I realize that I haven’t shared much about our (that is, M’s and my) honeymoon in Hawaii. We were able to spend close to three glorious weeks exploring the most beautiful state in the country. And, since today is the anniversary of the day that our Polynesian sister became a state, I thought I’d sing her praises a bit.
First, I thought no place had weather more glorious than Southern California but I must say that Hawaii might possibly win on this one. Why? There are no cold nights. Sure, it’s more humid and days can get hot but overall it stays about 80-85 degrees which is just about perfect in my book. You can grow a summer garden year round which rocks.
We were able to visit 3 of the islands – Oahu (Waikiki at the beginning and North Shore at the end of our trip), Maui and Kauai. Each island has its own charm and beautiful scenery, and every time we left one and went to another we couldn’t decide which place we loved more. Even after two and half weeks we weren’t ready to come home. We could have stayed a couple of months.
If you look at my Instagram feed, you’d think all we did was eat all the time, but we had some pretty fun adventures. We went ziplining, which is totally worth doing at least once, cruising up the Napali coast in a Catamaran where we saw dolphin families, took a day drive up the windy Hana Highway, took a helicopter tour with a young kid who puked all over himself (I was just happy it wasn’t M!), snorkeled in the shallow ocean life-sized aquarium, and even went kayaking up a river to see a [not-so] secret waterfall.
Out of everything, the kayaking trip was the most amazing for a couple of reasons. 1) We were on our own without a tour guide, which we prefer because we feel we get a much more real experience, and boy did we get a real experience! 2) We got caught in a flash flood which was a little scary but ultimately more fun than scary. It played out like a movie adventure story starting when the [adorable and incredibly sweet] couple on their honeymoon decides to rent a kayak to travel up a calm river and park their kayak on the bank to hike to a waterfall. The trail is muddy and they see beautiful untouched rain forest along the way. The waterfall is beautiful and they take a short dip in the cool fresh water. As they head back, however, disaster strikes. They attempt to cross what was, on their way there, a shallow portion of the river with a balance rope strung across, but as they start to venture out the water starts rising rapidly and they are stuck, not knowing whether they should forge ahead or turn back. The muddy water starts gushing by and in less than a minute the blushing bride can no longer touch the bottom. They see huge tree branches and logs getting swept down the river and make a quick decision to turn back. By this time the water had flooded the path and they had to wade across a strong current to get back to shore, careful not to get swept away…OK, I might have added a bit of a dramatic flair, but all that really happened! We met up with some other people who were stranded as well and we had to wait two hours before the water subsided enough for us to attempt to cross with the aid of people stationed across the river at high points and swimming against the current. Then we found our kayak which, thankfully, had not been washed away but we had lost our paddles to the flood. After a lot of begging, someone let us borrow a paddle and we took turns paddling back down the river. Phew!
Not only did we have some fun adventures but we got to meet up with one of my fellow food blogger friends, Angela from Aloha Yinz Mangia and her fiancé. It was great to catch up and they introduced us to the amazing doughy pastry that is The Malasada. This was so much better than any doughnut I’ve ever had and I am eternally grateful for this introduction.
After we got home, I was feeling a bit sad and still longed for the islands so I created this delightful tropical rockfish. The recipe calls for Maui onions, which are super sweet onions. If you can’t find Maui onions, use the sweetest onion you can find. I made this with rockfish, but you can use any firm white fish in this recipe (mahi mahi or cod works quite well). The cleanup is a breeze! It helped the hangover a bit; however I think I will always miss Hawaii. You’ve stolen a piece of my heart, my little island sister state – Happy Birthday.
Parchment Baked Tropical Rockfish
Servings: 4 • Size: 1 parchment packet • Weight Watcher Points+: 8
Calories: 307 • Fat: 3g • Carbs: 44g • Fiber: 5g • Protein: 26g
Sugars: 10g • Sodium: 1,306g • Cholesterol: 55mg
- 4 medium red potatoes, sliced ¼ inch thick
- 4 rockfish filets (about 1 pound)
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves
- 1 small Maui onion, sliced ¼ inch thick
- ½ large mango, sliced
- 4 mini sweet peppers, sliced (about ½ cup)
- ½ (7 ounce) can light coconut milk
- Zest of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the sliced potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Heat over high heat until it starts to boil. Drain and set aside.
Season the rockfish on both sides with the chili powder, salt and black pepper. Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper, approximately 12 inches long and lay them flat. Distribute the potatoes evenly between the 4 pieces of parchment, placing them in the center of the paper and leaving plenty of space around the edges to fold up. Working in layers, place the spinach on top of the potatoes, then the sliced onion, rockfish, mango and sweet peppers. Drizzle the coconut milk on top and finish with the lemon zest and a little extra pinch of salt and pepper.
Pick up the two long sides of the parchment paper and bring them together. Fold over 3-4 times until the packet is sealed but not tight. There should be space between the food and the folded top. Fold over the edges to seal. Place the parchment packets on a baking sheet and bake 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and carefully open the packets as there will be steam escaping. Serve either in the parchment or transfer each to a plate.