What has kept me from blogging?

Busy, yes. Tired, yes, yes. Traveling, yes, yes. Not cooking as much as I usually do, definitely. I think I was writing so much for other media, I just…ran out. Nothing left. Pau ka hana (the work is finished), my Grandma would say, with a sigh, sinking into our nubby green couch to nap while pretending to watch the 10 o’clock news. Me, too, Grandma. I got no gana, Grandma would say. (From the Portuguese verb meaning to work, but also to have the energy to do so). Me, too, Grandma. It’s not on your head, Grandma would say. Meaning, if it doesn’t have to be done, thought of or dealt with right this minute, forget it. I did, Grandma.

That woman was wise. Thank you, ke Akua, for the years I had with her. And for my mom, who reminded me just last weekend on Maui of that last saying of Grandma’s.

So, to catch up a little:

Hilo: I blogged for the Star-Advertiser from Merrie Monarch Festival hula competition and stayed with friends in their big, old Hilo house. Let me advise you: You need a rest? Hilo. Do NOT stop in Honolulu (unless you’re coming to visit me). Do NOT go to Maui, unless you love traffic. Go to Hilo. Hilo, 9 p.m.: Dark. Take a bat’. Hemo da light. Moemoe. (Shower, turn off the lights and go to bed.). Even though I was working and I’ve been chronically insomniac, I got more rest in four days in Hilo than any similar period on O’ahu would allow. The food is fabulous. The little shops are a dream. The scenery is indescribable. The people are friendly. Nothing is fancy. Going to Hilo from Honolulu is like going from Taladega on race day to the kind of small town where you can stop in the middle of the street, hail a friend, talk for a few minutes and nobody will beep the horn. They’ll just wait. I know my Hilo friends know how much it has changed but compared to city living….Ho! I felt my hearbeat go from staccato to lullaby just stepping off the plane.

Cooking: My latest thing is scorching vegetables. I’ve always roasted hard vegetables but recently somewhere, in some restaurant, I had something (do I remember when or where? are you kidding me?), I had some leafy green that had been either flash-fried, grilled or broiled and it was so good, I was eating it like potato chips. So last night, I took a little baby bok choy, tore it apart into leaves and chopped stems, put it in a bowl, drizzled it with peanut oil (it was an Asian meal) and some of the marinade I was using on the shoyu chicken and a good bit of salt. Let it sit. Heated a foil-lined roasting pan to 400 degrees. Spread the veggie out on it and let them wilt and brown a bit, about 12-15 minutes, turning once. I gotta say Mahalo ke Akua again. On some hot rice, with a shoyu chicken thigh on top. Braddah, da mout’ still stay broke! You can do this with anything, even lettuce. Just be sure to oil and season the veg, preheat the pan, and watch carefully. Not as healthful as steaming but if it gets me to happily eat a green, I’m gonna do it. Did I take a picture? Well, see, I was hungry and Husband was waiting and … okay, we ate the whole thing. Next time I’m doing two or three heads. It would be wonderful with any grain, with or without meat. Any oil that fits the bill. I shoulda tried some sesame.

Other than that, Honolulu got a Portuguese restaurant and I had to reluctantly not recommend the food. My brethren hate me. Oh, well. I’m checking out The Whole Ox, which specializes in aged and smoked and roasted meats and I’m lovin’ it, even though I have to go small on the portions because meat really slows me down. Got some pork loin country-style pate today, some watermelon and tomato salad and a barley salad. Take-out. $16. Soooo ‘ono. Husband is going out so I’m having leftovers for dinner before I go to the annual local publishers award event to find out if a book I edited wins anything. (That would be a first, though all I really did was herd cats — er, chefs — and contribute a few recipes, then edit the manuscript.) As no one else could go, I get to accept the award if we win.

I now have four cookbooks in the works and one is my dream: My Hawaii Portuguese cookbook, which I have been working on on the side for years. I got a contract for it out of the blue. Mahalo ke Akua again again again.

I hope anyone who still checks this website is as blessed as I am and more. I promise recipes and pictures…and not a month from now, either.