Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Crispy Rice Spicy Tuna Yum Yum

One of my current favorite sushi items is spicy tuna served on crispy rice.  I first had it at Koi in Las Vegas a few years back.  It isn't served at my regular sushi bar and I haven't seen it too many other places.  It appears it might be an L.A. trend - and Las Vegas lucks out because Koi has a restaurant here.

While we were in L.A. this past weekend we went to The Little Izaka-ya in Sherman Oaks and had several orders of the yumminess.  I decided it was time to make it for myself and I started with this recipe.  I stayed pretty close to the tuna component but left out the green onions.  I cooked the rice the day before, not following the sushi rice instructions but just making it 2C rice with 3C water that had some salt, a little soy sauce and red pepper flakes in it..  After it cooled, I patted it into a rectangle about not quite 1/2" thick and refrigerated it over night. Thanks to BFD for that great idea. Today I mixed the tuna and then cut out small bites of rice which I browned in butter, sesame oil and a little soy sauce.  I topped the rice patties with tuna and then put a couple of slices of shishito pepper on each one.

The presentation isn't as nice as it might be and I hope I'll improve with practice.  The patties were also a little bit greasy so I either need to make the oil hotter or use less.  And next time I'll make the rice bites a little thinner.  Overall they were delicious and I'll be making them often.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Marmalade Cranberry Walnut Muffins

The base for these muffins came from the Marmalade Mogul Muffins recipe that is in the book Tough Cookie by Diane Mott Davidson.  The protagonist in Davidson's books is a caterer who solves mysteries; the books all have recipes included.

The recipe in the book claims to make 28 muffins.  They must be some pretty big muffins because I halved the recipe and still got 20 muffins.  I also added some ingredients but that couldn't have increased the volume too much.

I've been using Greek yogurt in the place of milk and buttermilk lately and I made that same substitution here.  I read somewhere on the Internet that you can substitute yogurt for milk when baking but should add 1/2 baking soda for every cup of yogurt.  You should stir the yogurt to thin it and I sometimes add a bit of water or juice to make it even thinner depending on what I'm making.  In this recipe I used 3/4 C of yogurt and 1/4 C of tangerine juice to replace the buttermilk.

My adapted recipe:

1 Stick butter (1/4 lb)
3/4 C Sugar
2 eggs
3/4 C Greek yogurt (I used 2%)
1/4 C Tangerine Juice
1 3/4 C unbleached white flour
1/4 C whole wheat flour
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 T orange zest
1/2 C marmalade
1/3 to 1/2 C chopped walnuts (to your taste)
1/3 to 1/2 C 1/2 C dried cranberries (to your taste) 

I tossed the cranberries with a bit of flour and chopped them up
Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
Cream the butter and sugar and then add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.  I mixed the tangerine juice into the yogurt before pouring that into the butter, sugar, egg mixture.  Add the dry ingredients.  The batter will be thick.  Stir in the marmalade, zest, walnuts and cranberries. Fill your muffin cups 3/4 full. I did use silicon liners but you can also use paper liners. The original recipe calls from sprinkling additional sugar on the tops before baking but I didn't do that.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

I love the orange flavor in these muffins along with the cranberries and nuts.  I do think they were just a little bit dry and that might be from adding the wheat flour but they were still delicious.  I might put some applesauce in next time for some extra moisture.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Parmesan Thyme Crackers

I decided I needed some flavorful crackers to go with my Cucumber Avocado Soup and went to this recipe for Parmesan Thyme Crackers.  I was pretty true to the recipe except I didn't have fresh thyme so I used dried - a little less than 1/2 teaspoon.  I also cut the crackers a little thinner - probably about 1/4 inch instead of 3/8.

These crackers are dangerously good. My batch made 36 and I could have eaten most of them in one sitting.  I refrained though because I did the math and they are about 35 calories each, making the batch over 1250 calories.  With all the butter and cheese they are really just Parmesan shortbread.  They went well with my soup but they are perfectly fine just by themselves.  I can see them with a little goat cheese, or maybe some guacamole.  Along with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc. YUM.

UPDATE:  On second tasting, I think the crackers might be just a tad too salty. I may leave out the salt next time and rely on the natural saltiness of Parmesan.

UPDATE 2:  I just realized there it a typo in the recipe I linked to.  It says 1/2 lb (1 stick) of butter.  1/2 lb of butter is 2 sticks in a 4 stick package.  I used 1 stick which is 1/4lb butter and it was plenty of butter.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cucumber Avocado Soup

I discovered the basic recipe for this cucumber avocado soup on Pinterest (of course).  It seemed like the perfect soup for a hot Las Vegas afternoon.  I modified the recipe a bit:

1 Cucumber
1 Avocado
Juice from 1/2 lime
1 1/2 C Non-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 C water
1/2 C chopped green onions
1/4 C chopped red onion
1/4 C chopped fresh mint
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the cucumber into thirds and rough chop two thirds.  Halve the avocado and rough chop one half.  You are reserving the remaining avocado and cucumber to add to the finished product.  Put the chopped avocado and cucumber along with all the other ingredients into a bowl that is deep enough to use your immersion blender.  If you don't have an immersion blender, stop now and go buy one.  You'll love it.  Blend the ingredients until smooth.  Add more water if you'd like your soup a little thinner.  I may use broth in my next batch.

Chop the remaining cucumber and avocado into small dice and add some to each bowl of soup.  I added a shrimp and mint leaf for garnish.  My brother would say the mint is unnecessary since I didn't eat it, just used it to spice up the picture.

The original recipe says this serves four.  I think that is only if you are serving it as a starter.  If you're having it for lunch, I'd say it serves two.