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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The Anatomy of a Simple Summer Salad

“Those who think they have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”  ~ modified from Edward Stanley

Tis the season for salads!  Welcome Summer!  Even here in Maui, where it always feels like summer during the day, we have growing seasons for our locally grown fruits and vegetables.  Truth be told, we eat salads all year long, and did even in the depths {and despair} of cold, rainy Pacific Northwest winters {paired with something hot and hearty, of course}.  The fresh flavors and textures of salads, created from myriad ingredients, including vegetables, fruits, herbs and grains cannot be beat. Salads need not be complicated to be delicious.  They can be as simple as arugula with thinly sliced onion, salt, pepper, fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.  This is one of my favorite flavor combinations.  Today’s lunch salad was not only gorgeous, it was a gastronomic delight!  Select whatever greens you like, but I think it is best with a tender lettuce like red leaf, Manoa, butter or some other soft variety.  Once you cut the fruit off the mango, use your impeccably clean hands to squeeze the pit, because it will release a lot of delicious juice that will become part of the dressing; I hold it over my salad and squeeze until it has given up all it has to give.   It is impossible to cut every bit of flesh off of a mango, so this is my way of getting every last bit of goodness from this tasty fruit.

 

Salad with steak, purslane & cilantro blossoms

 Salad of Greens, Mangoes, Tomatoes, Purslane and Steak

Salad greens, washed and spun dry {your choice}
Green onions, thinly sliced
Tomatoes, diced
Mangoes, diced
Steak, cut into bite size pieces
Cilantro leaves, fronds & blossoms
Purslane clusters
Champagne vinegar, or other mild white vinegar {white wine, unseasoned rice}
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Put greens in a bowl and top with onions, tomatoes & their juices, mangoes and steak.  Top with a few purslane clusters and cilantro leaves, fronds & blossoms.  Season salad with salt and pepper.  Squeeze the mango pit over the salad to release all the juice you can.  Drizzle with champagne vinegar and extra virgin olive oil to taste.  Enjoy!

Notes:

  • If you don’t have green onions, a sweet onion like Maui, Vidalia, Walla Walla Sweet, etc. would be delicious.
  • Add any protein you want, or none at all.  Chicken, salmon or shrimp would all be nice.
  • I used cilantro fronds & blossoms because I have one overachieving plant that has outgrown all the others, which are too small to harvest, and I am trying to use the whole plant.  Use whatever you have.  Mint and/or basil would be fabulous!
  • If you don’t have purslane in your garden, try to get some from the farmers’ market.  If you see little black seeds around the leaves, lucky you!  Plant those seeds and grow your own purslane, which is what I did.  It is doing quite well, thank you very much.
  • Papaya would also be good in this salad, but you won’t have any juice like with mango.
cilantro plant

Cilantro-don’t forget to use the fronds and blossoms; they are pretty & delicious!

purslaneplant

Purslane is easy to grow. In fact, you may have some in your yard, as it is considered a weed {a healthy weed}.


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A Delicious Bowl of Beans

Before getting into the nitty gritty of garbanzo beans, which I love, I want to pass along information on a couple of free online classes.  Go to Craftsy, and check out their free mini-classes.  I don’t know if these classes are forever free, or if  just a current special, but it’s worth checking into.  What I have watched of the knife skills class so far, about 30 minutes, has been interesting and helpful.  I’m also signed up for a free class called Perfect Pizza at Home, with Peter Reinhart {The Bread Baker’s Apprentice author} as the helm as instructor.  I have not started that class yet {where does my time go???}. Reinhart is also teaching a class {not free} called Artisan Bread Making, which I have started; so far it’s great!

Beans are on many people’s lists of healthy foods; they are full of fiber, both soluble and insoluble, and they taste great.  There is something very satisfying about cooking a pot of beans.  I can’t put my finger on it, but for me, it’s in the same vein as baking yeast bread.  The kinesthetic aspect of making bread isn’t present in cooking beans, but a pot of well-seasoned beans can make your house smell wonderful, and they make for some mighty fine eating.  Cooking a pot of beans can take about the same amount of time as baking bread, but it is hands-off time for the most part, which is nice.  Think of all the things you can get done while your beans are slowly simmering and bubbling away on the stove.  Many people think that beans are too much trouble because they need to be soaked overnight and their cooking time is less than speedy. . . fast food they are not.  Beans will cook faster if soaked overnight, but they do not have to be soaked.  Rarely do I think about cooking beans tomorrow.  Rather, I get up in the morning and decide to cook some beans.  The age of your beans has something to do with how quickly they cook, with fresher beans cooking more quickly.

I find all beans delicious {except maybe black-eyed peas, but I’m trying}, but my favorite bean is the garbanzo bean, also known as the chickpea.  I didn’t eat them as a kid though.  My mom used to buy canned chickpeas, and I wouldn’t touch them because I thought the name sounded gross.  Maybe that’s why I prefer calling them garbanzo beans.  I like them because they are so versatile and tasty with the flavors that I find totally irresistible {Middle Eastern flavors in particular}.  Anyway, now I eat them in a variety of ways.

