Saturday, June 30, 2018

Brown Rice Lobster Sushi Balls

I have a heck of a time trying to make sushi. Probably because my knives are all so dull that I get frustrated trying to make a clean slice and end up shredding the poor roll.. 
My solution? Sushi balls. (Also... Sushi Cake - see HERE or Sushi In A Jar - see HERE). 
Sushi balls are easier, if not a little more time consuming, for me to make - at least until I can get a nice shiny new knife. 
I used brown rice to make them a little more nutritious but you could swap it for regular sushi rice. I used lobster for the middle as that is a what I had on hand - you could easily use tuna or salmon or crab. 
I also discovered that any leftover rice mixture makes for a wonderful salad - just toss it with a few mixed greens and *voila* tasty and hearty salad for lunch. 

Brown Rice Lobster Sushi Balls

Rice Mixture
3 cups short grain brown rice, cooked & cool enough to handle
1/4 cup rice vinegar
4 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup minced toasted seaweed (I used Premier Choice Classic Seasoned Seaweed Snacks)
1/2 cup almonds, toasted & finely chopped
3 Tbsp minced chives
pinch sea salt

small cubes of lobster (or imitation lobster)
about 3 Tbsp srirachi mayo

Toppings (optional)
toasted sesame seeds
radish slices
chopped chives
small strips of seaweed

Serve with (optional)
soy sauce
wasabi paste
pickled ginger
sriracha mayo

Line a cake pop pan (or mini muffin pan) with plastic wrap, set aside. 
Combine all of the "Rice Mixture" ingredients in a bowl until well mixed. 

Scoop about a half a TBSP of rice mixture into each of the wells in the cake pop pan. If you want to use a topping (ie: thin radish slice) be sure to put it in the bottom of the well first. 

Press the rice down as firmly as you can. The firmer the better. If it is too loose it will fall apart when you try to pick it up. (*TIP* -  Have a bowl of water to dip your fingers in. It makes the rice less apt to stick to your fingers.) Place a piece of lobster and a dab of the sriracha mayo on top of the lobster. Then top with about another TBSP of rice mixture. Press very firmly down again. 
Repeat until all of the wells have been filled. Chill for about 15 - 20 minutes.
Gently remove the chilled balls from the pan and place, flat side down, on a serving tray.

Chill, covered, until ready to serve. You can also serve immediately.
I like to serve with soy sauce, wasabi paste, and pickled ginger. 

If you don't have a cake pop pan you can use a mini muffin pan. The balls won't be as round but they will still taste delicious. These are just the right size to pop in your mouth. If you try to bite them in half they tend to want to crumble a bit. 
I love the nutty flavor from the brown rice and the toasted almonds. To me it's a really unique sushi combination with the sriracha mayo and lobster. 
NOTE - it can be frustrating to make these as they can seem rather crumbly. Just be sure to press them very firmly together in the pan and then chill them before trying to remove them. 
This recipe also makes quite a few balls - perfect for potlucks or family gatherings. I made them the night before an office luncheon and they worked great. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Burger, Fries, and Coke Cake

Each year for our birthday, Sue and I make each other a cake. Sometimes we surprise each other, sometimes we have themes, sometimes we tell each other what to make. 
Last year we had themes. Sue had chosen Coca Cola BBQ. I had chosen Dinosaurs. 
Here is the cake Sue (and Kenzie) made for me....

Totally adorable, am I right?
I loved it! 
I made Sue a coke bottle, burger, and fries for her cake. 

She was pretty happy with her cake too!
Everything is edible in the above photo except for the napkins and straws and glass. 
For the cake recipe I used our Vanderwolf's Family Secret Chocolate Cake Recipe (Click here for that), but you could easily use whatever chocolate cake recipe is your favorite - even a cake mix would work. Of course, it won't taste quite as delicious! FYI - I baked it in a 9 X 13 pan and then cut out circles for the burger and to fill the Coke bottles. 
For the coke bottles I was inspired by the many videos and how-to's on the internet (Just Google "coke bottle cake" if you want to make one!) Heads up - they are a pain in the butt. The instructional videos make it look soooo easy and, while they are totally doable, I wouldn't exactly say they were "easy". 


