This island has a way of enveloping all of your senses; it is a slice of magic on the map. From the wafting sweet floral and fruity fragrances to the contrasting aroma of its salty ocean water Kaua’i captured my heart from the first moment I laid eyes on it some eight years ago. I wish I could claim that I lived here – we visit as often as is possible, as soon as we save up enough for our airplane tickets, we return with smiles on our faces.
When my Grandparents first married in 1937 they took a cruise from San Francisco to Honolulu. And that is where it all begins. They fell in love with the island of Oahu and purchased a small one-bedroom apartment in Honolulu located four blocks from Waikiki beach. Up until my Grandfather retired (at the young age of 50) they traveled to Hawaii once a year, then he stepped up their visits to twice a year for months at a time. By the time I arrive onto the scene, it was the perfect place to beach with a toddler. The toddler, AKA me, grew and then with both parents working full time it was the perfect place to send me for the summer. At the time I thought it was nice – but it also felt very far away (a phone call every 5 days home to say ‘hello’ and no computers or Internet to keep me tethered to my friends). My grandparents kept me very busy and they were passionate about living the local life, so with our bus passes in hand we tromped to farmer’s markets, the library, the hula shows, the Dole Pineapple factory, ate copious amounts of shave ice, visited a sugar cane farm, snorkeled, learned to hula and surf and without fail made two daily trips to the beach! As I grew older I could even bring a friend with me to share in the fun. And well the stories once I hit college and spent times on the island unsupervised with friends are still locked in the vault. Despite my conservative high school years things went a bit off kilter (comparatively speaking) later. That’s a whole ‘nother story for another day.
Anyways, you’ve probably had enough of memory lane. I can tell you that my trips here now with my family are very similar to those trips I took with my grandparents – Ginny and Elios- back in the day, we eat and shop local which creates a fun challenge on the recipe front; using available items to make something memorable. And without fail, keeping things simple is best.
With a few locals having gifted us avocados the stage was set for me to make some guacamole. Earlier in the week I had purchased an insane amount of star fruit, hence the concept for Island Guacamole took shape. I wanted to use what I had on hand, I wanted to keep things simple, and I wanted to make it different than our usual guacamole. As you know if you follow my blog, I do like to make no-recipe recipes; and here is the one I whipped up for the family on our last night. I actually made it twice because it was devoured so quickly that I needed a few more bites for myself. Maybe I should name it ‘Disappearing Island Guacamole’?
The buttery smooth avocado receives a kick of texture from the finely chopped, slightly sweet star fruit. Lemon and fresh ground chili paste give the guacamole a hint of color, tang and spice that will leave you smacking your lips.
1 very large avocado or 2-3 regular sized avocados (see below on how to safely cut an avocado)**
1 large lemon
1 TBS chili paste, (preferred brand: Sambal Oelek)
1 small ripe star fruit, minced
1 small ripe star fruit, sliced ¼-inch thick for decoration
salt and pepper to taste
tortilla or taro chips
In a medium bowl, mash avocados with a fork until desired consistency. Then add in remaining ingredients, except for sliced star fruit, which is for decoration, and chips which will be used for serving. Combine ingredients well and taste to adjust seasoning of chili sauce, salt and pepper. Decorate with star fruit slices and serve with chips.
** Notes: To safely cut your avocado grip the avocado gently on one side with one hand. With a large, sharp knife in the other hand, cut the avocado lengthwise around the seed. Open the two halves to expose the pit. Make another cut, lengthwise on the avocado half that has the pit, cutting around the pit, exposing it so that it is easier to remove. A spoon can also be used to scoop out the pit. Never use a small sharp knife – it is not worth the risk of hurting yourself – trust me!
At this point, you can either scoop out the avocado flesh with a spoon or slice the avocado into segments. Gently make cuts in the avocado flesh in a cross-hatch pattern, careful not to break through the avocado peel. Scoop out to remove.