The trip included five days at sea on the way to Hawaii and another five to sail back, which seemed like a long time before we embarked but not nearly long enough by the time we returned. Isn’t it funny how that happens?
Here are some photos and anecdotes of our Hawaii cruise and, if you read on, a giveaway.
I couldn’t believe we had the bow of the ship to ourselves as we sailed beneath and beyond the Lions Gate Bridge. Farewell, Vancouver!
I easily developed a routine for the days at sea:
- a morning exercise class in the fitness centre (the reason for this will soon become apparent)
- a hearty breakfast
- two hours of reading and writing in the library
- cooking demo in the Culinary Arts Centre
- a three-course lunch in the dining room
- time spent reading and writing
- four laps around the promenade deck (the reason for this must now be apparent)
- dress for dinner
- drop by the Sip and Savor
- an hour in the lounge listening to a violinist and pianist play classical music
- a four-course dinner
- evening entertainment
And trust me...“wash, rinse, repeat” never sounded better! Still, it was wonderful to say, “Hello, Honolulu!”
Instead of staying in the city, we rented a car and set off to explore the island, and we didn’t have to drive far to find a quiet beach.
After a wonderful day of sand, surf and sightseeing, we waved goodbye to Waikiki and Diamond Head as we set sail for The Big Island.
The next morning we said hello to Hilo.
And yes, the sand is black.
Then we were off to Maui, and the tenders were lowered to take us ashore.
Visitors to Lahaina are greeted by the city’s famous banyan tree. Yes, believe it or not, that’s one tree!
After a wonderful day of shopping and then lunch on an open-air lanai overlooking the water, we set sail once again.
On Kauai we cooled off with pineapple infused beer...
...and were greeted by an unexpected guest at the beachside restaurant in Nawiliwili.
That was the first time I've ever seen a chicken in a restaurant that wasn't on a plate.
All too soon we were saying farewell to Hawaii and embarking for Victoria.
The return trip was equally memorable. I had entered a recipe contest sponsored by the ship's Culinary Arts Center...and I won! So on October 1, which was also release day for The Parent Trap, my most recent Heartwarming, I hosted that day's cooking demonstration, and the oh-so-adorable Chef Sebastiano prepared my Tomato, Basil and Goat Cheese Tart.
And here's my award-winning recipe.
Lee’s Tomato, Basil & Goat Cheese Tart
Pastry, enough to line a 10-inch tart pan
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
8 medium-sized ripe Roma or plum tomatoes
1 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced, plus whole leaves for garnish
8 ounces goat cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Prepare your favorite pastry, preferably one that’s extra flakey. (In other words, a recipe that calls for lots of butter!) Wrap pastry in plastic wrap, chill in refrigerator for half an hour. This makes it easier to roll. Roll the chilled pastry and line one 10-inch or four 4-inch tart pans. Brush the pastry with olive oil.
Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Heat ¼ cup of olive oil in a skillet. Lightly sauté the garlic for about one minute, just until it starts to brown. Remove garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Cut tomatoes in half and remove the seeds and any tough membrane. Tomato seeds are bitter, so don’t skip this step! Roma or plum tomatoes are best because they maintain their meaty texture after baking. Season cut sides of tomatoes with salt and freshly ground pepper. Place tomatoes cut side down in the skillet and cook over medium heat for four or five minutes. Remove the tomatoes to a plate and set aside.
Add the sautéed garlic and chopped basil to the remaining oil in the skillet and cook just until the basil wilts. Remove skillet from heat, add the goat cheese and stir or whisk until smooth.
Spread the cheese and basil mixture in the pastry-lined tart pan. Arrange the tomatoes cut side up, on the cheese. Arrange one or two whole basil leaves on each tomato.
Bake at 400 degrees for about one hour.
Remove from oven and cool on a rack. Cut the tart into wedges or remove the individual tarts from their pans, place on serving plates drizzled with a balsamic reduction and garnish with a sprigs of fresh basil leaves.
Enjoy! And to be eligible to win a copy of The Parent Trap, please leave a comment! Tomorrow I'll draw a winner and post the name in the comments.
Happy reading and have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Until next time,
Writing fifty shades of pink