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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Salad for breakfast? Yes, please!

I’m fairly certain that I have endorsed salad and other “non-breakfast foods” elsewhere on my blog.  But if you missed it, here it is again.  I can and will happily eat most anything.

I like to start my day with healthy & delicious food.  Getting a head start on the day’s vegetables isn’t a bad idea either.

Today, I had one of my favorite breakfast salads, including an ingredient I’ve never used on salad.  Actually, I haven’t used a lot of chia seeds, but I am trying to incorporate them into our food more often.  Not sure I can get into the gelatinous texture that chia provides when allowed to sit and gel, but they were great on my salad.

You’ll need a fork and a spoon for this dish-a fork for the salad on top, and a spoon to scrape up the delicious yogurt at the bottom of the bowl.  The yogurt mingles with your dressing, and any other flavors that make their way downward.

You can build a breakfast salad any way you like, including adding an egg on top, which I didn’t do this time, but it is delicious.  This is the salad I created this morning…

Breakfast salad, green tea, ry-vita

Yogurt on the Bottom Breakfast Salad 

Nancy’s Whole Milk Plain Organic Yogurt- a few spoonfuls, no more than 1/4 cup

Salad greens-I used curly green leaf & baby beet greens

Onion- thinly sliced pole to pole {my favorite cut for salad}

Tomatoes- I used cherry tomatoes from my lanai garden

Avocado- as much as you like

Fresh herbs- I used tarragon, dill & cilantro from my lanai garden

Fruit- I used 2 dried plums {a.k.a. prunes}

Freshly ground salt & pepper

Red wine vinegar {or your favorite vinegar}

Extra virgin olive oil

Plop a few spoonfuls of yogurt at the bottom of your bowl-if you put too much, it can overwhelm your salad.

Add greens, onion, tomatoes, avocado & fresh herbs.  Season with freshly ground salt & pepper.  Drizzle red wine vinegar and olive oil over all.  Garnish with a few prunes, admire your creation & enjoy with toast, or a Ry-Vita buttered with organic pasture butter and tea as I did.

Bottom of bowl yogurt breakfast salad

Bon appetit!

 

 

 

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Soft Boiled Egg with Sautéed Kale, Goat Cheese & Sherry Vinegar

I think I have mentioned before that vegetables are my favorite food, with green vegetables being at the top of my favorites.  Some may think it odd, but the taste of green rocks, in my book.  On occasion, I enjoy having vegetables for breakfast, just to get a head start on healthy eating for the day.  Disclaimer:  I am writing this after consuming a not so healthy lunch at a little Mexican place in Kahului.  The wet chicken burrito was very good, and I would order it again.  As I was thinking of the wonderful salad we would have for lunch, which was going to involve grapefruit, among other tasty things, my husband informed me that he can only eat our usual healthy way for so long, then he needs something a little heftier, like Mexican food.  So off we went to Amigo’s.   At least I walked/ran 4 miles this morning, before the rains came.  Anyway, I have been wanting to try Deb’s {Smitten Kitchen} soft cooked egg, and I finally decided to give it a try.

Soft boiled egg on sautéed kale

Soft boiled egg on sautéed kale

The only experience I have had with soft cooked eggs was quite a long time ago.  My mother-in-law used to make them for my husband when he was young, and he has fond memories of eggs prepared this way, so we made some. Although they were certainly tasty, they were also certainly a pain to crack open and eat before they got cold. . . I never made them again.  My mom used to hard cook an egg and then smash it up with butter, salt and pepper; I loved that and still make it every now and then.  The reason I wanted to try soft cooked eggs again, in spite of my not so positive experience with them, was that Deb’s way of eating them does not involve carefully slicing off the top part of the shell and scooping the egg out with a spoon.  She actually releases the egg from its shell;  I can do that!  Deb serves her eggs up with toast, butter and cheese {!!!} and cooked spinach.  I will do that as well, but this time I kept it simple~sautéed kale with a smashed soft cooked egg on top.  I didn’t take the time to make toast, but of course that would be a delicious accompaniment, as would potatoes {!!!} of some sort {I love our creamy, locally grown potatoes!}.

