Forage Hawaii Farm To Table Dinner – Menu Announcement

Forage Hawaii Farm to Table Dinner

Forage Hawaii and The Healthy Locavore are proud to announce the menu for our farm to table dinner on November 11, 2017.

It is packed full of locally grown ingredients and promises to ignite your tastebuds. A delicious way to support local farms and ranchers.

Chef Sarah Burchard blends her San Francisco fine dining experience and love of Hawaiian cuisine to create fun spins on classic dishes like poke, loco moco and haupia. And in true Healthy Locavore form, all with a nod to clean eating – using mostly organic, whole foods and making everything from scratch including her home-made spice rubs, kimchee and yogurt.

Forage Hawaii farm to table dinner menu
Forage Hawaii Farm To Table Dinner Menu

After touring the farm at Mari’s Gardens you will get the opportunity to try many of their greens, herbs, fruits and vegetables in our 5-course farm to table tasting menu.

You will also get to hear Patsy and Stacy, a.k.a. 2Lady Farmers speak as you try their delicious pork loin. As well as hear Kimo from Maui Nui speak during the venison course.

The combination of the behind the scenes tour, speeches and tasting menu make this a true farm to table experience. We can’t wait to see you!

Purchase Tickets

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Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.

The Importance Of Wellness Retreats

wellness retreat

wellness retreat

Picture yourself completely relaxed and taken care of. You are staying in comfortable (maybe even luxury) accommodations in a beautiful part of the world away from the city and in touch with nature. Nutritious meals are fed to you three times a day, you can sleep in or nap as you wish, there are no expectations of you and you have no responsibilities. Sounds nice right? This is the beauty of the wellness retreat.

Yoga, meditation and/or overall health can be the focus of any wellness retreat. Although there are usually classes scheduled each day they are intended to be restorative and more importantly, optional. The intention is more to provide a space where you can focus on your own needs rather than follow a strict schedule of activities.

Going on a retreat for the first time can be a life changer. Even a short retreat can be enough to create a lasting impression.

Re-entering the “real world” after going on retreat is a fascinating phenomenon. On the one hand the over stimulation can be a bit of a shock to your system, on the other hand you feel re-energized and ready to take on the world.

At the first retreat I ever attended on the north shore of Oahu, our host, Jennifer Reuter explained something to us that would stick with me forever. She explained the difference between a vacation and a retreat.

Vacations

Vacations can be a blast. They are often highly anticipated, packed full of fun activities and designed to take you out of your normal day-to-day routine. I have learned so much from vacations I have taken over the years. I’ve traveled to new places, learned about different cultures and tried new foods. They are the perfect time to bond with friends and family or reignite the spark between you and your partner.

The downfall of all of this fun and excitement however is the fact that there is often a lot of energy that has to be put into these occasions. There is a lot of planning that goes into them. You may need to travel on multiple planes or do a lot of driving, you have to be mindful of other peoples schedules, personalities and needs and work around them. There is usually a tendency to over indulge on rich foods and alcohol and stay up much later than your usual bedtime. There could be hours of sightseeing packed into each day or schedules to stick to. It can be mentally and physically exhausting.

When it is all over, and I’m sure many of us have said this in our lives, we need a vacation from our vacation. We come home and go back to work more tired than before we left. We are thrown back into our worlds starting off on our back foot trying to play catch up with life, our energy and getting back into our daily routines.

Vacations are joyful events but they can also be extremely depleting.

Wellness retreats

A retreat lives up to its name. It is a time to pull back and withdraw from all external commotion. Instead of accommodating others, you focus on yourself and your own needs. It is a time to fill your cup back up. To look inside and see what it is you really need in order to become re-energized.

On retreat you have all the time you need to relax and just be. Time to reflect and be quiet. The food that is served is designed to be nourishing, cleansing and to take no effort on your part.

Activities can include things like yoga, nature hikes and swimming. They are intended to cause you to reconnect with your body and move in a way that makes you feel good.

There are no substances or events that are depleting, only ones that are replenishing. It is a time to meditate, read, journal, reflect, move your body in a restorative way, hydrate, nourish and re-energize.

When you return from a retreat to the “real world” it is common to feel more focused and full of energy.

There are many life-changing events that can occur on retreat but the real take-away is always how you feel afterward. You feel like a new person – inspired, motivated and like your cup has been filled back up. This is the importance of wellness retreats.

Want to know more about the retreat I went to on the north shore? Click this link for more information about Jennifer Reuter wellness retreats.

Jennifer Reuter
Jennifer Reuter

Jennifer Reuter is a yoga and meditation teacher on the island of Oahu. She offers retreats, sound healing baths and yoga teacher trainings. She is extremely gifted,  passionate and knowledgable. Learn more about her philosophy and offerings here.

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Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.

Maui For Foodies

Punakea Palms

Punakea Palms

The road to Hana is paved with…….not enough restaurants!

Sure, there is world class snorkeling, humpback whale watching and the infamous road to Hana. But, if you are a chef or a foodie like me you plan your trips around food and squeeze those things in if there is extra time!

If you find that ludicrous than this particular travel guide is not for you. There will be no beach recommendations or ocean excursions mentioned here. There will, however be a boatload of restaurants, farms and places to buy good booze in this post. Hey, even healthy locavores need to have fun too.

This is Maui for foodies.

Plane from Honolulu to Lahaina
Plane from Honolulu to Lahaina

If you are coming over from Honolulu chances are you’ll be wedged in a puka shell sized puddle-jumper such as the one pictured above. I recommend flying into Lahaina to avoid the hoards of tourists at the bigger and busier Kahului Airport on the other side of the island.

But be prepared, other than a tarmac and glorified hot dog stand you won’t find any amenities at this airport. Have a ride lined up or you’ll be walking to your hotel. Rental cars are a must have on this island.

