hawaii might reach its goal way sooner than expected...which is a good thing.

The best complement as a consultant is when I'm at the beach eating a musubi, checking out the surf and I come across a Hawaii solar company customer in the water and I get reminded of how much they love their solar system.