  • There’s always hummus, especially with homemade pita bread or fresh fennel.
  • Garbanzos are great on top of a green salad.
  • Falafel burgers!
  • Middle Eastern Tacos!
  • You can put some beans, preferably freshly cooked & still a titch warm, into a bowl, and then drizzle with your best extra virgin olive oil, a healthy squeeze of lemon, salt and freshly ground pepper.  Don’t worry about draining the beans thoroughly, because the broth is delicious and mingles nicely with your dressing.  Some diced avocado would be great here too.  Simply delicious!

My favorite way to enjoy garbanzo beans just may be this recipe from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.  I love pretty much everything I’ve made from this cookbook, and this dish is right up at the top.  It’s one of my husband’s favorite things I make, and he would rather have a pot of pinto beans than garbanzo beans, so that’s saying a lot.  First, you will need some cooked garbanzo beans.  I’m hoping that you will try this recipe for preparing dry garbanzo beans, as it is excellent.

Garbanzo beans, onions, garlic, fresh parsley and kombu

Garbanzo beans, onions, garlic, fresh parsley and kombu

Freshly Cooked Garbanzo Beans
adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

1 cup garbanzo beans, cleaned & soaked {you don’t have to soak them, but they will take longer to cook}
Aromatics: 1 onion, quartered, 2 parsley sprigs, 4 garlic cloves
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6” piece of kombu, or a few pinches asafetida, optional {I love to eat the cooked kombu}
1 ½ tsp salt

Cover garbanzo beans with 2 quarts fresh water & add remaining ingredients, except salt.  Add the salt when the beans have been cooking for about 30″.   Simmer until completely tender, but not mushy.  I start checking at around 45”.  Let the beans cool in the broth.  I will often leave all the aromatics in the beans, except the parsley and bay leaf.

Spicy Chickpeas with Ginger and Aioli make a delicious meal!

Spicy Chickpeas with Ginger
adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

3 tbsp mustard oil or vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp minced ginger
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tomatoes, peeled and diced {I usually use a 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes}
1 1/2 cups chickpea broth or water
3 cups cooked chickpeas, or 2 15-oz. cans, rinsed
Juice from 1/2 lemon

Garnishes:  diced onion, minced jalapeño, chopped fresh cilantro and diced fresh tomato

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until well-browned, 12 to 15 minutes.  Lower the heat and add the bay leaf, garlic, ginger, spices, 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper and the tomatoes.  Cook for 5 minutes, then add the chickpea broth and chickpeas.  Simmer until the liquid is reduced to a sauce like consistency.  Taste for salt and season with lemon juice.  Serve with the garnishes {in small dishes} or scatter them over the chickpeas.

Spicy Chickpeas with Ginger and Aioli

Hands down our favorite way to eat this dish.  In fact, I don’t think we have ever eaten it without the aioli.  All of the garnishes, particularly the aioli, make this dish fabulous, in my opinion.

Notes:

  • Make the aioli-it’s totally worth it!  The warmth of the beans accentuates the flavor and aroma of the aioli when you slip a dollop of it right in the center of your bowl of beans.  Then top with the onion, jalapeño, tomato and cilantro.  Use commercial or homemade mayonnaise for your aioli, but please do try it, at least the first time.  You won’t be sorry.
  • For the best end result, cook dry beans instead of using canned.  Even though I prefer starting with dry beans, I’m not opposed to all canned beans.  However, my experience with canned garbanzo beans is that the beans tend to have more bite than I like.  A well-cooked garbanzo bean is tender enough to be mashed between your tongue and the roof of your mouth {a good test for doneness!}.  They should be soft and creamy, not al dente.
  • Soak or don’t soak, and cook your beans using whatever method you prefer, but season them well, so they will be delicious even when they stand alone.  I like Deborah Madison’s method for producing a fantastic tasting pot of beans.  If you put the kombu {seaweed} in, it is a real treat to eat when the beans are done; I love it.  Kombu adds a lot to the beans, so I encourage you to put it in, and eat it when the beans are cooked.
  • I buy Rising Tide Kombu from Mana Foods, here in Paia.  You can purchase kombu on line, or I’m sure you can find it at Whole Foods or any good natural foods store.
  • Serve with cooked brown rice, naan or all by itself with the garnishes & enjoy!

I do hope you will give this a try, and that you love it as much as I do.  Let me know what you think!Spicy Chickpeas with Ginger and Aioli

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 #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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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!


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If you’re busy, never cook for one meal; always cook for two or three.  Put it in the freezer, but it doesn’t have to encore in the same form.” Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Kula Black Raspberries

Kula Black Raspberries

Who knew?  Not me.  I had no idea that some nice farmer is growing black raspberries, on Maui, for our eating pleasure {in November!!!}.  My husband purchased these beauties at the Upcountry Farmers Market.  What a pleasant surprise!

