Good things to eat

Posts tagged ‘sushi’

The Nine Course Affair

Speaking of birthdays…….

From time to time, the Chef and I like to put on “special dinners”.  Usually consisting of  a several coarse tasting menu.  He does most of the cooking, while I do the arranging, the shopping, the decor and the clean up.  And if I’m lucky, sometimes I actually am allowed to make a dish or two myself!



First Course:

Seared Tuna, Avocado and Red Pepper Sushi

I have to admit, the Chef does a nice sushi, which is good because I only ever eat sushi at home, what with the shell-fish allergy, eating it in restaurants is just too high risk.




Second Course:

Belgian Endive and Mini Kale Pancakes topped with Smoked Gorgonzola and Candied Walnuts

This was a tasty one.

They don’t show up that well in this picture, but I made mini versions of my famous Kale Pancakes.  Then to add some freshness to it all, they were alternated with leaves of Belgium endive.  Then both were topped with a small slice of smoked Gorgonzola cheese and a chunk of candied walnut.

We often enjoy this as an anytime snack.


endive & kale pancake



Third Course:

Beet Carpaccio Salad with Arugula, Blood Orange and Shaved Boursin Cheese

I really like beets, so I always encourage the Chef to somehow incorporate them into our special dinners.

So on this occasion, he thinly sliced both red and golden cooked beets.  Then topped them with super thing slices of Boursin Cheese, ( I’ll tell you another time about how he does that, because if you have ever dealt with Boursin, you know that slicing it in any way isn’t easy!) slices of blood orange, arugula and then drizzled with a raspberry vinaigrette.

Very refreshing.

Beet Salad



Course Number Four:

Halibut  “Fish and Chips”

This was a whimsical item.  The “fish and chips” refers to the halibut being roasted with grated yam on top and then drizzled in a balsamic dressing.   The yams form and nice crust (chips) and keep the halibut moist (fish) and then vinegar on top.




Course Number Five:

Spinach and Pine Nut Stuffed Chicken Breast with roasted Celeriac Puree and marinated Red Cabbage

I hate to be judgemental, but I think this one was my favorite dish of the night.  The chicken was moist and flavourful, the celeriac both sweet and earthy at the same time and the crunch sourness of the cabbage just all really worked well together.  Oh and I didn’t even mention the delicious grainy mustard sauce in the title ( made it too long to look good on the page)!


Stuffed chicken


Course number six:

Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad

I actually got to make this course myself.  It is a favorite of mine to make and to eat and it often shows up on our special dinner menus.  But I can’t take the credit for it.

It is blatantly stolen from the menu at celebrity Chef Michael Chiarello’s Napa Valley restaurant, Bottega.

We tasted it there awhile back and I was determined to recreate it.  But luckily for me, they were generous enough to just post the recipe on-line!

So please do try it out for yourself.  It is surprisingly wonderful.

Brussel sprout salad


Course number seven:

Mediterranean Lamb & Bell Pepper Kebobs with Cous Cous and Kaffir Lime Leaf Scented Demi-Glace

It is a little joke we have with the birthday guest.  Inevitably whenever we go to her place for dinner, she serves lamb!  So it only seemed fitting that there should be a little lamb on her birthday party menu. The startlingly delicious item in this dish was the Kaffir lime leaves.

They don’t really show in the picture but they were in the sauce.  At this point in the evening ( course seven) sticking one’s fingers in the food and pulling out the lime leaves and sucking on them was clearly NOT frowned upon.  What a delightful taste, the tart lime flavour mixed with the luscious demi glaze.




Course number eight:

Cheese & Apple

It seems we were just too delirious by this point to actually remember to take a picture.

We had retired to the lounge for a little reprieve before moving on to desert but just wanted to add this extra little treat to the mix.

Norwegian Ski Queen cheese, is just a delightful thing to try.  Although it is a cheese, it would remind you more of a really rich version of those caramel square candies that we used to get a Halloween. Perhaps those crossed with butter or some other unbearably delicious creamy substance.  You really do need to try it.  We find it in the speciality cheese section of most major grocery stores.

