Maui Girl Cooks

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” Luciano Pavarotti


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Better late than never.”  The origin of “better late than never” is Canterbury Tales {circa 1386}, and was coined by Geoffery Chaucer.  It comes from the story The Yeoman’s Tale.

The timing of this post leaves a little to be desired, but better late than never they say, and I agree.

I wanted to tell you about a fantastic event that happens on Maui, on the second Monday of each month.  It is an opportunity to attend free theatre called ONO {One Night Only}, and it takes place at the Historic Iao Theatre in Wailuku.  Not only is it free theatre, it is excellent theatre!  Wow, how fortunate we are to have such a great treasure less than 30 minutes from home.  Anyway, I was busy finishing up the final project for my physics of cooking class, and everything required to get new tenants into our home across the ocean in Washington.  And then. . .I got sick. . .nothing serious, just a cold. . .a dumb pain-in-the-rear cold, which is doing what colds do, traveling to places I’d rather it didn’t, making sleeping difficult.  It could be worse, so let’s just forge ahead and be thankful for everything else that is good in life.  Needless to say, we did not make it to ONO, and if you went, it was because of your own accord, with no help from me-hope you enjoyed it!  Just for the record, it was a one-man show, the actor playing Einstein {he even looks like Einstein in the picture}.  There is another great theatre opportunity though, but you need to hurry and get yourself a ticket to see La Cage aux Folles, at the same wonderful Historic Iao Theatre.  If you live on Maui, you may know about this terrific local theatre, and may already have a ticket.  If you don’t live here, and are lucky enough to be jetting our way before the show closes this weekend {yes I do realize that this notice is terribly last minute}, you should seriously think about going.  We were accustomed to attending fantastic theatre in Seattle, and before that San Francisco, and thought that by moving to Maui, we may be trading great theatre for warm, fragrant trade winds, but that is not the case my friends.  We have a gem in the Iao Theatre, so hope you will take in a show one day.  The next second Monday ONO, presenting Cactus Flower, is on its way soon; see you at the Iao!

If you like frozen desserts {like ice cream!} and haven’t yet tried my Banana Mocha Peanut Butter Soft Serve, I suggest that you do.  Or, you could give some frozen bananas and frozen cherries a whirl and try my newest soft serve.  I suppose I shouldn’t necessarily call these delectables desserts, because they make fantastic post walk/run/fill-in-the-blank activity treats, and because there is no sugar beyond what is in the fruit and chocolate chips, I deem them to be pretty healthy.  Like I mentioned in my Banana Soft Serve post, this is best made and eaten right away, or within the hour {in the freezer of course}.  Left in the freezer for too long,  the creamy mixture becomes rather hard and difficult to eat unless you process it again.  I made a double batch once, and decided it was easier to just make it fresh and enjoy it right away.

We bought a bag of beautiful frozen pitted sweet cherries at Costco, and I’ve just been snacking on them straight from the freezer.  Then it occurred to me that cherries and bananas would make a tasty combination, with some dark chocolate thrown in for good measure, and lo and behold, they play together quite nicely indeed.

Frozen sliced bananas, frozen sweet cherries & dark chocolate

Banana Cherry Soft Serve with Dark Chocolate

Banana Cherry Soft Serve with Chocolate

1 medium to large frozen banana
6 frozen sweet cherries
10 dark chocolate chips {I love Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet chips}
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Walnuts
Raw cacao nibs

Slice the frozen banana into the work bowl of a food processor {For this quantity I use a mini food processor.  You could use a blender, but you will need some liquid to get it going.}

Add cherries, chocolate chips and vanilla.  Process until smooth and creamy.

Top with raw cacao nibs and walnuts.  Enjoy!

Variations:

~ You can use all chocolate chips {or chop your favorite chocolate} or all cacao nibs

~ Substitute sour cherries for sweet, but you may need to add something sweet.

~ Substitute your favorite nut for the walnuts.

Bon appétit!

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Wild Alaskan Salmon

It feels good to be back in the author’s chair {actually, I usually write from the sofa} and writing again!  When I first started writing Maui Girl Cooks, I had no idea how much I would enjoy writing about food, and sharing my thoughts and recipes with all of you.  I have always enjoyed the editing process, and writing about my food passion is just such a pleasure; perhaps I should have started a blog several years ago, but I’m quite sure I didn’t have time to teach full time and write a blog.   

