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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Refrigerator Confidential Day #6

Welcome to Refrigerator Confidential Day #6!  The refrigerator is not looking bare, because the bags of produce have been replaced by glass storage containers full of prepared food, which is a good thing.  Sometimes it does look bare by the end of the week, but that is only when we manage to eat everything.  It’s all good!

Thursday’s Meals with Recipes:

Breakfast
Oatmeal with Granny Smith Apples {recipe & photos on Refrigerator Confidential Day #5}
Green Tea
Freshly Pressed Ginger Kombucha

Lunch
Sandwich of Gruyere Cheese & Plenty of Arugula on Whole Grain Bread
Grapefruit Slices

Dinner
{Huge} Plate Salad of Mediterranean Flavors with Fresh Oregano Vinaigrette

Sandwich of Gruyere Cheese & Plenty of Arugula on Whole Grain Bread

This is my husband’s creation, and he says that you cannot have too much arugula on this sandwich.  It is a very tasty sandwich!  Cheese sandwiches were my favorite as a kid, but they were just American cheese and mayonnaise on white bread; not nearly as sophisticated as this sandwich.  I imagine most kids would not be too keen on arugula’s bitterness.  Bitter greens are good for you, so eat your bitter greens. . .on a cheese sandwich!

2 pieces of your favorite bread {we used Dave’s Killer Bread}
Gruyere cheese, thinly sliced
Arugula. . .lots
Mayonnaise
Salt & freshly ground pepper

Put cheese on 1 piece of bread {as much as you like}. Top with a big pile of arugula & sprinkle with a little salt and freshly ground pepper.  Spread mayonnaise on the other slice of bread & close up your sandwich.  Cut in a way that makes you happy & eat.

Plate Salad of Mediterranean Flavors

Huge} Plate Salad of Mediterranean Flavors with Fresh Oregano Vinaigrette 

Here is what I put on the salad. . .I’ll leave the amount of each ingredient up to you.

Kale & romaine lettuce
Sweet Maui onions
Green pepper slices
Jalapeño slices
Avocado
Cherry Peppers
Kalamata olives
Sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
Italian tuna packed in olive oil
Wakame & Ginger Sauerkraut Salad
Dusting of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Green onions

 

Here is the refrigerator on Day #6

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Bon appétit!


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Refrigerator Confidential Day #5

Welcome to Refrigerator Confidential Day #5!  We are not running out of food yet, nor ideas for using what’s left.  I think we are doing a good job this week getting through most of the produce we bought last Saturday.

Wednesday’s Meals with Recipes:

Breakfast
Oatmeal with Granny Smith Apples
Green Tea
Freshly Pressed Ginger Kombucha

Lunch
Quesadilla with Gruyere, Green Peppers, Jalapeños & Swiss Chard

Dinner
Leftover Roasted Carrot Soup
Maui Artichokes with Lemon Aioli
Relish Plate

 

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Oatmeal with Granny Smith Apples

*1/3 cup regular oatmeal {not instant or quick cooking}
Scant 2/3 cup milk of your choice {or you can use water}
Pinch sea salt
1/2 Granny Smith apple, or other apple variety of your choice, diced small {you can leave the peel on if you wish}

Put the oatmeal, milk, salt and apple in a microwave safe bowl.  The bowl should hold 2-3 cups so that the oatmeal doesn’t boil up and over the edge in the microwave.  Cook, uncovered, on high for 1 minute, stir, cook for another minute, stir, and then cook for about 1 more minute.  Take out and let stand for a few minutes, for the oats to absorb the milk.  Top with whatever you like on your oatmeal.  I tried roasted peanuts & a small plop of peanut butter & thought it was pretty tasty.

*I use 1/3 cup oatmeal for 1 serving for me.  My husband likes a larger serving, so for him I use 1/2 cup oatmeal and a scant 1 cup milk.

quesadilla-on-plate

Find the quesadilla recipe right here.

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Steamed Artichokes

Snip any thorns off of the leaves, slice off the top third of the artichoke and trim the stem so the artichoke can stand upright, removing as little as possible from the base.  Rinse the artichokes well, pulling the leaves apart to get out any dirt or critters.  If they are large, you can cut them in half lengthwise, so they will better fit into your steamer.  Rub the cut sides with a lemon to prevent browning.

Put your lovely artichokes into the steamer basket over boiling water.  Cook for 30-40 minutes, or until a leaf pulls out easily when tugged.  Serve immediately, with melted butter, mayonnaise or Lemon Aioli.  If you want to serve the artichokes cold, drop them in an ice bath to stop the cooking, then drain on a kitchen towel in the refrigerator until until ready to serve.