Lahaina (West Maui)

The towns up and down the west side of Maui, including Lahaina are no doubt some of the most picturesque on the island. Large banyan trees, beautiful beach parks and views of Lana’i and Moloka’i line the coast.

We opted for an oceanfront Airbnb at the Kaleialoha Vacation Rentals for our accommodations. It was a cute little one bedroom with beach access, spacious lanai and fully stocked kitchen. There was a sea turtle that swam around below us every morning.

Airbnb in Lahaina
The lanai at our Kaleialoha vacation rental
Airbnb in Lahaina
View from our Kaleialoha vacation rental

Places to eat near Lahaina

Choice Health Bar

This is a great place to stop for a healthy vegan breakfast, lunch or (non-alchololic and sugar free) power drink. All of the produce used on the menu here is organic and handpicked locally. Menu selections include things like overnight oats, chia pudding, pad thai, kale and quinoa buddha bowls, acai bowls, smoothies and shots of noni juice.

Choice Health Bar
Overnight oats at Choice Health Bar

Merriman’s Kapalua

When you are ready for pau hana (happy hour) and an epic sunset, cruise over to  Merriman’s and grab a spot at the bar overlooking Kapalua Bay. Peter Merriman is one of the founding fathers of Hawaiian cuisine and helped pioneer the farm to table concept here. 90% of the food at this restaurant is locally sourced.

And they make a damn good man tai too.

Merriman's Lahaina
Merriman’s Lahaina

Lahaina Grill

If you are craving classic, old world inspired cuisine and are having a foie gras void in your life (like I was) than this is where you come. It’s not cutting edge but it is decadent. Think escargot, Wagyu beef ravioli with black truffle, filet mignon and lobster. Pro tip – Order a few things to share for the table and a nice glass of wine and leave it at that. This place can get pricy.

Seared Ahi and Hudson Valley Foie Gras at Lahaina Grill
Seared Ahi and Hudson Valley Foie Gras at Lahaina Grill
Marcho Farms Veal "Osso Buco" at Lahaina Grill
Marcho Farms Veal “Osso Buco” at Lahaina Grill

The Mill House

Hands down my favorite restaurant on the island.

Tucked inside the Maui Tropical Plantation through a path of botanical gardens and fountains made of old sugarcane cogs you will find one of the most beautiful restaurants on Maui. And the best part? They farm the majority of the produce they use on site. The rest all comes from other parts of the island. Everything including the unbelievable table bread (buttery Hawaiian dinner rolls and rustic sourdough rye? Come on!) and delicate pastas are made in house. Hats off to chef Jeff Scheer. You nailed it.

The Mill House
The botanical gardens at Maui Tropical Plantation
The Mill House
The Mill House
The Mill House
The Mill House
Local Fish Crudo & Mortadella Musubi at The Mill House
Local Fish Crudo & Mortadella Musubi at The Mill House
Chicken Bao Buns & Pork Shank Rillette at The Mill House
Chicken Bao Buns & Pork Shank Rillette at The Mill House
Greens from the farm at The Mill House
Greens and root vegetables from the farm with carrot puree and lemon vinaigrette  at The Mill House
Local fish at The Mill House
Local fish, coconut-cucumber curry and spicy papaya salad at The Mill House
Bone Marrow with Braised Taro Leaf Risotto at The Mill House
Bone Marrow with Braised Taro Leaf Risotto at The Mill House
Chocolate dessert at The Mill House
Chocolate mousse and banana ice-cream with candied cashew at The Mill House

Punakea Palms

Just a man and his coconuts….

On the surface it would appear that Punakea Palms sells farm tours. But, after taking a tour here I know now that what they are actually providing is an educational experience in natural farming,  sustainability and the health benefits of coconuts.

This is a family owned and run operation. In fact, the owners live on the property so what you are basically taking a tour of is their back yard.

Punakea Palms
The view from Punakea Palms

The owner’s son, Kai is the mastermind behind the coconut groves here. He is both the farmer and the tour guide. Kai starts the tour by giving you some background on the land in which you are standing from. Old sugarcane fields. Or more importantly, soil that has been heavily depleted from hundreds of years of burning the land to harvest sugarcane.

It is from here that you realize that Kai and his family aren’t growing coconuts so much to sell (there is surprisingly not a big enough market and coconut products are too labor intensive to be profitable) as they are to save the land.

They now grow halloa ( a legume) on the land which nourishes the soil with nitrogen providing the dry, scorched land with moisture. They water the palms with water from the valley that carries nutrients with it as disperses through the farm. They have planted pine trees on the property to encourage more rain, helping to restore the ecosystem of the land back to the rainforest it once was before being turned into sugarcane fields.

Kai goes on to explain that coconut palms are indigenous to Hawaii and were the first trees to sprout up when the islands were first being formed by volcanos. They require warm tropical climates with a lot of rainfall, about 20 gallons of water everyday to be exact. He said that the coconuts themselves act as seeds. They fall from the tree and with sun and moisture they set roots and sprout up.

Punakea Palms
Punakea Palms

From here Kai goes into harvest times and how to check what stage the coconut is in when picked.

At 5 months (or less) the coconuts are not ready. The water is a bit sour and the meat is underdeveloped, like jelly.

At 6 months the coconuts are young and the meat is starting to firm up.

Prime harvest time for coconut water is  7 months. The coconuts will be heavy and when shaken you will hear water sloshing around inside of it. The meat at this point is the perfect texture to scrape out and eat with a spoon.

If making coconut milk is what you desire than you wait until the coconuts are firm, dry and light in weight.

As we sat on the grass under a shady tree (which you will need to take advantage of since it gets very hot on this farm) Kai cracked coconuts and continued to educate us while we sipped fresh coconut water from bamboo straws.

Water fresh from a coconut is a flavor you will never find in any bottled version. Even if the brand uses non-heated methods for pasteurization.

