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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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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A Nutty Anytime Snack

Before I get to the recipe, I’d like to tell you about a free event tomorrow at the Historic Iao Theatre in Wailuku, Maui.  If you enjoy theatre, you may want to show up tomorrow {4/14/14} at the Iao for their free ONO {One Night Only} of Cactus Flower.  These shows are always good, and the seats fill up quickly, so get there early.  They have coffee, bottled water and cookies for a donation, but we may be taking a bag of one of our favorite snacks.

This is one of our favorite snacks.  It is ridiculously simple, but when a quick and healthy snack, or dessert is in order, give this a try.  It is as easy as tossing some of your favorite nuts & dried fruit into a bowl.  But don’t stop there, because you haven’t added the 2 ingredients that boost up the flavor & make good nuts & dried fruit even better.  Hopefully you are asking yourself, “What are those ingredients?”  If you aren’t, you should, because you will want to make this.  What are the ingredients?  Chocolate {!!!} and salt.  That’s it, chocolate and salt.  You may know and love how great chocolate tastes with nuts, and maybe you’ve had it with dried fruit.  You know that salt is a fabulous flavor enhancer if you have ever eaten low sodium or no-salt added anything.  Salt is like cream-it doesn’t take much to take a dish over the top.  So, here is the formula of sorts.

nuts, fruits and chocolate

A Nutty Anytime Snack or Dessert

Nuts, a variety of raw & unsalted
Dried fruit
Chocolate, whatever you like
Good salt {not iodized salt please}

Put some nuts in a bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds, just to warm them and start to release their oils, so the salt will better adhere to them.  Add some dried fruit and a bit of salt.   Toss the nuts and dried fruit to distribute the salt.  When the mixture has cooled, add some pieces of whatever chocolate you like.  Toss again and eat.

Tips:
*The nuts:  You could use only 1 type of nut, but a variety is more fun and more nutritious.  We like walnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts & pecans.
*The dried fruit:  Use less dried fruit than nuts.  Just a few pieces add a little punch of sweetness to balance the savory flavor of the nuts.  We like apricots, tart cherries and pineapple.  We dry our own pineapple, so it isn’t the sugar-coated stuff you buy at the store.
*The chocolate:  Of course, you can add as much chocolate as you like, and you might be tempted to add a lot.  You do not need much to make a difference.  We break up 1 square from a bar of Lindt dark chocolate  {Have you tried Lindt dark chocolate???  It’s smooth, creamy and delicious.}.  One square broken up into little pieces mingles with the nuts and fruits and adds another nice bit of subtle sweetness to the whole melange.
*The salt:  Please do not use iodized salt.  It will not be an improvement, nor will it leave a favorable impression on whomever is eating it.  We use sea salt from our salt grinder, but also delicious would be Maldon salt or Fleur de Sel. . .just a couple of grinds or sprinkles will do.  Give it a taste and add more if needed.  The salt is the piece de resistance.  It’s the French fries and milkshake thing. . .salty, sweet crazy deliciousness.
*As a dessert:  This is great with a nice glass of red wine!

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!