Homemade Sushi

Again my sister in law braved the strange foods and helped me get over my fears of sushi making too.
We gathered the supplies: nori (seaweed) wrappers, sushi rice, sushi vinegar and spices, and several sushi fillings.

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I will admit that the firsf three rolls I made I refused to take a pictures of. They were that bad.
Which brings us to common mistakes #1: overfilling nori with rice and other fillings. Results include not enough to wrap and seal roll and/or ingredients busting out the ends.

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After getting a good tight roll, I discoverd common mistake #2: Learning a gentle hand and cutting with a sharp knife. This is what ruins most of my rolls. I squeezed the rolls too hard or the knife would mash instead of cut.

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I tried making a rice on the outside roll. They were extremely difficult for me because it was harder to slice into the nori after the knife got sticky from the rice.

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By the end of the evening I had eaten a lot of mistakes and had some yummy lumpy rolls to eat.
Recently, I tried making sushi for a lunch my house. Kit can be odd about non-steak-&-taters meals so I was worried at first. He loved it!

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These are traditional sushi rolls with raw fish. I had to consider my budget when making this lunch. The fillings for my sushi were canned flakey crab and cream cheese. I took canned tiny shrimp and marinated them in lime juice, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper. The result was a spicy shrimp roll. The ginger was perfecto.

Which leads me to my final sushi making tip and the best advice we heard from the dozens of youtube videos we watched. Give yourself a break. The best way to make good sushi is keep trying. It proves itself too, my second attempt at making sushi for Kit and me was a huge sucess. I had to eater fewer dud rolls than the first time.
Can’t wait to try different ingredients and give it another whirl.

Have you ever tried sushi making at home?
Have any tried and true tips you want to share?

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Kat’s Kentucky Paella {Recipe Revealed!!}

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Edit: Recipe loosley inspired by this one.
Paella=pah-EH-yah.
The double L is pronounced like the Y in ‘yet’.
Paella is a Spanish dish with the main players being rice, saffron and different types of meats. Typically a mix of seafoods, chorizo, or chicken.
To me, it is a Spanish version of jambalaya. Don’t tell either ethnic group I said that, it was not meant to be a slight on anyone’s cooking.

I wanted to make something special for our 2nd wedding anniversary. For my version of paella, I cut some corners that helped me save time in cooking, but definitely did not show in the final product.

I used pre-spiced box rice mixes rather than plain white rice. And I used paprika in place of saffron. Initially, I wanted get fancy and use real saffron, but there were no grocery store options under $18. Maybe next time, Mom mentioned she had some saffron in the back of her spice cabinet somewhere.

Kat’s Kentucky Paella

• Two 12 oz. boxes of jambalaya rice mix (Tony’s or Zatatan’s)
• Water and oil/butter as called for on box

• 2 large chicken breasts
• 8 oz Smoked sausage, kielbasa or chorizo. (I used half a link of smoked sausage)
• Salt, paprika, and poultry seasoning to taste

•Olive oil for pan
• 1 Sweet onion, chopped
• 4 large garlic cloves, minced
• Paprika, salt and pepper to taste
• One 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

• 12 oz fully cooked/cleaned small salad shrimp
• Olive oil
• Paprika
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Step One
-Follow directions on jambalaya rice boxes.
-At the end of the cook time, do not worry about complete tenderness or all water being cooked away.
-Allow rice to rest.

Step Two
-Sprinkle chicken breasts with poultry seasoning, salt and paprika.
-Grill chicken and smoked sausage. Note: You could also bake or pan fry these meats, whatever you prefer. Basically, get it cooked up!
-Once fully cooked, chop up meat into preferred (bite sized) pieces and mix into cooked rice pot.

Step Three
-Toss spices, minced garlic and chopped onions into a large wok or skillet with olive oil and cook until transluscent.
-Add undrained can of diced tomatoes and cook for about five minutes.
-Dump skillet contents into pot with cooked rice and combine well.

Step Four
-Dump shrimp into skillet.
-Cook for about five minutes.
-Mix shrimp into rice pot reserving 1/3 or 1/4 of the shrimp for a topping.

Step Five
-Dump rice, veggies and meat into casserole dish.
-Top with reserved shrimp
-Cover and bake at 400°F for 30 minutes.

Happy Cooking!
~Kat
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Kat’s V-Day 2013

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This Valentine’s Day went pretty well. I was very pleased that Kit and I decided to stay at home. I hate the stress of going out for a fancy dinner only to find every restaurant over-packed with other noisy people. Besides our food was better. First, we got semi-dressed up and were witnesses at a friend’s wedding. We had lunch with the happy couple and then went trudging to do the V-day shopping we should have done days before.
I was surprised how many men were snatching flowers with a desperate look in their eyes and how many folk there were in the grocery store.

Samplecards

This is a hugely popular DIY gift on Pinterest. The project is called 52 Things I Love About You. On each card I wrote something that I love about Kit. I copied some from another crafter, but I found that the ones that meant more were the personal ones. My Kit rarely wears pants. He is a shorts-man. Because of that fact I wanted him to wear shorts for our wedding. The phrase “Two Wild Banshees” is one of those things I catch him saying all the time.

cardsWhen Kit looked through the cards on Vday, he was chuckling and smiling all the way through. Because I wrote on the face of the cards, they can still be played with normally.

wineSupper started the only way it could; with wine. I bought a bottle of the same wine we had for our wedding (a peach chardonnay) and threw some frozen peaches into it. Perfecto.

kabobsHonestly, the first thing I did was begin marinating the shrimp and steak. The shrimp was medium, fully-cooked and frozen. I used a lemon ginger marinade that I should have started the night before, but the hours run away from me. The marinade for 1 pound of shrimp is:

  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3/8 onion, chopped
  • 5/8 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro leaves (I used cubed bouillon style cilantro)
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika (dash)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (dash)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper (dash)

I cubed up a steak and threw it into a gallon bag and tried to follow this steak marinade recipe: (I didn’t have W-sauce, oops!)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • dash of pepper

As you can see in the photo above, I skewered quartered small sweet onions, whole mushrooms (baby portabellas were on sale), whole grape tomatoes, and fat slices of red and green bell peppers. I baked these kabobs on a cookie sheet (I recommend putting aluminum foil on the trays to help with cleanup). Bake them for 10-12 minutes at 450F, flip them over and bake an additional 7-8 minutes. Thanks for the oven kabobs recipe, Sarra!

cccakeI made coca-cola cake for dessert. I failed to check my stock of butter and only had enough to make the cake and not the glaze that went on top. What makes coca-cola cake special or different from a regular chocolate cake? I honestly have no clue. Google is not helping a sister out either. It was a good recipe that I have to try again when I can do the glaze as well. I honestly love my mom’s recipe for crazy cake. This was more moist…almost like a light brownie.

The rest of the evening was spent enjoying our present that we gave to each other. Our Roku is so much better than jewelry I may never wear. Tons of Netflix TV shows at our fingertips. In one month, the Roku has already paid for itself several times over because we were frequent users of Redbox.