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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Sharon’s Quick & Easy Vanilla Cheesecake

“Because you don’t live near a bakery doesn’t mean you have to go without cheesecake.”  Hedy Lamarr

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou {Happy New Year} to all of you wonderful Maui Girl Cooks readers! Hope you are ready to move into a brand new year.   It’s hard to believe 2015 is here; it seems like Y2K was just a couple of years ago.  I am planning to add some new features to Maui Girl Cooks, which I hope you will enjoy and find useful.  

Before I became a teacher, I worked at Stanford University Medical Center.  It was at Stanford that I acquired several excellent recipes {3 to be exact}.  One recipe is for apple crisp, and while I don’t remember what made it so delicious, I just remember that it was.  The recipe is in our storage unit in Washington, with the rest of our belongings that didn’t come to Maui, and when it makes the journey across the Pacific,  I will make this delicious apple crisp again and tell you all about it.  Another recipe is one that I have been improving upon, and will share with you very soon; it is for a delicious molasses cookie which everyone seems to love.  My tweaked recipe no longer resembles the original, that while delicious, isn’t as good as my new version.  The last recipe was for this cheesecake, and I got it from a nurse named Lyni.  It  does not have a crust, which I think is just fine.  This cheesecake is all about the cream cheese and the sour cream topping.  While I enjoy a nice tall piece of cheesecake as much as the next person, my cheesecake is short, tangy and sweet.  Hope you enjoy it!

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Sharon’s Quick & Easy Vanilla Cheesecake

Cake:

2 8-oz. packages Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

3 large eggs

Beat softened cream cheese, sugar & vanilla until smooth and lump-free.  Scrape the sides of the bowl, as needed, to ensure that you are not leaving any lumps on the side that will end up in your cake {not a tragedy if you have a few lumps, but better to be smooth}.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each one is incorporated.

Pour mixture into 9” pie pan that has been greased or sprayed with pan spray.  Bake at 325 degrees for 50”.  The cake will be puffed up and lightly browned.  As the cake sits, the center will fall.  Set cake aside to cool {does not need to go into refrigerator}.

Topping:

1 cup sour cream

3 heaping tbsp granulated sugar

Dash vanilla 

Mix topping ingredients together and spread over cooled cake.  Bake at 325 degrees for 15”.  Chill overnight.

Notes:

  • I used full fat cream cheese & full fat sour cream. Please do not use fat free.  Since we eat very healthy 96.4% {or so} of the time, we use the real thing when it’s time to indulge.  Food scientists, in their “wisdom” have figured out how to add all kinds of chemicals to make reduced calorie food seem the same as the real thing. In my opinion, you are not saving that many calories to make it worth consuming the artificial additives.  Use your own judgement, but I’m going with real, whole food!
  • I am not always a brand-loyal shopper, but I have always used Philadelphia Cream Cheese {except the one time I tried another brand} because I think it’s the best.
  • One time, so long ago I don’t remember the exact details, I made this cake the same day I served it.  Perhaps I didn’t keep it in the refrigerator once we got it to my in-laws’ house, or perhaps I didn’t chill it enough after I made it, but it wasn’t as good as when chilled over night.  I know I made it in the morning, but that’s all I remember.  So, the moral is, plan ahead & make this cheesecake the day before you want to eat it.  You will be handsomely rewarded with a tangy, smooth & delicious dessert.

Bon appetit!

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A Dense & Delicious Poppyseed Cake

Every so many years, my birthday coincides with Father’s Day; such was the case this year.  Sadly, my father passed away in 2008 and my husband’s father in 1985.  We celebrated our fathers along with my birthday.  Also, yesterday Maui Girl Cooks turned one year old!  On Sunday, in honor of all of these events,  I made a cake {it really was just my birthday cake}.  Lest you think one should not bake one’s own birthday cake, it is no problem at all; I do not mind.  Many foodies have been known to make their own birthday cakes.  All kinds of possibilities tumbled around in my head.  What should I make?  I thought a lot about what kind of cake I wanted–chocolate cake with mocha frosting, Boston Cream Pie, chocolate rum cake, apple galette, this strawberry cheesecake and poppyseed cake were all in the running for the occasion {yes, I know those are not all cakes}.  I finally decided on poppyseed cake with this lemon curd.  Time did not allow for the lemon curd, but I will make it soon, and you will be among the first to know how it goes; I have no doubt that it will be delightful.  My ideas for variations on this poppyseed cake are many and I will share the results with you when I make them.  I baked this cake once before, sometime within the last year I think {last year’s birthday cake too maybe??}.  It was excellent, but I tweaked it just a bit this time, reducing the sugar a tad and adding lemon zest.  Next time I will add more lemon zest.  It was a fine birthday cake! Slice of Lemon Poppyseed Cake

Lemon Poppyseed Cake
adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone {Deborah Madison}

1 cup poppyseeds stirred into 1/2 cup hot milk {when ready to use, drain off any unabsorbed milk}
2 cups {10 oz.} whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/8 tsp salt
3 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup unsalted butter, diced and softened
1 cup sugar minus about 1 tbsp {5 3/4 oz}
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream or buttermilk {I had neither, so I used 1 tbsp white vinegar with milk to make 1 cup}
Zest of 1 lemon, preferably organic {next time I will use 2 lemons}

