Oceanside Outing

It was a gorgeous afternoon and no one was about since it was mid week. Luckily even in Maui, you can find little stretches of beaches all to yourself. The water was a brilliant turquoise and there was gentle breeze. There were a few small waves to be had even as the seasons change. Even though it’s November, it still feels like summer in my mind!

Even though it was mid week, it couldn’t help myself take a little break out by the water to refresh and recharge. Dishes that can be easily prepped in advance or with little effort on the day are ideal for a midweek picnic. These recipes have simple but quality ingredients which makes a difference. Plus you will have them to enjoy for the rest of the week too.

My mother often made this simple pasta salad for picnics or a casual gathering. I find myself making the same dishes unconsciously as she had done when I was a child. It’s amazing how food has such a deep rooted effect on you and your memories.

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Marinated Olives

3-4 cups of mixed olives such as Kalamata or Castelvetrano

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

fresh rosemary sprigs

fresh thyme springs

fresh oregano

juice of one orange (peel a few strips before)

juice of one grapefruit (peel a few strips before)

red pepper flakes

olive oil

pepper

Using a peeler, peel a few strips of the orange and grapefruit and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the olives, garlic, fresh herbs, and juice and mix together. Add in the peels, red pepper flakes, and drizzle with olive oil.

Cover or place in a bag to marinate for 12-24 hours to let the flavors develop. Garnish with fresh peels or herb sprigs.

Cannellini Bean Pasta Salad

1 box of Fusilli pasta

3 garlic cloves, chopped

olive oil

3-4 cups of fresh baby spinach

2 cups of cannellini beans

asiago/parmesan reggiano cheese, grated

red pepper flakes

salt + pepper

Generously salt a stock pot of water for the pasta. It should be as salty as the ocean. Cooked for 8-10 minutes until al-dente as it will continue to cook. Drain and immediately place into a large serving bowl.

In the serving bowl, add the pasta and fresh garlic. Add a few good size glugs of olive oil. Toss in the baby spinach and beans. I tend to use quite a bit of cheese, but adjust to your preference. I add about 1-2 cups of freshly grated asiago and/or parmesan reggiano depending on what I have on had.

Season with red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Add a drizzle of olive oil if needed. Serve warm or cold. On the second day, revive the salad with a bit more oil if it seems a bit dry from the cool fridge.

Adding pesto is also a great addition to revamp the salad.