SSL: Desserts, March 1

1 Mar

Spicy Chocolate Pots De Creme

Saturday AND the beginning of March. I try not to rush away the seasons, but I am ready for spring.

I need to start by bringing back these delicious Spicy Chocolate Pots De Creme that I posted a while back. I created this recipe for a contest through Marx Foods. The recipe didn’t win, but I was inspired to create this dessert that I could not get enough of.

Coconut Rice Pudding with Mango Puree from a thought for food. This sounds perfect for spring and his pictures are beautiful, as always.

Spiced Double Chocolate Cookies, also from a thought for food, and not a new recipe…but after I found the coconut rice pudding, I started looking around, and you know how it goes.

I’ve never made anything like this Passionfruit & Red Bean New Year’s Cake from desserts for breakfast. I love most desserts with red beans.

gimme some oven’s 3-Ingredient Flourless Chocolate Cake. THREE ingredients. Mix it up, throw it in the oven. My kind of dessert.

Paleo Chocolate Chip, Coconut, & Almond Flour Cookies from Healthy Food for Living. I always feel like I can eat 500 of a somewhat healthier cookie.

Happy Saturday!

Homemade Sushi

24 Feb

Thank goodness for the warm(er) weather this weekend. I dodged puddles Saturday and Sunday, going for long walks around the neighborhood. It felt so good to be outside again. I was also inspired to put together a few food projects this weekend, including sushi.

My mom taught me how to make sushi when I was in middle school. My mom, sister, and I loved making it together – we made all types of veggie rolls, Philadelphia rolls (smoked salmon, cream cheese, cucumber), and others. Yes, it takes a while, and no, it’s not the same as having a trained-for-years sushi chef carefully carve sashimi, but it’s still a healthy, delicious, and fun-to-make treat.

When I was an RA in college, I hosted a sushi party for my residents. I prepared all of the ingredients, set them out buffet-style, and then everyone made sushi. It was a lot of fun and I have since done the same thing with some friends in Boston. I wrote a quick post about it years ago with one blurry picture, so when I made sushi again this weekend, I thought I’d post an update with a little more information.

homemade sushi

Making Sushi: Ingredients

  • sushi rice (see instructions below)
  • nori
  • blanched asparagus
  • julienned carrots, cucumber, red pepper
  • thinly sliced avocado
  • wasabi (I buy the all-natural powdered kind and add water)
  • pickled ginger (I should make this sometime, I’ve never tried though!)
  • other items: cutting board, bamboo sushi roller, plastic wrap to cover sushi roller, sharp knife

ingredients for sushi

Sushi Rice

  • 2 cup sushi rice (short grain)
  • 2 cups water
  • pinch salt
  • sugar (about a tablespoon)
  • rice wine vinegar (about 2 tablespoons)

I love to use a rice cooker to make sushi rice. Simply rinse the rice in water until the water runs clear, put in the rice maker with the water (1 cup of water for every cup of rice) and salt, and turn on. When the rice is cooked (i.e. when the rice cooker lets you know it’s done – so easy), transfer to a large bowl, and carefully fold over the rice with a rice paddle or large spoon so it begins to cool. As you are turning the rice, add about half a tablespoon of sugar and one tablespoon of rice wine vinegar. Keep turning over the rice, and then add the same amount of sugar and vinegar again. If you’re making a larger batch of rice, just use a bit more. I never measure them out and the rice always tastes great.

Put everything together!

1. With a sheet of nori on the plastic wrap, sushi roller, and cutting board (see image above), add about a 1/4 cup of rice to the lower third of the nori. Lightly press the rice down – I like to use the paddle and my fingers with a little water on them. Add a few pieces of vegetables (5-8 slices, depending on what fits) on top of the rice. Then, roll it up! Start at the bottom, rolling tightly. Wet the top edge of the nori with a little water. When you have a tightly wrapped roll, use a sharp knife to cut the roll into pieces.

To go with the sushi, I made miso soup with seaweed, tofu, and shiitake mushrooms (my go-to cold weather soup lately), and green tea.

SSL: Fennel, February 8

8 Feb

Mint Fennel Tzatziki Sauce

Mint Fennel Tzatziki (see below for link)

Not everyone loves raw fennel. It has a unique anise-like flavor, which I can’t get enough of, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Cooking fennel completely transforms its flavor, though, so even if you disliked raw fennel in the past, I encourage you to check out some of the recipes below!

India is the top producer of fennel, which makes sense, as fennel seeds are common in Indian dishes. You may have tried ‘mukhwas’, the sweet, multi-color licorice-tasting breathe freshener found in some Indian restaurants.

Fennel is a healthy addition to your diet, as it is extremely low in calories, and high in fiber, Potassium, and Vitamin C.* The Greeks called fennel ‘marathon’, so the location of Marathon, Greece means ‘overgrown with fennel’. Interesting!

Here are some recipes to inspire you to use fennel:

Happy Saturday!

*I am not a certified nutritionist. Please always check in with your doctor regarding what’s best for your health and personal situation.

Sweet Potato Fries

16 Dec

Sweet Potato Fries Recipe

I love using the oven on a cold day. When house fills with the scent of chocolate chip cookies or roasted chicken, it feels like home. These sweet potato fries are fast, easy, super healthy, and always satisfy my baking cravings.

What you’ll find below is more of a process than a recipe. The only two ingredients you absolutely need are sweet potatoes and some kind of oil (I always use extra virgin olive oil). Then, based on your mood and pantry, you can put together a spice combination. The combination below results in a pungent, dry-rub type of seasoned fry.

These fries are fine re-heated, but you’ll lose some of the crispiness that makes them special.  So my preference is to cook what we’ll eat in one day. I love sweet potatoes, so if I’m making these just for me, I’ll use two small potatoes.

sweet potato fries lined up on the pan

Sweet Potato Fries

(serves 4 as a side; 1 as a meal – I think these can be a meal!)

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into matchsticks (you can decide how thick, but be sure they’re uniform in size)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon to oil the pan
  • 1 Tablespoon 7 spice mix (allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, fennel) from my local Armenian mark
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Put the cut sweet potatoes into a large bowl or a large ziplock bag.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over the top (2-3 Tablespoons).
  4. Add spices and mix well (or shake, if you’re using the bag).
  5. Oil a cookie sheet so the fries won’t stick.
  6. Arrange the sweet potato sticks so that they’re not touching one another (see above)
  7. Place in oven and cook for about 20 minutes (a little less if you cut thin pieces) at 400 F.
  8. When the potatoes are getting soft and starting to brown on the bottom, remove from the oven, flip the pieces over (they can be touching now). Add salt to taste over top and cook again for about 5 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and enjoy on their own, or dip into maple syrup, ketchup, chutney, or any other delicious dip you can think of.

I hope you enjoy making these, and don’t forget to be creative with the flavors! I made these with sugar and cinnamon (dipped in maple syrup, of course) and they were perfect for dessert. Another time I used minced fresh garlic, salt, and pepper for a more simple flavor. I’d love to hear your favorite spice combinations in the comments. Enjoy!

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