Soft boiled egg with sauteed kale and goat cheese

Soft boiled egg with sauteed kale and goat cheese

Soft Boiled Egg with Sautéed Kale, Goat Cheese & Sherry Vinegar

Kale, a couple handfuls per serving, washed and dried well

Extra virgin olive oil, about 1 tbsp

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Sherry vinegar

Eggs, 1 or 2 per serving

Fill a 1 quart {or larger} saucepan with water, and bring to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, gently lower the eggs into the water.  Set the timer for 6 minutes if you intend to eat the eggs immediately.  If your eggs will be waiting around for a few minutes before you eat them, set the timer for 5 to 5 1/2 minutes; the eggs will continue to cook in the shell while waiting to be cracked.  See Deb’s photographs on Smitten Kitchen to check out the difference between eggs cooked different amounts of time.  When the timer dings, gently rinse the eggs under cold water, just so they will be easier to handle.  Peel the eggs and set aside.

While the eggs are cooking, heat up the olive oil in a skillet large enough to hold your kale.  When the oil is hot, add kale and toss it around so that it will cook evenly.  Season with a little salt and freshly ground pepper while you are tossing it about, so all of the seasoning is not sitting on one leaf of kale.  The kale is best, in my opinion, when lightly sautéed, as opposed to being completely cooked down.  If it is cooked too long, it can get that canned greens taste, which isn’t the best.  Taste a leaf and take it off the heat when you think it tastes great.  Sprinkle the kale with some sherry vinegar to taste.

Put your sautéed kale in a bowl or on a plate, top with the peeled egg.  Smash the egg, and season it with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Crumble some soft fresh goat cheese over all & enjoy.

Bon appetit!


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A Double Rainbow and a Delicious Salad

Our morning began with the required glass of Freshly Pressed Ginger Kombucha, then a relaxing stroll on Baldwin Beach in Paia, which is about 15 minutes down the slope of Haleakala from our home.  Lifeguards were not yet on duty, and we shared the beach with fewer than two dozen early risers who wished to start their day with a soundtrack of gentle waves crashing and then receding into the vast Pacific.  The temperature was somewhere in the high 70s, with the perfect level of skin caressing breeze.  A double rainbow spanned the western sky, although the second one was camouflaged by clouds.

double rainbow at Baldwin

Of course, there were the usual dogs running willy nilly, some playing in the salty ocean, and others happily chasing each other in the sand {How did I not photograph the dogs??}.  My husband spotted one of those fluorescent green tennis balls in the sand, which he donated to a lucky dog who passed by at just the right moment; the dog, whose mannerisms reminded us of our dog Max {an Australian shepherd who passed away a few years ago}, was delighted by his good fortune.  It’s a little over two miles to walk the entire beach. . .I highly recommend it if you are in the neighborhood.

Looking north at Baldwin

After our walk, we went for coffee at Maui Coffee Roasters in Kahului.  My husband has a number of free drinks on his card, so that was the perfect way to top off our walk.

Next stop was home for breakfast.  I’ve shared my breakfast salads with you before, and for those of you who are okay with eating salad for breakfast, this one is a winner.  My husband bought some gorgeous beets from the farmers’ market last Saturday, so those definitely had a place in the salad.  There are blueberries in the freezer, which play nicely with beets and goat cheese, so in they went.  And there is more. . .

This is more of a guideline than a recipe, so play around with ingredients & make it your own.  For me, the key components are the beets, berries, goat cheese and nuts.  The black currant balsamic adds a lovely fruitiness which I highly recommend, if you can get your hands on some.  This shouldn’t be difficult, because it seems that olive oil and vinegar tasting stores are cropping up all around.  I read about such a place here on Maui, Wailea to be exact, several months ago in our local paper.  The first one I visited, however, was in Port Townsend, WA.  We moved to Maui in the summer of 2011, but I had not gone back to visit until this year, when I went twice in two months.  What fun I had!  Anyway, in Port Townsend, there it was, this fabulous store {Lively Olive} that had kegs of extra virgin olive oils and vinegars begging to be tasted.  I love vinegar and olive oil, so I was thrilled to stumble upon this place.  I brought home a bottle each of Blenheim apricot white balsamic and black currant balsamic.  I thought the black currant would be great with the blueberries and it did not disappoint.  After returning home, I thought I should visit the store in Wailea {Fustini’s Oils and Vinegars}.  The sales people were offering up all kinds of deliciousness in the form of taste combinations:  coconut balsamic + Persian lime extra virgin olive oil was the one I was particularly smitten with, so I purchased the coconut balsamic.  I decided I would make my own lime olive oil, and make some kind of salad that involved soft Manoa lettuce, sweet onion and mango, among other things.  If you are a Hawaii resident, Fustini’s offers a kamaaina discount!  Feel free to use another vinegar if you can’t find black currant balsamic. . .I’m sure your salad will be delicious!

