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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Mediterranean Goat Cheese Dip

”You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients”– Julia Child

When asked to bring something to a party or potluck, I always offer up dessert, usually something with chocolate, but not always.  Occasionally though, I am asked to bring something else. Once, a long time ago,  I was asked to bring something totally boring, but necessary. . .plates. . .gasp. Luckily that hasn’t happened again, because I like to share something delicious, and I think there are enough people who don’t want to buy or prepare food that they can bring the boring but necessary stuff.  I have never had a “go to” appetizer, so if asked to bring one, I would rifle through cookbooks and other sources of great recipes for something to make; preferably something that would be a real hit and something unique.  I am here today to tell you that I now have a “go to” appetizer!  It is quick & simple to make & quite addictive to eat.  Carrol, one of the nurses I work with, brought this dip to work one day.  I was among many who could not stop eating it; thankfully, it was one of the occasional days that we weren’t super busy.  It’s a flexible recipe, more of a plan really, so you can take it in different directions, depending on your tastes and the ingredients you have in your pantry.  We almost always have the ingredients I’ve outlined here, so this dip can be ready quickly for any occasion.  I’m taking this dip to a Christmas Eve gathering this evening with some Hawaiian Chip Company’s Sweet Potato and Taro Chips.  These chips are fabulous, not greasy or too salty, but pretty much perfect.  When you are in Maui, you can find them for the best price at Costco.  I made the dip in Washington State when I was there in October, and served it with Trader Joe’s Fig and Kalamata Olive crackers, also very good.  Some day soon I plan on making homemade crackers, which I look forward to eating with this dip.  

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Mediterranean Goat Cheese Dip

Soft goat cheese 5 oz. {approximately}

Garlic 2 cloves, finely minced

Red pepper flakes, as many as you like

Chopped kalamata olives {I used 14}

Julienned sun dried tomatoes {I used 14}

Fresh herbs, chopped {I used basil & cilantro}, reserve some to sprinkle on top {I used about 3 tbsp}

Freshly ground pepper

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling over top

Place goat cheese at the bottom of your bowl.  Lightly mash it down with a fork to make an even layer.  Top with minced garlic, red pepper flakes, chopped herbs, olives, tomatoes, several grinds of pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.  Sprinkle with reserved herbs.  Let dip sit out for about an hour at room temp for best flavor.

Notes:

  • Quantities are for a round bowl 5 1/2” in diameter.
  • Cream cheese may be used if you prefer it to goat cheese.
  • You can use sun dried tomatoes that are not packed in oil.  If you use oil packed, soak for 5” in hot water, then blot on a paper towel.

 Bon appetit!

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Grated Carrot Salad with Cherries & Pine Nuts

One of my favorite additions to my cookbook collection in 2014 is David Leibovitz’s My Paris Kitchen.  It is on my headboard for bedtime reading, and I am almost finished reading it from start to finish.  Each recipe is one to two pages and is enhanced with a story.  So far, I have only prepared this carrot salad, but I will definitely be making many more recipes from this book. . .  Shakshuka, buckwheat crepes with ham, cheese and egg, French lentil salad with goat cheese and walnuts. . .where shall I begin?

According to Leibovitz, everyone of French ancestry has the knowledge to make grated carrot salad in their DNA; recipes can vary from person to person, because there is no one recipe that everyone uses.  We enjoy Leibovitz’s take on this French classic.  My husband added tart dried cherries & pine nuts to the carrot salad one night and it tasted great;  I highly recommend it!  The dried fruit adds a lovely sweet counterpoint to the tart dressing, and the pine nuts are a little earthy. . .a great combination.  It’s a bright & pretty salad that is quick to make & lasts for a few days in the refrigerator.  If you have an abundance of carrots, it’s a fast way to use them up quickly.  Give it a try & see what you think.

Grated Carrot Salad
from David Leibovitz’s My Paris Kitchen

2 lbs  {900 gm} carrots, scrubbed and peeled

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1 lemon

1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp granulated sugar or honey

3 tbsp minced fresh Italian parsley, chervil or chives

Grate the carrots on the large holes of a box grater, or in a food processor fitted with a large shredding disk.

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, salt, mustard and sugar or honey.  Toss the grated carrots & the fresh herbs in the dressing.  Serve on plates garnished with additional fresh herbs.

Serves 6

Notes:

  • Meyer lemon juice works great here, if you have one.

 

 

Grated Carrot Salad with Cherries & Pine Nuts
slightly adapted from David Leibovitz’s My Paris Kitchen

2 lbs  {900 gm} carrots, scrubbed and peeled

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1 lemon

1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp granulated sugar or honey

dried tart cherries, as many as you’d like

pine nuts, as many as you’d like

Grate the carrots on the large holes of a box grater, or in a food processor fitted with a large shredding disk.