Kai also dispelled the myth that pink coconut water occurs in nature. Apparently it is only  a result of pasteurization.

Punakea Palms
Punakea Palms

Kai finishes the tour by teaching the group some of the ways to process coconuts for eating and drinking. He’ll show you how to use a traditional coconut stool shredder to grate the meat out of mature coconuts. You’ll also get to try your hand at using a more modern coconut meat removal tool to carve out the meat  to make coconut milk with.

Making coconut milk is a surprisingly simple, yet labor intensive process, that involves carving out the meat from a mature coconut, pureeing it in a blender with a mix of coconut water and filtered water and then squeezing it through a nut bag.

The milk that comes out is rich and delicious and will last up to 4-5 days in the fridge. The coconut meat that you capture in the nut bag by straining off the milk can be dried and made into coconut flour.

Punakea Palms
Making fresh coconut milk at Punakea Palms

Kahului

What can I say, it’s the city the major airport for the island is located in.

Tin Roof

If you are a foodie, no trip to Maui is complete without a stop to the infamous Chef Sheldon Simeon’s, Tin Roof.

You may remember him from Top Chef season 10 and 14. He is on tap to host the new season of, YouTube show, Cooking in America and his new restaurant HALA this fall. I even hear he is planning to open a Tin Roof on Oahu. Fingers crossed!

His menu is a playful take on your typical Hawaiian plate lunch restaurant. He of course uses local meats, fish, produce and artisan made products and prides himself on making “honest” food for his community.

His Mochica chicken is addictive. Crunchy and tender,  glazed with a sweet sauce, furikake and asian rice crackers. The Pork belly is succulent and flavorful. Sides include things like spicy kale salad, ‘ulu mac salad, saimin noodles that you can get dry or with broth and what is called a dime bag (I’ve heard rumors on what people think this is – some say it is a mixture of crumbled up rice crackers, doritios, furikake and spices).

Save room for dessert because they carry Pono Pies! Ridiculously good vegan and gluten free pies made with breadfruit. I tried the banana-coconut cream version and it was amazing.

Heads up these guys are only open 10am-2pm, they’re closed on Sundays and there is probably going to be a long line.

Actually, do yourself a favor, if you are flying out of the Kahului airport stop by here first to get some ono flight “grinds”!

…and don’t forget to throw down a few bucks for the Pau Hana Fund. (That’s the cash pot for after work beers for all you civilians.)

Tin Roof
Tin Roof
Mochica chicken, Saimin, Pork Belly, Mac-Ulu Salad and Banana-Coconut cream Pono Pie from Tin Roof
Mochica chicken, Saimin, Pork Belly, Mac-Ulu Salad and Banana-Coconut cream Pono Pie from Tin Roof
Pono pie
Banana-coconut Pono pie

Upcountry

No foodie trip to Maui is complete without a tour of upcountry. As you drive out to the countryside away from the coast, climb higher in elevation to the center of the island and up the Haleakala crater you will find farms rich in volcanic soil, stunning views and paniolos (Hawaiian cowboys).

Pa’ia –

Pa’ia is where upcountry starts farthest north by the coast. It is a quaint little hippie, surfing town full of great dining options, an organic health food store and lots of boutique shopping right on the edge of one of the best windsurfing beach in the world.

Milagros

If you’re only in town one night grab dinner at Milagros. A Mom and Pop establishment serving some of the best Mexican food in Hawaii (believe me, in Hawaii it’s hard to come by). Grab a margarita and some enchiladas or fish tacos out on the patio and let the people watching commence.

Makawao –

This is known as cowboy country. In the days of King Kamehameha the third he sent vaqueros (Spanish cowboys) from California to come and teach the Hawaiians how to wrangle their cattle. Up until WWII this town provided supplies to neighboring farms and went all but dormant until a resurgence in the 80’s brought in upscale retail, yoga studios and hip eateries….and of course, there is a cowboy museum too.

T. Komoda Bakery

Legendary bakery specializing in donuts, dinner rolls and their famous cream puffs. Locals say get there early. Past 10 or 11am they just about sell out of everything.

Hali’imaile

This tiny town is only a few miles long and is mostly made up of a few must see businesses…

Hali’imaile Distilling Company

Home of Pau Vodka made from pineapples grown right across the street and other spirits made from locally grown ingredients. Tours running every hour.

Hali'imaile Distilling Company
Hali’imaile Distilling Company

Hali’imaile General Store

We have had the cookbook for this restaurant sitting on our bookshelf for years. The food is highly regarded here but what is equally impressive is their cocktail menu. Ask for Wendy, who has been bartending there for 17 years. The first bartender I have ever met whose favorite tool behind the bar is the blender. She has constructed an entire menu from it. She uses local spirits (some distilled just across the street), fresh herbs, fruit and a lot of love in every drink she makes. She’ll even make up a new one right there on the spot for you if you’d like. Be on top of your game, she’s got some good zingers you’ll miss if you aren’t paying attention.

The Lemongrass-Ginger Frost at Hali'imaile General Store
The Lemongrass-Ginger Frost at Hali’imaile General Store

Makai Glass

A fine glass art and glassblowing studio that you can take a free tour of. Sculptures are inspired by Hawaii sea life and volcanic formations and they are incredibly beautiful.

Makai Glass
Makai Glass

Maui Pineapple Tour

Learn everything from how pineapples are grown, harvested and processed. There will be pineapple to sample and even bring home. This is a pretty famous attraction on the island so book your tour in advance.

Kula –

Positioned on the slopes of the Haleakala crater, a dormant volcano and the second largest mountain in the world is Kula. Miles of pristine farmland boasting some of the most beautiful panoramic views of the ocean that you will find on the island.

Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm

A wonderland of over 7 varieties of lavender broken up by walking trails, gazebos and zen gardens. Farm tours are available daily.

