Tag Archives: Rob

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade & ELTs

“ELT?! What is this culinary abomination?!” You may ask.

Well, it’s an eggplant, lettuce, & tomato sandwich. Sounds revolting, right? It’s not bad! Bear with me and I’ll let you in on how we “baconize” the eggplant.

Sherry is really shooting for a “Whole Foods Plant Based” diet and I’m trying my best to be supportive. I’m not completely on board with veganism, but it’s really doing good things for us both.

During our routine trip to the local farmers market, we were gifted with some free Japanese eggplant. Great… I hate eggplant. We politely accepted and Sherry promptly went bout finding ways to make it palatable to the haters [that’d be me].

And then she found it – ELTs! By skinning the eggplant, slicing it into thin strips, and marinating it in a mixture of liquid smoke and our favorite savory spices, then cooking it on low heat until it reaches a slightly crunchy, slightly chewy state, we had successfully made a bacon substitute.

Granted, it’s really nothing like real bacon but the important textures and flavors were all there and once the brain had grasped the fact that this was both tasty and healthy and I could eat a ton without fearing the reaper, well, I was overjoyed.

From there it’s all standard, unless you want to keep with the vegan theme [we did], you can use mustard and Best Foods Vegan mayonnaise, which is a great substitute for Miracle Whip – if that’s your jam.

To ice the cake, we had a pile of lemons that were gifted to us, as they’re quite plentiful here on the Big Island. We made some fresh squeezed lemonade with stevia to replace the sugar, poured it over ice. Whew… Dirt poor in paradise really isn’t so bad. 😉



Lava Farm: First Fruit Trees On The Homestead

After two months of starting seeds, clearing brush and trash from the homestead, and some waiting, we finally get to try sticking some seedlings in the dir-… errr… lava.

We hauled down a rambutan seedling, a papaya, a pineapple, and an old ice cream bean stump that was destined for the dump but decided that it wanted to live and took root in my dad’s driveway, exploding into green foliage.

After scraping together some debris and forming nests on the lava, we decided it was time to transplant and turn our babies over to nature, for better or for worse.

Fortunately, the evening brought a good rain. Hopefully, all is well on the homestead. Hopefully, we’ll have updates within the next week or two.


Garden Progress: Fun In The Sun!

Ahhh… What a lovely day to check up on the “garden” progress.

As I mentioned before, I love trying to grow just about anything I can get my hands on. In the past couple of months, I’ve collected seeds from a variety of fruits and vegetables, both from stores and from the local farmers markets.

I’ve mixed local *poor* jungle soil with organic fertilizer, potting mix, crushed dolomite, and worm castings in pots and added seedlings from local produce that I’ve germinated in my worm castings.

Among my first germination experiments were rambutan (left) and papaya (right). Both were very quick to sprout, but growth has been slow. Still they seem pretty happy, and I love the butterfly shape of the baby rambutan.

Shortly after our arrival we visited the wonderful “Uncle Robert’s”, where I sampled golden dragon fruit for the first time. I was stunned by its sweet deliciousness and absolutely had to try my hand at cultivating them. Nearly an entire month had passed without germination and I’d just about given up hope, when suddenly six of my homemade seed tabs popped open revealing these thick little shoots.Golden_dragon2

They’re growing very slowly, likely due likely to the high elevation. Still, they seem healthy and happy and have just recently developed their first cactus-like spines.

After a day trip into Hilo town and a visit to Abundant Life, a lovely little health food store by the bay front, I prepped a pot to begin an herb garden.


At Abundant Life, I had purchased a few packets of seeds including kale, chives, stevia, purple basil, and lemon basil.

The kale and basils sprouted very quickly, but I’ve just about given up on the chives and stevia, although I have every intention of trying them again using different parameters. I do hate to be defeated in the garden. Heheh

To salvage some confidence, I decided to grow something I knew I couldn’t fail at and had been desiring to try for some time – purple sweet potatoes!


We grabbed a pack from the farmers market and ate all but one of these yummy little guys. After sitting around the kitchen for several days, it looked like it might have some little, sprouting protrusions.

I went out and tossed some grow mix in a pot, stuffed the sweet potato halfway in the dirt and stuck it under the stairs to the porch, in the shade. Easy peasy! It was a little shy for a couple of weeks, but once the first leaf decided that photosynthesis sounded pretty cool, it started going crazy.

And then there’s tomatoes… How can you possibly go wrong with a plant that is so eager to grow? We decided to try ELT [Eggplant, Lettuce, & Tomato] sandwiches, one night after bringing home some tomatoes and Japanese eggplant from the farmer’s market. They’re really yummy, just for the record. You soak the eggplant strips in a liquid smoke to make it bacon-esque and-… Oh yeah – tomatoes. Sorry. tomato

While cleaning up after dinner, I looked at the cutting board, which was covered in tomato juice and seeds, so I drained off the juice and plopped down a paper towel to wipe them up and make seed tabs. Needless to say, they’re happy little guys and growing absurdly fast. This is just a few days of growth.

This is just a pineapple top that I wanted to grow that was left over from breakfast. I didn’t have a pot prepared for it so I stuffed it in a random mound of dirt and grass in the yard, where I promptly forgot about it and went about doing other things.


Fast forward a couple of weeks – we have a big wind storm that blows the poor thing right out of the ground. I saw it laying in the driveway and picked it up to stuff it back in the dirt when I noticed brand new root nodes protruding from the side. That was exciting. It seems perfectly happy, even though it’s not in a proper growing medium from pineapples. Yay!

As you can see, things are progressing nicely around here. How are things where you are? Are you saving those seeds? It doesn’t matter where you live. I had lemons, tamarinds, and date palms growing happily in a window in Montana. If you have a passion for growing or even just a passing curiosity then run with it.

Aloha, everyone!