Tuesday, May 10, 2022


427.  Sushi is such a delight.  It is savory flavors coming together on your pallet exploding with surprising nuances. Salty, smooth, cold, crunchy, textures popping with spicy, tangy, toasted, yummy experiences.  Some would say "fishy" too but, that depends on the seafood that you use.  Of course, raw fish is involved but the health factor far outweighs the off-putting thought of "raw fish".  Once I tried sushi,  I always walk away satisfied.

We have our favorite rolls and favorite restaurants that serve sushi, but, I decided to make sushi at home.  I purchased a sushi kit, which you can find them at William Sonoma online here.  And, it comes with instructions that are so easy to follow.

I purchased fresh water salmon and sliced it paper thin, toasted sesame seeds, sliced an avocado, julienned cucumber, sautéed shrimp and cut it into chunks, cream cheese pieces, mango sliced thin, coated onion slices with egg and flour and fried them in hot oil till crispy.  I also found black caviar and made sticky rice.

And then we started the process.  It took a couple tries accomplishing the rolling and tucking skill, but, we each gave it a go.

We also made spicy mayo and pickled ginger, my recipe here.  And who could forget wasabi!!  
What a pleasant surprise and we ate sushi for hours.  Some rolls were with seaweed outside and others with seaweed inside and rice on the outside which was tricky.

I also made nigiri with the extra salmon, shmear of wasabi and rice.  More reasons to say yum!
What a great experience and delightful dinner!  So, no, it was not expert quality but it satisfied.  I will leave that to the masters!
If you web search "Sushi" you will be amazed how many recipes, hints, tutorials and videos you will find. My favorite go-to is on PBS and my rice turns out perfect every time.  PBS Sushi Watch Here

"I've been making sushi for 38 years, and I'm still learning.  You have to consider the size and color of the ingredients, how much salt and vinegar to use and how the seasons affect the fattiness of the fish."
~ Masaharu Morimoto

Monday, April 18, 2022

Almond Cake with Amaretto Buttercream and Raspberries

426. This Easter we enjoyed a lovely brunch and a variety of delicious treats, along with this Almond Cake with Amaretto Buttercream and Raspberries.  

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The Amaretto was purchased at Trader Joes and brings such a perfect flavor to the batter.
The cake is lovely, moist and aromatic.  Slicing it lengthwise is very easy and the sides are not crisp.
The buttercream is very soft and perfect for spreading.
What an absolutely lovely cake this is, moist with delicate flavor.  Each bite is so very satisfying and  light.  It is not a heavy cake as most scratch cakes can be.  And, I must say, I am most proud of the finished product.
"Cake baking has to be, however innocently, one of the great culinary scams:  it implies effort, it implies domestic prowess; but believe me, it's easy."
~Nigella Lawson

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Vintage Recipes

425.  I have been a collector of recipes since I was around 10 years old.  Always under my mother's feet when she was baking and sneaking licks and globs of dough.  Licking the mixing beaters was never enough!  Cookie dough, cake batter, frostings and raw raised dough was a weakness for me.  

My mother had recipe pamphlets that would come inside the flour bags.  Booklets available in the baking aisle of the market and small paper pamphlets that contained some of the best recipes.  I have to admit, it had become a passion of mine to sit and copy the recipes.  Until one day, I decided to cut out the pictures to glue to my handwritten recipes. 

Yes, my mother was so patient with me, although, I ruined many a recipe with holes cut out of the ingredient list or directions.  

She also had recipes from friends, each recipe tried and true, dog-eared, a favorite or a staple. Each recipe is such a treasure!  She also had recipes from my paternal grandmother and they were old when she received them.  
It is interesting to see the ingredients from the older recipes such as "Spry" or "Oleo", substitutes for butter.  I cherish all these memories and using these recipes to create delicious treats for my family and others is so fulfilling.

"A recipe is a story that ends with a good meal."
~ Pat Conroy

"I think baking is very rewarding, and if you follow a good recipe, you will get success." 
~  Mary Berry

Monday, February 14, 2022

Shrimp Scampi Fettuccine

424.  A comfort meal that is speedy to prepare but checks all the boxes is Shrimp Scampi Fettuccine.  I searched for a recipe from all the great Italian cooks and no one has this recipe.  Even Joy of Cooking, McCalls Cookbook, New York Times...etc.  This was a surprise being that this recipe is such a staple in most Italian restaurants but, mostly as simply Shrimp Scampi.  
How hard could it be?  
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So, I boiled water for "good" fettuccine, which makes all the difference.  Trader Joes or Barilla are my go-to brands.
Prepare all your ingredients ahead of time because this recipe comes together quickly.  Add olive oil and 3 Tablespoons of butter into a large shallow pan over medium heat. 
Once the oil came to temperature, I slowly sautéed the garlic then added in the patted dry shrimp watching the heat so the garlic will not burn.

 The pasta was almost done.  Once the shrimp turn pink, flip each one over.  Then the peas went in, juice from a whole lemon, 1/2 cup white wine, cracked peppercorns and red pepper flakes.  Allow everything to simmer.  Add salt to taste.  Once the pasta is finished, drain and add to the scampi sauce. Toss to coat and add more pasta water if necessary.  Then sprinkle all the parsley over and add 3 Tablespoons of butter and mix to coat all.  
Plate and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.
Now that is a perfect meal!  
"In order to create a little bit of confidence, start cooking with pasta.  Pasta is phenomenal.  Once you've cooked pasta properly for the first time it becomes second nature."
~ Gordon Ramsay

"Italians love their pasta l-o-n-g.  They love to twirl it on a fork and get a full bite.  A broken up pasta doesn't feel as good in your mouth as a nice rolled up forkful..."
~ Lidia Bastianich

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Christmas Highlights 2021

423.  Pray your Christmas was filled with joy, family, delicious treats and love surrounding you.

Here are a few highlights from our Christmas Season.

"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind.  To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas."
~Calvin Coolidge

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Christmas Baking 2021

422.  Each year, in December, I plan and prepare and bake cookies.  It is a family tradition.  Not only do we enjoy the cookies but I gift them to family, friends and co-workers.Often the recipes are old favorites but I like to try new recipes each year.

This year Ooey Gooey Lemon Cookies, Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies, Fruit Nut Bread Cups, Mushroom Cookies (find recipe here Mushroom Cookies) made with almond flour and almond extract.

Orange Cranberry Drop Cookies
Peppermint Thin Mint, Peanut Butter Blossoms,
and, so much more.  Final count was 18 varieties.
"Baking cookies is comforting, and cookies are the sweetest little bit of comfort food.  They are very bite-sized and personal."
~Sandra Lee

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Tomato Bruschetta

421.  Tomato Bruschetta is a lovely appetizer, a first course, tapas, or light meal.  It is also complimentary to any Italian meal and is so satisfying.  From the crunch of the toasted bread, cool tomatoes, fresh basil, hints of garlic and pulled together with olive oil.  Each bite is a delight.

Bruschetta is delicious!  Simple, satisfying and each bite is like the first bite!
"I'm into very colorful food.  Obviously lost of flavor, but I think we eat with our eyes first, so it has to look great.  The presentation has to be great."
~ Giada De Laurentiis


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