So our eighth course was slices of Ski Queen matched with slices of Ambrosia Apples lightly dusted with fresh cracked black pepper.

Really nice.

( No Photo Available )



Course number nine:

Raw Chocolate Tart topped with Pomegranate accompanied with fresh chunks Pineapple and Chocolate dipped Candied Ginger.

I also got to make this one!

If you have been following this blog for a while, you know that I like to startle people from time to time with my “raw” dishes.  So after a somewhat decadent night so far, I thought why not toss in something a little healthy to end the evening and leave us feeling good about ourselves!?




It was a very successful evening.  Good times all round.

Stay tuned for when the next one happens.  Who knows, YOU might even get invited!


Thumbs up


Sushi Lessons

My Scotland relatives who now live in California that we were visiting for Christmas are very hard to shop for.   But the one thing we knew they enjoyed was eating.  

And sure we cooked while we were there, which they always enjoy, but why not teach them some cool stuff that they can do on their own once we are gone?

It isn’t every day that you get a professional Chef coming to stay, so why not take full advantage of the situation?   So we decided to give them an “Asian party snack starter kit” and a coupon for a cooking class with the Chef!

It was a basket filled with all the fixins and tools to whip up some sushi, gyoza and assorted other things.

The lesson was well attended and the pupils fast learners!

Then we feasted on the fruit of the labour.  Which was really nice to have a break from freakin turkey!

Sushi lessons

If you’d like to make some sushi of your own,  click here  to check out an old posting of mine where I give you the blow by blow.

Or  click here   for the gyoza lesson.

The gift of food always seems welcome!

Vegan Sushi

We had to bring in a snack for our last class.  “A Taste of Food Writing”, the class that encouraged me to start this blog!  So a bag of Doritos and a jar of salsa just wasn’t gonna cut it.

Not to mention I’ve been talking up my Holistic Nutrition background from time to time, so I thought I best bring something healthy.

And then we everyone and their brother who suffers from some kind of food allergy or intolerance, I thought I’d play it safe.

Vegan Sushi!  Can’t go wrong with that!  Meat free, dairy free, nut free, gluten-free and my favorite, FISH free!!

This is such an easy thing to make and especially fun for kids.  Here’s what you’ll need.

A bamboo sushi rolling mat.  Very inexpensive and in most grocery stores or even the dollar store.  A package of nori seaweed sheets, rice and vegetables.

To make it extra healthy I use short grain brown rice.

So get the rice started.

2 cups water in a pot with a tight-fitting lid

1 cup short grain brown rice, well rinsed.

Once the water boils, add the rice, stir, replace lid and turn down to # 2 on the dial.   This will take about 35 minutes to cook.


Dig out whatever fresh veg you have in the fridge.  On this occasion I used peppers, carrot, cucumber and some lightly blanched asparagus. 

Slice up about handful of each into thin match stick lengths ( Julienne).

Once the rice is cooked, sprinkle with rice wine vinegar, stir and leave off the lid to let it cool down.

Then get yourself set up.

Sushi roll set up


Start by placing a sheet of nori on your bamboo mat.  Then add about 1/4 cup of rice and spread evenly over the nori.  Then add a strips of vegetables, lengthwise in the middle.

Vegetables on rice and nori


Pick up one side of bamboo roller to start the roll, then carefully roll the whole roll, and squeeze the seam together.  Wrap the whole roll in the bamboo roller and move your hands up and down the roll in a sort of  gentle wringing action moving your hands up and down the roll to make it even.

Uncut sushi roll

At this point they can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a day.  Cut just before serving.

Using a serrated knife, start in the middle and then work in either direction, cutting into 1/2 inch slices.

Vegan sushi rolls

Serve either with good quality soya sauce or make a little dipping sauce of your own.  My favorite is to mix:

  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • 1/2 inch chunk of fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes

Whiz it all up in a food processor or blender and away you go!!

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