I’m sad that I’ve been “off the air” for so long.  I didn’t fall off the face of the earth; I wasn’t trekking around the globe; I wasn’t sick; I wasn’t struck by lightning; I didn’t stop loving everything to do with food.  No, my absence had everything to do with our computer.  The computer that we have been cursing for so long finally died.  It was acting up for quite a long time, then it finally gave up the ghost; I came home one day and it was stone cold dead.  No amount of wishing, coaxing or pressing function keys would bring it back to life.  This became the golden opportunity to ditch the Windows machine and finally become a 100% Apple household.  Score!  But there is a learning curve when you switch operating systems, so please bear with me. Writing posts on my iPhone seemed like a chore, so I didn’t.  The online physics of cooking class that I’m taking is still in session.  I did 2 weeks worth of lectures, homework and labs on my iPhone; oh my, that was interesting, but I made it through.  I’m pleased and proud that I have completed all homework and labs to a degree sufficient for a Harvard certificate of completion, once I complete my final project, which has to do with making perfect chocolate chip cookies.  I will let you know all of the details, once I have finished tweaking everything to my satisfaction.   

Since we moved to Maui, the best salmon we have eaten has been from a can {very tasty canned salmon}.  Fresh salmon of the caliber that we were accustomed to in the Pacific Northwest isn’t found in the grocery stores here; it just isn’t as fresh.  It’s a small price to pay for being warm in March.  Anyway, back in September, we had the opportunity to purchase wild Alaskan sockeye salmon. My husband happened to be talking with a nutritionist at the gym, and she mentioned that a friend would be bringing in Alaskan salmon, and asked if we would be interested in buying some.  But of course we would!  The filets were cleaned, vacuumed sealed, frozen and absolutely gorgeous!  The salmon came packed in 20 pound boxes, and we decided to buy 2 boxes.  We sold a few filets, but have been enjoying this delicious salmon several times each week.

We have prepared it a number of ways, but here is our favorite way to cook this succulent and healthy fish.

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 Baked Salmon

1 salmon filet, rinsed and patted dry, pick out any bones you can see/feel

Mayonnaise {homemade or store bought}

Salt and pepper {kosher or sea salt, freshly ground pepper}

Thai sweet chili sauce

Green onions, thinly sliced

Fresh cilantro, whole leaves or minced

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with pan spray.  Place the salmon skin side down on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper.  Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise over the fish {I use a table knife to do this}.  Drizzle salmon with Thai sweet chili sauce.  Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven, until the salmon registers 140 degrees F, about 15 minutes.  You can cut into the salmon to check for doneness, but I prefer using a thermometer.  If you cut into it, make sure it is still moist in the center, as it will continue to cook once it is out of the oven.  Leaving it in the oven until it looks completely cooked {i.e. flaky} will result in salmon that is dry and overdone. Sprinkle the top with thinly sliced green onions and/or fresh cilantro when ready to serve.

The mayonnaise keeps the salmon moist, and the Thai sweet chili sauce adds a nice flavor.  The chili sauce has no redeeming qualities other than tasting good, and it is one of the few prepared foods we use.  It’s not something we eat everyday, and when we do, we don’t eat a lot of it, so we don’t feel too bad.  Call it a guilty pleasure.  We always eat some of the salmon right away, but think that it is even better the next day; it seems more moist for some reason.  As a matter of fact, the next day we like to prepare one of our favorite new creations.  It is an adaptation of the Asian Salmon Bowl that we used to order at The Harbourhouse Pub in Winslow, WA.  We have expanded upon their bowl of brown rice, fresh spinach, Asian slaw, ginger vinaigrette and wild salmon, and made something even more delectable.

Salmon with Brown Rice and Asian Flavors

Salmon Salad with Brown Rice and Asian Flavors

Cooked brown rice {of course, you can use any rice you like}

Cooked salmon

Arugula, julienned

Snow peas, cut into thin slivers {optional, but adds great crunch}

Fresh jalapeños, thinly sliced {if you like a little zest}

Green onions, thinly sliced {reserve some of the greens for the top}

Extra virgin olive oil

Citrus of some kind {I used Calamansi limes this time}

Unseasoned rice vinegar {use seasoned if you prefer}

Tamari or low sodium shoyu {soy sauce}

Salt and pepper

Toasted sesame seeds

Sliced avocado

Variations. . .

Crunch-  If you don’t have any snow peas, you can use something else to add crunch like matchstick size carrots, sliced almonds, thinly sliced cabbage, roasted peanuts or celery.

Protein- No salmon in sight?  Try some barbecued chicken, tempeh, tofu or steak.

Citrus- Calamansi lime, regular lime, lemon, orange or tangerine

Greens- arugula, romaine or some other sturdy lettuce

If your rice isn’t freshly cooked, warm it up and sprinkle with shoyu and rice vinegar.  Top the rice with greens of your choice, julienned into bite size pieces.  Toss the jalapeños, snow peas and green onions {or your favorite crunchy ingredients} on top of the greens.  Season with salt and pepper.  Top with salmon, or other protein.  Drizzle with Thai sweet chili sauce, then squeeze a good amount of citrus over all.  Shower with thinly sliced green onion tops and toasted sesame seeds.  Add some lovely green slices of ripe avocado and enjoy!

Bon appétit!