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Banana Brownies

These banana brownies are a marriage between my oat flour banana bread recipe and chewy chocolate brownies. Bananas are so abundant here on Hawaii Island. They are also extremely versatile and especially great with chocolate. This recipe features coconut oil, maple syrup, and oat flour instead of wheat, butter, and refined sugar. It uses organic cocoa powder instead of processed chocolate chips. These are a guilt free dessert. Eat em up! Use a little less oat flour if you’ like them to come out more gooey than cake like, try substituting a different flour if you’d like a smoother brownie mouth feel.

Banana Brownie Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup liquid coconut oil
  • 3 cups mashed banana
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla2016-11-19-15-11-18
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 1 2/3 cups oat flour (ground oatmeal)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • macadamia nuts for topping

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Oil 9 x 11 baking pan
  3. mash and measure bananas. I use a immersion (stick)
    blender and
    its done in 30 seconds. You can leave some chunks if you want the banana chunk vibe
  4. in a bowl combine all the ingredients starting with the liquid (oil, eggs, maple syrup, vanilla, banana).
  5. Then add the dry ingredients (salt, baking powder, cocoa powder and oat flour)
  6. Mix well and pour into pan
  7. Top with optional chopped macadamia nuts.
  8. Bake in oven for 25 minutes.
  9. Serve warm or cool!

2016-11-19-15-10-35

 

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Rollinia: information on culinary uses, health benefits and more

Information on rollinia

Latin Name and family:

Rollinia Deliciousa, Rollinia mucosa. In the custard-apple or annona family (annonaceae). Other names: biriba, amazon custard apple, wild sugar apple.

Characteristics:

Rollinia “looks like a little alien fruit”. The flesh is a soft, gooey white pulp. It has a white core and several dark brown, elliptic or seeds. The inside is creamy and soft, with few fibers. Fruits vary greatly in size and can weigh up to 8 or so pounds.

rollinia weighing 3 pounds 2 ounces
rollinia weighing 3 pounds 2 ounces

Taste and culinary Use:

The taste is a lemony custard- flavor, like lemon meringue. It is eaten fresh but is also made into raw desserts, ice cream, smoothies, etc. In Brazil it is fermented to make wine. Once rollinia is cut the flesh oxidizes quickly, it will also temporarily stain white dishes. For a firmer texture eat rollinia while still a little bit green and before the soft nubs blacken. When it is completely yellow and the nubs blacken, the texture is softer and gooey, but it is still delicious. Importantly, research shows that the seeds have insecticidal properties and are poisonous to humans. Do not eat the seeds from rollinia or any other fruit in the Anonaceous (Annona) family. Be extremely careful when separating the flesh from the seeds for pureeing or putting in smoothies etc.

Harvest and storage:

Generally, rollinia is considered to have a short shelf life. The fruit ripens from green to yellow and can be picked early when they start to turn yellow. Clip the fruit leaving some stem. They still they may take approximately 4-7 days to ripen. Eat before the soft nubs blacken. Cooling the fruit after harvest can extend the shelf life but the skin will turn black. Fruits are vulnerable to bruising even under their own weight. Store at room temperature on top of cushioning such as bundled newspaper or bubble wrap. Additionally, you may store rollinia in the refrigerator to extend the shelf life a few more days.

Health benefits:

The rollinia fruit is a refrigerant and analeptic (stimulates the central nervous system). Also, due to its vitamin C content (73% RDI per 100g of Vitamin C) it is considered an antiscorbutic (effective against scurvy). The powdered seeds may be remedy for enterocolitis (inflammation of both the small intestine and the colon), but as mentioned above the seeds are also toxic to humans.  Still, research is being done on Rollicosin, a new Annonaceous acetogenin, to develop a potential antitumor agent. Additionally, in traditional medicine it is used as an anti-pyretic, a restorative and general tonic.

