Roasted Cauliflower with Capers at Home

Do you ever have a craving for something but you can’t put your finger on just what it is? It’s like when you can’t think of the name of a movie. You can visualize it, you know who’s in it and what happens, but your brain can’t make the connection and the title eludes you. Isn’t it the most satisfying feeling when it finally hits you and you can tie up that loose thread in your mind and neatly stow it away? My friend Sarah, aka the Ohana Mama, would call it an Ah-ha moment. Ah-ha, the movie I couldn’t think of was Raising Arizona and I was craving Basil Gelato! Ah-ha!

Well, I’ve had one of those moments on a big time scale. Yes, yes, I was craving roasted cauliflower with capers but it’s even bigger than that. [Read more…]

Let’s talk about ribs baby

Ahem. Where were we?

Ah yes, I believe I promised you a rib recipe at the beginning of summer, and I have yet to deliver.  Believe it or not, I am actually quite good at keeping promises. Delivering them in a prompt and timely fashion? Meh… I have room for improvement.

But enough about me, Labor Day is right around the corner! Let’s talk about ribs!

Have you ever noticed how competitive people are about their rib recipes? And rightfully so, anyone can grill a steak, but ribs, they take time and skill. Whether you know it or not, every time you cook ribs for a party, you are entering yourself in an unofficial cooking contest. No pressure but baby back ribs are prime Bobby Flay throwdown material. I can’t think of a contest I’d be more proud to win.

When ribs are cooked just right the meat should fall off the bone, but still have integrity. They should be crisp and caramelized on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside. Your fingers should be left coated with a sweet and sticky sauce and, of course, you should feel an uncontrollable desire to go back for seconds.

If you are going to go through the trouble of making ribs, then they should be downright irresistible! Right? Right. [Read more…]

Watermelon and Arugula 4th of July Salad

As a child, 4th of July was always my favorite holiday. We would spend the month of July in Del Mar with friends and from the house we stayed at you could see the spectacular firework show the fairgrounds would put on each year.

My parents had a friend named Jack who knew all kinds of important people and had all kinds of connections. He was the super cool uncle who would always play with us and had a wife with a voice like a Disney princess.

One year Jack told us kids his friend down at the fairgrounds needed some help choosing the colors for the fireworks. So all us kids lined up, and we each got a turn to talk into the phone and tell this friend the colors we wanted.

Jack would say, “Ok, next is Angela.” And he would hold the phone up to my ear and I would say, “I want a firework that’s pink, yellow and green!” And so on…

Later that night while we all gathered outside watching the firework show you could hear us kids shouting, “That was my firework! Mom, did you see it!”

And I felt so special. [Read more…]

Broccoli Stuffed Twice Baked Potatoes

 

I don’t know about where you live, but it summer in Oahu. Kids are getting out of school, everyday is gorgeous, and I am so ready to get my summer on! Lazy mornings, late nights, sunsets, sandy feet and of course, barbecues!

The beginning of summer will forever remind me of college in Oregon. After a long, wet and very cold winter the sun would finally come out and everyone would be outside listening to music, starting up barbecues, tapping kegs, and wearing tank tops and sunglasses. This was always slightly amusing for a girl who grew up in year round summer weather, but it was impossible not to get swept up in the “summer’s here” excitement.

The first time I made twice baked potatoes was in college. It also happens to be the same night I kissed my future husband for the first time. It was 1am in the kitchen of my tiny apartment, The Clash was playing on my CD player, and I was waiting to pull a batch of twice baked potatoes out of the oven. I guess when you are 20 years old, cooking at 1am for all your starving college friends is a relatively normal thing to do. It does amaze me that I had all the ingredients though…

We would have kissed anyway, but without those potatoes would that kiss have gone straight to his heart convincing him that I was his soul mate and the girl he would choose to spend the rest of his life with?

Probably.

But they were damn good potatoes.

I always make this dish on Father’s Day and on my husband’s birthday. They are his favorite and of course they hold a lot of sentimental value.

I gotta believe there is truth in the statement “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” I’m sure on that night of our first kiss I packed those potatoes full of sour cream, butter, and fake bacon bits. These days to keep that heart healthy we go with non-fat Greek yogurt and broccoli. Still delicious! We also now eat at a reasonable dinner hour. (Most of the time)

I’m pretty sure that if you bring a tray full of these to a barbecue you will be a hero. Actually I know this to be true.

Broccoli Stuffed PotatoesTwice Baked Broccoli Potatoes

3 Large Baking Potatoes

1 1/4 Cups Non-Fat Greek Yogurt

1/3 Cup Milk

1 1/2 Cups Broccoli

1 t salt

cracked black pepper

1/2 Cup Finely Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Green Onions for garnish

Dash of Lawry’s

Preheat oven to 400. Wash and stab your potatoes all over. Throw them into the oven until they are fork tender, about an hour. Take them out and let them cool down. (Trust me on this one, ouch)

Slice the potatoes in half  long ways.