plate salad with beets, goat cheese

Beet, Blueberry & Goat Cheese Salad with Black Currant Vinaigrette

Salad greens, washed & thoroughly dried {I used kale and romaine}

Beets, cooked, peeled and diced

Blueberries, fresh or frozen, thawed if frozen

Onions, thinly sliced

Fresh herbs, torn or julienned {I used basil and mint}

Soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Walnuts, toasted & broken

Eggs, prepared however you like them, optional

Extra virgin olive oil

Black Currant Balsamic

Salt & freshly ground pepper

I like to build meal size salads on a dinner plate, but you can use whatever you like.  The lettuce goes down first, and is topped by the fresh herbs.  Add beets, blueberries, onions and goat cheese.  Top with walnuts, salt and pepper.  Drizzle salad with black currant balsamic and olive oil.  If you are putting an egg on your salad, add it right now.  Enjoy!

plate salad with eggs

Bon appetit!


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A Muffin to Love

Before we get down to these scrumptious muffins with the craggy tops, filled with whole grains, fruits and nuts, I have a few flower pictures from around our neighborhood.

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We love muffins at our house, and these are one of our favorites {we have too many favorites to choose just one!}.  My recipe is adapted from the Apple-Cranberry Muffins recipe found in Once Upon a Tart {Mentesana and Audureau}, which is one of my favorite cookbooks.  Once Upon a Tart is “New York City’s favorite bakeshop and cafe.”  I have never been there, but if I ever make it back to New York City, I will be sure to drop in for lunch and dessert.  Karen Dennis posted the original muffin recipe on her blog, and you can find it here.  I haven’t met many recipes I didn’t want to play around with in some way, so today I will share my spin on this tasty muffin.  It is a delicious muffin, particularly when you top it with a smear of good butter.  Speaking for myself, it is important to remember the butter, salted or unsalted, when you enjoy a muffin or slice of quick bread {or any bread for that matter}.  Butter offers up a delicious creamy contrast to the fruit and nut goodness that are these muffins, making them even more delicious than when au natural.  So, without further adieu. . .

 

Muffin with egg and asparagus

I love muffins with eggs {fried eggs in particular} and a fresh spring vegetable.  This was a tasty and healthy breakfast, I might add!

 

Apple Cranberry Apricot Muffin

Look how craggy the tops are, with tender morsels of Granny Smith apples, tart-sweet cranberries, chewy apricots & crunchy walnuts.  There is no shortage of nooks and crannies for butter to hide.  Delicious!

 

Apple Cranberry Apricot Muffin Split with Butter

 

It just looks like a lot of butter, but isn’t really!

 

Apple, Cranberry & Apricot Muffins
adapted from Once Upon a Tart’s Apple-Cranberry Muffins

We still have a bag of cranberries in the freezer, which are totally fine, but I’m sure blueberries would also be awesome in these muffins, if  you don’t have cranberries.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup medium grind cornmeal
1/4 cup dark rye {light rye would be fine}
1 tbsp flax seed meal
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup neutral flavor oil {I used organic canola oil}
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup broken walnuts
1 medium size tart apple, such as Granny Smith, cored but not peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 cup whole frozen {or fresh} cranberries
3/4 cup chopped dried apricots {preferably California apricots, as they are tastier and less sweet than Turkish apricots}

Grease 12 muffin cups with butter or pan spray.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium size bowl until well mixed.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs to break up the yolks.  Add sugar and continue to whisk for a few minutes, until the mixture begins to pale in color.  Whisk in the oil and vanilla.

Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring with a wooden spoon until just a little flour is visible.  Add the walnuts, apples, cranberries and apricots.  Stir gently until there is no trace of flour visible.

Divide the batter evenly into your muffin cups, filling them almost to the top.

Place the muffin tin onto the center rack of the oven, and bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.  Do not over-bake.  Remove the muffins to a cooling rack and cool completely, except those that you will enjoy warm {with a swipe of good butter!}.

