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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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 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 #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 #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 #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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Express Post: Asparagus

This is going to be an express post, because I have a lot of things I want to get done today, but I want to tell you about our new favorite way to eat asparagus . . . just in case you get your hands on some fresh asparagus.  To our great delight, a new crop of Maui-grown asparagus has hit the Upcountry Farmers Market!  If asparagus isn’t available in your area just yet, don’t fret-spring is coming your way soon.  Just for the record, I love thick spears of asparagus;  I want to know that I am biting into something.  We enjoy asparagus steamed, then topped with freshly squeezed lemon/lime juice, freshly ground salt and pepper and homemade mayonnaise.  It’s also fantastic roasted in a hot oven, after rolling around in some extra virgin olive oil, freshly ground salt and pepper and sprigs of fresh thyme.  I was looking for ideas in my newest Deborah Madison book, Vegetable Literacy, and found a way to cook asparagus that we think is genius, not to mention downright delicious.  It is pretty much the same technique as this green been recipe I shared with you a few months ago, which is our new favorite way to eat green beans.

pan griddled asparagus 2

Griddled Asparagus
adapted from Vegetable Literacy {Madison}

1 bunch asparagus
olive oil, for coating asparagus
kosher salt
Maldon Sea Salt, or other flaky sea salt, to finish
freshly ground pepper

If you are using asparagus with thick spears, peel the lower parts so they will be tender.  Toss the spears with olive oil to coat {you don’t need a lot} and season lightly with salt.  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.

When the pan is hot, add your asparagus.  Don’t move it around just yet; you want some color to form on the spears that are in contact with the pan.  When you see some beautiful browned spots on your asparagus, toss the spears around in the pan.  You do not need to methodically move them one by one. Keep the heat on medium high and continue cooking the asparagus for several more minutes, until they are tender when poked with a sharp knife.  Some of the larger spears may still be a little al dente {crisp}, but I assure you they will be perfectly delicious.

Serve the griddled asparagus on a platter sprinkled with whatever crunchy salt you have selected.  Although I think it is perfect just like this, without any other additions, Madison suggests rolling the cooked spears around in Tarragon Butter and a few other sauces from her book.  I greatly respect Madison’s opinions when it comes to making delicious food, so I will probably try some of these sauces in the future.

Bon appetit!


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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!