Scoop out the insides of the potatoes into a large mixing bowl doing your best to keep the skin intact.

Add your greek yogurt, milk, salt and pepper. Essentially what you are doing is making mashed potatoes. So mash it up and make sure it tastes good.

Get a pot of water boiling and an ice bath ready. Drop your broccoli into the boiling water and blanch for 45 seconds. Then drain and transfer the broccoli straight into the ice water to stop the cooking process. Chop up the broccoli into little, tiny florets. Add to your mashed potatoes.

Then stuff the new and improved potato filling back into the skins and top each with cheddar cheese. I like to add a dash of lawry’s seasoned salt to the top of each potato just to give it that Grandma homemade taste.

At this point you can either wrap up your potatoes and put them in the fridge until go time, or you can turn on the oven to 375 and get to the twice baking part. Leave them in the oven until they are hot and the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown. About 30 minutes. If you made the potatoes the day before and they are very cold, you might need more oven time.

Garnish with green onions.

Twice Baked Broccoli Potatoes

Serve with a kiss,

Hey Cinco de Mayo, Put this in your Crock Pot and Cook It!

I’d like to say I planned this. Last week when I talked about my basic cooking recipes, the building blocks if you will, and teased you with my shredded chicken taco recipe, I’d like to say I knew Cinco de Mayo was right around the corner. That would be a lie.

I’m pretty sure something bigger than me and my poor organizational skills brought us here right now. While I’m not the best at paying attention to a calendar, I do like to pay attention to the lovely signs and arrows life occasionally gives us to let us know we are on the right path.

This is clearly fate and meant to be. And if you find yourself wondering what to cook for Cinco de Mayo and also find yourself reading this post, then clearly that is fate telling you to cook this. Listen to the signs and listen to your tummy. [Read more…]

Avocado Dip and Getting Back to the Basics

So much has happened. I went to Coachella and it was ahhhh-mazing!

You are probably thinking, Coachella, wow, aren’t you a little old for that? And the answer is no, well I hope not. You are never too old to go to a music festival and dance your heart out in a desert sand storm for 3 straight days. Right Grandpa?

Granted I came home looking tired and a few years older, it’s what’s inside that counts, and I came home feeling young!

Young and rebellious. Like I didn’t have to live according to societies rules anymore. I mean we make our own realities, right? Why couldn’t we just home school our kids in an RV while traveling from festival to festival? YOLO! (Mom- yolo stands for- you only live once:)

It took about a week for the Coachella aftershocks to wear off. And as the fog began to lift, it became perfectly clear that if I dragged my kids around to festivals they would grow up to be worse than Lindsey Lohan.

For the same reasons I explain to my children, if it was your birthday everyday it wouldn’t be special. Besides there is a certain beauty and security in the everyday life. I know there is, sometimes it’s just hard to feel.

So now it’s back to the basics. Going to the gym, parent-teacher conferences, packing lunch boxes, paying bills, sitting in a sweltering hot, swimming pool size petri-dish counting the minutes till gymnastics is over while a toddler repeatedly rams a toy truck into my leg. You know.

Thinking about getting back to the basics made me think a lot about Maui Flour Child. To be honest, it’s not all White Sauce Pizzettas and Red Wine Poached Pears around here. You can’t eat fancy food everyday nor can you go to Coachella every weekend. Boo.

So I thought I’d start a unit on my basic recipes. I mean, you know a lot about me, but you don’t even know my shredded chicken taco recipe yet. We have a lot to cover. Let’s begin with this fabulously simple Creamy Avocado Dip.

I love me a good chunky guacamole but this avocado dip is so versatile and flavorful that it has become a staple whenever I make Mexican food.  Don’t you think it would be yummy in a squeeze bottle and drizzled over this Tortilla Chip Crusted Shrimp? Or what if you made it a little thinner and tossed it with a edamame cucumber salad? I’m just thinking out loud here.  And getting very hungry.

Here’s what we will need:

2 ripe avocados

1 jalapeño (with the seeds, live a little)

1 clove garlic

a handful of cilantro

a generous pinch of kosher salt

some pepper

a dash of cumin

1 cup milk

Here’s what we are going to do:

Put music on loud. Put everything except the milk into the cusinart.

Turn it on and slowly add the milk until you get a nice creamy consistency. Not too thick, not too thin. Taste. Make sure there’s enough salt or else it will be bland, and that’s no way to live. Unless your doctor says… Since all avocados are not created equal, you be the judge of how much milk to add.

Get you bag of chips.

