On the beguiling Big Island.
It seems that each time I leave The Big Island I leave a piece of myself here. I do not pick that piece up until I return. Every single time I come back to The Big Island it feels nothing less than amazing to be gloriously whole again.
It took me only hours, possibly minutes, to eagerly and easily slip back into the island rhythm. My spirit giggling, girlishly. This is my Zen place.
And we're staying in one of our favorite home-away-from-homes. Betty's cottage. Lucky ducks are we!
Up from Kona a bit, near the small artsy village of Holualoa, just off the historic Mamalahoa Highway, which is more a narrow upcountry road that weaves through the lush and absurdly beautiful Kona Coffee Country, than it is a thoroughfare, is where you'll find us these days. Perched on the slopes of Mt. Hualalai overlooking the Kona Coast in all it's glory (oh the sunsets!) snuggled into an overgrown garden sits 'our' enchanted, little open-air cottage. Home sweet home!
Time to cook! Oh yesssss! The farmers markets are plentiful with gorgeous island-grown fruits and veggies, organic Big Island beef and fresh caught Hawaiian fishies. An intriguing array of Asian, Mexican, Italian and other assorted ingredients wait patiently on grocery store shelves. Christmas is in the air and then there's me, here in paradise, in my happy place. Like I said, time to cook!
Oh yes, and I forgot to mention that a whole schwack of loved ones from back home in Canada have joined us, here on the Big Island, for this festive and long anticipated vacation.
Last night we had a fun, laughter and story-filled fam damily gathering at the cottage. I buzzed up some tasty, punchy Mai Tais (I'll blog this recipe soon, because you really must....!) and pupus. Everyone gobbled down the hot Stuffed French Loaf, our near-famous dry garlic ribs and kept coming back for more of the scrumptious Guacamole Bruschetta that tasted like sunshine.
We do guac often. Hard to beat. Just the goodness of the avocado with fresh squeezed lime and sea salt swooped up on crunchy tortilla chips is an old stand-by for us especially when we're here, where each avocado insists on outdoing the one before it in it's deliciousness. But yesterday I wanted something a little different. Then I remembered a recipe I found on BlogChef.net. I changed the recipe just a tich and I was off and chopping in all the right directions.
Guacamole Bruschetta here I come. Everything was locally grown. Big beautiful avocados, Green Zebra heirloom tomatoes, Maui onion, fresh cilantro, garlic and limes I picked myself became fast friends in a tasty jade concoction that we scooped onto garlic-buttery toasts made with local artisan bread.
Smooth, tangy, earthy and refreshing meets garlic-whispered crunchy and chewy. Happy mouths. That's the verdict on Guacamole Bruschetta. And it's a breeze to make, which is another bonus, especially at this holly jolly time of year. Scoop or be scooped.
HAPPY MOUTH GUACAMOLE BRUSCHETTA
Generous 1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
*1 loaf artisan bread, sliced into about 1/2-inch thick slices
1 huge Big Island avocado or 2 more usual sized avocados, chopped
4-5 small Green Zebra heirloom tomatoes, chopped
1/2 small Maui or other sweet onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 fresh lime
Sea or kosher or your favorite salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400F. Combine butter and garlic. Smear a bit of garlic butter on both sides of each slice of bread and arrange slices on baking sheet. Bake 5-6 minutes until toasty golden brown on the bottom side, flip bread slices and bake another 2-4 minutes until both sides are nicely toasted. Set aside.
In large bowl combine avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix well. Transfer to pretty bowl and serve with garlic toasts on the side, inviting guests to scoop and munch.
*I used Blue Cheese and Black Pepper Panne Provincio Artisan Bread from Kona Costco. It's all natural - no preservatives, no artificial colours or flavours and has a crispy crust and a chewy interior. Yum-O!
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This morning dawned bright and beautiful. It feels so wonderful to wake up here, the cottage filled with breezy, sweet island air. The birds were singing, the day beckoned. And so did the left over Guacamole Bruschetta in the fridge.
My husband, Cliff, threw on the Kona coffee, I toasted the English muffins and fried up some bacon.
Shortly afterwards, if you popped in unannounced on us, you would have found us sitting on the sun-warmed lanai, that we share with many curious geckos, munching on a couple of makeshift BATs and mmmm-ing.
Bacon, avocado, tomato. Those toasted English muffins got a little love from a smear of Garlic & Fine Herbs Boursin cheese, topped with crispy bacon and then a scoop of the leftover guacamole (bruschetta). Happy mouths. Happy Aloha Friday!