Set the poppy seeds aside to soak in the milk until needed {if you have time, soak the seeds for a couple hours}.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly butter and flour {or spray} a 9-inch springform pan.  Mix the dry ingredients together and set them aside. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until they form firm but moist peaks and set aside.  In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla, then beat in the yolks one at a time until smooth.  Scrape down the bowl, then stir in the sour cream or buttermilk, drained poppy seeds and lemon zest.  Add the dry ingredients in thirds.  If using a mixer, this can be done on low speed.  Scrape up the batter from the bottom of the bowl to make sure it’s well mixed, then stir in a quarter of the beaten egg whites before folding in the rest.  Smooth the batter into the pan, then bake until golden, firm. and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 50 minutes.  Remove from the oven, set the cake on a rack, and gently remove the rim so that the cake can cool. We have always enjoyed this cake with a dusting of powdered sugar, but it would be delicious with fresh strawberries and softly whipped cream, as Madison suggests. Makes 1 9-inch cake, serving 10-12.

Bon appétit!


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Something of Importance and Banana Frozen Yogurt with Raw Cacao Nibs

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” – Henry James

This post was started at the end of May, and was then interrupted by a couple days at work and a trip to Oahu to visit family.  I’m happy to be finishing it tonight!

On my walk this morning, I saw something on the ground, something that upon closer inspection, made me sad.  It was a student-made book called “My Fourth Grade Memories.” The pages were bound between 2 royal purple construction paper covers.  Did the book’s author know that his or her 4th grade “memoir” was on the ground?  Was it casually tossed out because it wasn’t deemed important enough to take home to share with family members?  Or did it simply fall to the ground because it wasn’t placed securely into the backpack?  I wonder if the author has noticed that the book is missing.  School is out now on Maui, so summer vacation has officially begun.  My Washington teaching friends still have another month or so {sorry about that!!}.  Soon their students will write their own memory books and summer vacation will begin for them {summer weather too, I hope}.

4th grade memory book

There is a children’s picture book called The Important Book {Margaret Wise Brown}.  I used to share this book with my primary students when I taught elementary school.  The book offers kids the opportunity to contemplate their own ideas of what is important about different things {daisies, grass, snow, apples, etc}.  I’m not sure what made me think about this book now, unless it was the mystery 4th grader’s book on the ground.  Anyway. . .

The important thing about Saturday is that it is market day.  It is usually sunny, golden and warm, but sometimes the wind blows, rain splashes down and it’s chilly {really}.  Green is most abundant in lettuce, kale, chard, scallions, broccoli, asparagus and arugula.  Hues of orange and gold arrive in the form of kabocha squash, ripe papayas and mangos. Gingery brown kombucha is effervescent with spicy sweet fresh ginger flavor.  Yellow Meyer lemons {!!!} burst forth with tart-sweet juice, and the pink grapefruits will be enjoyed soon.  Purple beets will be pickled and purple cabbage thinly sliced into salads.  Tomatoes are the only crimson in the collection of fruits and vegetables for next week’s good eats.  Vendors and customers enthusiastically greet one another and share secrets about how to most enjoy this fruit or that vegetable.  Electricity is in the air, as people fill their market bags and baskets with fabulous local produce and products, grown and made by hardworking people who care about good food.  But the important thing about Saturday is that it is market day.

I was warm at the end of my 3 mile walk this morning, so I made a delicious banana frozen yogurt snack.  I wrote about ways to use frozen bananas here and here, but this morning’s frozen yogurt was especially delicious.  If you have bananas in your freezer, you are less than 5 minutes away from a delicious breakfast, snack or dessert.  You can alter this “recipe” in so many ways that you almost never have to make it the same way twice, unless you want to.

It seems that I forgot to photograph adding the yogurt, vanilla & roasted peanuts, but you get the idea.

sliced bananas in food processorsliced bananas, pb and salt sliced banana, pb, salt, cacao nibs enjoy your frozen treat

Banana Frozen Yogurt with Raw Cacao Nibs

1 large frozen banana, or 2 apple bananas {a local variety which is half the size of a Cavendish banana, the kind usually seen in the grocery store}
2 heaping teaspoons {a teaspoon you eat with, not a measuring spoon} plain yogurt {I used full fat this time}
1 heaping teaspoon  {a teaspoon you eat with, not a measuring spoon} crunchy peanut butter
1/2 tbsp raw cacao nibs
2 tbsp roasted peanuts
2 grinds sea salt
splash of vanilla

Thinly slice the bananas into a small food processor {I have a Cuisinart Mini-Prep}.  Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth and creamy; you want to be sure that the bananas are completely broken down and smooth.  The yogurt will be crunchy from the peanut butter, peanuts and cacao nibs, and that is a really good thing~yum!

Notes:
* If I think about it, I’ll put the yogurt into my serving bowl and pop it into the freezer for a little while, so my final product will be a bit more firm.  You can put it into the freezer after it’s made also, if you like, but I wouldn’t leave it there for more than an hour or two, or it will be too hard.
* Try adding different nut butters and/or nuts.
* Substitute chocolate of your choice for the cacao nibs
* Cocoa or espresso powder anyone??

Bon appétit!

 

 


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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!