100 grams of rollinia has 80 calories, 2.8 grams of protein, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 2.1 grams of fat, 1.3 grams of fiber. It also contains Vitamin B1 and B2, Vitamin C, phosphorous, iron, niacin, and thiamine.

 

Growth patterns:

The first record of rollinia in Hawaii is from the 1930s. It is thought to have originated along the Amazon in Brazil, although it was also discovered in early Mexico, Peru, and Argentina. Now it grows in many tropical locations, and in Hawaii it thrives at 300 feet to 3,000 feet elevations. These trees grow fast, as much as 10 feet a year (up to about 40 feet) and fruits in as little as 2-3 years. Additionally, it is almost always propagated by seeds because they grow true to type, although grafting can ensure consistently high yielding varieties. Also, rollinia prefers heavy soil, full sun and an acid pH. Scale and mealy bugs may be problems, as well as fruit fly.

 

Resources:

  1. Love, Ken & and Paull, Robert E. Rollinia. Fruits and Nuts, June 2011. F_N-21. http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/F_N-21.pdf
  2. Morton, J. 1987. Biriba. p. 88–90. In: Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL.
  3. https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/biriba.html
  4. Chih-Chuang Liaw , Fang-Rong Chang , Ming-Jung Wu , and Yang-Chang Wu * Graduate Institute of Natural 5. Products, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung 807, Taiwan, Republic of ChinaJ. Nat. Prod., 2003, 66 (2), pp 279–281
  5. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Harjeet_Khanna2/publication/265051238_Biofortification_of_Bananas/links/53fd28670cf2dca80003233a.pdf#page=210
  6. Morton, J.F., 1987. Fruits of warm climates, Miami, Florida, USA.
  7. http://vanveenorganics.com/product/brazilian-custard-apple-rollinia-sp/
  8. http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/content/biriba.htm
  9. http://www.fruitsinfo.com/Rollinia-Exotic-fruits.php
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Quick Salmon and Avocado Salad

This salmon and avocado salad is extremely convenient, simple and inexpensive. It is so good for you it’s hard to believe it takes 2 minutes to make.  We use canned Wild Alaskan Salmon we got from Costco and local avocados. You could also try this with  high quality canned tuna (but obviously only eat it occasionally because of mercury and other toxins). For this recipe you can serve the salmon salad over a bed a lettuce, top with Manchego cheese or make a sandwich. If you want you can also add diced celery, and use products like Veganiase to make it taste more like your traditional tuna salad.

Both wild salmon and avocados are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which are vital to our health. Most of the common knowledge about omega 3’s stops there, and that’s ok. We don’t all need to be nutritionists to eat better. In our increasingly “Westernized” diets, we have an imbalance of omega 3s (the good kine) and omega 6 (the kine we need to limit). Omega 6 acids are in many things that are good for us (in moderation) but also in many things we should avoid, especially the conventional and GMO versions (soybean oil, cottonseed oil, vegetable oil, corn oil, meat and dairy products, imitation cheeses, imitation eggs and egg mixes).

salmon and avocado salad

Recipe for Salmon and Avocado Salad

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 can wild salmon
  • 1 small-medium avocado
  • 1-2 dashes organic, or non-GMO, soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)
  • A few turns of fresh ground black pepper

Steps:

  1. drain salmon
  2. mash salmon and whole avocado in bowl
  3. add pepper and soy sauce to taste (careful not to add to much soy)

 

 

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Make ice cream with ice cream bananas

I’ll have to brag for a moment here about the wonder of a variety of bananas called ICE CREAM BANANAS. It is a cross between Musa acuminata and balbisiana known as Blue Java. I know they don’t carry these in any supermarkets, they are even hard to find at the farmer’s market here in Hawaii. But you can usually find some trees at home depot for $7, plant it and wait about 1 to 2 years.

