Island Time… (Toasted Coconut Key Lime Pie)

Paradise to me has always been on a beach. There is something so relaxing about the crashing sound of the ocean, the heated sand under you, and all of your cares washed out to sea. Paradise for me is located in a place I’d like to call home, Hawaii. Island time is really different than Eastern Standard Time. When work calls you at three in the morning, you can roll over and hit ignore and nobody cares. When you try to contact people at 9 o’clock island time, and no one answers, it is kind of relaxing. At 12 in the afternoon if you feel like going surfing on your lunch break, it’s expected.May 21 through June 1 I was lucky enough to go to Hawaii with my parents, a graduation present for finally finishing college. From May 21 to the 26 I was in Oahu, and from May 26 to June 1 I was falling in love with Maui.

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Waikiki from the pier

Oahu was nice, if you like the city. High rise building and double digit floor hotels rose off the beach like concrete giants. Honolulu could compare to a small New York City, with bustling storefronts, and business men and women struggling to predict the latest trend in there respected markets. While the city remained busy, the mountains kept a watchful eye in the background, reminding the workers that an escape was only a short drive away.

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The Waikiki beach, so idolized in movies and TV shows, appears nonexistent in this Jersey girls eyes. On the East Coast beaches can stretch as far as a half mile, but here you had maybe 20 feet until the water’s edge, if you were lucky.  A rocky coral lined the beach, which did not affect the standard surfer, but kept the midlife beach goer out of the water. I did take a surf lesson with Gone Surfing, and let me tell you, I would do it again in a heartbeat. I am not weak by any means. I work out almost every day, and I pride myself on my toned body, but paddling the quarter mile out or whatever it may be killed me! Luckily the Gone Surfing team helps you get out, or I would never have surfed in Waikiki.

As you traveled away from the highly commercialized, somewhat polluted city the true colors of the island finally showed through. The island is beautiful! All of the beaches on the island are open to the public, and all of them have something unique to them. I would love to travel to the North Shore in the winter and see the giant wave’s crash on the beach and everything else around them. For now the lush green beauty of the mountains and the calm pristine beaches held me over.

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The pristine beaches of Maui

Maui was something entirely different, Maui was an island of dreams. As we flew in (it’s a 15 minute plane ride from Oahu) we could see sugar cane growing all over the island, and the mountains reaching into the clouds at a height of over ten thousand feet. On the ground it smelled sweet, a mix of sugar cane and plumaira filled the air. We stayed at the Honua Kai in Lahaina and trust me I would live there if I could. Golden sand beaches stretched on, with a sunset every night just over Molokai. There was a reef maybe 6 feet off the beach with the best snorkeling I have ever seen and I have snorkeled all over the world. There was turtles, parrot fish, the entire cast of Nemo, and even an eel or two, I was in fish heaven. On land the things to do greatly outnumbered my time spent there. The road to Hana highlighted my trip. 1 road, 68 miles, roughly 620 curves and 59 one lane bridges all to view the best of Maui. Scenic overlooks, arboretums, waterfalls, and a black sand beach are just a few things that made this drive so special.

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One of the many wonders of Hana

Without a doubt the most busy tourist section of the island was Front Street in Lahaina. We went there every night, may it be for entertainment, dining, or shopping, Front Street was the place to be. The Old Lahaina Luau was a wonderful interpretation of the islands rich culture through the best way they know how, dance. It was amazing to see these dancers contort their bodies, as well as tell the history of the islands all in a way that everyone could understand. I also managed to strike up a conversation with our “waiter” about snowboarding, which I found odd in Hawaii, yet loved.

The fruit in Maui is unlike anything I have ever tasted. On the road to Hana I stopped by a roadside stand and got 7 bananas for a dollar, 7!!! They were the sweetest, freshest piece of fruit I have ever tasted. I also stopped at a different road side stand and got a home grown avocado. This thing was huge!!! Nothing like the store bought avocado in Jersey this thing was the size of my face!! The pineapple drips juices like watermelon. After breakfast each morning I found myself having to wash up because I was covered in sticky juices from the pineapple I devoured. If I lived in Hawaii, the only thing I would eat would be fruit that I picked in the morning, avocado, and fresh fish, what else could I need?

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I was not leaving without a fight

I did not want to leave. In fact my father had to peel me off of a palm tree. I miss the 78 degree weather every day. I miss watching the rain shower come off the mountains in the mornings. I miss talking about surf, and the morning fishing report with the locals. I could move there for an extended amount of time and never run out of things to do. One day I will return only to make plans to live there for a year.

 

Coconut Key Lime Pie:

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One of my favorite desserts (Kona Coffee flavored ice cream aside) was Key Lime Pie that I had at Lahaina Fish Co. I normally don’t like key lime pie, but this was the epitome of island taste. It was so fluffy I thought it was cheesecake at first, but the taste cannot be denied. It had the light texture of damp clouds, and the flavor of tropical islands, definitely one of the most memorable desserts on the island.