Creamy + Cool + Spicy= Ahhhh-mazing

 

353 Days till Coachella 2014,

 

Shrimp Ceviche with Cucumber Salsa

One of the cutest things about kids who grow up in Hawaii is that they eat sushi, sashimi and poke like it’s nobody’s business. I have had many proud mommy’s moments at restaurants on the mainland when my kids have asked for these foods.

My daughter’s favorite thing to eat is shrimp ceviche. Good call little one! It has been since she was one and a half years old.  There is nothing I love more than the shocked look on doctors, teachers, and family’s faces when they ask her what she likes to eat and shrimp ceviche is the answer she gives. It really just warms my heart to hear this. [Read more…]

Sesame Soy Mahimahi En Papillote

This is one of my favorite ways to prepare fresh island fish. Cooking en papillote is fancy for cooking in parchment paper. It is a great method for cooking healthy and flavorful dishes as it locks in all the moisture and aromatics.

You can prep these packets in the morning then pop them in the oven at dinnertime. That’s a no-brainer for easy entertaining in my book. [Read more…]

Desperately Seeking Culture through Salted Caramel Fudge

It’s cultural tradition month at my daughter’s preschool and guess who is at a loss.

Last week we were supposed to bring in a cultural artifact of some sort. Well, my Grandma on my Mom’s side was from Wisconsin, would cheddar cheese with salami in it work? Someone at some point was German but I don’t think I want to claim anything to do with that. I think my great, great Grandpa from my Dad’s side was Greek, but I certainly don’t have a cultural artifact. Nor do I identify with any of those cultures.

“Well, what are we Mom?” My daughter wants to know. It’s not that simple, I tell her. We are a diluted mix of European that gets categorized as boring, culture-less American. To further complicate it we were born and raised in a very culture-rich environment that we can participate in and appreciate but not claim as our own. Even if there were any cultural ties to hold on to, our family has been broken and rebuilt so many times they are long lost now. “Does that make sense?” I ask my 4-year old. [Read more…]

Orecchiette Pasta with Kale, Sausage and Garlic Chips

There’s no real reason to beat around the bush, so I’ll just come out and say it. I’m sorry. I’ve been a terrible food blogger lately. I know you count on me to deliver stunning recipes with sharp wit straight to your inbox, and I have let you down.

You have probably been checking your email everyday and wondering,”Where in the world is Maui Flour Child?” By the way, if you didn’t notice I was gone, no need to say anything.

So it’s kind of a long story… Let’s just say, my life got hit by a hurricane and then I went to Las Vegas. Yikes!

What’s important is that I’m back. I’ve picked up the pieces of my scattered life and put everything in it’s rightful place. (Well, except the laundry.) I’ve even made a few changes. Like for example, my New Year’s Resolution of being more free-spirited. Yeah, that was a terrible idea. My new February resolution is to be more structured, and disciplined. Righteous path here I come!

So I don’t know about you, but after a hurricane hits my life I want to eat something hearty and nourishing. Like pasta! Like a big steaming bowl of sausage, kale and Orecchiette pasta garnished with garlic chips, parmesan, red pepper flakes and a squeeze of lemon. Like the kind of pasta your Grandma would make you if you were lucky enough to be Italian!

Ingredients:

1 lb Italian Sausage, casing removed (I used turkey sausage)

6 stalks organic kale

1 package Orecchiette pasta

1/2 onion, diced

5 cloves garlic

8 TB olive oil

Parmesan

1 Lemon

What to do:

Start by making your garlic chips. Thinly slice your 5 cloves of garlic Goodfellas style.

In a small pan arrange the garlic slices in a single layer and cover with olive oil.

Bring to medium heat. Keep a close eye on the garlic. The goal is to flavor the oil and also to make garlic chips, but you have to be careful not to burn the garlic or it will taste bitter. So as soon as you see the garlic slices turning golden, strain, reserving the oil. Lay out the chips on a paper towel and set aside. By the way, if you don’t like garlic, skip this step.

Next, cut, wash and dry your kale, removing the stems.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for your pasta. The reason I use salted water is one, it makes the pasta taste awesome, and two, I love to use the salty, starchy water the pasta cooks in to create a pasta sauce. I know all that salt is probably not good for you, but that stuff is seriously magic! Cook your pasta and reserve 2 cups of that magic water.

In a large pan, heat the reserved garlic oil (you don’t have to use it all) and add the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. When it is almost done and starting to look nice and browned, add the onion. Continue to cook for a few more minutes, then add the kale, slowly stirring and working it into the mixture.

Add one cup of the reserved magic pasta water and cover, stirring occasionally until the kale is tender. Add the cooked Orecchiette and mix everything together. If you want the pasta to be looser and have more moisture, add more of the pasta water.

Serve in a large family style bowl and garnish with the garlic chips, parmesan, a squeeze of lemon and red chili flakes.

Feels good to be back,