Saturday, January 31, 2009


Today John and I went to a birthday party for Nina Lee. Nina is the photographer / jewelry designer that photographed John and I for the MODERN LUXURY HAWAII issue last August. We thought a gift of food would be appropriate so I decided to make donuts. I started out making mini donuts , but the dough was too wet to cut into rings. Each time I picked one up it stretched and fried up all wonky. So I decided to try making donut holes instead... and they turned out perfect.

I went with a simple cake donut versus a yeast donut because... well because I like cake donuts more than yeast donuts. I wanted to make them tropical in some way, so I made half with a lilikoi glaze and the other half with a banana/orange glaze. If only this post had a taste function, because I cannot tell you how good they were. Below is the process. I can't wait to make another batch.
Mix oil, sugar,eggs and nutmeg for 3 minutes.

Add flour, salt and baking powder.

Place dough in fridge for at least 1 hour.
Form into 1" balls making sure to flour your hands and surface.

Drop into 375 degree oil 5-6 at a time. Smaller batches are easier to control and turn.
Turn after 1 minute to brown top.

Remove from oil with slotted spoon and cool on paper towels.

Make a glaze out of powdered sugar and flavored liquid of your choice. Use 2 cups powdered sugar and 3-5 tablespoons liquid.
I used lilikoi juice with lemon zest for one batch and banana with orange juice and zest for the other. Glaze should be somewhat thin so it is easier to coat the donuts.
Drop 5-6 donuts into the glaze and stir gently.

Using tongs, lift out and place in a mesh screen strainer and let drain a few minutes over a bowl. You can re-use the excess on the remaining batch.

Lift out with tongs and place on a wire rack to dry at least 1 hour.


Thursday, January 29, 2009


This is a new business card for Maui Weddings and Events that John and I worked on together. He did the Maui logo and the clover and the Laua'e fern. I did the actual business card layout and design. The accompanying website which John is hard at work on is to follow soon. This design has something new that we have not yet done on a card... a special effect on portions of the front and back. It's called a Spot Gloss and allows you to put a gloss coating on some parts of the cards while leaving other parts un-coated. For instance, you are able to apply the gloss coating to a company logo, and leave the rest of the card in a matte finish, as we did on this card.
Close-up detail of Spot Gloss.
It was applied to the name on the front and only the leaves and clover band on the back.

I love it so much I am ready to re-print all of my cards.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


We have been out of guava jam for a few weeks now and the time had come to whip up a new batch. Actually, when John tasted it, he said that he thought it tasted a bit liked a tomato paste... to which I agreed. Not that it was bad... but it was similar somehow. Of course that lead us to wonder if they were related... tomato and guava. They are not...but we did discover that red guavas can be used as the base of salted products such as sauces, constituting a substitute for tomatoes, especially for those sensitive to the latter's acidity. In Asia, a tea is made from guava fruits and leaves. Guavas are plants in the myrtle family which contains about 100 species of tropical shrubs and small trees. Native to Mexico and Central America, South America and parts parts of the Caribbean and some parts of North Africa, guavas are now cultivated and naturalized throughout the tropics, and are also grown in some subtropical regions.

This week I made a new batch of guava jam that was particularly tasty I must say. I prefer to make guava jam in the winter, because I find the fruit to have relatively no bugs compared to that of spring and summer. I harvested the guava over a 3 day period. Picking slightly green with a hint of yellow on the skin is what I prefer. I allow them to sit and ripen a bit more before peeling and storing in the fridge. Once I have filled a big kettle, I start the jam. Over the last 2 years I have learned how to make this process go much quicker.

I don't know about most of you out there that make jams, but most recipes call for WAY TOO MUCH SUGAR. 5-6-7 cups? NO THANKS. I have never used more than 2 cups of sugar in any of my jams and they always come out just fine. In this batch I only used 1 1/2 cups.

Peel Guava and quarter. Add about 1/ cup water.
Cover and simmer until soft.

Ladel the cooked guava into a food mill to remove all seeds and any bits of skin.

Seeds be gone.
This is what you end up with after running through a food mill.
The pulp and juice is all that remains in the bowl below the mill.
Return the pulp to pot, add pectin, sugar and lemon juice.
I slow cook mine on simmer for about 1- 1/2 hours until thick. Cooking longer will produce a darker color jam with a bolder taste.