Lemon Aioli

About 2/3 cup mayonnaise {homemade or store bought}
1 clove garlic, mashed into a paste with kosher salt or put through a garlic press
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste {I put more pepper than one would think prudent; it can take quite a bit.}
Fresh lemon juice to taste

Mix all ingredients & chill if not serving immediately.

Relish Plate

Put whatever you want on your relish plate!  We have green onions, pickled beets & sauerkraut.

Relish Plate

What’s gone?

  • 2 green peppers
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard
  • 2 artichokes
  • 2 1/2 bunches green onions
  • Roasted Carrot Soup

Here is the refrigerator on Day #5:

Wednesday Fridge

Bon appétit!


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Refrigerator Confidential Day #4

Welcome to Day #4 of Refrigerator Confidential!  I’m not sure if you noticed, but we can sure tell that the fridge has more room to move around.  Even though it’s great to have a well-stocked refrigerator, it is fun to “eat it down” and look forward to starting all over again on Saturday.

Tuesday’s Meals with Recipes:

Breakfast

Me- leftover baked potato from yesterday’s lunch, 1/2 grapefruit, Breakfast “Borscht”
My husband- same as the last 2 days {plain yogurt, nuts, dried fruit, local honey}

Lunch

Roasted Carrot Soup
Ryvita Crackers with Organic Cultured Butter

Dinner

Leftover Baked Salmon
Orange & Molokai Purple Sweet Potato Fries
Steamed Beet Greens

Breakfast Beet and Yogurt “Borscht”

I was going to blend up a frozen banana and some plain yogurt to make a banana lassi {although I don’t think you would use frozen fruit in a lassi}, and then it occurred to me that pickled beets and yogurt would be a good combination {think chilled beet borscht with a dollop of sour cream top}.  Mine would be kind of a speedy version of chilled beet borscht.  A big spoonful of pickled beets, with a creamy cloud of plain yogurt swirled in, and a sprinkle of dill and voila, “borscht”!  I tasted it, and thought that some capers would add a nice punch of flavor, and indeed they did.  I love capers!  Actually, I just learned on the Splendid Table podcast last week that capers are more properly called caper buds, because they are the bud of the caper flower {from the caper plant} before it opens.  When the flower drops off, what is left is a caper berry, which looks like a giant caper bud.  I have never tried caper berries, but I hear that they are not quite as pungent as the caper buds.  Had I not eaten the baked potato, I would have enjoyed my yogurt with a buttered Ryvita {a buttered Ryvita is always good}.

Roasted Carrot Soup
adapted from Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen 

This is another of my favorite soup recipes from Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen .  I think I have mentioned before that it is my favorite soup cookbook, and Madison is my favorite cookbook author.

1 pound carrots, cut into chunks
2 small potatoes, cut into chunks
1 large onion, cut into chunks
5 garlic cloves, peeled
2-4 tbsp olive oil {I used 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil}
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 hefty thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf {I used 2}
*1 quart vegetable stock or water
1/2 cup light cream {I used 2% milk, and the soup was delicious.  I don’t think I’ve ever made it with cream.}
2-3 tbsp creme fraiche or sour cream, stirred with a fork until loosened {I used plain yogurt, but would use one of the other choices if I had them on hand.}
Fresh minced parsley or chives

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F {I used 375 degrees F.}.  Toss the vegetables with the olive oil and season with 1/2 tsp salt and some pepper.  Put them in a large baking dish sprayed with pan spray for easy cleanup {I used a 9″x13″ Pyrex baking dish.}, along with the thyme sprigs and bay leaves.  Roast until tender and glazed, about 1 hour, turning them 2-3 times.

Transfer the vegetables to a soup pot, add stock or water and bring to the boil.  Simmer until the carrots are soft, about 20″, then puree until smooth.  An immersion blender is a great tool for this-very quick and easy.  Return the puree to the pot {if you used a blender}, taste for salt, and season with pepper.  Stir in the cream or milk.

Ladle the soup into bowls, swirl in a spoonful of creme fraiche, sour cream or yogurt into each, top with minced parsley and serve piping hot.  Delicious and super healthy!

Makes about 4 servings {6 cups}.

*I used to make homemade vegetable stock for soup until I read Deborah Madison say that if you have great vegetables, you can use water in lieu of stock.  So unless a soup calls for a specific stock {i.e. red stock for tortilla soup, mushroom stock, etc.}, I use water and the soup is great.  I do not care for store bought vegetable stock.

