By Melanie Knight – posted courtesy of The Lancaster News
It’s blistering hot and the natives are getting restless. Instead of dreaming about a tropical getaway, why not enjoy your own mini “stay-cation” at home and treat dad to the ultimate luau?
Grab a Tiki torch, Hawaiian shirt, pina colada and get ready to limbo. With these simple ideas and recipes, you can host your own backyard luau and hula dance into the sunset.
According to the Polynesian Cultural Center, a traditional luau is the Hawaiian way of celebrating a major event, such as a life milestone, graduation or wedding, by enjoying several days of food, music and dance with family and friends. It was originally a way to unite the guests and with each dish having a symbolic meaning, like strength and virtue.
Your luau doesn’t have to be on an island to harbor the same feelings of goodwill.
Just keep the words of Benny Kai, the PCC “Ambassador of Aloha” in mind.
“Whenever you’re at a Hawaiian luau, you are ohana (family),” he said.
To get guests ready for a “latitude adjustment,” transform your backyard into a tropical paradise with these decorating ideas from ww.eHow.com that use supplies from a party supply store.
– To decorate, use anything with flowers, palm trees, fake parrots, fruit and sea shells. Arrange flowers down the center length of the table and accent with pineapples, coconuts and seashells. Perch a plastic parrot in your chandelier or on top of the refrigerator.
– Make simple leis out of colorful crepe streamers twisted together and taped into individual 30-inch loops.
– Drawstring trash bags become adjustable grass skirts by cutting 1-inch wide strips vertically from the bottom to 10 inches below the drawstring (heavy-duty bags work best). Use several of these to top your patio umbrella, or use them as a grass skirt along the edge of the table.
– Dig out those Christmas lights and string them up around your patio.
– Tiki torches work double duty – adding atmosphere to your party and keeping the mosquitoes away if you use citronella oil.
– Serve frozen cocktails and mocktails (non-alcoholic). Pina coladas and pineapple iced tea will instantly chill out your guests.
– Download some traditional Hawaiian music. Mix it up with some Elvis Presley’s “Blue Hawaii” and Don Ho’s “Gold.”
– Greet each guest as they arrive with a hearty “aloha” (hello/goodbye and love), a “honi” (kiss) on the cheek, and a “lei” (garland of flowers). You can pick up some more Hawaiian words and phrases at www.aloha-friendsluau.com. They even have the Lord’s Prayer in Hawaiian.
– Dancing is an integral part of a luau, so get a lively round of limbo going. A bamboo stalk works best for this game, but a broom will do. Two people hold the stick and each person has to bend backward and dance under the stick without touching it. Once everyone goes under, the stick is lowered 2 to 4 inches and the next round starts.
– Give the natives a chance to grab a frozen drink, then round them up again for and see who can hula like a “kama`aina” (true Hawaiian native). Being the host, you should practice before hand by checking out some hula dancing on www.youtube.com.
Now that you’ve got the tropical fever, here’s a sample menu to keep get you started. Aloha!
1 Grilled Pineapple Pound Cake a la Mode
1 20-ounce can sliced pineapple
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 slices pound cake
Strawberries or raspberries, for topping
Nuts, for topping
Whipped cream, for topping
– Drain pineapple, reserving 1/3 cup juice and six pineapple rings (save remaining juice and pineapple for another use).
– Combine juice, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.
– Brush half of the mixture on both sides of pineapple and cake slices.
– On an uncovered grill over medium heat, cook pineapple and cake for 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown, brushing occasionally with remaining pineapple juice mixture. Top each slice of cake with a pineapple ring. Top with berries, nuts and whipped cream, if desired. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.
– By Paula Deen (www.foodnetwork.com)
2 Beef Teriyaki
1 pound steak, cut into 1-inch cubes (round, sirloin or rib-eye will work)
1 15-ounce can pineapple chunks with juice
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons sesame oil (can substitute olive oil)
– Combine all ingredients, including liquid from pineapple. Marinate, cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.
– Thread beef and pineapple alternately on skewers. Discard leftover marinade. Place on hot grill, turn every 5 minutes so meat cooks evenly. Cook to your preference – rare, medium, well done. Makes 4 servings
– By Rhonda Parkinson (www.about.com)
3 Pineapple Iced Tea
6 tea bags
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups boiling water
Juice of 3 lemons
5 tablespoons pineapple juice
– Place tea bags and sugar in a 2-quart pitcher. Add 4 cups of boiling water. Steep for 15 minutes. Remove tea bags.
– Steep fresh mint leaves in tea for at least three minutes. Remove mint leaves. Add lemon and pineapple juices.
– Add cold water to the pitcher. Serve over ice. Garnish with pineapple and fresh mint leaves.
– By John Fischer (www.about.com)
4 Aloha Sweet Potatoes
1 15-ounce canned yams/sweet potatoes
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup shredded coconut
– Slice sweet potatoes about 1/2-inch thick.
– In a large skillet, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar and water and cook on medium heat about 5 minutes. Reduce heat and add sweet potatoes to skillet. Cook gently; tossing lightly until sweet potatoes are glazed. Sprinkle with coconut before serving. Makes 4 servings.
– From www.hisurf.com
5 Huli Huli Chicken
4-6 chicken breasts
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons sherry or white wine
1 piece ginger root, crushed
1 clove garlic, crushed
Grilled pineapple slices and maraschino cherries (optional)
– Combine ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, sherry, ginger root, and garlic. Stir well.
– Place chicken on a hot outdoor grill. Baste the chicken frequently and continue grilling for about 10-15 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Double check by slicing into the thickest part of chicken breast. The inside should be white, not pink. Garnish with grilled pineapple slices and cherries (optional). Makes 4-6 servings.
– By John Fischer (www.about.com)
6 Pina Colada
2.5 ounces light rum
3 ounces pineapple juice
2 ounces cream of coconut
3/4 cup crushed ice
Pineapple chunks (for garnish)
– Place ingredients in blender, reserving pineapple chunks for garnish, and process until smooth, about 10-15 seconds. Pour into a chilled glass and garnish with reserved pineapple chunks, if desired. Leave out rum for a non-alcoholic “mocktail.” Makes 1 serving.