Maui Wine

Pineapple wine? Yep, and many other interesting varietals as well. Sip on exotic wines as you enjoy the beautiful vineyard and breathtaking views.

Surfing Goat Dairy

I love the story of this place. Thomas and Eva, husband and wife team from Germany, were a couple of surfers who came to Maui to “retire”. Over 9 years later they own the only certified humane farm in Hawaii, one of two goat farms in the entire state and make award winning goats cheeses that have found their way on to menus all over the country including, at the White House (the variety, Utterly Delicious was served at President Obama’s inauguration).

Surfing Goat Dairy
Surfing Goat Dairy

They raise about 200 goats by hand. They are completely self sufficient in terms of energy (Hawaiia Sea Spirits is the only other farm on Maui that can say that). Their whole farm is decorated with broken surfboards that they rescued from becoming landfill at the dump (they traded the county goat cheese for them).

Surfing Goat Dairy
Surfing Goat Dairy
Surfing Goat Dairy
Surfing Goat Dairy

Their cheeses are light and mild. Pasteurization done immediately after the milking process removes any gamey flavor the goat’s milk could impart. They offer 30 different variations of goat cheese including a cheve that sits in rennet 24 hours, and aged cheese called ping pong and over the top varieties like “Midas Touch” (dusted with 23k gold flakes) and “Perigord” (covered in black truffles and truffle oil.).

My personal favorites were their feta and the Ole, which is flavored with jalapeños, artichokes, lime and cilantro.

Not to mention the goats are damn cute. I loved that they had a special pen for the female goats that were too old to milk anymore called “The Golden Girls Caralle”.

Cheese tasting at Surfing Goat Dairy
Cheese tasting at Surfing Goat Dairy

Hawaii Sea Spirits 

You gotta love a farm that offers you free food right off the bat as you walk in. Of course I helped myself to some bananas and of course they were delicious.

Hawaiian Sea Spirits Organic Farm & Distillery
Hawaiian Sea Spirits Organic Farm & Distillery

This is Earl, an ex-bartender and the distillery’s entertaining (and extremely knowledgable) tour guide. He walks you through the USDA certified organic farm filled with varieties of sugarcane from all over the world, the distillation process and concludes the tour with a tasting. An education in finely crafted booze you will never forget.

Hawaiian Sea Spirits Organic Farm & Distillery
Our tour guide, Earl at Hawaiian Sea Spirits Organic Farm & Distillery

The distillery is known for two premium spirits. Master distiller, Bill Scott has created  Ocean Vodka and Deep Island Hawaiian Rum., both crafted in a state of the art and eco-friendly facility using sugarcane grown organically on the property.

Hawaiian Sea Spirits Organic Farm & Distillery
Hawaiian Sea Spirits Organic Farm & Distillery

As you tour the grounds you will be invited by lush, colorful landscaping.

Hawaiian Sea Spirits Organic Farm & Distillery
Hawaiian Sea Spirits Organic Farm & Distillery
Hawaiian Sea Spirits Organic Farm & Distillery
Hawaiian Sea Spirits Organic Farm & Distillery
Hawaiian Sea Spirits Organic Farm & Distillery
Hawaiian Sea Spirits Organic Farm & Distillery

They make a 150 proof white rum that has nuances of banana, coconut, vanilla and marshmallow.

While Rum is defined by its ingredients, vodka is defines by its distillation process.

Earl explains that they first mix the sugarcane with distillers yeast for three days until it ferments. They then take that 10% alcohol “sugarcane beer”, heat it and distill it until it reaches 40% alcohol. This is now called a “sugarcane spirit”. For the vodka, they distill it 40 times until it is super clean. From here they blend the spirit with their very clean and fresh ocean mineral water. This water is part of their claim to fame. It started as a glacier in Greenland.  Over the span of 2000 years the world’s current carried it to Kona, Hawaii where it is than tapped into 3000 feet below sea level and brought to Maui to their farm.

Since the only things that matter for the quality of vodka are water, fermentation and distillation Hawaii Sea Spirits has vowed to nail all three.

Hawaiian Sea Spirits Organic Farm & Distillery
Hawaiian Sea Spirits Organic Farm & Distillery
Hawaiian Sea Spirits Organic Farm & Distillery
Hawaiian Sea Spirits Organic Farm & Distillery
Hawaiian Sea Spirits Organic Farm & Distillery
Hawaiian Sea Spirits Organic Farm & Distillery
Hawaiian Sea Spirits Organic Farm & Distillery
The “bar” at Hawaiian Sea Spirits Organic Farm & Distillery

Back at the bar Earl pours shots for everyone. The vodka is slightly sweet, doesn’t burn going down and actually enhances other ingredients when mixed into a cocktail.

He explains that their rum unlike most other rums is made from fresh sugarcane juice and not molasses. It has not been aged or spiced and because of that is completely clear in color. It smells like coconut and tastes like banana bread.

O’o Farm

Organic farm that produces all of the produce Pacific’o restaurant in Lahaina serves on its menu. Their farm tour includes a gourmet lunch with freshly harvested ingredients while enjoying a cooler climate with breathtaking views.

All foodie obsessions aside no trip to Hawaii is complete without a trip to the beach. So do like the locals do, enjoy some good food, quality time with friends and family and a nice afternoon nap by the ocean…. island style.

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Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.

Cold Asian Noodle Salad

Cold Asian Noodle Salad
Cold Asian Noodle Salad
Photo by Ketino Photography

There is nothing more satisfying on a hot night than a grilled piece of meat and a cold Asian noodle salad. There is something about the smokiness of the meat that pairs perfectly with the vinegar and the cold crunchy vegetables in this salad.

This salad can be made ahead of time to eat all throughout the week. It is perfect for picnics and a great meal to take with you to work for lunch.

Too busy to prep all of these veggies? Do your knife skills sorta suck? Many grocery stores now sell vegetables pre-sliced in the produce section. Using these will cut your prep time on this dish way down and take some of the stress out of getting dinner on the table.

