I'm a member of a cookbook collectors group on the internet (if you're interested in knowing more about it, there is information below). This group has hosted several National conventions and many of what we call reginal meetings. The regionals can be as elaborate or as simple as the hosts want to make them. The beauty of the regionals is that anyone from anywhere can attend, even if they don't live in the area.
For the last two years a group of us had been talking about having a Hawaii regional....of course, there are only two members of the group on this island and one of them is not very active in the cookbooker's group, so I decided to take the bull by the horn and host a regional which I called Hawaii Blast 2007.
After two years of planning and anticipating, 4 members of the cookbookers group and two husbands arrived in Hilo for a few days of food and fun.
During the two years of planning I collected little gifts, discount coupons from a few Hilo retailers (two locally owned book stores and the new Hilo Bay Food Emporium) and several others donated little gift items.
The guests were welcomed with purple Vanda leis for the wahine and ti leaf leis for the kanes.
Lois from California, Gail from Michigan, Sandy & Gregg from Iowa, and Larry & Pat from Oregon.
I had planned a lot of activities during their Big Island visit, but the one that we were all looking forward to was a special cooking class at The Hawaiian Vanilla Company in Paauilo.
We arrived there as expected by 3 PM ready to get into the kitchen.
Our hosts, Tracy & Jim Reddekopp, owners of the Hawaiian Vanilla Company are a very talented duo. Here is a link to read more about their Vanilla Adventures
Tracy going over a recipe with Sandy.
Gregg & Sandy making the batter for the dessert
Pat & Larry working on the pesto filling for the spanakopita appetizer
Lois & Gail working on the two remoulade sauces for the crab cakes
Anthony cutting the kernels off the corn cobs - the corn was used with the crab cakes
Sonia seasoning the corn
Corn kernels were cooked in butter, salt and pepper with a split vanilla bean in it.
Filling for the spanakopita consisted of spinach-basil macadamia nut pesto, with sauteed onions, roasted red bell pepper in vanilla oil with feta and Hawaii Island Goat Dairy cheese in crisp phylo dough
The Blasters at the table: Sonia, Anthony, Lois, Gail, our hostess-teacher Tracy Reddekopp, Gregg, Sandy, Pat & Larry
Appetizer: Spanakopita filled with spinach, macadamia nut pesto, onion and roasted red bell pepper in vanilla oil with feta & Hawaii Island Goat Dairy cheese in crisp phylo dough. Vine-ripened tomato and micro greens picked when the first little leaves appear above ground.
Entree: Two lump crab cakes with corn and two remoulades, served with capellini noodles with vanilla butter, organic broccoli sauteed in garlic butter and sauteed Swiss chard.
Dessert: Delicious, lighter-than-air Tuscan Almond Cake with Creme Anglaise and warm vanilla toffee sauce with Hawaiian vanilla bean ice cream
To drink we had a choice of Hawaiian Vanilla Lemonade (delicious!); Hawaiian Vanilla Tea; Hot Vanilla Cinnamon Sunset (a blend of black tea, cinnamon, orange peel and sweet cloves; Rainforest Vanilla Rooibos (herbal blend of Rooibos, cranberry and orange) and Emma's Vanilla Blossom Tea (my favorite, a beautiful blend of green teas and three types of flower blossoms and citrus flavors!)
After our meal, we all did a bit of shopping in their wonderful gift gallery where you can find both culinary and toilettries made with vanilla!
A fun experience and a beautiful meal to end an overall delicious day!
Mahalo nui loa, Jim & Tracy!
To find CookbooksEtCetera, please go to Yahoo Groups and do a search with that name, just as it appears here.