Kala mai. Desculpe.. Mi dispiace. Je suis désolé(e). Gomennasai. Pasensya ka na. .I’m sorry.

That finger-blender accident turned out to be a more intrusive deal than I thought it would be. The wound healed quickly but there are scars and hardening that make typing less easy, less…. automatic. Annoying. I was ORDERED to only type when it was necessary. But I’m healing fast and I wanted to get back to you. I’ve had a million blog ideas and food experiences since it all happened.

Here’s a little catalog:

–I covered three tastings of a new Hawaii beef product; it’s cattle raised on 14 ranches on the Big Island and Kauai that are grass fed but then finished on a corn-alfalfa-potato mixture in the Pacific Northwest. In the course of two days, I talked to dozens of chefs and ate at least 24 samples of different dishes (and that wasn’t all the dishes, but I ran out of tummy space and time)! Right now, it’s a wholesale product but if you see Hawaii Cattle Ranchers Natural Beef on a menu, try it. It’s flavorful, well-marbled and tender….and, through an amazingly complex tracking system, the cattle are never intermixed with those from other locations. This is real Hawaii-raised beef. So exciting.

My favorite recipes were one that I tried at Cane & Taro in Ka’anapali (chef Ivan Pahk) and one at Monkeypod Kitchen in Wailea (Merriman’s corporate chef Neil Murphy). Both were based on a classic Italian dish in which roasted asparagus is topped with a fried or poached egg. In the Italian version, there’s a slice of crostini and Parmesan cheese. But in these versions, slices or slivers of beef, and in one case some thick bacon, were added along with flavoring agents that knocked me out. One involved truffle oil (praise be to God on high) and one involved cheese. The eggs were fried over easy and they were prepared in small casserole dishes; when you dipped your fork in, the yolk broke, we all went to heaven in a little red boat! I was sitting with a chef who works with a food company called Bonewerks (they make stocks and demiglace and such). This man has eaten EVERYWHERE. He is an acknowledged expert on the sous vide (water bath) method of cooking you see all the time on food TV. We both LOVE anything with a poached egg on top and could not stop smiling and nodding. I was desparate to eat the whole dishes at each spot, but just couldn’t do it. I knew how many more courses were to come. The tastings were sponsored by HFM FoodService and what a tremendous service they did those days.

–I thought I never wanted to see beef again after those two days but the first thing I did was try to recreate Pahk’s dish, despite a shortage of truffle oil in my house. (As in: I don’t have any.) Oil-cooked some beef and cubed it. Lightly blanched some chopped bacon. Roasted cubed potatoes. Roasted chopped asparagus. Mixed it all up. Added a touch of (don’t laugh) Greek yogurt, salt, pepper, minced flat-leaf parsley. Sprinkled it with Parmesan cheese. Baked the mixture in individual ramekins. Topped it all with some Parmesan.

Okay, I’m not Ivan Pahk. But, friends, that stuff got me the husband noise. The next day I recycled it with some grated Gruyere cheese and I got the husband noise again. I’m not done. I want to get a job so I can buy some truffle oil.

–Our rosemary bush died (how do you kill a rosemary bush in Hawaii????). But our basil has given me three big batches of pesto. The Meyer lemon tree went off and I’m going to try a Meyer lemon meringue pie. If anyone has experience of this, let me know because Meyer lemons have a different level of sugar and acidity to store lemons.

–I found a recipe online to use up leftover pumpkin puree from Thanksgiving: pumpkin spice chocolate chip bread. It was supposed to be cupcakes but I fiddled with it quite a bit and have now made half Hala Drive (where I live) very happy. Husband is not so happy; I keep giving the bread away!

–Wrote a series of stories for FoodService in Paradise on the HRC 20th anniversary and saw many old friends — such joy since I’m no longer working full-time in the press.

–Wrote a piece on chef Carol Nardello, the queen of gluten-free cooking; she made some cookies that knocked me out (story in Star-Advertiser).

–Got to visit Sam Choy’s new Kai Lanai in Keauhou near Kona; best restaurant view in the Islands but the menu is still Kaloko; if you ever went to his original restaurant, this is it with a chic bar, outdoor seating and a view of three bays. Amazing! (And Sam wen’ slim down plenty, brah!)

–Thursday, I’m shooting the photos of the recipes for a book I helped edit, “Splash of Aloha,” at KCC, so I’m cooking like an apprentice in a Michelin-starred restaurant (hard work, long hours, no pay).

–Got ALL my Christmas shopping done and have sent all the overseas packages but one. So there!

That’s what I do when I half cut my fingers off. Wonder what I could do if I could just stay healthy?????

The happiest of holidays to you!