Ingredients:

For crust:

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons of sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup toasted coconut

For the filling:

1, 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk

4 large egg yolks

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh or bottled Key Lime juice

Toasted coconut to taste

Directions:

To make crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a large bowl combine cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter and coconut until combined.
  3. Spread with a fork in a greased 9 inch glass pie pan
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, remove and let cool.

Make filling

  1. Whisk condensed milk and yokes until combined
  2. Add juice and coconut flakes and whisk again until combined.
  3. Pour into the middle of the crust and bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Cool pie completely on a rack.
  5. Chill, covered for 8 hours.

 

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Dirt Devil Socks of Horrors (Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cookies)

I have been a princess of 3 acres, a warrior of a sand stricken dessert,   a survivor of the slimy green pond scum, all without leaving my backyard. You could say I was a wild child, you could also say I was a princess; a garden warrior princess would be the correct term if I had to crown one.

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Growing up in Jersey I ruled a total of 7 acres with an iron fist, well probably more dirty fingers than iron fist. My neighbor Trevor, who is 3 years to my senior, decided that I was the closest thing to a little brother he would get and let me tag along everywhere. Our two yards together were more than enough land to race dirt bikes, climb trees, fall out of trees, ride skateboards, build ramps and jumps in dirt mounds, catch toads, and everything else little kids like to get into. We made forts in the pussy willow trees, and ran through the tall corn stalks in the field s behind our house.

I am sure my mother was worried. I am an only child, an only daughter, and here I am coming in the house barefoot with grass stained knees, knotted hair and blood gushing from at least one cut or another. I preferred mountain bikes over Barbie cars, football over dolls, and god forbid, shorts and a t-shirt over a dress.

I went through clothes like a monster. All of my clothes; it did not matter if it was t-shirts, shorts, pants or socks. I distinctly remember on a rainy evening running around in my neighbor’s basement, I had socks on to maximize the sliding on the hardwood floor. Of course being the kid I am, my socks caught on something and a hole was ripped in them. I continued the night unfathomed, they were socks, who cares I had a bin full in my bedroom these would not go missed. When I got home and took my shoes off my mother saw the hole, I must have caught her on a bad day, or maybe I pulled the last straw. She freaked.

“Lauren, do you care about your appearance what so ever? Do you like the clothes we give you! Do you care at all?” my mother yelled. It went on for what felt like hours. The high pitch of her voice made the cat hide, made my fish jump and made me feel even more rebellious. Of course I shrugged her off, but on my way to throw my socks out my mother made a threat, a threat that no kid ever wants to hear, and a threat that still haunts me today like a never ending nightmare. “Lauren, you are going to sew that sock back together or you cannot have ice cream for a week!”

NO ICE CREAM!?! I am a chocolate fiend; I cannot live without my daily nightcap of chocolate ice cream, it  soothes me, makes me forget my problems, if I was a cat it would make me purr. I did not know how to sew; I knew where my mother kept her sewing needles and thread but never knew what to do with them.

It was a disaster. First of all this little thread, why does it have to go in this tiny eye like thing, and how is it supposed to stay when it gets there? Why is the needle so sharp and why must I poke myself in the hand on every pull. With no instruction I went at it.

I sewed them once, put the sock on and went to show my mom. By the time I walked down the hall to her bedroom it had come undone. The dread on my face must have been one of a kid without presents at Christmas. I had to do it all over again.  I redid it, this time going back and forth the length of the rip at least 4 times, but my mother did not approve. She sent me back. The third time I put a little knot at the end so it did not come undone and ended with a knot as well. With my pride shortly slipping away I put the sock on my foot, slowly with my eyes glued to the floor, I walked the death march down to my mom’s room. I sat down on the bed and raised my dirty, yet one piece of a sock in the air to show my mother, expecting to be sent back. She took the sock off my foot, kissed my check and threw it out.

I cried. What the hell! I worked so hard on that! Why the hell would she just throw it out? Apparently that was the point, the lesson learned, the outcome in my trial. My parents worked so hard to provide for me and I was a menace to everything. She taught me that for all the things I had, hard work was behind them, and I had no right to go through clothes like Godzilla in the city.

That is how my mother tried to teach me to have a better regard towards my clothes, instead I think she taught me that socks are over rated.

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White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Next to Ice Cream my day is not complete without something sweet. These white chocolate chip oatmeal cookies have become my staple oatmeal cookie recipe. The white chocolate chips can be substituted with any chip of your liking.

Makes roughly 24 cookies

Ingredients

1/2 Cup unsalted butter, room temp

3/4 Cup brown sugar

1/4 Cup granulated sugar

1 Large egg

3 Teaspoons vanilla

1 and 2/3 Old Fashioned rolled oats

1 Cup all-purpose flour

½ Teaspoon baking soda

A bag of white chocolate chips to taste

With a stand mixer cream the softened butter and the sugars, add the eggs and vanilla and mix.

Beat in the oats, flour, and baking soda until combined. Stir in the chips.

Preheat the oven to 350. Line pans with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes or until golden

Questions or Comments? Please email NotSoCulinaryGraduate@hotmail.com