Notes:

  • I leave the apple unpeeled; we like the chewiness that the peel adds {and fiber too!}.
  • We get our dried apricots from Trader Joe’s.  This is one of the items we ask people to bring to Maui when they ask, “Do you want anything from Trader Joe’s?”  The answer, of course, is a resounding “YES!”  We like the California Slab Apricots Blenheim Variety.
  • I think I have established elsewhere on this blog that I prefer large pieces of nuts in baked goods, so the walnuts are broken.  There are a few exceptions to this rule, but not many.
  • Muffins freeze well, wrapped in a zipper lock bag {squeeze out as much air as you can}.

Bon appétit!


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Refrigerator Confidential Day #7 & #8

Welcome to Refrigerator Confidential Day #7 & #8, the final post of this up close and personal look at our refrigerator.  I hope you have enjoyed reading about the kinds of foods we like to buy at the farmers’ market, and how we manage to eat all or most of it by the end of the week.  It is always a challenge, and does require a fair amount of effort from us, but this is how we like to eat. . .it is our lifestyle, and we wouldn’t trade it for any other way.

Friday’s Meals with Recipes:

Breakfast

Me- Oatmeal with Granny Smith Apples {recipe & photos on Refrigerator Confidential Day #5}
Green Tea
Freshly Pressed Ginger Kombucha
My husband- Peanut Butter & Arugula Wrap on a Whole Grain Tortilla

Lunch

Grilled Eggplant Moussaka
Pickled Beets {recipe & photos on Refrigerator Confidential Day #2}

moussaka & pickled beets

Layers of russet potato, zucchini, eggplant & seasoned ground beef topped with feta cheese & creamy Bechamel sauce with Pickled Beets

Our friend Molly dropped off a delicious Grilled Eggplant Moussaka yesterday, which I promptly put in the oven for our lunch.  I have never made moussaka, and I’m not sure that I have ever eaten it before, so I have nothing with which to compare it.  Comparisons are unnecessary though, because it was outstanding.  Molly has a business called Maui Go To Girl {“consider it done“}.  If you are a busy person who could use some assistance with meals, errands, moving, event planning and much, much more, please check out her website at www.mauigotogirl.com.  Her services are many and I can assure you that you are in good hands with Molly {food-wise and otherwise}!

Dinner

We went to Milagros in Paia, where you can find one of the best Maui happy hour prices we know of {$3.00 beer and margaritas-no food discount}.  We filed our taxes yesterday, so decided to go out and celebrate with Kalua Pork Nachos-yum!  After we came home, we had popcorn while we watched episode 2 of season 1 of  Twin Peaks.  We didn’t watch it when it first came out, so we are catching up on popular culture.  While it was a tasty eating day, it wasn’t stellar in terms of vegetable consumption-definitely not up to our usual standards.  It’s what you do 95% of the time that matters, according to us. . . you have to be able to eat some not-so-healthy for you foods every now and again.

Peanut Butter & Arugula Wrap on a Whole Grain Tortilla

1 whole grain tortilla {we use organic sprouted wheat tortillas}
Peanut butter of your choice {I can’t imagine not choosy crunchy.}
Arugula-lots of it
Fresh lemon juice
Salt & pepper

Spread tortilla with as much peanut butter as you want, and top with lots of arugula.  Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over the arugula and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  You could also drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the arugula.  It’s always a good thing to have something juicy on a wrap, otherwise they can be dry.

Here is what’s left from last Saturday’s purchases.  Not bad.  We consider the carrots, celery, cabbages and kabocha squash to be staples, meaning we don’t necessarily don’t intend to eat them all during the week.  Imagine adding all that to what we’ve already eaten!  So really, what’s left are 2 green onions, a half a green pepper, 2 jalapeños and a bit of kale.  We’d call this a successful eating week!  We only ate out twice-last Saturday night at Nuka {mmmm!} and yesterday at Milagros, so that was helpful.

what's left

It’s Saturday again & we have started the cycle all over again!

Here's the foundation of another week of great eating!

Here’s the foundation of another week of great eating!

Isn't this organic red leaf lettuce gorgeous?

Isn’t this organic red leaf lettuce gorgeous?

Beautiful Baby Romaine Lettuces

A Bundle of Beautiful Baby Romaine Lettuces

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I hope your farmers’ markets are open or opening very soon!  Go out and get yourself some delectable fresh produce for your health and good eating.

Bon appétit!


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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!