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, salt, mustard and sugar or honey.  Toss the grated carrots, cherries and pine nuts in the dressing.

Serves 6

Notes:

  • Raisins are great here, if that’s what you have.
  • Another nut can stand in for pine nuts, if you prefer.

 

Bon appetit!

Mele Kalikimaka & Hau’ole Makahiki Hou!


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Kale Salad of Many Delicious Bites

I cannot tell you how many days weeks I have hopped out of bed thinking that I would be writing a new blog post that day.  Truth be told, I rarely “hop” out of bed, but rather leisurely climb out from my night’s comfort.  It’s been a little harder to get up recently because it’s been a tad chilly in the morning here in Maui.  I’m not expecting any sympathy from my Mainland friends or family, who have experienced temperatures down in the 20’s, before winter has even thought about making an appearance.  But remember that when there is no heater in your house, it’s cold when it hits the mid-low 60’s.  Of course, the sun is warm and the house warms up quickly, so enough whimpering about chilly tropical island weather.  

If the proverbial genie were to arrive on the scene, wafting out of the bottle say, right now, my first wish would definitely be for more time {I also need more thyme; better plan a trip to the garden store for another plant or 2.} and to be more efficient with the time I have.  Honestly, I do not know where the days go, but I do know that I need more hours in every one of them.   Having nothing to do is never a problem for me! 

This kale salad is one I just came up with and we think it’s delicious.  There are quite a few ingredients, but they are not out of the ordinary, so you may have most in your refrigerator at the moment.  There are a few unique ingredients that you will probably have to make or buy, but it’s worth it.  One of the ingredients is pickled celery, and it’s very tasty.  I made pickled celery as a part of this egg salad recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  The egg salad was very good, but I like mine better.  I don’t make egg salad very often, but the next time I do, I’ll be adding some pickled celery.  The reason I like my egg salad better is because the flavors are sharper with mustard and vinegar, so the pickled celery will just add another bit of tartness, which I love.  But I digress.  Here is my newest iteration of kale salad.  Feel free to adjust amounts to suit your taste or what you have on hand.  This salad has a variety of tastes & textures that make it a winner.  The kale plays nicely with the sweetness from the potatoes, prunes and tomatoes.  Throw in a little tart from the pickled celery and fermented vegetables, and some creamy goat cheese that mingles with the dressing and you have one tasty salad.  

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Kale Salad of Many Delicious Bites

Kale, washed thoroughly, dried and torn into bite size pieces

Canned tuna {we use tuna packed in olive oil}, drained

Green onions, 2,  thinly sliced

Steamed potato {white or yams are great}, cut into bite size chunks, about 12

Sun dried tomatoes, about 12, cut into bite size pieces

Prunes {aka dried plums}, 4, cut into bite size pieces

Pumpkin seeds toasted in coconut oil & fine sea salt

Pickled celery, about 2 tablespoons drained

Soft goat cheese, crumbled

Blenheim apricot white balsamic vinegar

Extra virgin olive oil

Fermented vegetables, optional, but highly recommended

Put a bed of kale on a dinner plate and add other ingredients in the order listed.  Season with salt and pepper, then drizzle with apricot white balsamic and extra virgin olive oil.

Notes:

  • Salads are a great place to use leftover steamed or roasted potatoes.
  • The yams shown here were cut in large chunks, tossed with melted coconut oil and seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper.  They were then drizzled with some delicious Maui honey and roasted at 375 degrees.
  • We buy the sun dried tomatoes in olive oil at Costco.  I have never been a fan of the herbs in these tomatoes, because they taste too strong to me.  I recently discovered a way to prep these tomatoes which I think makes them taste better.  I put however many tomatoes I think I’ll use over the course of the week in a bowl, then cover them with boiling water.  Let them stand for 5” or so, and then drain them on a paper towel.  Blot them to get most of the moisture off & store them in a jar or other covered container.
  • Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:  Melt a couple teaspoons of coconut oil in a small skillet.  When the oil is hot, add about a 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds. Toss to coat & cook until the seeds begin to brown & pop, being careful not to let them burn.  Season with fine sea salt {I used Pink Himalayan Salt}.  You can use sunflower seeds if you prefer.  
  • Swap out the prunes with dried tart cherries or apricots if desired.
  • I bought the Blenheim apricot white balsamic from the Lively Olive, a wonderful little shop in Port Townsend, WA.  It was my first experience in an olive oil/balsamic vinegar tasting bar, & I loved it.  If you don’t have access to apricot balsamic, any fruity vinegar or red wine vinegar would be great.
  • Pickled Celery {from Smitten Kitchen}:
    • 2 stalks celery, small dice
    • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 2 tsp kosher salt
    • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
    • Combine vinegar, water, salt & sugar and shake to combine.  Pickle celery for at least 30″ and up to one hour.  Stores in the refrigerator for a few weeks, for your eating pleasure.

Bon appetit!