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


Leave a comment

Fresh from the Farmers Market

My husband came home with some fabulous goodies from the Upcountry Maui Farmers Market yesterday.  Of course, this week was no different than any other, because he always comes home with great stuff…year round.  When you have a vibrant market that is overflowing with beautiful, top quality local food, you can’t go wrong…unless you get there late, and miss out on the best stuff.  Which is why my husband goes.  At this time of the year, he is at the market by 6:20 am, because things get going early in Maui.

Spring Mix 2

This pretty salad mix is a delightful blend of all kinds of greens, from bitter to sweet.  I cannot tell you what’s in it, beyond mizuna, romaine, baby kale and some lovely nasturtium blossoms.  It’s delicious on its own, or as part of a “regular” lettuce salad.  The little beet greens you see in the picture came from a big bunch of beets that had their greens attached.  I’ve been separating out the small tender beet greens and putting them into the lettuce bag for salads…delicious.  Which brings me to some “regular” lettuce that is absolutely gorgeous & crisp.  After I wash lettuce, it’s a great treat to eat a bowl of it, with a grind of salt, freshly ground pepper, a drizzle of good olive oil & sometimes a splash of red wine vinegar.  Freshly picked lettuce is wonderful and doesn’t need much adornment.

Red leaf lettuce

We are fortunate to have many varieties of avocado trees in Maui.  I have no idea what variety these are, but I can’t wait to cut one open.  The apple bananas are also from the market and are one of many varieties of bananas grown here in the islands.

Bananas & avocados

Papayas are in now and they are delicious!  I would say that papayas are an acquired taste, and if you aren’t quite there yet, try one with a splash of lime juice.  That’s how I came to enjoy this tropical fruit.

Last, but certainly not least, are these eggplants.  I have finally come around to enjoying  something other than the Italian Globe eggplant.  Yes, I have embraced the long, slender eggplant.  I’ve been making eggplant broiled with a mixture of extra virgin olive oil and pomegranate molasses {a new favorite ingredient, along with the labneh that tops the eggplant}.  Find the recipe here.  I’ve written about another favorite way to serve eggplant here.   I haven’t had any pomegranate arils for the garnish for this dish, so I’ve been using fresh cilantro or basil.  It’s delicious, but I’m sure the pomegranate arils would be even better, because their tartness would provide a nice balance to the richness of the eggplant & labneh.

IMG_5695

This cute towel is from our good friends Debbie & Bill!

What did you buy at your farmers market this week?

Bon appetit!

Advertisements


Leave a comment

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!


2 Comments

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!

 

 

 


1 Comment

“Lettuce is like conversation; it must be fresh and crisp, so sparkling that you scarcely notice the bitter in it.”  Charles Dudley Warner

Red Leaf  LettuceRed Loose-leaf Lettuce

Did you know. . .

. . . . . .that all lettuces are not created equally?  More on that in a second.

We are quickly approaching Saturday, and that means getting creative to eat all the fruits and vegetables from last week’s farmers market.  We have half of this glorious head of red leaf lettuce left.  It is happy lettuce.  Why is my lettuce happy?  We’ll get to that in a moment.  But first, a little background.  I am reading an interesting book called Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson.  You may think that it sounds like a book that Euell Gibbons might have penned; Gibbons was an authority on noshing on wild foods, but Robinson puts a different spin on eating “wild.”  Robinson discusses how many nutrients have been bred out of the foods we eat to make them more palatable {i.e. sweeter, less bitter}.  She also talks about which varieties are the most nutritious and how to prep, store and eat them.  It isn’t the kind of book that requires you to sit down and read it cover to cover, although you could do that.  To me, this is a great reference book that should be on the bookshelf of everyone who wants to eat food that is as healthy as possible.  And now, back to those happy leaves of lettuce.  According to Robinson, there are 2 rules of thumb for selecting lettuce with the highest phytonutrient content.  The first is color.  You may think that the deep, dark green romaine that you have been eating is the best, but indeed it is not.  Lettuces that are red, purple or reddish-brown are the richest in phytonutrients.  The second factor is even more surprising.  Would you have ever guessed that lettuces whose leaves are loosely arranged on the head would be more nutritious than those that are tightly compacted?  Not me for sure.  Well, it turns out that the leaves that are exposed to the sun’s damaging UV rays produce antioxidants, which are a kind of “sunscreen” for the plant.  Because a loose-leaf head of lettuce has many leaves exposed to the sun, more of the leaves produce the phytonutrients that are so good for us, and we benefit when we eat them.