If you get the chance, you MUST try them. They are soft and creamy, with notes of vanilla and resemble ice cream when frozen!  The have a blueish tint when they are un-ripe, and once they are yellow and very soft they are at their peak ripeness. These banana trees like to lean instead of standing tall, so beware before you plant them on the side of your path. Read more about ice cream bananas at this article from the Huffington Post.

ice cream bananas

 

Banana Ice Cream Instructions:

To make ice cream banana “ice cream”,  all you need to do is peel several ripe ripe bananas and add to your blender or food processor and whip into a creamy creamy puree and chill in the freezer for 1-2 hours.

Obviously, any bananas will work. Just don’t use ones that are browning or very bruised. An easier way to enjoy the taste, is to simply peel and freeze the bananas and enjoy as a super simple, sweet and satisfying dessert. If left in the freezer longer, it will still be good but the consistency will crystalize. If you have an ice cream maker, you may want to take it a step further and prepare the bananas by churning it to decrease the crystals. I have used my Kitchenaid Ice cream attachment with excellent results. You can try adding coconut milk for a coconut ice cream banana ice cream.

 

 

 

 

 

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Furikake Popcorn

People put a lot of things on popcorn all over the world. In Hawaii, “Hurricane Popcorn” often is sprinkled with furikake, sugar, food colorings and other seasonings. In this furikake popcorn recipe, we strip out the unessential sugar and colorings and simple toss the furikake with melted coconut oil. If you are not familiar with furikake a basic definition is a traditional Japanese seasoning that includes sea salt, toasted sesame seeds, and nori (a dried seaweed).

furikake popcorn

Furikake is a packed with nutrition. The sea salt includes magnesium. The toasted sesame seeds are high in protein, minerals, and nori contains protein fiber and many more minerals and vitamins. Seaweed also has naturally occurring iodine which is vital for developing fetuses, and in proper thyroid function. Additionally, seaweeds have more than 56 minerals and trace minerals necessary for your body in the most absorbable form.

Make sure you look for all natural varieties as often mainstream furikake contains MSG, gmo-sugars, etc. Check the ingredients and make sure you are infact making the healthy choice. Also, avoid labels with words like “stabilizers, additives etc.”

For example, this furikake pictured is made with sea salt and contains no MSG. Furikake is most often used on top of rice. Additionally it is sometimes as an additive with another Hawaiian dish called Poke, on baked or broiled fish, on top of fries etc. Try adding this savory topping to your Popcorn to up your nutrient content.

Recipe for homemade Furikake Popcorn

Ingredients:

  • Organic popcorn
  • Coconut oil
  • Furikake
  • Sea Salt

Steps:

  • Use an air popper or pop your corn in a pot just like the ol’ days using coconut oil.
  • Toss with salt, more coconut oil if needed and then the furikake.
  • As an optional extra seasoning you could add a few dashes of some hot sauce

Resources

  1. http://migrainereliefrecipes.com/unprocessed-breakfast-brown-rice-with-furikake-and-toasted-sesame-oil/
  2. http://vibrantwellnessjournal.com/2015/10/12/eating-seaweed-7-recipes-seaweed-health-benefits/

 

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Healthy Cornbread with Coconut Oil

I grew up on Jiffy cornbread. In fact, I learned to bake with these packaged mixes. I know they have their time and place but once you learn more and more about processed foods it is hard to buy  pre-made mixes. In fact, there are many reasons to stay away from baking mixes. For one, the fewer ingredients a recipe contains, the more wholesome it is. Eating WHOLE foods is the key to a healthy existence.

This recipe for healthy cornbread with coconut oil is comparable to your traditional cornbread with butter and buttermilk.

