I had hoped to participate in the Something Out Of Nothing event hosted (one time only!) by Lindy at Toast. However, due to lingering illness (I'm quite sick and tired of being sick and tired, to be sure!) and caretaking of MrG and his newly operated-upon foot, well there just isn't time to complete a proper entry.
I will return. I hope that you'll come back to visit when I do.
Friday, March 17, 2006
I love brunch. Brunch for me has always been about the buffet: pancakes, eggs, waffles, sausage, omelets, ham, turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy... the list of my brunch favorites is as long as your arm. So, when I read Happy Sorceress suggestion that our Blog Party submission should be acceptable for a cocktail party, well, I had to struggle to keep it small but still satisfying.
Cocktail parties I've been to (don't say you've never been to a cocktail party, Grommie, they'll think you're a dork) have been few but I know that people want to sip drinks, mingle, talk, and nibble snacks. (Right? That's what a cocktail party is, right? Of course it's not a beer bash, it's sophisticated people getting to know each other over drinks.)
Sushi is very popular and while I don't think raw fish is what people want early in the day, it definitely fills the sophistication quota. I decided a fruit sushi is acceptable for brunch.
This Fruit Sushi is made with Lavash flat bread or crepes, a layer of blackberry mango jam, topped with a sushi rice and quinoa mixture, then papaya, kiwi and strawberry. Rolled up with a sushi roller, it was messy to prepare but turned out really beautiful. I think if I'd had more experience with regular sushi rice this dish would have been really simple.
This was also my first experience cooking quinoa (pronounced keen-wha). It's a grain that's high in protein and the protein is the reason I added it to this dish. There were just so many carbs going on that I felt I needed more of a protein balance.
I also thought, along with a main appetizer there could be a few small munchies. Everyone loves munchies.
Wasabi peas turned out to be a nice addition of spice along with the fruity sushi. Continuing clockwise, cinnamon almonds, teriyaki crackers and rice crackers. All very fun to nibble while talking and drink sipping.
And the drink:
Passionate Kisses Mimosa is made with passionfruit juice, blood orange juice (that's lipstick for the kisses) and champagne or sparkling wine.
Quinoa's survival through the millennia may be attributed to the resinous, bitter coating that protects its seeds from birds and insects--and also shields them from the intense high-altitude sunlight. This coating, called saponin, is soapy and must be removed in a strong alkaline solution to make the grain palatable. Most quinoa sold in this country has already been cleansed of its saponin. But quinoa should be rinsed thoroughly before cooking to remove any powdery residue of saponin. Place the grain in a fine strainer and hold it under cold running water until the water runs clear; drain well.
Toast the grain in a dry skillet for five minutes before cooking to give it a delicious roasted flavor. To cook, use two parts liquid to one part quinoa. Combine the liquid and toasted quinoa in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the grains are translucent and the germ has spiraled out from each grain, about 15 minutes.
3 cups Japanese-style rice
3 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
After washing the rice well, cook it by pan or rice cooker. Prepare sushi vinegar (sushi-zu) by mixing rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small pan. Put the pan on low heat and cook until the sugar dissolves. Cool the vinegar mixture. Spread the cooked hot rice into a large plate (if you have it, use a wooden bowl called sushi-oke) by spatula. Sprinkle the vinegar mixture over the rice and fold the rice by shamoji very quickly. Be careful not to smash the rice. To cool and remove the moisture of the rice well, use a fan as you mix sushi rice. This will give sushi rice a shiny look. It's best to use it right away.
Makes 6 cups of sushi rice.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
The Japanese version of Mr Potato Head??
I found this on Ebay and realized that some people have probably never seen one of these or would even know what it's used for.
This is a Velveeta Block Keeper. In some areas of the country, Velveeta brand American cheese still comes in a large block to fit inside this case (some of you may remember these from the days before Velveeta Singles were available). The dimensions are not listed on the auction but a Velveeta block measures approximately 3x3x10 inches.
Someone PLEASE buy me this book.
A little snippet for your enjoyment:
Good Lord, good Lord. This looks like . . . like Orson Welles' liver. Like a shaved Horta. Like a cinnamon roll made entirely out of horse fat and brown sugar. Like Jabba the Hutt's prostate. I don't know what the hell this is. Maybe a roast of some sort. If so, it's a good Depression-era diet aid: this is what you would eat if you had more money, so be glad you don't.
How could you not fall in love with a book that has this description for starters?
Monday, March 06, 2006
Blog Party is a virtual cocktail party for food bloggers. It's a chance to make those little bites and fantastic drinks we all love, but never make. Blog Party is about taking time for us: setting aside some time to cook (which, clearly, we all love), to prepare appetizers we want to eat but never get around to. And best of all, it's about getting together, albeit via the Web, with like-minded friends.
Hosted by The Happy Sorceress
I think this could be a lot of fun.
Date for the Blogparty: Saturday March 18.
See you there. Bring a friend and a dish to pass.