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We had a tasty little wine and cheese pupu {appetizer} while waiting for our Orange and Molokai Purple Sweet Potato Fries to roast.

wine and parmesan appetizer

 

Orange and Molokai Purple Sweet Potato Fries

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Roasted Orange and Molokai Purple Sweet Potatoes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Make sure you have a rack positioned on the bottom of your oven.
3 potatoes will fill up a half-sheet pan-use 2 pans if you want more fries

Cut potatoes so they are approximately the same size; you can cut them into any shape you want {slices, wedges, French fries…}.  Place potatoes on a sheet pan that has been lined with foil, sprayed with pan spray {they will stick if you don’t} and drizzled with olive oil.  Season with kosher or sea salt, freshly ground pepper and red pepper flakes.  The red pepper flakes add a great spicy counterpoint to the sweetness of the potatoes; I wouldn’t leave them out, but if you aren’t a fan of spicy, by all means don’t use them.  I love spicy!!

Roast the potatoes on the bottom oven rack until they are browned and starting to get crispy, stirring occasionally. They will be tender in about 20 minutes, but leave them in longer so they will brown and crisp up.  The purple potatoes can get dried out if you leave them in too long, so keep an eye on them after 20 minutes or so.

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Steamed Beet Greens

Fresh beet greens {1 pound will serve 2-4 people}
Extra virgin olive oil
Butter
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
Sherry vinegar or lemon juice

Wash greens well, making sure water is clear, as beet greens can be quite dirty.  Discard any tough stems {or cut small & sauté} and roughly chop the greens.  Spin them mostly dry, but leave some water clinging to the leaves for steaming.  Put greens in a pot large enough to hold them, cover and cook over medium high heat until tender, 10-15 minutes.  Stir occasionally so they do not burn or stick.  When the greens are tender, season with a little butter, olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  If desired, sprinkle with a bit of sherry vinegar or lemon juice.

What’s gone?

  • 1 bottle kombucha
  • salmon
  • both potatoes
  • purple & orange yams {from Costco}
  • beet greens

 

Here is the refrigerator on Day #4:

Wed fridge

 

 


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Refrigerator Confidential Day #3

Welcome to Day #3 of Refrigerator Confidential!  This week, you are up close and personal with our refrigerator.  You can see what we buy at the Saturday Upcountry Farmers Market, and how we prepare it during the week.  It’s kind of a game for us {a very tasty game I might add}, and the goal is to eat all or most of the food by Friday, and end up with lots of empty bags to fill up at the market on Saturday.  Sometimes we are successful, and sometimes we don’t do so well.  The refrigerator’s Friday appearance has to do with how many times we eat out during the week {restaurants, beach BBQs, etc.}, as well as how motivated we are to take the time to wash the greens, broccoli, etc. and cook them.  Sometimes it’s easier to throw a salad together, with the already washed lettuce, than to wash and steam the broccoli; I think you know what I mean.

Monday’s Meals:

Breakfast

Me- The little bit of chili and brown rice that was leftover from yesterday
My husband- Nancy’s Low-fat Plain Yogurt with local honey, dried Maui pineapple, dried Maui apple bananas & coconut flakes, roasted peanuts & walnuts

Nancy's Plain Yogurt w/Maui honey, dried pineapple, dried apple bananas, walnuts, peanuts, coconut flakes

Freshly Pressed Ginger Kombucha {1 bottle is almost gone already!}
Green tea

Lunch

Gerald’s Eggs with Red Peppers & Parmesan {these eggs are a kind of open-face omelette/frittata that Gerald made up~really good}
Baked potato with butter {we shared a potato}
Caesar Salad
Avocado

Monday Lunch

Dinner
I worked tonight, so we didn’t eat the same thing.  We usually do, but it did’t work out this time because there was only 1 piece of Chicken Cacciatore left…for me!

Me- Chicken Cacciatore, broccoli & 1/2 grapefruit {and a piece of chocolate~ Lindt Dark Chocolate with Black Currants!!!}
My husband- sandwich on Dave’s Killer Bread {sometimes we will break down & buy a loaf of bread, if we run out of homemade bread…we like Dave’s} with Gruyere cheese, lots of arugula and mayonnaise {he said it was really good}, broccoli

What’s gone?

  • chili & brown rice
  • 1 potato
  • Caesar dressing
  • cooked broccoli
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 bunch arugula almost gone
  • romaine lettuce almost gone
  • 1 container of sauerkraut
  • avocado

Here is the refrigerator on Day #3:

Monday's refrigerator

 

Bon appétit!


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Refrigerator Confidential Day #2

Welcome to Day #2 of Refrigerator Confidential!  This week, I’m taking you inside our refrigerator so you can see what we buy at the Saturday Upcountry Farmers Market, and what we do with it throughout the week.  It’s kind of a game for us {a very tasty game I might add}, and the goal is to eat all or most of the food by Friday, and end up with lots of empty bags to fill up at the market on Saturday.  Sometimes we are successful, and sometimes we don’t do so well.

