How to take a recipe from good to great

Imagine working hard on a dish for dinner. You’ve chopped, sliced, sautéed and simmered and the aroma of what will surely be a culinary masterpiece fills your home. Then you taste it. Is it good? Yes. Is it great? No.

Let’s Talk Food: Leap Year is this Thursday

This Thursday is February 29, which occurs only once in four years. This is because the Earth actually goes completely around the sun 365 days, 5 hours, 38 minutes and 46 seconds, which means every four years — if you are a mathematician — would mean an extra day.

Duff: Growing moringa in Kona

If you have been reading my articles, you have some information about moringa, the ‘miracle tree’ native to India. On a visit with Geoff and Misa, owners of the Maruyama Jones Moringa farm in Kona’s ag lots, I learned a lot more about this wonderful plant and its uses.

Tropical Gardening: Native epiphytes and lithophytes not well represented in Hawaii

If you were to visit the humid tropics of Asia, Central and South America you would be amazed at all the plants that grow on the branches of trees and even on rocks with no soil. We do have lichens, mosses and even ferns that have evolved here to festoon rainforest and cloud forest trees, but there are few compared to the rest of the tropical world.

Let’s Talk Food: Monjayaki in Tokyo

We took several trains to get to the Tsukishima District in Tokyo to meet our friend Keiko to eat monjayaki, or Tokyo-style pancakes. Monjayaki means “grilled letters” because school children would come to the snack shop and practice writing letters in the gooey monjayaki sauce. This dish dates back to the Meiji era, at a snack shop called Dagashiya in Tsukishima.

Let’s Talk Food: Shinshu soba of Nagano

Shinshu soba is from Nagano Prefecture, Japan. Shinshu soba’s name comes from Shimano, which is the old name of Nagano Prefecture. What makes this soba so distinctive is the great temperature difference between the day and night and the well-drained mountain fields, which are suitable for the production of buckwheat. The taste of buckwheat flour is delicious because of the cold climates.

Volcano Watch: Another intrusion southwest of Kilauea’s summit

Last week, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists were closely monitoring earthquakes and ground deformation in the region southwest of Kilauea’s summit. The increased unrest prompted HVO to raise the Alert Level/Aviation Color Code for Kilauea to WATCH/ORANGE on Jan. 31 as another intrusive event began beneath the surface.

The original Caesar salad has been made this way for 100 years in Tijuana

TIJUANA, Mexico —The wood-paneled cart arrives at the table with an air of ceremony, pushed by a server, usually a gentleman in a white shirt, black vest and tie. On it sit all the elements required to prepare a beloved salad that was invented right here, according to the lore, at the restaurant inside the Hotel Caesar in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico.

Let’s Talk Food: Mardi Gras is next Tuesday

Fat Tuesday is next Tuesday, the last hooray for indulging in rich food before the penitential season of Lent. We immediately think of the parades, bead throwing and great food happening at that time in New Orleans, but its earliest origins occurred in Rome, with the holiday called Saturnalia, dedicated to Saturn, the Roman god of the harvest.

Tropical Gardening: Winter storms can wreak havoc on homes and gardens

We often find ourselves worried about storm damage as hurricane season approaches in June. Hurricanes can cause tremendous damage on the rare occasion that one comes our way, but they are few and far between. The facts show that on an annual basis, we have more cumulative damage due to high winds and rains from storms from February through March. This means now is the time to do the pruning required to keep our trees healthy.

Plant of the Month for February 2024: Moringa

With our climate here in Hawaii getting drier almost every year, we need to start planting more drought tolerant plants. The moringa tree is definitely drought tolerant and a good choice for your garden. It has many uses and can thrive with limited water.