2014-08-03 11.19.20

wet ingredients:

  • 1 and ⅓ cup milk (I have used whole, organic, raw milk from the mountains of Pa‘auilo), you could also do ⅔ buttermilk (2 teaspoons lemon juice and milk and let sit for 10 minutes) and then ⅔ cup regular milk.
  • 2 eggs (organic)
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey (Big Island honey all the way)
  •  2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or substitute 2 tablespoons butter )

dry ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (aluminum free 🙂
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt (fine ground sea salt of celtic sea salt)
  • 1 cup corn meal, you can buy coarse cornmeal and grind it in your blender to have a fresher taste and texture
  • 1 cup white flour (white, unbleached, bread flour)

steps:

1) butter/oil baking pan

2) mix dry ingredients

3) preheat oven to 400 degrees, place buttered pan in oven to warm it

4) whisk wet ingredients

5) mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients until moist (do not over mix), batter should be runny

6) take hot buttered/oiled pan out of oven and put batter in hot pan, should sizzle a little

7) bake for 20-25 minutes until the edges creep away from the sides of the pan and the top is golden brown. 2014-08-03 11.00.13 8) turn onto wire rack 2014-08-03 11.01.18 9. for best results serve warm with butter, oil, or jam : )

2014-08-03 11.19.20

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Raisin cinnamon swirl bread

This raisin cinnamon swirl bread recipe will take you back to you childhood. Nostalgic sugar sweetened plump raisins in chewy bread. This recipe is not complicated. Just follow the steps and allow time to let it rise until it doubles in size 2x. This recipe is perfect for a Sunday morning when you are just hanging around the house. Don’t rush the rising process!

Recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

Equipment needed:

  • oven
  • loaf pan
  • wire cooling rack (optional)
  • heavy duty mixer or food processor

 dry ingredients (step 1):

  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 -3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 and ½ cup flour

wet ingredients (step 2-3):

  • ⅔ cup milk
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ cup buttermilk (⅔ cup milk + 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice-let sit for 5 minutes)

Other ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons yeast (for step 3)
  • 1 cup + raisins, for best results they should be brought to room temperature (for step 8)

Steps:

1) mix dry ingredients

2) add ⅔ cup milk regular milk (not buttermilk) into a bowl and add ½ cup of brown sugar, stir to dissolve

3) add yeast to milk and brown sugar mixture. let sit for 5 minutes. stir to dissolve (make sure you STIR and allow it to dissolve before adding anything else).

3) mix until combined and makes a soft dough

4) knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic and then place in oiled bowl covered with towel. (although metal bowls are said to conduct too much heat, and rise the dough too quickly. even though I live in the tropics, where it is always warm and humid, my place is windy. I find that my dough rises good in my kitchen aid bowl.)

2014-08-03 07.12.592014-08-03 10.07.44

5) let rise until double in size (no matter how long it takes).

6) after doubled in size, punch down and turn over onto lightly floured surface, let rest for 10 minutes

2014-08-03 10.18.51

7) roll out dough into large rectangle, a good 5 inches or more long than your loaf pan

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8. Add raisins and rolls into a loaf, tuck the sides in and place in the loaf pan and let rise again (until doubled in size (can be ½ hour to 2 hours).

2014-08-03 10.24.22

2014-08-03 10.39.212014-08-03 10.39.13

9. bake in an oven at 425 degree F until the top starts to brown

10.  reduce to 350 degrees F for about 20 more minutes. Cool on wire rack and love it.

2014-08-03 12.22.51    2014-08-03 12.24.06

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Herbed Vegetable Frittata

Frittatas are one of my favorite meals to make for guests. They are simple, only require a few dishes and you can add as many ingredients as you have on hand. Additionally, they are flexible, forgiving and filling!

I see frittatas as the perfect way to get you veggies and protein into the beginning of your day. However, this is not just another breakfast dish. Of course it is great at brunch too. Yet, sometimes I also love making this for dinner (if I didn’t already have eggs for breakfast). It is quick and easy and warming. Another plus is that frittatas are great eaten cold and leftovers are the perfect snack or to-go lunch for the next day. If you want to make your frittatas a little more filling try adding sliced of boiled potato. This is most similar to the Spanish tortilla.

