Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sushi @ home

Hand rolls are an easy dinner, and a fun way to eat!
We are lucky in Seattle to have Uwajimaya, a Japanese supermarket that sells blocks of sashimi grade fish for great prices!  Hand rolls are easy to prepare, and satisfy that sushi craving without going out and spending lots of money!
above clockwise from 12 o'clock, unagi (eel), salmon, scallop, cucumber

What you'll need from the store:
  • sashimi grade fish
  • nori (seaweed) sheets
  • short grain rice - very important to get the right rice!
  • rice vinegar
  • wasabi
  • recommended additions to your meal: iced cold japanese beer and/or instant miso soup packets
1. make the sushi rice!  I followed the recipe below.  Now, I have to say  there are some strict rules to making authentic sushi rice...but I'm lazy - this is how I make it without all the fancy tools.
  •  make the rice, 1 cup dried rice will be enough rice for hand rolls for 2 people.  I use my rice cooker...I have no idea how to make rice without one.  I tried once, while studying in Rome. And between me, my 2 other Asian American roommates, we ended up with burnt dried rice.
  • while you're waiting for your rice (on quick cook setting it takes about 20mins), make your sushi rice mixture.  For 1cup dried rice, you need to heat:
                                               - 3tbsp rice vinegar
                                               - 1.5 tsp sugar
                                               - a sprinkle of salt
  • let this mixture cool
  • when the rice is done, spread it across a non-metal plate.  the vinegar might react on a metalplate and it will taste like ICK.
  • pour the mixture over the rice and "fold" it in using your rice paddle.  do not smush the rice.  it helps to fan the rice while you do this to ensure the rice doesn't eat to moist and saturated and cools down.  I asked my sous-chef - aka hungry boyfriend- to come fan while I folded.
2.  cut up fish in strips.  you can prepare cucumber or other fillings too to go with your hand rolls
3.  cut your nori sheets in half - hot dog style - so you have long rectangular pieces.
4.  make yourself a hand roll and eat!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

cooking! crab & ricotta stuffed pasta

this meal includes 2 of my favorite basics + a new recipe

crab & ricotta stuffed pasta w/ mushroom cream sauce

  • 1 tub ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 lb canned crab (1/2 can)
  • 1/2 lemon
  •  5-6 basil leaves
  •  black pepper
  •  lasagna pasta sheets
  1. boil water, cook pasta sheets, drain, and set aside
  2. while waiting for pasta to cook make filling: mix ricotta, crab, lemon juice, minced basil, black pepper.  it will be dry to mix, but when you heat the filling the cheese will soften, melt and become creamier
  3. there are 2 ways to make the pasta:
          rolls: place stuffing along short end of lasagna sheet, and roll up in a tube

          packets: place one sheet of pasta over another to make a cross. add filling to the middle and fold
                        up opposite ends to enclose a square packet.


  •  1 1/2 cup of sliced crimini mushrooms
  •  1 small shallot, sliced
  •  chicken broth
  •  cream
  •  optional cornstarch
  1. saute shallots in olive oil over medium high
  2. when shallots are softening, add mushrooms.  let them sit in the pan until they release their water content and soften.  mix mushrooms in with shallots
  3. add chicken broth to desired amount of sauce liquid
  4. once sauce boils, add 1 cup cream.  if you want a thicker, cream-like sauce, whick 1tbsp cornstarch into cream before adding to sauce

pan seared salmon
  1. season salmon fillets with salt, pepper & a little lemon juice.
  2. heat pan to medium-high with olive oil
  3. when hot, add salmon top down.  let sear until the pink cooked color has "crept up" 1/3 the thickest part of fillet.
  4. flip so skin side is on pan and continue cooking.  when the pink cooked color has crept up to 1/2 way mark, remove from stove and let rest 5mins before serving.

sauteed green beans
  • 1 small shallot, sliced
  • chicken broth
  • 2 servings worth of green beans, tipped
  1. start shallots in pan with olive oil on high
  2. add green bean and toss frequently
  3. when green bean change to dark green color but are still firm, add salt to taste, and enough chicken broth the cover bottom of pan
  4. let beans cook while frequently mixing
  5. after 7-10mins the beans will have soften and are done.  use any remain sauce created from broth on the finished salmon

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

cooking! crostini

an assortment of colorful and delicious crostini to start off any meal.

       you will need:
           1 baguette
         tomato pepper topping
           1 yellow bell pepper
           1 box cherry tomatoes
           1 block of cheese, i used truffle cheese which has a great aroma when melted
           1/8cup white wine
         devil'd egg topping
           6 eggs
           1 handful of spinach
           1tbsp mayonnaise
           1/2tbsp dijon mustard
           pinch paprika
         mushroom tapenade topping
           1/2lb diced white mushrooms
           1/2cup diced white onion
           1 1/2 tbsp goat cheese
           1 tbsp minced flat leaf parsley
           3 tbsp sherry
           salt and pepper
  • cut up baguette in 3/8inch slices, toast in oven for 8-10mins @ 350degrees F
   tomato & pepper topping
  • dice up tomato and yellow bell pepper
  • start pan on medium heat, add olive oil and saute tomato and pepper 
  • after 3-4 minutes add white wine
  • continue to cook for for 5-7 minutes, until mixture is soft and melted together
  • apply topping to crostini and top with a slice of cheese
  • place in oven for 3 minutes @ 350F, or until cheese is melted

