Thursday, January 29, 2009

Homemade Crab & Avocado Sushi

Yeah so, I've tried to make my own sushi before, but it turns out that I'd been doing it totally wrong! Nori (toasted seaweed sheets) are not supposed to be moistened with water before putting rice onto them *blush* - They roll up just fine even though they are "crunchy" and I thought they'd break if I didn't get them wet with my fingers!

It's really a lot easier than you might think to make your own sushi. I recommend the book Sushi For Dummies for anyone who loves sushi, whether beginner or long-time addict.

These babies are stuffed with fake crab, scallions, avocado, and cream cheese. I guess it's just like a California Roll!

I like to make my sushi rice a certain way; I don't exactly follow the recipes I've found online or in my book, but the amount I make is perfect for making enough rice for 3 7x8 inch nori sheets. They divide into 11-13 individual sushi pieces each, so this recipe makes plenty of sushi to share with friends (35-ish pieces)!

1 cup sushi rice, 1.5 cups water

3 tbs rice vinegar

2 tbs white sugar

1/2 tsp salt

Rinse the rice a few times, then put in a pot with water and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low until almost all the water is absorbed, then turn heat off until rice is tender. Heat rice vinegar, sugar, and salt and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Don't let it boil. Pour over rice and stir, then wait until it's cool enough to touch. Now you have sushi rice!!!
I'm not gonna explain exactly how you put together a sushi roll. But this tasted really good and lasted for 3 days! I just kept the sushi in the fridge with a moist paper towel over them, and wrapped the bowl with plastic wrap.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

French Bread and Bruschetta

French Bread
This recipe for French Bread is from my cookbook/textbook, Professional Baking (4th edition) by Wayne Gisslen. From now on, any time I include a recipe from this book I'll just use an asterisk and give Mr. Gisslen his due credit at the bottom of my post. I modified the yield to make one small loaf, and I left out malt because I didn't have any. I also used butter instead of shortening.

4 oz warm water
0.1 oz active dry yeast
7 oz bread flour (all-purpose works too)
0.12 oz salt (a little more than 1/2 tsp)
0.12 oz sugar
0.12 oz softened butter

Soften the yeast in 0.4 oz of the warm water until it looks like gross light-brown goo (stir it a bit). Combine the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl (including the rest of the water). Mix it a bit, then add the yeast mixture and knead for several minutes until as much flour is worked into the dough as possible and it is nice and smooth.

Shape it into a ball, cover, and let rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size. Put it onto the pan it is to be baked on and form it into a long oval-ish shape. Score (cut) parallel slashes across the top of the loaf several times, nice and deep. Let it rest and rise for another 15 minutes or so.

Just before baking, re-shape and brush top & sides with a wash of egg whites and a little water. Sprinkle pepper, garlic powder, and parsely on top.
Bake in a preheated 400-425 degree oven until golden brown, with steam for the first 10 minutes (just throw a cupful of water into the oven once or twice).

It turned out looking really awesome!

This is my own Bruschetta recipe. Make it at least an hour before you want to eat it, so all the flavors can combine while it chills in the fridge.

1 medium-to-large tomato, diced
1 small green onion, finely chopped
1 tbs minced fresh garlic (1 huge clove or 2-3 smaller cloves)
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tsp capers
1/16 tsp each salt, pepper, & garlic powder
1/8 tsp each dried oregano, basil, & parsely

Combine & chill in fridge at least an hour. Serve on sliced French bread, topped with some Parmesan cheese. __

This recipe for French Bread and Bruschetta makes around 2-3 servings, depending on if it's an appetizer or you're eating it as a meal. A little less than half of the loaf plus 1/2 of the Bruschetta filled me up. Maybe I'm just being boastful, but I think my own Bruschetta kicks Olive Garden's Bruschetta's butt. :P

Aletian Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Aletian Grilled Cheese Sandwich

2 slices bread
1 ½ tsp butter, softened
1 ½ tsp grated Parmesan cheese
oregano (to taste)
2 slices Colby Jack cheese
1 slice turkey pastrami
1 chopped green onion
tomato slices

1. Combine butter, parmesan cheese and oregano. Spread half on one side of a bread slice, and then place butter-side down in small pan over medium heat.
2. On bread slice layer: 1 slice of cheese, tomato slice, green onions, another slice of cheese, turkey pastrami or other favorite lunchmeat, and the other slice of bread.
3. Spread remaining butter mixture on bread. Cover, flip when cheese is melted. Fry until both sides are golden brown.

This is a really easy way to turn an ordinary grilled cheese sandwich into something a little more satisfying, and it tastes gourmet!

...What is the definition of gourmet, anyway???
Here's what Wikipedia says.

I plan on trying to make homemade French Bread and Bruschetta today. I'll letcha know how it all turns out.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Feverish Fantasies of Far-out Food Fuel my Fun, Baby!

Well, this is my first post!

This blog is for sharing my hunger for cooking and love for food with the rest of the world.
Here you will find plenty of authentic Aletian cuisine (that is, recipes that come from me, Alicia - get it? Alicia -- Aletian? ... nevermind).

I love all kinds of food! ...Except for one thing, that is. LICORICE. I CAN'T STAND licorice! Just the smell of it nauseates me.

Here are some of my favorite foods:
  • sushi of all kinds
  • cheesecake
  • mushrooms
  • bananas
  • enchiladas
  • good Chinese food (eaten with chopsticks!)
  • Italian food (especially homemade)

Some weird foods I have not eaten but want to try:

  • escargot (snails)
  • bunny rabbit
  • moose
  • pickled eggs
  • weird ice cream flavors (like lobster or pumpkin)
  • durian

Somewhat interesting foods I've already eaten:

  • raw fish (in sushi)
  • kidney
  • duck (in thai food - see below)
  • thai food (it was swimming in coconut milk with the weirdest flavor combination I've ever tasted
  • eel (in sushi)
  • sushi caviar (yummy little rubber fishy eggs!)
  • rotten banana bread (needless to say, it wasn't intentional)
  • Teddy Grahams cookies infused with dead baby spiders (that was accidental too)
  • those rubbery little cooked octopuses in some Chinese buffets

Okay, bon appetit!