Cold Asian Noodle Salad
Photo by Ketino Photography
Cold Asian Noodle Salad
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Cold Asian Noodle Salad

* Use organic ingredients whenever possible.

Servings 2 Servings

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces Rice noodles
  • 3 sprigs Cilantro whole leaves
  • 3 sprigs Mint whole leaves
  • 3 sprigs Basil whole leaves
  • 1 each Scallion sliced thin
  • 2 inches English cucumber sliced into half moons
  • 1 each Radish sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup Carrot julienned
  • 1/2 cup Red bell pepper julienned
  • 10 each Snap peas julienned
  • 1 Tbsp Sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp Rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Bragg Liquid Aminos
  • TT Sea salt and black pepper

Instructions

  1. Follow the cooking directions on the package of rice noodles. After they are cooked, rinse well under cold water and strain. 

  2. Toss the cooked, cold noodles with the rest of the ingredients and serve. 

Recipe Notes

Need Sesame oil? - Buy it here

Need Rice vinegar? - Buy it here

Need Bragg Liquid Aminos? - Buy it here

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Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.

Vegetable Frittata

tortilla espanola recipe

tortilla espanola recipe

This week I was inspired by a recipe in Food & Wine magazine for Vegetable Tortilla. A rendition on a classic Spanish tapa, Tortilla Española.

Tortilla Española is basically an omelette that is cooked with sliced potato, onion and olive oil. It’s delicious. But, here’s the thing, it is time consuming to make and there is a fair amount of finesse involved in the cooking technique.

As a chef dishes like these are fun for me to make but realistically for anyone who has a busy life and not a lot of time to cook it’s too complicated.

So, I thought to myself after making this Vegetable Tortilla, how can I make this easier and more approachable for my readers? The answer is simple. It involves taking these same ingredients but using the technique you would use to make a Frittata with instead.

A Frittata and a Tortilla Española are basically the same exact thing. They are both essentially omelets. The difference is a Tortilla Española is cooked from beginning to end on the stove flipped halfway through and a Frittata starts on the stove and gets finished in the oven. A Frittata can also consist of any type of filling you want besides egg whereas a traditional Tortilla Española only has egg, potato, onion and olive oil.

So here is my adapted version of this month’s Food & Wine Vegetable Tortilla recipe done Frittata style.

I recommend making this on the weekend and enjoying leftovers on Monday and Tuesday morning for a quick and easy breakfast.

tortilla espanola recipe
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Vegetable Frittata

You will need an oven safe, large, non-stick skillet for this recipe. *Use organic ingredients whenever possible. 

Servings 6 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 each Yukon Gold potato sliced 1/8 inch thick (1/2 cup)
  • 2 Tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 each Yellow onion sliced thin
  • 1 each Zucchini small, sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 1/2 each Red bell pepper sliced thin (1/2 cup)
  • 1 clove Garlic minced
  • 5 sprigs Thyme stems removed and chopped
  • 1 cup Baby spinach packed
  • 6 each Eggs beaten
  • TT Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven 400 degrees.

  2. Place the sliced potato in a small pot, cover with cold water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until just tender about 5-10 minutes. Strain and set aside.

  3. In a large non-stick skillet heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté for a few minutes until soft. 

  4. Add the zucchini, bell pepper and another pinch of salt and cook another 5 minutes. 

  5. Add the garlic and thyme, cook one minute more and then add the cooked potatoes and spinach. When spinach is wilted down spread all of the vegetables into an even layer and add the beaten eggs. Season with salt and pepper and pop the whole pan in the oven. 

  6. Bake about 10 minutes or until eggs are set. If you are not sure if the frittata is ready insert a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean the frittata is ready. 

  7. Let the frittata cool for a few minutes in the pan on top of the stove off the heat. Then place a cutting board over the top of the pan and invert the frittata on to the cutting board. Slice and serve or refrigerate for later. 

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Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.

Simple Beet Poke

beet poke
beet poke
Photo by Ketino Photography

When I first moved to Hawaii I just about overdosed on tuna poke. It is one of my favorite dishes of all time.

Although traditionally made with fish, poke can be made with just about any ingredient you like. To give myself a break time to time, from the mercury that is found in large fish like tuna, I make poke with beets.

This simple preparation of beet poke can be used as an appetizer, side dish or healthy mid-afternoon snack and stays fresh in the fridge up to a week.

To mimic the color of local Hawaiian Bigeye tuna I use red beets. I also use traditional poke condiments like inamona –  roasted and ground kukui nuts, alaea – red Hawaiian sea salt and fresh Hawaiian chile. I have provided substitutes in the recipe below if you are unable to source these Hawaiian ingredients.

beet poke
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Simple Beet Poke

Use local organic ingredients when possible. Ground hazelnuts or macadamia nuts can be substituted for the inamona, red jalapeño or fresno chiles can be used to substitute the Hawaiian chile and grey or pink sea salt can be used instead of alaea.

Servings 2 Servings

Ingredients

  • 4 each Small Red beets washed, leaves removed
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar unseasoned
  • 1/2 each Red Hawaiian Chile minced
  • 1 teaspoon Inamona
  • 1 sprig Mint chopped
  • TT Alaea (Red Hawaiian Sea Salt)
  • TT Black pepper ground

Instructions

Roasted beets

  1. Pre-heat oven 350 degrees. 

  2. Toss the beets with 1 Tablespoon Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and wrap tightly in foil. Place on a pan and roast in the oven for about an hour or until tender.

    beet poke
  3. Remove from oven, unwrap the beets and allow them to cool completely. 

  4. Peel the beets and cut them into quarters. 

Beet Poke

  1. In a bowl, mix together the beets, 1 Tablespoon Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, rice vinegar, Hawaiian chile, inamona, mint, alaea and black pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. 

