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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“There are only ten minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect to eat.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s thoughts on enjoying the perfect pear may be true for raw pears, although I think his window is a little narrow.  My new favorite way to enjoy pears is roasting them, which I will tell you about in a moment. 

I try to walk most days, and enjoy listening to podcasts on my iPhone while I walk.  I subscribe to a number of podcasts, several which have to do with my favorite subject-food.  Here are some I highly recommend:

These podcasts are all hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper, who is an American food writer and radio journalist out of Minnesota.

The Splendid Table– hour long program which is “public radio’s culinary, culture and lifestyle program which celebrates food and its ability to touch the lives and feed the souls of everyone.”
Key 3– a series of discussions with great cooks about the 3 techniques or recipes that they think everyone should know
How to Eat Supper/How to Eat Weekends– short shows {around 10 minutes or less} based upon the 2 books

After I baked a couple batches of Mocha Truffle Cookies Saturday, I turned off the oven and popped in some fruit.  “What’s that?,” you say.  Putting the fruit in after the oven is turned off?  Yes indeed!  I popped some pears into the oven for about 50 minutes, and what emerged was tender, juicy fruit ready to eat in a variety of ways.  Look at the gorgeous browning that occurred in that short period of time. 

roasted pears

close up of roasted pears

Roasted pears in bowl

The first time I tried this, I roasted Bosc pears and Granny Smith apples, thinly sliced.  My husband thought they needed a little something extra, so he drizzled just a bit of local honey over the fruit, and a touch of freshly ground salt.  As most of us know, a little salt complements the sweetness of fruit.  I sprinkled the fruit with sliced almonds after it came out of the oven, and we enjoyed it with some dark chocolate.  Delicious!  I have also just put the fruit in with no extras, and that’s good too.  Plain yogurt is excellent topped with roasted fruit, nuts, cinnamon and a sprinkle of cacao nibs. 

yogurt with roasted pears

yogurt with roasted pears close up

I got the idea for roasting with the oven off from the podcast How to Eat Weekends {episode from 6 October 2011}.  If you listen to the podcast, you will hear about many other foods that you can roast, but I haven’t tried anything other than apples and pears {yet!}.  The beauty of this method is that it is energy efficient, it is tasty and you can use fruits or vegetables that may not have stellar flavor if eaten raw {think tomatoes, apple or pears that may be a little mushy, etc.}. I hope you will listen to this podcast and then try roasting some of your own fruits and vegetables.  It is quick, easy and delicious! 

Roasted Pears

 Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and fill with thinly {about 1/4 inch} sliced pears.  Slide into the oven after you’ve turned off the heat and let the fruit “roast” for about 50 minutes.  You can drizzle the fruit with honey and sprinkle with a little salt and nuts if you like.  I didn’t put the nuts on before roasting, but think I will start doing this.  Enjoy plain {warm or cold}, with dark chocolate or over ice cream.   

Just for fun-perhaps you will find your city in this list of culinary winners from Saveur Magazine

Bon appetit!

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“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”  ~John Dewey

For some reason, I am having a hard time settling down to write.  My mind has been wandering quite a bit lately, as I think about my friends in the Central Kitsap School District who gathered together again this past Monday, after about 8 weeks of well-deserved summer vacation. This is the week of back to school teacher meetings, sprinkled with moments to prepare classrooms for the children, who are coming next week.  Going back to school is a mixed bag of emotions; it means the return of early morning alarms, and giving up your free time but at the same time, you get to see your friends and the kids again for the camaraderie and excitement of a fresh new year.  Here’s hoping for a wonderful school year for all!

I’ve wanted to write about yogurt for a while now.  We eat yogurt because it tastes good, but also because it is a healthy food.  If you want to eat yogurt for its health benefits, there are a few things to be considered.  Cultured or fermented foods, of which yogurt is one, provide beneficial bacteria for your gut, which is a good thing.  But all yogurts are not created alike.  Look for yogurt that contains the most variety of live active cultures; the more the better.  Yogurt that has fewer ingredients is better for you.  Some yogurt is full of added sugars, colors, stabilizers and other such ingredients which are not needed.  We like to buy plain low-fat yogurt, specifically Nancy’s.  Using plain yogurt allows you to customize your yogurt any way you like.  Plain yogurt is like a blank canvas.  Here is a generic “recipe” to follow to create a fabulous yogurt breakfast.  It’s really up to you to add whatever you like.

Put some yogurt in a bowl.

Add fruit if you want.  This can be frozen fruit, fresh fruit, fruit jam that you have made preferably with minimal added sugar {like our peach jam that I told you about}.

Add a grain.  This can be cooked quinoa, brown rice, 2 tbsp of Buckwheat Chia Crunch, raw oatmeal {regular, not quick cooking, which can make your blood sugar spike} or granola {this granola is our current favorite-I reduce the maple syrup to 1/2 cup and the brown sugar to 1/4 cup}.

Make it nutty!  Toss in some nuts or seeds and maybe some cacao nibs for a little nutritious chocolate “punch.”

Mix it all up & taste it.  If it needs a little sweetening, add a little local honey or Grade B maple syrup.  Maybe a few splashes of vanilla would be tasty.  Once you get used to plain yogurt, you will find the presweetened stuff way too sweet.  If we use a drizzle of maple syrup or honey it is most likely for the nutrients more than the need for additional sweetness.

Sprinkle with cinnamon {tastes great & is good for your blood sugar}.

Enjoy your nutritious bowl of deliciousness!

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Buckwheat Chia Crunch for Yogurt

1/4 c hemp seeds
1/4 c buckwheat {I prefer untoasted buckwheat groats.}
1/8 c chia seeds
1/8 c ground flax seeds {best to grind your own in small quantities as needed}
1/8 c dried fruit, cut into small pieces {optional}

Mix together in a small jar.  When ready to eat, shake it up so you get all of the ingredients.  Use about 2 tbsp per serving.

Makes about 3/4 cup

Here are a couple more ways that we like to jazz up our plain yogurt.

savory yogurt This is my savory breakfast yogurt.  It includes diced cucumber, tomatoes, minced jalapenos, cilantro, cumin & a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  It is delicious with a Ry-Vita Cracker spread with butter, or a buttered piece of toast.

mixed berry yogurt This has Buckwheat Chia Crunch, unsweetened flake coconut, cacao nibs & mixed berry jam {made from Costco frozen mixed berries & a little sugar}.

This is an excellent article about. the healthy bacteria in our bodies.

Sources:
The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth {Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S.}
Super  Foods {Steven Pratt, M.D.}