Luscious Fresh Berries

Luscious Fresh Berries

Black Raspberries with Cream & Powdered Sugar

Black Raspberries with Cream & Powdered Sugar

We love fresh berries with a dribble of heavy organic cream and a flurry of powdered
sugar. . .pure bliss. 

Unlike other easier to eat berries, cranberries elicit strong opinions from those who either love them or loathe them.  We happen to enjoy cranberries, and have a few favorite ways to use them.  I should say that I am talking about fresh cranberries, not the dried ones.  We do like dried cranberries, but they are not the same healthy powerhouse as the fresh variety.

Fresh Cranberries

Fresh Cranberries

Once the berries are dried, the sugar and calorie content skyrocket.  Fresh berries are only available a few months of the year, so if you want them year round, you will need to buy them now and squirrel them away for another day.  We like to rinse fresh cranberries in a colander, blot them dry and then put them on a parchment-lined sheet pan for a short stint in the freezer; this will prevent them from freezing into a solid block of cranberries, which will not be user friendly.  If you do not have parchment paper, a flexible cutting board works well, but I do not recommend using waxed paper, as it tears easily from being wet and it will be harder to remove the frozen berries.  Once the berries are frozen, pop them into a freezer bag and enjoy them whenever you like, in breads, cookies, hot cereal, smoothies or relish.

Ready for the freezer!

Ready for the freezer!

One of our favorite cranberry recipes is for fresh cranberry orange relish.  We also like cooked cranberry relish, but this is what we make most often.  We have significantly reduced the sugar for our tastes, but you can certainly adjust it for yours.  I enjoy this relish the most on plain yogurt {yum!} with big pieces of walnuts.  It is also good to have a spoonful on a green salad, or with any traditional cranberry-friendly foods.

Cranberry Orange Relish

Cranberry Orange Relish

Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish
adapted from Superfoods Rx.:  Fourteen Foods that will Change Your Life  {Steven Pratt, M.D. and Kathy Matthews}
12 ounces fresh or *frozen cranberries, rinsed and drained
1 unpeeled orange {preferably organic}, washed, cut into eighths and seeded
1/3 cup sugar {the original recipe calls for 3/4 cup}

Put the cranberries, orange slices and sugar into a food processor.  Process until everything is evenly chopped.  Chill until ready to eat.  *If you use frozen cranberries, partially thaw them before processing, or you will end up with a big cranberry orange ice ball.

The relish gets better as it sits and the flavors mingle.

Makes about 3 cups

Kale Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

Kale Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

We enjoyed several kale salads last week, all of them with cranberry vinaigrette.  The tart-sweet of the vinaigrette pairs perfectly with kale’s bitterness and the creaminess of fresh goat cheese.  A few other ingredients make this salad a winner.  Not to mention the fact that the dressing is a gorgeous hue of creamy cranberry pink.  It looks kind of like raspberry gelato.  I apologize for the lack of photo-we ate all the dressing.

Kale Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette
I made several versions of this salad recently, this being the most elaborate with the addition of canned tuna.  You can put in whatever you like, but I think the most important additions are the goat cheese {for creaminess} & the toasted walnuts {pair excellently with the goat cheese and cranberries, and for a toasty CRUNCH}.

Kale, enough for 2 salads, washed, dried well & torn into bite-size pieces
Thinly sliced sweet onion {or red}
1 avocado
1 can tuna {we use Wild Planet}; optional
Fuyu persimmon, washed and thinly sliced {I don’t peel them, but you can if you like.}
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
Toasted walnuts
Fresh goat cheese, crumbled
Cranberry Vinaigrette {recipe below}

Put the kale into 2 bowls and dribble with enough dressing to moisten.  Top with onion, avocado, tuna {if using}, tomatoes, crumbled goat cheese and walnuts.  Put a ring of persimmon slices around the edge of the bowl.  Add a grind of salt & pepper then top with dressing.

2 servings

Cranberry Vinaigrette
2/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (or tangerine juice)
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Combine cranberries, sugar, and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook about 5-10 minutes, or until the cranberries pop.  Remove from the heat and let cool.  Pour cooled cranberry mixture into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Add the mustard and orange juice and blend.  With the motor running, stream in the olive oil.  Season dressing with salt and pepper.

Makes about 2 cups dressing

Did you know that. . .
Fresh cranberries:
* are low in calories {44/cup}
* are high in fiber
* are low in sugar
* aid in the prevention of urinary tract infections {UTIs} by preventing bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract lining
* are high in phenols which are plant chemicals known to be highly protective against many health problems {i.e. toxic to cancer tumor cells}
* helps to prevent bacterial adhesion to teeth and the stomach lining, preventing dental plaque and ulcers, respectively

Information from:  The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth {Jonny Bowden, Ph. D., C.N.S.}

Happy Thanksgiving & Bon Appetit!