Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mmmm Sushi

There are few things more rewarding than taking a bite into your very own, homemade sushi. My brother and I have rolled sushi a few times together and it's always just such a fun experience, nothing really fancy, just good times with good sushi. 

My friend Amanda and I have been meaning to roll sushi together for a long time and we finally got around to doing it, and as in the past, it's just simple and rewarding. I think what makes it so exciting is the presentation of's so simply beautiful! It doesn't take really anything extra to make it look "perfect". 

I apologize, but there's no real recipe for this post, just some pictures and such. On this particular occasion, no raw fish was used, it being Amanda's first sushi rolling experience, we opted out of raw fish. We did use cucumbers, carrots, smoked salmon, cooked shrimp and the usual sushi rice, nori, soy sauce and wasabi. Sadly, I was unable to find an avocado, which I firmly believe is essential to sushi, but there's always next time.

So for those who may have been sushi shy in the past, I encourage you to get out there and give it a try!! Here's to the awesomeness that is sushi! Enjoy!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Crock Pot Goodness

So this weekend Kyle came in to visit me. And it is usually expected that I make a delicious dinner of his request. What I like about these requests is that they are usually very simple, cheap and easy, and if you've seen my tiny apartment kitchen, these are all good things. Just imagine the types of foods you'd feed a five year old and you'll pretty much have Kyle's favorite dinners, think: mac n cheese from the box, homemade mac n cheese, pigs in a blanket, pizza, breaded chicken, more mac n cheese...see any pattern? Anyways, for this friday, he requested crock pot chili mac n cheese...with his mother's mac n cheese recipe. 

Crock Pot Chili Mac 'n Cheese
adapted from Kyle's mom's recipe

8 oz. macaroni
12 oz. can evaporated milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
3 eggs, beaten (I think next time I will use 2 eggs, I felt like 3 made it too "custardy")
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1-2 cans chili of your liking
3 cups cheese, any kind, divided
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook macaroni to just barely al dente and drain. 
Combine evaporated milk, melted butter, mustard and eggs in a bowl, mix well.
Season with salt and pepper.
Mix in 2 cups cheese, macaroni and chili.
Place in greased crock pot, top with remaining cup of cheese and cook on low for 3 hours. DO NOT OPEN LID DURING COOKING TIME!

I would have liked to get more pictures of this finished, but Kyle wanted to eat it...right away. Anyways, I enjoyed this recipe, but as mentioned above, I think I'll use just 2 eggs next time. I felt like it was too set by the time the 3 hours was up, and with just 2 eggs, it should be more creamy. And who doesn't like chili? What a fantastic combo, enjoy!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Piping Virgin

Well, first of all, for those who may have wondered: I am still alive. While I did indeed do a great deal of baking and cooking over winter break, I have seriously slacked on this whole blogging thing. So without further ado, here is my first post of 2009.

I hate admitting it, but I made these for valentines day. I have never really been a fan of valentines day, but it's a great excuse to make red velvet cupcakes, which happen to be Kyle's favorite. I love making these, the color is just way too exciting...I love red! When preparing to ice these little red drops of heaven, I remembered that I got a piping bag and a set of tips for my birthday that were eagerly awaiting icing. So, for the first time ever, I tried my hand at piping...and I must say, they don't look too bad. There's still definitely some room for practice though. I just love the way cupcakes look with piped icing, they're so cute!

Red Velvet Cupcakes 
adapted from Paula Dean

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring
2 eggs
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Sift dry ingredients together in a bowl, set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine wet ingredients and mix well. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined. Fill cupcake pan 3/4 full and bake for 20-22 minutes.

Cream Cheese Icing
courtesy of Paula Dean

16 oz. cream cheese
2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar, plus more to reached desired consistency

Mix all ingredients together and ice cooled cupcakes.

I love this recipe because it is just so quick and easy to make. It's just about as easy as using make mix from the box. For this occasion, I halved the recipe and still came up with 10 cupcakes, so be aware that this recipe makes a good deal of batter. Enjoy!!