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Food & Dining // Heart-y Chef
Diana Helfand

Taimane Rocks The Uke And Quinoa

Ukulele artist Taimane Gardner turns to quinoa to keep her going after a long night of performing songs from her latest CD and first solo effort, Ukulele Dance.

For those new to Taimane’s music, Ukulele Dance is a mix of originals and cover songs. Some covers are blended into medleys that Taimane describes as “going from Led Zeppelin to Beethoven.” It’s the ukulele like you’ve never heard it before.

Taimane’s early influences include her mom, a singer from Samoa, as well as Jake Shimabukuro, who was one of her teachers. When Don Ho discovered her as a teen street musician in Waikiki, a professional music career was born.

Today, Taimane is busy promoting Ukulele Dance, touring and performing, and writing songs. She’s also introducing the ukulele to new audiences around the world via social media channels. Her Taimane’s Toccata, which gives Bach fresh appeal, has more than 580,000 YouTube views to date.

She says growing up in Aina Haina inspired her love of Japanese food.

“I’m still learning the ropes of cooking, but when I come home after a gig, this is what I make. Sometimes I add wasabi into the mix to give it more bite. The avocado refreshes while the warm quinoa fills you up.”

Here is Taimane’s “healthy and vegetarian way to feed a crazy ukulele player.”

Natto are cooked soy beans that are fermented with a natural bacillus found on rice straw. The fermentation process makes them sticky and smelly. They are an excellent source of protein and easily digestible. Natto is a popular dish in Japan often eaten with cooked rice. While its pungent aroma and viscous texture strike some as unpleasant, it may be worth acquiring a taste for it. Research now shows this delicacy may offer potential health benefits, including the ability to reduce the risk of blood clotting.

TAIMANE’S JAPANESE-INSPIRED QUINOA BOWL

* 1 cup cooked quinoa
* 1/2 avocado
* 1 cup natto
* splash sesame oil
* splash Braggs Liquid Aminos (substitute shoyu)
* couple shakes nutritional yeast
* couple shakes furikake Stir it all around and voila!

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