Saturday, February 23, 2013

4 days of paradise

We are back in the saddle again so to speak. Transitioning from our 4 days in Kona straight to a week of work was tough, but this trip was good enough to carry a ton of great memories for awhile. Everything really was perfect. The kids had a blast with their Grandparents and Aunties enjoying quality time in Santa Barbara, LA, and I'm sure everywhere in between! We had an amazing time getting UNINTERRUPTED SLEEP!(really is amazing how well you feel after 8 hours of the stuff! So good we really couldn't sleep in !) And we also filled all our moments with great trips to postcard perfect hike in beaches with our old friends and neighbors Dick and Lori, a lot of terrific snorkeling, amazing fish-papayas-mangos-bananas-pinapples-and those amazing fruity drinks, an amazing night on a cliff look out watching manta rays, and I could go on and on! It was capped by a peak at a multimillion dollar home where we got to enjoy drinks and a great sunset over the ocean with a great tub to soak our feet in. Yes, epic. It was primarily awesome in that Alex and I now realize how much we really can do and how much fun we have with just the two of us. Our kids are our life, but we're pretty fun without them once in awhile!

First morning in Kona, starting off with some fresh juice??NOOO, Airborne for us. I fought a cold but even that couldn't spoil an amazing time!

Hiking out to Maklavena Beach

Beach shot with our great friends Dick and Lori
Remembering how to boogie board!
Snorkel fun
Such an amazing spot. After our hike in we ate, drank, swam, snorkeled, relaxed, and even took a little nap :-)
driving out from Maklavena, we were following the locals...lots of jeeps and surfers...
Alex braving a windy ocean on the paddle board.

calmer waters on our hotel beach

This is just to show HOW windy it can get! This was the next day, on our way to the "green" side of the island. More wind and rain. Beautiful  scenery!

Hike down to Pololu Valley. Great hike even if a bit windy and rainy

Looking away from the ocean on the Pololu Valley floor. Alex said it reminded him of Alaska. Crazy how many different looks the landscape of Hawaii has!

Pololu Valley

There were several rope swings hanging from trees on the Valley floor, most you would not want to try!

This one was great!
My favorite picture of the trip I believe, the valley floor and forrest of Pololu valley was amazing! I love the trees and trail :-)

Gorgeous view looking up the coast from the trail

Rainbow and Mauna Kea

Hiking down to Captain Cook Monument. 1300 foot climb to get out and 4 miles round trip but so worth it!

Snorkeling Captain Cook

Mai Tai!!!
A pina colada a night was on Alex's schedule!

My great morning run scenery. First time in months I was able to run in shorts and a tank top!

Gorgeous sunset!

Hanging out with sea turtles while watching the sunset!

Our hotel was at the start of the Iron Man swim. Though during our stay the Pea-Man event was going on...3 mile run 1/3 mile swim. More my style!

One of our many fabulous fish dinners. Can you say wahoo and ahi!!

 We are blessed to have amazing family that we could entrust our home and our boys to. Lucky pups we are!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

If you must smoke, smoke salmon!!!

Or so says one of Alex's shirts. I know the blog has been a bit quiet over here. We've been well though! It's been just a wee bit sunnier so we've been outside more...and between preparing for a certain trip that is suddenly upon us and studying for my boards that I have to retake in one month, it's been busy!
But, it suddenly struck me to share a bit on a tride true Ranch happening that occurs several times a year. Smoking salmon! This is all Alex. I'm learning, as I've been brining our Ranch turkeys when we take one of them a few times a year. This is the first time we used the same brine for the turkey and the salmon.
So, without further adieu....

You start with a salt and almost boiling water solution. We do approximately 1 cup of salt to 1 gallon of water. Don't quite let it boil or the salt can burn, (so says Alex the guru!) You then add twice as much sugar as salt. We use brown sugar and white sugar as our base. This is the base of the brine. This is the 2:1 ratio that is critical. All the other additions tend to change a bit but are fun to play with!
Brown sugar going in the pot after the salt and water have gone to solution
Pepper is always good!
Honey is excellent!

Here Alex is cooling the solution with ice cubes, so it will not cook the fish before it is in the smoker

Now, plenty of people swear by adding alcohol of some sort. Red wine, or whiskey is common. To tell you the truth, we kind of think it is a waste as the taste is lost in the brine, but tonight, Alex was feeling the JD so in it went!!!

 Next, that beautiful salmon is sliced up in strips....

The salmon is left in the brine in a bowl for 12 hours. It is then set on the smoker racks. The smoking process takes about 18-24 hours depending on the thickness of the cuts.
And on the other end you end up with delish smoked salmon! Yummmo!!! This is quite a staple in our home as it is an awesome snack, the kids love it, and I love to mix it in to pasta, on top of toast or a bagel with cream cheese, or in a quesadilla . :-)