Now that you know what to look for in a head of lettuce, I’ll tell you why my lettuce is happy.  It has been properly prepared so that it will retain and even increase its nutritional value.  Robinson states that when you get your lettuce home, you should pull the leaves off and soak them for 10 minutes in very cold water.  The leaves’ temperature will drop, which slows down the aging process.  Soaking them will help to maintain crispness.  After soaking, spin or towel dry them thoroughly {I could not live without my salad spinner}; moisture on the outside of the leaves invites decay-you want the water inside the leaves.

Red Leaf Lettuce Cleaned and Bagged

Label the pin-pricked bag and you can reuse it for the next head of lettuce.

Tear up the leaves before bagging them.  What’s that you say?  Tear up the leaves now, not when I make a salad?  Apparently, another way a plant defends itself {against gnawing animals, for instance} is by producing phytonutrients to “fend off the intruder.”  The antioxidant value of the lettuce is doubled by tearing up the leaves prior to storage {the tearing being like the animal gnawing the leaves}.  Place the greens in a Ziploc bag and prick it 10 {quart size bag}-20 {gallon size bag} times with a needle or pin.  The reason for the pinpricks is for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide; the lettuce does not stop respiring {breathing} on harvest.  If you seal it up in a bag, then it uses up all of the oxygen and the carbon dioxide level rises, and it will die from lack of oxygen.  If you leave the lettuce in the open, then it respires too quickly, and uses up its stored sugar and antioxidants, making them unavailable for you. Prepare your lettuce correctly and eat within a few days for best quality.   And enjoy that salad knowing that you have done everything you can to make it more nourishing!

Champagne vinaigrette. . .it sounds so elegant.   As a kid, I loved Girard’s Champagne Dressing; not so much now, because I don’t buy prepared salad dressings.  They are full of ingredients that aren’t necessary for good dressing and they are expensive.  Homemade salad dressings are so much better than prepared dressings, and I always have the ingredients to make some kind of dressing, even if it is just extra virgin olive oil and vinegar {or other acid}.

Salad with Grapefruit and Blue Cheese

We had this salad for dinner tonight.  The salad was composed of the red leaf lettuce, grapefruit sections {supremes to be exact}, red onion, toasted walnuts and blue cheese.  I didn’t actually whisk together a vinaigrette, but simply showered the salad with freshly ground salt and pepper, then drizzled it with Champagne vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.  Yum!  It was not only beautiful but delicious as well.


1 Comment

A Leafy Green Breakfast

Breakfast Salad final

This is what we had for breakfast this morning, and it was quite tasty.  There are those who have to eat “breakfast food” for breakfast, but here at our house, we eat most anything that tastes good and is good for you.  Sometimes we like to start the day with a salad, to get a jump start on the day’s vegetables.  You may remember from my Saturday is Market Day post that we stock up on lots of fruits and vegetables on Saturdays, and it can be a challenge to eat them all in a week.

The salad included red leaf lettuce, super thinly sliced onion, creamy avocado, cherry tomatoes, freshly made hard cooked eggs, dried plums, cilantro, freshly grated ginger, hemp seeds and lilikoi.  I dressed it with freshly ground salt & pepper, champagne vinegar & extra virgin olive oil. The produce & eggs all came from local farms.  We also enjoyed toast made from Whole Wheat Seeded Sourdough Bread from the Moana Bakery and Cafe  located in Paia, topped with the herb butter I made the other day. Green tea washed it all down.  Delectable!

About the lilikoi. . .I was always planning to make a lilikoi vinaigrette, but I once saw someone cut a lilikoi in half and squeeze the contents onto her cottage cheese.  So I decided that squeezing the contents right on top of the salad and then putting dressing on was probably just as good, and it is.  We eat it all, including the seeds.  Of course, you can always strain them out if you don’t want the added crunch.  Everytime I eat lilikoi, the taste and smell take me right back to the Radford High School {Oahu} locker room, where we had a vending machine with canned juices.  After every P.E. class, I would always buy a Passion Orange drink to help me cool off.  Taste and smell are powerful senses.  Best to have lilikoi trigger that locker room memory than sweaty bodies!

Try a salad for breakfast-it’s a delicious & healthy way to start your day!