Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Davy Jones RIP



I feel like a piece of my childhood is gone.

Teriyaki Chicken over Quinoa

Do I know how to make home made teriyaki sauce? Yes.  Did I make home made teriyaki sauce? No.

I totally cheated.  Again.  I'm beginning to think perhaps I should call my blog Cheaters Anonymous.

Anyhoo- I had leftover teriyaki chicken from the sushi adventure Sunday night, so I decided to spruce it up and serve it over some quinoa for a quick dinner.

The original chicken mixture was nothing more than roasted chicken, pulled apart with a fork and mixed with bottled teriyaki sauce.  Tonight, I sauteed some chopped onion and mushrooms in olive oil, seasoned it with a little mushroom soy sauce, and added the leftover chicken mixture.  I warmed the quinoa, scooped the chicken on top and garnished with chopped scallions and cucumber.

This was a good, quick dinner.  It may just earn a place in the regular rotation.  Who am I kidding?  I don't have a regular rotation!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sushi Adventure!

Here is a sad little picture of one of the sushi rolls we made for dinner tonight.  I didn't have great lighting, so it looks puny.

Dev and I have made sushi once before, about 3 years ago.  We enjoyed it, but it is a bit labor intensive, and now that we've moved to a place where I can get decent sushi more often; I don't feel the need to do it at home.

We were dinking around in Grand Junction last weekend and I found a book in the bargain section about sushi.  I flipped through it and figured it would be worth investing a few bucks and trying to make sushi again.  Here's a shot of the cover of the book I bought...

We decided tonight was the night to get things rolling (ha!- rolling, get it?).  I mixed up all the fillings this morning, so all I would have to do this evening was cook the rice.

I made some crab salad with lump crabmeat, a little bit of mayo, some scallions, ginger and lemongrass paste, a dash of salt and some fresh cilantro.  I made basically the same salad with some chopped, poached shrimp.  I had a few shrimp that I poached on skewers, so they'd be more user friendly to use in a roll.  I cut an English cucumber into thin strips, and mixed some diced roasted chicken with teriyaki sauce.

The roll in the pic at the beginning of the post is a teriyaki chicken roll with scallions and a cilantro leaf garnish.  I also made a gunken-type roll with the crab salad.  I made maki rolls with the shrimp salad, and another with poached shrimp and cucumber.

Here's a shot of Dev stirring the sushi vinegar... It was basically rice wine vinegar, sugar, salt and sake- but I didn't have any sake, so I used mirin (seasoned Japanese cooking wine).  I love how this mixture makes the sushi rice stickier, and gives it a sweet/sour flavor.  After the vinegar mixture cools, you pour it on the cooked sushi rice and cut it in.  This serves two purposes- it coats all the rice with the vinegar mixture and it cools the rice down.  You are supposed to keep fanning the rice until it cools down to room temperature.  Our rice was overcooked.  I made it in my rice steamer, so I guess next time I'll either decrease the amount of water I use, or just make it on the stovetop where I can keep an eye on it!  Here's a shot of Dev fanning the rice...

After you have the rice ready, all you have to do is start rolling!  Here's a shot of Dev putting rice on a sheet of nori.  He was making a shrimp/cucumber roll...

As I said before, our rice was way overdone, which made it pasty and way too sticky.  It pretty much ruined this batch of sushi, but the fillings were all yummie, and will be snacked on for lunch over the next 2 days.

If I'm going to get serious about making sushi, I have to get this rice thing figured out.  I followed the instructions on the bag of rice, which called for more liquid than the sushi book I bought.  I think I'll go with the book next time.

If you like sushi, I encourage you to try to make it at home.  I don't think I'd do it every weekend, but for special occasions, or when you have a group of friends coming over, it's definitely worth it!  You could have the rice ready and put out lots of different filling options, then everyone could make their own rolls.

If you have advice about how to improve my batting average with sushi rice, please leave a comment!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chorizo!

I have discovered a new quick meal base.  Last Sunday, I browned a pound of organic ground beef with a pound of chorizo.  That's it.  No other seasonings.  After it all browns together, I drain it (because the sausage has lots of grease) and put it in a container.  I put it in the ice box, where it will patiently wait for an opportunity to save dinner some night during the week.

I used the mixture two different ways.  The first dish I made was a basic taco salad.  I shredded some iceberg lettuce, tossed in some pickled jalapenos, shredded sharp cheddar and pepper jack, chopped tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, salt and pepper.  I put a scoop of the beef/chorizo mixture on top (after warming it in the microwave) and served it with some homemade chipotle ranch dressing.  I put chips and sliced avocado on the side.

The second meal it provided was a taco pizza.  I cheated and used a store-bought thin crust from Pillsbury.  I pre-baked it for about 7 minutes.  I topped the crust with home made enchilada sauce, then used the rest of the beef/chorizo mixture, chopped grape tomatoes, chopped scallions, shredded iceberg (added after it came out of the oven) and shredded cheddar.  I also added a lime crema to the top before I plated it.

I think next time I make the beef mixture, I'll go ahead and brown several pounds and freeze it.  It was so nice having this flavorful, spicy mixture on hand.  My head spins with all the possibilities it presents:  nachos, burritos, tostadas..........

Friday, February 10, 2012

Lamb Sliders

Today's adventure in the freezer produced a pound of ground lamb and a package of Hawaiian rolls.  Hmmmmmm.  What to do...... SLIDERS!

I didn't want anything too difficult because it was during the week.  I mixed the thawed lamb with grated white onion, ginger/lemongrass paste, salt, pepper, feta cheese and a teeny little glass bowl of marinara I found in my ice box.  I made 8 slider patties from one pound of mixture.  I decided to fry them in a cast iron pan.

After the lamb patties were done, I added onions and mushrooms and sauteed them until they were soft.

While they were cooking down I made some Greek sauce out of some homemade plain yogurt, grated cucumber, onion juice, garlic powder, Greek seasoning and about a tablespoon of mayo.

I put some frozen waffle fries on a baking sheet and put them in a 450 degree oven for about 12 minutes.  At the end of the cooking time, I added the Hawaiian rolls and toasted them.

To construct the sliders, I put the bottom roll down, topped it with some Greek sauce, a few spinach leaves, a lamb patty, then some sauteed mushrooms and onions and the top roll.

These were amazing!  The Greek sauce made a great dip for the fries as well!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Dinner!

So tonight's dinner was fairly simple. I made mashed potatoes from one russet and one sweet potato. My veggie was shelled edamame par boiled then sautéed with a bird's eye chili and some lemon grass. The protein was a mahi fillet spiced with blackening seasonings then coated with citrus butter (butter mixed with orange and lemon zest) and topped with toasted bread crumbs baked until flaky.
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