Many times there is a small amount of jam left over that will not fill a new jar.
I had about a 1/4 cup leftover this time. I take mine and pour a thin layer onto a cookie sheet that has been LIGHTLY coated with oil or non stick spray. Bake in a 200 degree oven for 1.5 hours. What you are doing is simply drying it out.

Remove from pan quickly before it has a chance to cool. If it becomes to hard... place on the stove top for a few seconds to soften and what you end up with is....

Fruit leather. Store in layers between wax paper or in my case...
eat right away.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Here are some pics of our garden over the last year. I thought it would be a good exercise to review them as we are soon to give it an overhaul. Now that we know what grows really well and also what we enjoy eating, I'm looking forward to getting a new crop started.

Lemongrass in the foreground. Okra behind. Conn wanted fried okra so I planted some and it grew like a weed. We had it deep fried twice. Otherwise the okra ended up in curries or stir fries. I'm not so keen on growing it again frankly. So that might not make garden v2.0.

The black stuff was to help provide some late afternoon shade in the height of summer. This fall for some reason I really noticed the effects that the shorter days have on the garden.

Little yellow pear-shaped tomato plant and broccoli.

Bok Choi and Dwarf Zinnia. Just discovered this evening that Bok Choi doesn't freeze well. Too tough!

These are new boxes that I built in the spring.

Here they are with swiss chard, beans, basil, tomato, beet, bok choi, onion and even some parsnip. It started off with a bang but then the two boxes on the right slowed down significantly. I just thought it was lack of water. I later discovered some wretched root network choking out all the other plants! Aargh.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Last week I created a new logo and helped transform a website for Melissa Foster over at BRILLIANT LIFE DESIGN.

The structure of the previous website was fine and in working order, but it needed a bit of a face lift. I began by selecting a more upbeat and warm color palette, then created a new logo. Melissa had expressed her love of the color orange and that she wanted something very simple and very clean, not only for the logo, but for the website and blog.

Here is a before and after. As you can see, the layout is pretty much the same, since I just used what she already had. It worked just fine, so there was no real need to change it. In all, it took about 2 weeks from initial concept to final product.

We should be getting the business card printed in the next week or so, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, stop by and have a look.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I thought I would treat you all to a few pics from Kekoa's lunch time visit today.
February 1st he'll be 10 months old and he's looking pretty dazzling with his colorful plumage.

I hate to eat and run fellas, but....

Saturday, January 17, 2009


This is a bit late in posting since the works were completed several months ago, but I am just now finding time to document my work from the past few months. Nishanga Bliss wrote these 2 booklets and I did the art direction and design for both. They were produced for IEP CLINIC in San Francisco.

The first is a booklet that I did was called EAT REAL FOOD - Traditional Nutrition Through the Seasons and focused on healthy eating through the 5 seasons. YES... I said 5 seasons... Late Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring + Summer.

I designed the graphics used on the cover and throughout the book as well as the overall design of the booklet. Each leaf represents one particular season.The mood here was to be earthy, warm and natural.

The second booklet, Q+A - Complimentary + Alternative Medicine was simply designed, yet bold with easy to understand Q+A's on the benefits of acupuncture, massage, herbs and other forms of Chinese Medicine. They wanted a calm and cool mood to the book so I worked with icy, yet earthy tones of blue, green, tan and dirt. I also did the cover illustration of the human body to resemble a Chinese character and to illustrate that the book was about the body.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


It's trash day here at CFC HQ, and we just realized, it's been 3 weeks since we trucked our trash out to the "curb"! Our trash bag isn't even full enough to warrant the fuel-burning trip! I just thought it interesting enough to mention. It feels good knowing that we are producing less garbage, which in turn, lessens our impact on the earth. We recycle everything we possibly can, and if we can't, we try to re-purpose it. It's not that difficult. Once you get used to it, it becomes second-nature. It helps if you have designated receptacles (bins, bags, etc...) to store recyclables, they don't have to be pretty. We use plastic bins that can fit easily into the trunk when it's time to purge.

Monday, January 05, 2009