Yesterday I told you in words and pictures what we bought at the market.  I didn’t say anything about what else was in the refrigerator.  We had {not an exhaustive list, by any means}:

leftover homemade chili
leftover brown rice
cooked broccoli
homemade mustard vinaigrette
beets, which I cooked and pickled yesterday

Sunday’s Meals with links to recipes:

Breakfast
Me- Nancy’s Low-fat Plain Yogurt with olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin; broccoli with a drizzle of mustard vinaigrette
My husband- Nancy’s Low-fat Plain Yogurt with local honey, dried Maui pineapple, dried Maui apple bananas & coconut flakes, roasted peanuts & walnuts
Freshly Pressed Ginger Kombucha {1 bottle is almost half gone already!}
Green tea

Lunch
Leftover chili & brown rice {they’re almost gone!}
Salad of kale, arugula, pickled beets, Maui onion, Wakame & Ginger Sauerkraut Salad with mustard vinaigrette
Broccoli with olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, Parmesan and toasted sliced almonds

Dinner
Baked salmon with mayonnaise and Sweet Ginger Chili sauce {similar to Thai sweet chili sauce, but with healthier ingredients}
Caesar salad with homemade croutons and avocado

Pickled Beets
4 fresh beets, scrubbed and steamed until tender {about 45 minutes for medium size beets}
Onion, sliced {as much as you like, or none}
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp whole peppercorns
2 small bay leaves {or 1 large}

When beets are tender when pierced with a knife, let them cool until you can handle them comfortably.  Peel off the skins, and cut them into whatever shape you like.  Put them into a container with a tight lid, so you can turn them upside down to distribute the pickling liquid.  If you are using onions, layer them in with the beets.  I usually use a quart mason jar.  In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring them to the boil, stirring to ensure that the sugar gets dissolved.  Pour over beets and onions.  There will not be enough liquid to cover your beets, so turn the container upside down occasionally, and shake to distribute the liquid.  They will get tastier as they marinate longer.

Here is the refrigerator on Day #2:

photo1-4

Bon appétit!

 

 

 


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Refrigerator Confidential

“You probably don’t want to look in the crisper drawer.”  Amanda Freitag Chef and owner of Empire Diner

Welcome to my refrigerator!  I must admit right from the start that I “tidied up” a bit before I let you in.  I’m pretty sure that you would probably do the same, if you were planning to invite me in.  My husband and I cook many/most of our meals together, but I am the Curator of the Refrigerator.  I know what goes in, and its approximate location.  The biggest haul that goes into the refrigerator comes from the Saturday farmers market, and I find a home for all of it-no easy feat to be sure.  My husband goes to the market very early on Saturday mornings, while I go for a nice long walk, during which time I listen to the Splendid Table podcast on my phone.  If you haven’t heard the Splendid Table, I highly recommend that you check it out here.  Anyway, back to our refrigerator.  This week, I would like to show you what our refrigerator looks like, from its early Saturday morning sparseness to bulging at the seams later Saturday morning, then during the week as we eat our way through all the delicious fruits and vegetables, which come mostly from the Upcountry Farmers Market.

I should say that the way we eat requires time and effort…time and effort that we are willing to put into procuring, preparing and eating delicious food.  In no way do I expect that anyone else should necessarily follow our path, because I know that not everyone has the time, desire or knowledge to cook this way.  This is what I love to do, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to spend my time this way.

EARLY SATURDAY MORNING

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SATURDAY MID-DAY:  Fresh Produce from Upcountry Farmers Market 

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From the market today:  3 bunches green onions, 1 head romaine lettuce, 1 bunch kale, 1 dozen eggs, gardenias, red ginger, 5 beets, 2 white potatoes, 12 apple bananas, purple cabbage, 3 bunches arugula, 1 bunch Swiss chard, 4 jalapeños, 3 green peppers, 1 red pepper, cauliflower, 2 broccolis, 1 bunch celery, 2 artichokes, 1 kabocha squash, 2 bottles of Freshly Pressed Ginger Kombucha

 

 

 

SATURDAY MID-DAY:  Into the Refrigerator!

 

 

SATURDAY AFTERNOON:  Everything in its place!

Check out this article from New York Times Magazine about what 11 top New York chefs have in their refrigerators.

Mark Menjivar wrote a book about what’s in others’ refrigerators; it’s kind of fun to take a peek!  Check it out here.

What’s in your refrigerator?

 

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.

IMG_1611

 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!