When I was nine, I attended summer camp. When asked what my favorite and least favorite foods were, I responded sushi and borscht soup. That should give you a picture of what kind of high maintenance, food loving child I was. My favorite memories are always situated around the dinner table. The creation and consumption of food has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I have cooked in restaurants, in bakeries, in a BNB in Scotland, for events, grown my own garden, worked farmers markets, eaten food across the world, designed a vegetarian meal for a week long retreat, made an eight course meal for thirteen people, and become a sushi chef.
This particular page will be dedicated to recipes, thoughts, tips on making sushi and any food related writing.
If you can’t think of what to bring to a potluck or need to meet dietary restrictions, give me a shout here, and I can give you my best feedback and send you a recipe or two.
Even allowing myself the title of sushi chef feels like cheating because it takes years to master the skill. I unintentionally fell into the trade and have a year and a half under by belt. What I can offer, is the perspective of someone who loves the art form, had an accelerated learning experience, sees it on a broader restaurant scale, and understands that there is exponential amounts of nuance still to learn.
MAKING LOVE TO RICE
Rice is an art form that takes years to master. It is a difficult component to perfect on the stove, without a rice cooker. The key is being gentle or “making love to the rice” as the head sushi chef likes to say. Be willing to fiddle with it on your own but this is the best way I have found so far.
1 cup of sushi rice
Piece of Kombu
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. sugar
Wash 1 cup of sushi rice in a bowl, allowing water to fill it and gently stirring it with your hand. Drain the cloudy water and repeat several times. Then pour through a colander and let sit for 30 minutes. Place the rice in a pot with one and a half cups of water, add a piece of dried kombu (a type of seaweed you can find in most grocery stores), put the lid on and turn to high. Let it boil for 3 minutes before turning it down to low and letting it cook for 7. Turn the stove off and let sit for another 15 minutes before removing the lid. While this is sitting, heat up two tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, 3tsp. of sugar and 1tsp. of salt. Once the sugar and salt dissolve, remove from the heat. Place the rice in a bowl and slowly pour the vinegar mixture over it. Gently "cut the rice" (a slicing sideways motion, releasing the hot air) with a wooden spoon, for 1 minute. The rice should begin to get a glossy sheen. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then flip the rice and cut it again. Let the rice sit for another 5 minutes and it should be ready to use. Ideally, rice is about body temperature if not a little warmer, so keep it out covered with a wet towel to stay moist.
I am combatting all the heavy holiday food and going with a salad recipe for the week. I don’t give exact amounts because the reason I love this salad is you can use up all the veggies in your refrigerator that are not being used. My only recommendation, is to chop the ingredients relatively small.
TUNA CHOPPED SALAD
Dec. 23. 16
-Salt & Pepper
-Canned tuna fish
Message the kale with olive oil and salt then, add all the other veggies. Mix the tuna fish, mayonnaise, mustard, celery seeds, and apple-cider vinegar. Top the salad with the tuna fish and finish with a squeeze of lemon, pepper, and balsamic vinegar.
***If you don’t like tuna fish, a fried egg is delicious instead.
Want to kickstart your day with some seriously awesome coffee?
CARDAMON BULLETPROOF COFFEE
Dec. 8. 16
1 mug of coffee
1 dash of cardamon
1 spoonful of coconut oil
1 small spoonful of grass-fed organic butter
**Optional - 2 tablespoons protein powder (I especially love the Bone Broth brand. The ingredients are clean and it's a great product. My sister has more information about it if you are interested, let me know!)
Put everything in a blender and blend away!
APPLE ROSE PASTRY WITH LEMON CURD
Nov. 25. 16
2 apples, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon rose water
1 container puff pastry
1/8 cup lemon curd
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 egg (beaten for egg-wash)
Core the apples, cut in half, and thinly slices. Toss with rose water, lemon juice and microwave for 3 minutes (or sauté with a butter until soft). Roll out the puff pastry and cut into long strips, about 3" across. Cover the surface of the puff pastry lightly with lemon curd and orange marmalade. Lay the apple slices on the right side of the pastry to create a line of apples that
don't overlap. Fold the left side of the pastry over, only leaving a little of the apple showing. Wash the exposed surface of the pastry with the egg and roll up to form a "rose". Place the "roses" in muffin tins and bake at 375, for 30 minutes. Plop some ice or whipped cream on top to complete the experience. Bon appetit!
Nov. 10. 16
This recipe was created by a lot of trial and error. Although I specify amounts, I recommend doing it by taste. Start off with less than I suggest and go from there. I love this dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner and it is especially good, if you are feeling under the weather. Make this recipe your own. Add whatever extra ingredients you would like, this is just a good starting point.
Makes 4 servings
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
2 tsp fish sauce
1-2 tablespoons miso (medium is best)
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
I egg (if you have a blender or immersion blender)
Sriracha or other hot sauce if you want a kick
1 cup ground Italian sausage
3 cloves garlic
1 bundle of kale or spinach
2 tsp sesame seeds
Ramen noodles (I use Lotus Noodles which are gluten free and delicious)
Heat the chicken broth and water. Once warm, add the other ingredients, except the egg. Make sure the miso has dissolved. Taste to see if it needs more of any of the ingredients. The broth is going to be light but should be flavorful. If you have a blender or immersion blender, crack the egg into the broth, and blend immediately. This will cause it to become creamy and adds a nice dimension.
Cook the sausage, fry the eggs (I like over-easy so the yolk cracks in the soup) and cook the noodles. Sautee the chopped garlic and sesame, add the kale or spinach. Cook for about 1 minute until the greens are tender. Place a bit of the sausage, 1 fried egg, noodles and the greens in a bowl, top with the broth. Slurp it up!
APPLE, MINT, LEMON & CELERY JUICE
Oct. 27. 2016
Not everyone's parents own a juicer, but mine do. This means on the occasions that I want to make some juice to kickstart my day, I just have to borrow it from them. I apologize that this recipe is for those with access to such amenities but it’s too good not to share. The celery makes it. It sounds like an odd addition, but the saltiness brings out the sweet of the apples.
Makes 1 quart container
6 apples (We had a bunch from an apple tree in our yard)
3 stalks of celery
1/4 cup of mint
Juice and enjoy!
Oct. 13. 2016
2 1/4 cups self-rising flour
3/4 tsp salt
6 TBLS butter
8 TBLS cold water
Couple dashes of curry powder
2 potatoes diced
1 large onion diced
1 bag frozen peas and carrots
2 tsp whole cumin seeds
2 tsp chopped garlic
2 tsp chopped fresh ginger
2 tsp salt
3-4 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
Vegetable oil for frying (we used avocado oil but it’s expensive so I recommend canola or grape seed instead.)
Combine the flour, curry powder and salt together in a bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture, using a fork or food processor. Once crumbles start to form, add the water a little at a time until a dough is made. Knead for around 5 minutes and then let sit for at least 15.
Cut the potatoes into cubes and cook until soft. Drain and mash adding the peas and carrots. Sauté the cumin seeds in a little vegetable oil until fragrant. Then, add the onions and cook until golden brown. Add the ginger, garlic, salt, curry powder, and cayenne. Cook for another 3 minutes, and then add the lemon juice. Add this to the potato mixture and mix until combined. Taste and see if the mixture needs any more spices or salt.
Divide the dough into 9 pieces. Rolling each one, on a floured surface, into about a 6” circle. Cut the circle in half and coat the straight edge with water. Then fold the piece over and seal along the straight line to form a cone shape. Add the filling, but leave enough room and seal the top. Pinch the two sides that were sealed to make sure they will hold. In a pan, heat several inches of oil until hot. Add a couple samosas at a time, not overcrowding. Fry until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes on each side.
Eat with chutney or, in our case, dip in curry.
Oct. 6. 2016
This morning was cozy and so it felt like the right occasion for some homemade chai. I love spicy chai with lots of ginger. I recommend using whole spices instead of ground, then you won't have that sludge like substance at the bottom. If you do use ground spices, strain it through a coffee strainer and it will fix the problem.
Make about 4 cups
4 cups water
3 black tea bags or 3 tablespoons loose leaf
7 cardamon pods
3 large cinnamon sticks
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sweetener to taste
2 cups milk or milk alternative
Combine the water, tea and spices in a pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, let it cook for about 30 minutes. You might need to add a little more water if it starts to get low. Strain the contents of the pot. Add your choice of sweetener and vanilla extract. Remember to make it slightly sweeter because you will dilute it will milk. If you want to make hot chai, leave it on the stove, add milk and heat it up. If you want ice chai, place the liquid in a jar and cool, adding milk once it is at the right temperature.
THAI GREEN CURRY COCONUT SOUP
Sep. 28. 2016
This soup makes others look like sad little excuses of deliciousness. It is full to bursting with flavor and is perfect for most occasions, especially if you’ve been needing to get your Thai food fix.
Makes enough for 3-4 people depending on how hungry everyone is. It goes great with rice if you want to bulk it up a bit.
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon coconut or vegetable oil
I container (about 4 ounces) of Thai green curry paste (I prefer theThai Kitchen brand.)
2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 can coconut milk
4 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons sugar or honey
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (Helpful tip: You can leave some of the cilantro stem when you chop it up. The stems have a similar flavor to the leaves and won’t detract from the flavor. Parsley stems, on the other hand, are bitter.)
Splash of soy sauce
These following ingredients aren’t necessary, whatever vegetables you have in the refrigerator will work just fine, these are just my preference.
2 sweet potatoes, chopped into cubes
1 cup snow peas, cut in half
1 bunch spinach
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
A bit of black pepper to tie the whole dish together
Sauté the chicken for about 5 minutes on each side over medium heat. (It’s okay if it isn’t entirely cooked through, because it will finish cooking in the soup). Shred the chicken with a fork. In a large pot, heat the oil until hot. Add the ginger, green curry paste, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk and those vegetables that will take longer to soften. Simmer until the vegetables are mostly cooked. Add the sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, chicken, and the rest of the vegetables. Cook for another couple minutes until all the vegetables are soft. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve!
CINNAMON & PECAN BROWNIE
Sep. 22. 2016
I promise not all my recipes will be baked goods, it just so happened that this week was my sisters birthday and therefor filled with various sweet concoctions.
Makes enough for 4-6 people
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup sugar (I usually make my baked good with less sugar, so if you have a sweet tooth you might want to boost this up to 3/4 or 1 cup)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. instant coffee
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup pecans (lightly toasted and chopped if you have time)
Preheat oven to 325
Melt the butter in a small pot, add the cocoa and whisk until all the clumps are gone. Pour into a bowl and add sugar, vanilla and one egg. Whisk quickly because the egg will cook if the butter is too hot.
In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, instant coffee, salt, & pecans together. Add to the cocoa mix and combine. You can use an 8” x 8” pan or an 8-9” cake pan. Butter and lightly flour the pan and add the mixture evenly, spreading it out with a rubber spatula. It will be a thin but that is okay. Bake for 20-25 minutes, it should still be a little undercooked when removing it from the oven. It will set when it cools and still be moist.
If you want to make a design on top, see if you have any stencils or even lace can work. Place it over the brownie once it has cooled and, with a small strainer cover the top with powdered sugar, carefully removing the stencil or lace.
COFFEE PECAN MUFFINS:
Sep. 15. 2016
I need to start with a disclaimer. I grew up in Boulder, Colorado and healthy food is not a foreign concept to me. So, I apologize if you thought these muffins were some ridiculously delicious butter and gluten filled pieces of perfection, because they aint. If you want some tasty and seriously healthy morning munchies, this is the recipe for you. #glutendairysugarifyouwantgrainandhappinessfree
This was a quick morning project, first time using the time lapse video on my phone. I thought it would be an easy video to put together.
Base: Here are the “base ingredients”. Everything else I add is just to spruce them up but you can make them with just these six ingredients.
-1 cup almond or peanut butter (almond is better, but peanut is far cheaper so it’s up to you)
-1 tsp. baking soda
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-1 TBLS apple sauce
-2 TBLS coffee
-Spices (I did a dash of cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg)
-2 tsp. maple syrup
-1 TBLS coconut oil
-1/4 cup chopped pecans (adds a nice texture)
Preheat the oven to 425 on convention.
Place the bananas, almond/peanut butter, and eggs in the blender and mix. Add the baking soda and salt and blend. Add all the other ingredients besides the pecans and blend for about 20 seconds until everything is incorporated. Add the pecans last and mix with a spoon, don’t blend it because we want the pecans to stay intact. Pour in muffin tins and cook for 12 minutes. At first, they may seem a little undercooked, but let them cool for 20 minutes and they will be perfect. If you bake them for too long, they can get a bit dry.
Sep. 8. 2016
This is one of my favorite dishes. It was made for me by an Israeli friend who said it is one of the basic recipes you learn growing up in Israel. What we made is kind of a “base” for the dish to which cheese, meat, or whatever else can be added.
4 cloves of garlic
2 bell peppers
2 tablespoons tomato paste
5 pieces of bread, toasted
Pinch of sugar
Seasonings (whatever you are in the mood for, thyme, cayenne, oregano, basil, and cilantro are all good additions)
In a pan, start with 3 sliced onions, minced garlic and a little olive oil and cook until soft. Add 3 chopped tomatoes, a large pinch of salt and cook for five minutes. Add 2 chopped bell peppers and another pinch of salt. Cook until peppers are soft. Add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, a pinch of sugar, pinch of salt, couple dashes of pepper and seasoning (see note above). If the mixture is dry, add a little water too. Cook for another 2 minutes. Make small wells in the mixture and crack an egg into each one. Top with a bit of salt and pepper. Turn heat to low and cover for about five minutes or until eggs are cooked to your liking. If they aren’t cooking fast enough, turn the broiler on in the oven and let broil for 2 minutes. Traditionally, you toast the bread, slather it in hummus, and then scoop a big old dollop of Shakshuka on top of the whole ordeal. It is messy and absolutely wonderful.
The story started with a wooden spoon. The spoon was clutched in a small hand, the hand was attached to a little body, the body was perched on an old bar stool, and the stool was pulled up close to a steaming ceramic pot. What was inside the pot remains a mystery. Time has a devious way of blurring the best parts of memory and in this case, erases the only necessary part of the image. Nevertheless, this remembrance, out of innumerable, remains steady and immovable in my mind.
Why is it that this hazy memory, wrapped up in warmth and anticipation, remains after many more have strived to take its place? Is it possible I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth but a wooden spoon in my hand? That this memory decided to stick because it had an understanding that the kitchen would remain my sanctuary. That food, a word I feel far too small to encompass the category it oversees, would run through my life, appearing whenever I seemed to have lost direction.
I have often wondered if you come into the world with certain pre-instilled passions. How, potentially, the Unagi my mother craved while pregnant with me, laid the circuitry in my brain that led me to become a sushi chef twenty two years later? That her life, full of hard work and adventure, wrote itself into my DNA so that I would be pushed to cross oceans just to find some sense of fulfillment. What early recollections seem to guide you? What memory floats to the surface unexpected and yet, relevant?