Adding fresh herbs to this recipe is a really good way to get some of those beneficial micronutrients from garden. Add fresh basil, oregano, parsley, or thyme. Experiment with dill and other fresh herb favorites.

 Recipe for Herbed Vegetable Frittata

 

IMG_2209

Equipment:

Oven

Best in stainless steel or an oven-safe pan

Ingredients:

  • 10-12 eggs, beaten
  • ½ medium onion or 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 cups chopped kale or other greens (spinach, chard, kai choy, bok choy)
  • Chopped fresh and ripe tomatoes (½ cup or less)
  • ½ cup goat cheese, or shredded mozzarella, cheddar, manchego
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh herbs (oregano, Cuban/Mexican oregano, stick oregano, all basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, etc.)
  • optional boiled potato sliced into half-moons
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste (about 30 fresh ground turns)

Steps:

*preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

  • First, sauté onion (3-5 min) until translucent
  • Then, sauté the greens until wilted (3 minutes or less)
  • Add chopped herb and sauté a few minutes minutes longer
  • In a separate medium sized bowl beat eggs and salt and pepper. Be careful not under or over salt. You can start light at first and test a small bit of the egg by cooking a few drops.
  • Once the vegetables are cooked add it to the egg bowl and them in fold in.
  • If you are using a totally stainless steel pan with no plastic (i.e. it is 100% oven safe) then you can quickly clean it and re-oil the pan generously with olive oil or refined coconut oil.
  • Now, you can either add the cheese to mixture or just put cheese on top in the last 5 minutes of baking.
  • Finally, add the egg and vegetable mixture to pan
  • And bake immediately, about 20-25 minutes until it is clearly cooked on top and  slightly brown on top and bubbling.

herbed vegetable frittata recipe

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Grandpa’s traditional Challah bread

Grandpa traditional challah bread is a classic family recipe. Whenever Grandpa Piasek is in town, you can be sure to fill up at least a half of day making several loafs of Challah. Finally, in my late 20’s I decided to document the recipe.

Challah bread is traditional Jewish bread that is most usually eaten on Sabbath or Holidays. The dough is enriched with eggs and oil and then braided and sometimes a little sugar is added to the dough as well. The styles of braiding or forming into different shaped loaves mean different things. For example, when there are three braids it symbolizes truth, peace, and justice. When there are 12 humps, they symbolize the miracle of the 12 loaves for 12 tribes of Israel. Most modern, several diners and deli, and fancy brunch places serve up Challad French Toast. Whenever or however you bake and eat it, you should know that you are experiences a huge taste of tradition.

 

Recipe for Grandpa’s Challah Bread

grandpas traditional Challah bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of flour
  • 2 cups of luke warm water
  • 2 tsp dry yeast (a little less than 1 packet)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup eggs
  • 8 0z.  sugar
  • ¼ cup oil (to keep it moist)

Steps:

  1. Mix the above ingredients together2013-08-08 12.33.37
  2. Then, add 2 lbs of all-purpose flour (or more) –not too soft not too dry- for 6 or 7 minutes by machine (by hand 12)
  3. Next, place the dough in large oiled ceramic or glass boil with towel or on baking sheet. Alternatively you could place it on cutting board and wait until it doubles in size.
  4. Then knead lightly again for 5 minutes
  5. Again, wait 10-15 minutes to let rest
  6. Finally, roll out dough into strands about ½ thick and at least six inches long. use three for each loaf and braid as naturally as possible. don’t be discouraged with your braid! Just rock it -the bread will be delicious no matter what.
  7. Next, let the rolls rise again for about 45 minutes to about 1 and ½ hours (until they almost double in size).
  8. Wash them gently with mixture of beaten egg and a little (less than a tablespoon water).
  9. Bake in oven at 350 degrees
    1. 25-30 minutes for bread
    2. 15 minutes for rolls.2013-08-08 15.53.35

traditional challah bread

 

Resources:

  1. www.myjewishlearning.com/article/challah/

What Is Challah?

 

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