  2. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

Need alaea? - Buy it here

Inamona can be difficult to find if you do not live in Hawaii. If you are determined to use it, instead of using one of the substitutions suggested above, I have found one website that ships. The quantities are large but you can always keep it in your freezer and take it out as needed. Need inamona? - Buy it here

Need unsweetened rice vinegar? - Buy it here

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Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.

How The Power Of Inertia Might Be Stopping You From Achieving Your Health Goals

HOW THE POWER OF INERTIA IS STOPPING YOU FROM ACHIEVING YOUR HEALTH GOALS

HOW THE POWER OF INERTIA IS STOPPING YOU FROM ACHIEVING YOUR HEALTH GOALS

According to Sir Isaac Newton, in his first law of motion, inertia is the tendency for an object to either stay at rest or stay in motion unless changed by an external force.

This relates to people too.

Sometimes we underestimate the power of inertia. We think that we can just simply talk ourselves into doing or not doing things whenever we want. That may be true but there is also a way to give yourself better odds.

Think about it in terms of trying to build a new healthy habit. Let’s take going to the gym after work for an example.

Is kicking off your shoes and plopping down on the couch the first thing you do when you come home from work? If so, you are making it much harder on yourself to make it to the gym.

The power of inertia is a compelling thought when you think about it in terms of getting things accomplished in your day.

How likely will you go the gym if you go home first and rest for 15 minutes on the couch before packing a bag and going to the gym?

The odds are against you, when you put yourself in rest mode, to continue doing what you have planned to do.

Rest is important but momentum can be key when trying to accomplish everything you want to in a day.

Setting goals that align with your values and building habits that you enjoy are important but you also have to have an element of self discipline. Keeping that discipline is so much easier if you never sat down on that couch.

This is a better plan – Pack a gym bag to bring to work with you and go strait to the gym after work. When you get home, instead of heading to the couch, prepare dinner. When you finish dinner and bring the dishes to the sink wash them right then and there. You are already up and moving!

It may sound exhausting but approaching your day like this is actually a lot easier. Because of the power of inertia.

The minute you put yourself into rest mode on that couch is the minute you have potentially derailed your whole plan. Why not make it easier on yourself to succeed?

Where in your life can you apply the power of inertia to achieve a health goal?

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Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.

How To Make Value Based Life Decisions

How to make value based life decisions

How to make value based life decisions

When it is time to make necessary life decisions it is important to make value based ones. Whether it is changing careers, changing your diet or implementing a new exercise routine, value based decisions will ensure that you are doing what is best for your overall happiness and satisfaction.

If you are struggling to make healthy new habits stick, getting clear on your values is the first step. Prioritizing those values is the next step and then living in alignment with those values is the final step.

So let’s start at the beginning.  By answering these questions honestly we can start to find out what are values are.

What is truly important to you?

What do you believe in or feel strongly about?

What inspires you?

What makes you happy?

What makes you fulfilled?

When have you felt the proudest? Why?

What makes you sad or angry?

When do you most feel like yourself?

When do you not feel like yourself?

Do you often have feelings of regret or longing? In what context?

Do other people know what you stand for?

Do you “stick to your guns” or follow the pack?

Now let’s take it a step further and get really specific on how you are currently making life decisions.

How do you spend your time?

– How much time do you spend each day on work, self-care, your social life     and with your family?

– Are you happy with those percentages? Why or why not?

What do you spend your money on?

– How much of it is on experiences and how much of it is on material         things?

– Which ones make you feel more fulfilled?

What do you eat?

– When you make food choices is the source more important or is cost? Why?

– How do you feel physically and mentally after you eat? Do you see any patterns with the types of food you are eating and how you feel afterward?

– How much time do you spend on sourcing, cooking and enjoying your food?

Are you happy at work?

– Why or why not?

– What about it could be better?

– How do you feel when you explain to others what you do for a living?

How is the quality of your relationships?

– How much time do you invest in them?

– Do you have many friends or just a few and why?

How much thought or care do you put into your appearance?

– Why? What is the outcome?

– How do you want others to perceive you? (Think about first impressions.)

And what about balance?

Often times when you are thriving in one part of your life you are not doing so well in another. This may be because you are avoiding certain areas of your life or believing a story that you do not have time for them. Balance is about self-diversification. Investing time in all of the areas of life that you value. Give yourself a reality check. How much time are you actually really spending in all of the areas of your life that you care about.

How to tell if you are being true to your values.

Do your values make you feel internally rewarded or is your reward coming from an external validation? Determine your values based on what makes you happy, proud and fulfilled.

Prioritize your values.

The phrase “I don’t have time” is often associated with things that are not at the top of our list of priorities. Everyone has the same amount of hours in a day. The way you spend those hours is a personal choice.

When setting priorities ask yourself what is really true.

Are you working so many hours that you don’t have enough time for self-care? What would happen if you worked one less hour each day? Would you get fired from your job?

Is picking up take out instead of spending 10 minutes preparing your lunch at home before leaving for work actually saving you time?

Sometimes a simple act of re-organizing your schedule is enough to make time in your life for the things that you want to prioritize. If they truly are indeed a priority.

Living in alignment with your values.

When you are aligned with your values you enable yourself to live a happier more satisfied life. You are able to make clearer life decisions such as what job you should take, how to spend your time and who to spend your time with.

Although your own personal values may change over time, checking in on them and continuously prioritizing them can enable you to live a more balanced life and make healthy habits stick.

Values guide us to make clear life decisions with confidence and make time for the things that are important to us.

So what are yours?

Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.

The Big Island of Hawaii

Big island of Hawaii

Big island in Hawaii

Hawaii is the magical place created by volcanic eruptions and shaped by gods and goddesses.

Legend has it that the Polynesian earth goddess Pele is responsible for creating the islands formed by these volcanic eruptions. She is now said to be living in the crater of Kilauea on the Hawaii island after traveling from island to island in the same order as the progression of volcanic eruptions.

