I don't think we have been to the Hilo Zoo as many times in the past as we did this past week. Well, yes... I have, but not so many visits so close together.
My last post mentioned the Amorphophallus Titanum or corpse flower was getting ready to bloom. It has made the local paper three different times in the last couple of weeks. We went to see it the first time when it first showed up in the paper, Saturday, April 16th. You can read my post by clicking HERE
We went back on Tuesday 19th, Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd, around 1 pm. At that time, it was still fairly tight, so we thought we would come back on Sunday for a picnic with friends.....Turns out it opened Saturday late afternoon!
By the time we went back on Easter Sunday about 1 pm, it had already started to close! But I took more photos. After all, this is my second time to see one - the other was a slightly different, with the bloom lower to the ground, at the Fairchild Botanical Gardens in Miami - and I have no idea if I'll ever see another again.
Our friends Brenda and Kevan joined us for a picnic at the zoo.
We found a nice table in the shade and had a lovely time. We spent three hours eating, talking and taking little trips around the copse of trees that separated us from the famous blooming flower.
The chicken and guacamole - Brenda had made homemade chips to serve with it
Almost forgot the soup! I had played with a recipe for sweet potato bisque and came up with my version using our delicious Okinawan purple sweet potatoes. Don't let the color turn you off, it was very delicious!
Purple Sweet Potato Bisque
1 Tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 knob (about an inch) grated ginger
5 large purple sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups vegetable both
1 cup coconut milk
1 Tablespoon Mae Poly Sweet Chilli Sauce (*)
A dribble of maple syrup or to taste
Boil the peeled and cubed sweet potatoes until done.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and saute the onion and garlic until onion is trnaslucent but garlic doesn't brown. Add the grated ginger and some of the broth. Place in blender with part of the sweet potatoes. Pour back into saucepan and continue processing the potatoes in batches with some of the broth until all the potatoes are done. Pour back into saucepan.
Add the rest of the broth and then the coconut milk. Add the chilli sauce and the syrup. Taste and adjust as needed.
Reheat if needed.
I poured it hot into a thermus to tranport for our picnic.
When we left the zoo at 4 pm, we left the flower arrangement we had used as our table centerpiece under the memorial plaque for our friend and neighbor, Jean Curtis, who loved the zoo as much as if it had been her child.
People were still streaming in to look at the bloom as the gates were literally being closed!
We ran by again today since we had some errands to run in town and noticed the ruffled edges of the petals were already drying up.
We all had a great relaxed time and hope to repeat our picnic in the zoo again in the near future!
If you haven't visited the Hilo zoo, please do. It is such a lovely little gem. I still have more photos to share soon....
(*) Any hot sauce will do - we just like this brand.