Friday, December 9, 2011

Hawaiian Thanksgiving: How to Make a Ti Leaf Cornucopia

Came up with this idea for a centerpiece because I wanted the local culture to be represented in our Thanksgiving spread.


                        -1 paper plate
                        -8 medium-large Ti leaves


        Form a structure: Shape the paper plate into the rough shape of a cornucopia by rolling one end tightly and securing with tape. Give the roll a little bend toward the tip once the tape is in place.
                    Braid the brim: Wash 4-5 of your Ti leaves, pat dry leaving the leaves moist. Microwave each leaf in 10 second intervals until they are pliable. ( You should be able to bend them without any tearing or cracking) Place 3 of the leaves lengthwise in front of you and fold the left and right sides toward the middle. Repeat.Use the now folded leaves as sections and braid. As the leaves will probably not be of equal length you will need to feed in another "section" when you come to the end of the shortest. When you come to the end of the shortest leaf bring it to the middle of the braid and tuck it downward; place the section on top of the downward facing leaf end , leaving about 1/2 inch rising above the braid-line. Cross the other two sections over the new section and continue braiding as normal. You can trim the 1/2 inch sticking out later if you want. When the braid reaches the length you want ( which will depend on how many times you want to wrap it around the wide edge of the paper plate-- mine was about 2 1/2 ft) Tie both ends off. Place in the fridge (to keep the leaves fresh) for later use.
             Wrap the structure: Use the remaining Ti leaves to wrap around the rolled paper plate. Start at the wide end and wrap horizantally. I was pretty liberal with the tape, but found that it was possible to tuck the ends under the mid-section of the leaf ( in case you want to be more crafty than I was). You will have to secure the edges closest to both the tight and the open ends with tape.
              Secure the brim: With the rolled paper plate lying tight end toward you, cut a wide, horizantal slit near the edge of the wide, open end. Feed one end of your Ti leaf rope into the slit. If the previous knot you tied does not keep it from slipping out of said slit, re-tie it so it's a little bigger. Turn the structure around so the wide end is facing you and wrap the braid clockwise around the open end. Keep wrapping until the end of the braid and tuck it under the previous row. I had to play around with the rows a little bit to get them to sit tightly, if your rows are sagging a little, gently tuck a the lose row over a tighter one.
               Fill: Fill the cornucopia with whatever your heart desires. I used dried coconut and macadamia nuts as another nod to our location, beautiful North Shore, Hawaii.

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