 devil'd egg topping
  • place eggs in pot of water and set on high heat
  • after water starts to boil, turn off burner/heat
  • throw spinach into water with eggs for 30secs and pull out and set aside
  • once water has cooled to luke warm, take out eggs and peel
  • cut boiled eggs into half, and scoop out yolk into separate bowl.  keep the egg whites on the side, you will need those later
  • mix into egg yolk the mayonnaise, mustard, paprika and salt to taste
  • spread yolk mixture onto crostini
  • place a small amount of blanched spinach on top of yolk spread
  • from the halved egg white, cut off the widest part into a ring
  • cut an edge on the short end of the ring and place on top of spinach in a swirl shape
 mushroom tapenade topping
  • start pan on medium-high heat and add olive oil.
  • when oil is hot, add diced onion and saute for 3mins or until soft
  • add diced mushrooms and stir occasionally for 3mins
  • add sherry and continue to cook mushrooms until soften, stirring occasionally
  • remove mushrooms from pan into mixing bowl
  • mix in goat cheese and then flat leaf parsley
  • add salt and pepper to taste
  • add spread to crostini
enjoy all 3 together for a colorful showing!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

cooking! salmon cakes

it's the time of year where salmon is abundant in the Pacific Northwest, so try these delicious little treats!

          1 lb fresh salmon, in this case SOCKEYE!
          1/4 cup diced onion
          1/4 cup diced bell pepper, i choose yellow for color contrast
          2 tbsp minced flat leaf parsley
          1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
          1/3 cup mayonaise
          1/2 lemo, juice
          1 egg
          1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
          1/2 tsp worcheshire sauce
          salt & pepper
  • add olive oil to pan on med-high, and saute onion and bell pepper until soft, approx 5mins
  • remove skin from salmon and dice into 1/4-1/2 pieces
  • add onion/bell pepper mix into bowl, along with everything else-parsley, bread crumb, mayonaise, lemon juice, egg, cayenne, worcheshire and salt & pepper
  • mix it all up!
  • make some cakes!  this is my trick:
    • fill the 1/4 cup measure cup will salmon mix, and pat it it with spoon/spatula
    • smack the spoon upside down until a perfectly formed cake comes out
    • on a seperate plate, have some flour ready and place the cake on both sides into the flour to get a light coating - this is what makes the cake crispy!
  • place cakes in refrigerator for 15mins, this helps them hold their shape when you go to fry them
  • add some olive oil to a pan on med-high
  • fry the cakes, 4-5mins on each side, you'll see the color change from the sides as they 'cook upwards' from the heat of the pan, flip them when that color line is between 1/3 to 1/2 way up.

YUM YUM!!! enjoy:)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

cooking! greek cioppino

here is a spin on a greek stew usually done with chicken.  it's my hybrid greek cioppino:)

        1 lb of white fish, this case pacific cod
        1small white onion, chopped 1/2" pieces
        1 can diced tomato
        3 tomatos, wedged
        okra, stemmed
        12 shrimp, peeled
        2 cloves garlic, minced
  • choose a pot good for stewing, and has a lid - le creuset is the master of pots for this
  • heat olive oil on med-high, and add garlic. cook until it 'breaks' **aka you can start to smell it, but before it browns**
  • salt & pepper both sides of the cod and pan fry. cook on each side, approx 2mins, until the faces have a nice slight 'crisp' or 'brown'.  **it does not need to be cooked through at this time.**
  • remove fish and set aside
  • add more olive oil and add okra. toss the okra occasionally, cook 5mins.
  • add fresh tomato and mix in with okra, cook 5mins.
  • add can of diced tomato, mix in with okra and fresh tomato.
           **you can substitute with more fresh tomato and chicken broth, but i think the 
               canned stuff adds some thickness to the broth**
  • put on lid and turn down heat to med-low.  let stew cook for 20mins, or until the fresh tomato breaks down and the broth thickens and darkens to deep red.
  • when stew looks as above, add back fish and raw peeled shrimp to surface.  replace lid and turn off stove.  let this sit for 10-15mins. **the heat in the pot will cook through the fish and cook the shrimp.  using the residual heat will make sure you don't over cook the meat!**
  • mix in fish/shrimp to serve.  


i suggest serving over a dry grain - like cous cous or basmati...see my recipe below!

     2cup basmati brown rice
     2cup water
     3cup chicken broth
     1pinch saffron

bring 2cups water to boil.  add basmati rice and 1pinch of saffron, place lid on pot.  check the rice in 5-10mins, and when water is almost gone, add 1cup chix broth. replace lid.  check on rice, and continue process of adding 1cup broth at a time and allowing the rice with cook with lid on pot and absorb the liquid.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

shopping! Ulta and IKEA

New Find!
Ulta- so after I tried a friend's O.P.I. Shatter (see how it works!)I HAD to get some. So after some Googling, ULTA at Northgate looked my best bet. Now, I've driven past before but had the impression it should neck pillows and massagers, kinda like that back half of a Brookstone store. Wow, was I blown away- it's like Sephora and a drugstore had a baby. And definately the place if you're in the market to invest in a ceramic hair dryer or flat iron. Prices on the lower end (covergirl, rimmel, maybelline) seemed competitive to bartell's or walgreens, but maybe not as cheap as Target. They carry a lot of makeup brands you would find in a Sephora, but not as much. However, their hair product section was giant and had a huge selection. Overall, if you buy your hair products online or at your salon, and want more selection/price for makeup you might have other options, but ULTA is definately a one stop shop to keep in mind. Plus, they have a membership with points=gifts, definately something you don't get from drugstores or target for comparable brands!

Renewed Favorite
IKEA- spent the early afternoon here, and it's been way to long. Love this store and how you always leave with a little lift in your mood! Had lunch, bought a few items- <$20 for 2+hours of fun! Great way to spend a rainy afternoon!