Although the youngest, the island of Hawaii is the largest of all the Hawaiian islands giving it the nickname, the big island.

THE LAND

The mana (spiritual essence) is strong here. You can feel and see the island’s aliveness at every turn. The Hawaiians don’t just see land as something that can be bought or sold, they see it as life.

The Big Island of Hawaii
May be one of the many rock formations on the islands representing the ex-lovers of Pele frozen in stone.

Active volcanos, snow capped mountains, crystal clear water, tropical rainforests, sacred historical temples made of lava rock and some of the most epic waterfalls on earth make up the island. Climates range from hot to cool, to snowing in some areas. It is the only island in the world where you can find white, black and green sand beaches.

The Big Island of Hawaii
The Big Island of Hawaii

When driving across the island on hwy 2000 there are so many changes in landscape that you feel like you are driving cross country.

The Big Island of Hawaii
The Big Island of Hawaii

One minute you are amongst lush rainforests and the next minute all you see are scattered, tiny, neon green leaves sprouting up through black volcanic lava rock. Amongst the craters and dry desolate empty land you can sometimes feel like you are on another planet. Oh, and there are goats everywhere.

The Big Island of Hawaii
The Big Island of Hawaii

THE FOOD

The motto – aloha ‘aina, meaning to love and care for the land, is engrained in the culture here. Natural farming, humanly raising animals and sustainable fishing practices are revered and promoted throughout restaurants all over the island.

Hilo –

Hilo, Hawaii
Hilo, Hawaii

The Locavore Store – This store kicks ass. Read my review of it here.

Conscious Café offers fare for both vegans and meat eaters alike. Bowls, tacos, burgers and salads all made of organic produce, grass-fed beef and local line-caught fish. They also have an extensive booch bar offering a wide selection of Big Island Booch kombuchas and a tiny gift shop area.

Conscious Cafe
Conscious Cafe

Hilo Shark’s Coffee is a great place to stop for coffee, an acai bowl or a sandwich. They have a large covered outdoor patio if you are eating “in” and is a good place to grab some souvenirs.

The Moon and the Turtle, although closed during my trip, is said to be one of the best restaurants on the island from locals and visitors alike. An always changing menu of locally sourced food and cocktails with a bumping happy hour and great service. Reservations recommended.

The Hawaiian Style café was also recommended to us. Locals love their enormous portions of classic Hawaiian comfort food. There are locations in Hilo and Waimea.

Waimea –

Village Burger is a quick service restaurant in a strip mall offering parker ranch pasture raised grassfed beef burgers using fresh local goat cheese, fresh baked bread and produce from neighboring vendors.

Big island brewhaus – Besides craft beer you can find a menu loaded full of local fresh line-caught fish, grass-fed beef and organic produce. Their spent grain from brewing beer and food waste is used to feed local cows and pigs. They are a platinum level ocean friendly restaurant and the second restaurant on the big island to be blue zone approved. Simply put, their aloha ‘aina game is on point.

Merriman’s – Farm to table, high end dining in a cozy non-pretentious atmosphere. The Mai Tais are amazing.

Mai Tais at Merriman's Waimea
Mai Tais at Merriman’s Waimea

Waimea Butcher Shop – Mom and pop butcher shop specializing in sustainably raised and locally sourced meat and charcuterie. They are a nose-to-tail operation that cuts meat to order and has an extremely high standard in quality.

Waikoloa –

Daylight Mind Coffee – Na’auao is the Hawaiian word for enlightenment and literally translates to Daylight mind. This company chose their name because they say it “weaves together a love of scientific exploration with a deep respect for the wisdom and strength of its Hawaiian roots”. Although they use western techniques they draw from their culture to keep themselves grounded and stay true to the land. They pour local Kona coffee sourced from several different farms and offer breakfast, lunch and dinner menus with a farm to table sensibility.

Breakfast at Daylight Mind Coffee
Breakfast at Daylight Mind Coffee

Farmers markets line the perimeter of the island on a daily basis. They are a great way to learn about Hawaiian culture and sample foods grown locally. Click here to find one near where you are staying. I visited the Hilo farmers and although it runs daily the Saturday market is the largest all week.

White Pineapple
White Pineapple. So far I’ve only seen this on the big island.

SNORKELING

 The Kona side of the island is known for snorkeling. Crystal clear waters and beautiful beaches make access easy and inviting.

Beach 69, named after the mile marker it is located at is a local favorite for snorkeling in the Waialea Bay. The white sandy beach is covered with large shady trees and the reefs are full of beautiful fish.

Beach 69
Beach 69, called 69’s by locals
Beach 69
Beach 69

If you are looking for a snorkeling excursion by boat I recommend Hilo Ocean Adventures. You can arrange a private tour where you will have your own captain and snorkel guide to take you to all the best spots, prepare you snacks and take a video of your entire experience. You may even swim with sea turtles and have a school of dolphins riding along side the boat with you on your way out.

VOLCANOS

For a boat tour to see the lava flowing into the ocean go to seelava.com

Otherwise do what we did and take a self-guided tour by car through the Hawaii Volcano’s National Park.

The Big Island of Hawaii
Hawaii Volcano’s National Park

Here you will see Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano and mountain on earth accounting for more that half of the island’s land mass (most lying underneath the ocean). The mountain is constantly growing with its continuous stream of lava flow adding to its mass.

Mana Loa
Mana Loa

You will also see the shield volcano, Kilauea. Remember Pele? This is the volcano which has lava streaming steadily into the ocean. It is one of the most active volcanos in the world.

Driving around this park you will see volcanic craters, rainforests and hike over miles and miles of lava rock.

WATERFALLS

If you are in Hilo here are some falls you won’t want to miss…

The Wailuku river spanning 18 miles long is the second longest river in Hawaii and is so powerful can at times create flash flooding. It is also home to beautiful waterfalls.

