Blog Archives

Pineapple Shrimp Southwest Salad


On black Friday, I raided all kitchen supply stores.  I also got some presents from my mom of things she rarely used (thanks, Mom!).  One of the things I got was a pineapple corer.  It’s a weird device that allows you to easily remove all the best parts of the pineapple and leave the rest behind.  The next week, I saw pineapples on sale.  It was a sign.  The new pineapple corer needed to be used.

I got home, excited to eat the pineapple when my boyfriend asked, “What are we going to eat the pineapple with?”  I really only ever ate pineapple raw and plain as a kid.  Sometimes, as a treat, we would have it with coconut and chocolate sauce, but other than that it was always plain.  I went in search of what else pineapple was used in. One person suggested eating it in a salad with shrimp.  I’ve also seen it in salsa.  I decided to combine these two ideas and make a Pineapple Shrimp Southwest Salad.  Since I’m a vegetarian, I made mine without shrimp and it was still delicious.  I let the salsa act like the dressing.  Since my recipe for salsa has tomatoes and onions in it, it also made it so I had to add fewer ingredients but still got a great variety of flavors.  I also decided to let corn chips act like the croutons.  The combination sounds odd, but it was quite delicious.

For this recipe I won’t add exact amounts since it’s all about what you like and what you don’t like. Salad is very customizable like that.  I’ll give you the ingredient list and you can find the proportions that make this your favorite salad.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

Fresh sliced pineapple

Canned black beans

Romaine lettuce

Blue corn tortilla chips

Fresh chunky salsa

Shrimp (optional)

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking instructions:

Chop the romaine lettuce with a lettuce knife (not metal) or tear it using your hands and place it in a salad bowl.  Heat the beans according to instructions and add on top of the lettuce. Scoop some chunky salsa on top.  Crush up the tortilla chips and sprinkle over the salad.  Top with prepared shrimp.  Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve the same day.  Enjoy and don’t be afraid to go for second helpings!

Advertisements

My First Time Making Sushi


Have you ever wanted to make sushi, but didn’t because it seemed too intimidating?  That was me for a while.  As it turns out, it’s not scary.  Since I’ve been cooking more, I feel like I’ve been getting better at it and I’m more confident.  Last week when my boyfriend requested I make sushi, I didn’t shy away from the idea like I normally do.  Instead, I looked up everything I could possibly want to know on the internet and tried it out. If it didn’t work, no big loss.  If it did work, I’d get delicious sushi.

Sushi is really fun to make.  I want you to be able to have fun making sushi too so I’ve compiled all the resources I used and divided them up by step in the sushi making process.  Good luck.  I would love to help anyone having trouble and I can try to answer questions.  I’m no pro, but I have done it myself so I can try to help.

What You’ll Need:

Sushi rice

Bamboo mat

Rice Vinegar

Very sharp knife

Nori or seaweed wrap

Sugar

Salt

Vegetables (whatever you want.  I used carrots, cucumber, and avocado)

Fish (optional)

Other stuffing ingredients (cream cheese, sauces, spicy mayonnaise, etc.)

*All ingredients can be found at local Asian markets and are becoming increasingly common in regular chain supermarkets.

Making Sushi Rice:

http://makemysushi.com/index.php/Sushi-Preparations/sushi-rice.html

To pick oout the sushi rice, I went to my local Asian marketplace and asked someone where to find the sushi rice.  They pointed out a bag that was clearly marked “sushi rice,” but also told me that sushi rice is just a grain of rice and there is nothing else special about it. Feel rather silly for not seeing the sushi rice, I bought it.

This is the brand I bought.  I can’t vouch for this amazon seller I linked to, but the rice worked well.  It was only about $5 in store.

After that, instead of cooking the rice in a pot, I cooked the rice in my rice cooker.  I have an old, but really high quality, rice cooker and it cooked the rice very nicely.  If you do not have a rice cooker, I would follow the instructions from the link above.  I cooked 1 cup of dry rice and got about 3 cups of cooked rice.  Once the rice was cooked, I removed it from the heat and put it in a bowl.  I then heated 1/3 cup of rice vinegar on the stove and added 2 tbsp sugar and 2 tsp salt.  I heated the combination until the sugar and salt had completely dissolved.  The above link recommends 1/2 cup rice vinegar for 3 cups of cooked rice, but I found that to be a little too vinegar-y so I reduced it to 1/3 cup for 3 cups of cooked rice.  Pour the vinegar mixture over the cooked rice and mix well.  Allow to the rice to cool and the vinegar to soak in.

The Vegetables:

http://makemysushi.com/index.php/Sushi-Preparations/carrot-cutting.html

http://makemysushi.com/index.php/Sushi-Preparations/cucumber-cutting.html

This is what I struggled with the most.  I did not end up with pretty even little sticks of vegetables like I wanted.  Turns out, it didn’t really matter.  I followed the above instructions as best I could, but it didn’t end up having a big bearing on the taste or the outcome of the sushi.  I think that practice makes better so I will eventually get better, but I didn’t find it to be very important.  The best advice I can give is find very even vegetables.  If you find ones that are perfect cylinders, then that would be ideal.

Fish:

I did not buy raw fish or cut fish for this sushi.  I found canned crab and used that for the sushi.  Maybe I’ll get adventerous and try to use raw fish, but I was focusing more on the roll first.