For the burger I cut the cake using a large biscuit cutter, covered it in chocolate frosting, then rolled it in crushed Oreo cookies. (Much like our Taco Cake - HERE

I cut the buns the same way, leaving them a touch bigger than the burger patty. I then covered it in yellow tinted frosting and covered it with marshmallow fondant tinted light yellow. 

I added a little orange to the yellow fondant and made a slice of cheese. 

I then dyed a little bit red, for tomato slices, and green, for lettuce. 
I brushed the top with a little water and then sprinkled on some sesame seeds for the finishing touch. 

The fries are really simple!
All you need is a pound cake (I used Sara Lee) and a crinkle cutter. This is the same method we used for our April Fool's Day A&W and KFC prank (Click HERE to see that.)

All together they make for a pretty cool cake that would work soooo well for a BBQ or picnic!

And when they are cut open....

You can eat all the tasty cake and frosting inside.

It took a while to make all the separate cakes to make one big cake but the end result was worth it. 

I have no idea what I'm going to create for Sue this year but July is coming up fast so I better put on my thinking cap. It's going to be hard to beat this one. I was very happy with how cool the burger and Coke bottles turned out. :) 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Brownie Coconut Ice Cream Sandwiches (Gluten Free/Dairy Free)

Sue and I like to play around with all sorts of recipes. Sometimes out of need, sometimes out of curiosity, sometimes just for different occasions. This recipe was born out of need. My niece, Sue's daughter, was put on a specialized diet to help with some medical issues. I wanted to come up with a treat she could still enjoy that fit with her eating plan. 
I added a little spirulina for color and to up the nutritional value, but you can certainly leave it out. 
Overall these were a hit. I will admit they are not quite as delicious as a "regular" ice cream sandwich, but they are a great healthier substitute. Plus, they're super pretty, so.... there's that. 

Brownie Coconut Ice Cream Sandwiches
(Gluten Free/Dairy Free)

Coconut Ice Cream
2 cans (14 oz each) coconut cream (or full fat coconut milk)
1/3 cup agave nectar
pinch sea salt
1 vanilla bean pod, split and scraped
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp spirulina (optional)

Brownie Cookies
3 cups icing sugar
1 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp salt
4 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla

Ice Cream: In a blender, mix together the coconut cream, agave, salt, vanilla bean seeds, vanilla extract, and spirulina (if using). Pulse until well combined. Chill in fridge for about an hour.
Process in ice cream machine as per manufacturer's instructions. 
When machines stops, pour ice cream into a 9 X 13 pan and freeze until solid.

Cookies: Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. (Yes, spray the parchment paper, these are sticky.)
Mix together icing sugar, cocoa, and salt. Whisk in egg whites and vanilla until well combined. Mixture will be in between a brownie batter and a thick glue in consistency. Using a small cookie scoop, drop onto prepared cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. 

Bake at 350 for 9 - 10 minutes, until cookies appear "crackled" on top. Remove from oven and let cool on pan for about 10 minutes before moving to wire rack to cool completely. 

I believe I got 20 cookies using the small cookie scoop, which is about 1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp or so of batter.
This will make 10 ice cream sandwiches. 
Assemble the ice cream sandwiches:  Remove the hardened coconut ice cream from the freezer. Using a sharp edged cookie cutter (or biscuit cutter) the same size as the cookies, cut the ice cream in the pan and use a flipper to remove the circles. You can take the leftover ice cream and press it together to finish up your sandwiches. (I was able to cut 8 circles out and then pressed the remaining ice cream together to get 2 more circles.)
Place an ice cream circle on the bottom side of one of the cookies. Top with another cookie, bottom side towards the ice cream. 
You need to work fairly quickly so the ice cream doesn't get too melty. 

Place back in freezer until firm.
Note - the cookies are quite sticky so wrapping them individually doesn't really work. Your best bet is to leave them on the parchment paper lined cookies sheet so they don't stick to anything. 
Also, these are best eaten within about 4 days. The cookies start to get very gooey as time goes on. 
I love the addition of the spirulina - note: it does add a bit of flavor to the ice cream so if you want a more authentic coconut flavor, leave it out. The color is quite pretty though, just sayin'

We're sharing over at Carol's Chatter, be sure to stop by and say howdy!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Homemade Cup A Noodle Soup

I don't know about you but I am a huge fan of Mr. Noodle soup. Or Itchiban. Or pretty much any noodle soup that can be made by adding boiling water. The only thing is they are usually not all that good for you. Soooo much sodium, plus the noodles are usually fried.
I played around with some spices and different noodles and came up with a healthified, make ahead noodle soup that tastes delicious and can be kept in the fridge for up to about 5 days so is great for meal prepping too!
My niece, Sue's daughter, is on a modified diet (FODMAP) and she was able to enjoy this as well. It is also gluten free and vegan - in case you follow those eating plans -- I did add chicken to some of the cups and it was yummy too!
As written below it makes 8 noodle cups. 

Homemade Cup A Noodle Soup

2 Tbsp veggie bouillon
1 Tbsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp wasabi powder
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup dried parsely
2 Tbsp sugar

200 gr bag of Brown Rice Vermicelli
4 cups fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
2 cups shredded carrots
1 can (398 ml) miniature corn, finely chopped
8 tsp gluten free miso paste
8 tsp gluten free soy sauce
~ 3/4 cup green onions, finely chopped

Place all of your spices in a dish.

Stir well and then set aside.
Soak the vermicelli noodles in warm water for about 5 minutes, then drain.
Assemble soup: place 8 jars on your counter. Layer the ingredients as follows: 
1/2 cup spinach leaves
1/4 cup shredded carrots
2 Tbsp of chopped corn (or chopped chicken, if you are using)
1 tsp miso paste
1 tsp soy sauce
1/8th of the vermicelli noodles
1/4 cup green onions

Repeat until all 8 jars are full

You can now cover and refrigerate up to about 5 days. 
When you are ready to eat them all you have to do is fill (to cover the noodles) with boiling water and let sit, covered, for about 2 minutes.

Then give it a good stir.

You can eat it out of the jar, or pour it into a bowl.

Either way, you have lunch/dinner ready to eat in about 5 minutes. 
FYI - these are great to bring to the office for lunch or even throw in the cooler camping (just boil some water over the campfire and your good to go!). 

Healthy, easy, and tasty - what have you got to lose?

Be sure to visit Carole's Chatter for more fun foody links!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Sticky Chinese Jackfruit (Vegan/Gluten Free)

This dish is one of those dishes that you end up making over and over again. Not only is it tasty, quick and easy, and even fairly healthy... it's also vegan and gluten free. 
From start to finish in about 10 minutes. Seriously. That's it. 
Serve it with some rice or noodles and *voila* super delicious side with your Chinese dinner!
Serve it with our Garlic Green Beans (Recipe HERE) for another great Chinese dish!

FYI - If you are not worried about it being gluten free then you can use "regular" soy sauce.

Sticky Chinese Jackfruit (Vegan/Gluten Free)

4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger root, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce (I use gluten free)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup rice vinegar
1 Tbsp Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 pkgs (2 X 200 gr) plain jackfruit (I used Upton's Naturals) 
2 Tbsp rice flour

green onion
toasted sesame seeds

In a bowl, whisk together garlic, ginger, soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, Thai sweet chili sauce, and cornstarch. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Place the jackfruit in a bowl and sprinkle with the rice flour. Toss gently to coat. 
Place the jackfruit in a single layer in the hot pan. 

Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes, then flip over. 
Pour the marinade over the jackfruit and lower heat to medium low. Once it starts to bubble, gently stir the jackfruit to coat. 

Once all the pieces are coated and sauce has thickened, remove from heat and serve immediately. 

Sprinkle with sliced green onions and sesame seeds, if desired. 

One of those dishes that isn't going to win any beauty prizes BUT, as we all know, that doesn't mean it won't win all the tastiness prizes!
It's quite rich so a little goes a long way. And, when served on rice, the amount above makes about 7 servings, give or take, if served with other dishes as part of a meal....