Rainbow falls is an 80 foot waterfall that creates a rainbow on sunny days and a constant mist on rainy days. It is over 100 years old and pours from the Wailuku river in front of natural lava caves.

Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls

Boiling pots is 1.5 miles above rainbow falls. They are pot shaped holes made of lava rock that fill the Wailuku river. During storms the river rises and water appears to be “boiling” in these lava pots.

Pe’epe’e falls is to the left and upstream boiling pots.

The Kolekole stream produces some very impressive waterfalls as well. The most impressive is Akaka falls. At 442 feet tall it is twice as high as Niagra Falls. Kahuna and Uluhi falls are just downstream of Akaka.

Trail to Akaka Falls
Trail to Akaka Falls
Akaka Falls
Akaka Falls

ACOMMODATIONS

Since I have only been to this island once so far I only have one place to recommend. It is a wonderful VRBO in Hilo called The Hawaiian Paradise Ocean Retreat with an east meets west sensibility.

Hawaiian Paradise Ocean Retreat
One of the many temples at Hawaiian Paradise Ocean Retreat

The property is full of meticulously manicured zen gardens, orchards and lily ponds.

Hawaiian Paradise Ocean Retreat
Hawaiian Paradise Ocean Retreat
Hawaiian Paradise Ocean Retreat
Hawaiian Paradise Ocean Retreat
Hawaiian Paradise Ocean Retreat
Hawaiian Paradise Ocean Retreat

It also has a sweet little outdoor kitchen perfect for cooking all meals on site.

Hawaiian Paradise Ocean Retreat
Hawaiian Paradise Ocean Retreat

The money shot however is the infinity pool and hot tub which overlooks the ocean lined with lava rock walls.

Hawaiian Paradise Ocean Retreat
Hawaiian Paradise Ocean Retreat
Hawaiian Paradise Ocean Retreat
Hawaiian Paradise Ocean Retreat

Inside you will find local art, wood furniture and high end fixtures. The owner of the property Dan, has not forgotten any details large or small. He made my day when he brought me over a coconut and a drill one afternoon. Although far from town this is a wonderful place to stay. If you are looking for a little seclusion this is the spot.

Hawaiian Paradise Ocean Retreat
Coconut palms at Hawaiian Paradise Ocean Retreat

If you are looking for a baller vacation rental check out the properties managed by Elite Pacific Properties

Like this one called Fairway #1 North located on the north of Kona.

Elite Pacific Vacation Rental
Elite Pacific Vacation Rental
Elite Pacific Vacation Rental
Elite Pacific Vacation Rental
Elite Pacific Vacation Rental
Elite Pacific Vacation Rental

I look forward to heading back to the big island of Hawaii sooner rather than later. More recommendations to come.

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Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.

The Locavore Store

The Locavore Store

The Locavore Store

Have you ever walked into a store and thought, why didn’t I open this first? I am both super excited to have found The Locavore Store and kicking myself at the same time.

At the edge of downtown in the charming (and very health conscious) waterfront town of Hilo you will find a tiny market full of local treasures.

Husband and wife team Catarina and Arthur have expertly curated a selection of produce, pastured meats, eggs, grocery and skincare items all grown or made in Hawaii. Their mission is to “connect local people with locally-grown food”. Their website advertises that they carry products from over 100 local farms and artisans. Simply put, they know what it truly means to eat local and support their community.

Lilikoi, a.k.a. passionfruit
Lilikoi, a.k.a. passionfruit

What started out originally as selling neighbors’ excess crops at the local farmers market grew to eventually opening a brick and mortar location in the tiny town of Pahoa on Hawai’i Island, a.ka. The Big Island. In 2014 lava flowing from the Kilauea Crater chased Catarina and Arthur out of town to Hilo where you will now find their beautiful little boutique shop.

On my recent visit I discovered fruits I had never tried before like the lemondrop mangosteen, which can be eaten in a similar way to a lychee. I bought some blood red, Big Island rack of lamb and a turmeric spice blend made from Orchid Isle Herbs to take home and grill. It was heavenly by the way. I also scored some fresh pastured eggs, mango and apple bananas for breakfast the next day.

Lemondrop mangosteens
Lemondrop mangosteens

I found the store perfect for picking up odds and ends I needed for my trip. I could imagine myself stopping by regularly if I lived nearby to shop for meat and eggs, discover new produce or to buy a local gift to ship to the mainland.

Alaea-turmeric spice blend
Orchid Isle Herbs Alaea-turmeric spice blend

The cashiers were lovely on both occasions I visited the store and the customers all seemed to be regular shoppers, who like me, care deeply about which foods they put in their body.

Supporting farmers markets and shops like The Locavore Store are so important. They help change the political climate of the food industry and little by little make buying local more mainstream.

Buying your food from small local farmers as opposed to large factory farms not only supports your local economy but is far superior for your health. In a time were diseases like diabetes, cancer and obesity are so prevalent it is always a mystery to me why there are still people who find buying local a novelty fad or irrelevant.

Local chai spice
Local chai spice

The Locavore Store’s beef, chicken and lamb (as well as a variety of other meats) all come from family-owned farms and ranches on the Big Island. They are pasture raised without the use of antibiotics and growth hormones making them lower in fat, higher in Omega-3s and much healthier for you than factory farmed commodity meat you will find in an average supermarket. The produce selection consists of organic and seasonal fruits and vegetables (the way nature intended) all grown on the Big Island.

f you are curious about what they carry or want to support small farmers and artisans on the Big Island The Locavore Store is launching their online store soon. Other than that make sure to stop by next time you are in Hilo so you too can support the local food movement.

Way to go Catarina and Arthur. You are truly local heroes.

The Locavore Store

60 Kamehameha Ave.

Hilo, HI 96720

(808) 965-2372

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Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.