Thursday, August 21, 2014

Seaweed Salad

When I was cleaning out my pantry the other day, I found a package of nori sheets (the black/dark green seaweed wrappers that are used for making sushi) hiding in the back. I decided to see what type of other recipes used nori sheets besides sushi. I came across this recipe for a quick and easy Seaweed Salad that looked interesting, so off to the kitchen I went. I'm happy to report that the dish was a success, I just loved it! I used my kitchen scissors to make quick work of cutting the nori sheets into thin ribbons and after just a few minutes of soaking them in warm water, a bit of easy shredding/combining of other ingredients, I was ready to assemble my lunch. I've seen seaweed salads for sale in some of the upscale markets, but they're always expensive, so I'd never tried them before. Didn't know what I was missing. So happy that I can now make it at home. Cheap and cheerful makes this cook smile. :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Quick Creamy Mushroom Risotto ~ Meatless Monday

The day I came up with this spin on the classic Italian rice dish ~ Mushroom Risotto ~ I had some leftover cooked white rice sitting in my fridge, a craving for something Italian, and a hungry tummy that wanted fed...NOW.  So, I hit the pantry and threw this delicious meal together in well under 10 minutes. It's quite a bit quicker than a traditional risotto, with just as much flavor as many of the restaurant versions that I've ordered over the years, it's definitely cheaper than what the restaurants charge, and it doesn't take too long to make. Gotta love that. 

I created this creamy, dreamy concoction by ~ heating the leftover cooked rice (about 3 1/2 cups) with 3/4 of a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup; a small can of sliced mushrooms with their juice; 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese; splash of white wine; fresh ground pepper and dried basil. I stirred it all together, added a little bit of water and it all began to take on the classic 'creaminess' of a traditional risotto. The rice still had the correct firmness, and it was made without all the stirring fuss. Cool! Now that I know the secret of how to make this flavorful rice dish so quickly and easily, I think my leftover rice has finally met its match. :) 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Club Med's Famous White Chocolate Bread

Last night my friend, GA, shared the recipe for Club Med's famous ~ White Chocolate Bread ~ on Facebook. It's always been a favorite of mine and I've eaten a lot of it during my time working/vacationing at the various villages of Club Med. My friend, Sarah, challenged me to try making the recipe to see how it would turn out. Well, since I had the one cup of white chocolate chips called for in the recipe, and nothing planned for the evening, I took it as a sign that I should give the recipe a try.  So, last night I was a baking fool... and here are the pictures, recipe and  baking comments to prove it. Enjoy!

Club Med's Famous White Chocolate Bread  

I shared my attempt in real-time with my other Club Med EXGO friends on Facebook. Here are my comments on the bread making, just in case anyone is inspired to try their hand at making a loaf, too. The bread is best eaten while still warm, just out of the oven, but toasted the next day is also good.  My friend, Sarah, suggested making French Toast with the leftovers... oh, what a wonderful breakfast that would make!

Well, the experiment was a success! We have already devoured 1/2 of the loaf.  Here are my thoughts on/tweaks to the recipe.... ~~ only add 3/4 cup of the water (115 degrees) to begin with, then add more water if needed to get the 'play doh' consistency the recipe calls for. The whole 1 1/4 cup water is just too much. My loaf came out a bit 'heavy', not surprised about that. With the extra 1 cup+ of flour I had to add to get the dough texture right, it skewed the yeast/flour ratio. ~~ I put a cast iron skillet in the oven when preheating. I put it on the lower rack & added 1 cup hot water to the skillet after I placed the loaf in the oven to bake. Be careful because the 'steam' kicks up quick. Close the oven door quick to keep the steam inside. It really helps with giving the bread a crusty, 'French bread' exterior. ~~ I baked the loaf about 35 minutes (not the 20 in the recipe) to get it 'golden' enough & so it had a 'hollow' sound when thumped. It tastes best when eaten warm from the oven, or toasted, if eating the next day.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Mango-Turmeric Smoothie

Lately, I've been reading more about the spice ~ turmeric, and I keep sneaking it into some of my smoothies. Depending on what I'm blending, the orange color of the turmeric is either front-and-center (like in the Mango-Turmeric Smoothie, sprinkled with fresh cracked pepper, shown above) or camouflaged (like in a green smoothie or one with dark colored fruits/veggies).  Either way I make it, I'm happy with the health benefits of including turmeric in my diet. 

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