Preparing the Sushi:

http://www.youtube.com/foodwishes?feature=etp-gd-SUR-13#p/search/1/dC9gJsXAXGU

http://makemysushi.com/index.php/How-to-make-sushi/classic-roll.html

The first step is to wrap the sushi mat (usually bamboo with one side flat and one side round) with plastic wrap to prevent sticking.  Prepare a small bowl with water and add a little rice vinegar.  This is to prevent the rice from sticking to your hands.  Also have a hand towel ready.  You want to handle the rice only with wet hands and you want to handle the nori or seaweed wrapper only with dry hands. Place the nori on the mat with the shiny side facing down and rough side facing up.  Wet your hands and grab a handful of rice about 3″ in diameter.  Spread the rice over the nori leaving about an inch of  room at both the top and bottom of the nori (where you will start rolling and where you will stop rolling).  Add the vegetables, fish, and whatever else you want (spicy mayo, cream cheese, etc) to the starting end of the roll on the rice.

Rolling the Sushi:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swGJ2dIu9XE (at 1:37)

Use the video above.  It was very helpful after 1:37.  The beginning part is just her spreading rice out and is very boring.  Start by using the mat to roll the nori over the stuffing (veggies and fish).  Use your fingers to keep the stuffing from spreading out.  Squeeze the mat tightly after this first roll.  Roll the sushi again squeezing tightly after each complete roll until you reach the end.

Cutting the Sushi:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swGJ2dIu9XE (at 2:13)

All I can say is use a sharp knife.  What I did was first sort of wiggle the knife in a sawing motion to get through the top layer of nori.  Then I cut straight through and I sawed again at the end.  The helped keep the nori on the sushi and prevented it from exploding everywhere.  I cut my sushi into 6 pieces, but you can decide where you want to cut it.

As I said at the beginning, good luck and I’d love to try to help anyone having trouble.  I had a really fun time making sushi and I want you all to have fun too.  Enjoy and don’t forget to go for second helpings!

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough


Delicious whole wheat pizza

I love pizza.  I think that pretty much everyone loves pizza.  The major problem with pizza is that it’s too delicious and has about a zillion calories.  I tried to create a pizza dough that you can use with any toppings that’s healthier than a frozen pizza or take out but just as yummy.   At first, I was just using regular flour, but I thought today that I’d try to make it a little healthier by making it whole wheat.  It turned out really well!  It didn’t taste different from the white crust and it’s healthier.

Delicious whole wheat pizza

Do you know why whole wheat items are healthier for you than white items?  This is a little bit of biology so if you are scared of science, you can just skip this paragraph and get right to the recipe.  If you want to know, read on.  While they can have the same amount of calories, whole wheat items have a lower glycemic index (GI) than white.  This means that  it takes longer to break down the carbohydrates and release glucose (sugar) into the blood stream.  Then your pancreas doesn’t have to work as hard to make insulin to break down that glucose so you are less likely to get diabetes later.  Basically whole wheat = less diabetes.  Hooray!

Enjoy this pizza, and don’t be worried about going in for second helpings.

Special tips are in italics.  Nutrition facts are at the bottom.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough:

1-1/3 cup lukewarm water (warm to touch, but not too hot)

1/4 cup oil (I used olive oil)

1-3/4 cups all purpose flour

1-3/4 cups whole wheat flour (if you don’t have this, you can use all purpose flour)

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

2 tsp salt

3 tsp sugar

3 tsp active dry yeast

Prep time: 30 minutes

Inactive time: 1.5 hours

Servings: Makes 4-12″ pizzas.  1 serving = 1/2 pizza

If you have a bread machine, put all the ingredients in the pan.  Most suggest doing it wet first then dry and yeast last.  You can just dump them in the pan in the order that I listed them above and that should work.  If you don’t have a bread machine then here’s what Bobby Flay has to say about the matter in his pizza dough recipe on foodnetwork.com (this is the recipe I started with).  Or you could just do what my bread machine does: slow knead for 10 minutes,  knead quickly for 20 minutes,  let rise for 1 hour in a warm area.

After your dough has risen remove it from the pan or bowl and knock it back (punch it a little).  Now would be a good time to preheat the oven to 450°F.  Divide the dough into 4 equal parts.  Roll or pat each part into a ball.  I find that patting by holding it in one hand and hitting it with the other it works better than rolling it.  Maybe I’m a bad ball roller, but patting it works for me.  If your dough is a little dry at this point, moisten your hands with a little water and then work with the dough.  Next, I use a rolling pin and try my hardest to flatten it into a circle.  I always seem to mess this up.  My pizzas are lopsided.  As long as the dough is an even thickness, then it should be fine.  Roll up the ends a little to make a crust if you want.  At this point I recommend putting the extra pizza dough in the freezer.  I separate the crusts with some wax paper so they don’t stick and then put them in a ziplock bag.

Now top the pizza with sauce, cheese, and whatever goodies you want.  If you want part of it to be veggie and part of it to be meat, you can do that since you’re making it yourself!  So convenient, isn’t it?  And you know that no one is going to mess it up.  I did a red sauce I bought from Fresh & Easy, mozzarella cheese, sliced crimini mushrooms, and turkey on half.  If you use mushrooms, you will end up with water on your pizza since the mushrooms dry out and leak a little.  Don’t worry, you can just dab it off.   Sprinkle some more corn meal on a pizza stone or a baking sheet and place your pizza on the stone/sheet.  Place in the oven for 15 minutes.  Let the pizza cool before you cut it.  Seriously.  Pizza burns hurt.

Now you can enjoy your awesome creation.

Pizza slice

Nutrition Facts

8 Servings (1 serving = ½ pizza, crust only)

Amount Per Serving:

Calories  –  282

Total Fat  –  8 g

          Saturated Fat  –  1 g

Cholesterol  –  0 mg

Sodium  –  585 mg

Potassium  –  51 mg

Total Carbohydrate  –  47 g

          Dietary Fiber  –  4.5 g

          Sugars  –  0.6 g

Protein  –  7.4 g

%d bloggers like this: