Friday, December 31, 2010

Spicy Tuna Chirashizushi

This was a quick lunch-time riff on my daughter's favorite kind of sushi roll.  Not so much a recipe as a reminder that sushi isn't difficult!

Chirashizushi means scattered sushi- vinegared rice topped with fillings!  Super simple.

I didn't have any spicy chile sauce mixed up, and planned on putting quite a bit of toppings on my daughter's bowl and didn't want it too spicy, so I went with a mix of mayo and sweet chile sauce, mixed into a can of tuna fish.

I keep extra zumeshi, the highly seasoned rice vinegar, in my cupboard so that made this even easier.  (If you follow the link, I recommend cutting the salt way back.)

For Ernie's lunch, I served up a bowl of white rice and mixed in a few teaspoons of zumeshi.  I topped this with the spicy tuna mix, a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds, and torn up nori (this time it was actually Korean-style roasted seaweed, which is oily and salted and very brittle.)  Is it authentic?  No, probably not.  But nutritionally a step above the white-rice-and-teriyaki she loves so much, it was an easy lunch and a good reminder to keep some staples on hand!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Parmesan Puff Twists

These puffy twists taste like the best Cheez-It you've ever had.

They were a huge hit at our Christmas Eve dinner, especially with the guys- I sent a triple batch with my husband to a "family guys watching a bowl game" evening tonight, and I don't expect to get many back!

Super simple to make- lay out a square of puff pastry, season with kosher salt and pepper, and sprinkle with grated parmesan. I like to lightly roll it with a pin, to get the cheese good and stuck so it doesn't fall off!

Cut the sheet in half length-wise, then into strips, with a pizza cutter. Thin strips (1/4 to 1/2 inch) bake up crispy like a cracker, thicker strips are more tender and flaky.

Pick up each piece with two hands and twist 2 or 3 times before laying on a cookie sheet- you'll want to lightly smash down the edges so it stays stuck on the sheet. I did batches on silicone mats, and batches without- both cooked fine, but the batches without the mats wanted to stick to the trays and needed a spatula to pop them off.

Bake at 350 10-15 minutes, until puffy and golden! You can let them get a bit toasty and golden for a nuttier flavor, or pull them out when they're pale and mild. Your call, but they taste an awful lot like the best Cheez-its you've ever had!

Parmesan Puff Twists

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed (follow the directions on the package, I used Pepperidge Farms)
a large pinch of kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
2 or 3 Tbsp grated parmesan

Lay out the puff pastry on a cutting board, and seal any cracks by pinching together with your fingers. Season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with cheese. Lightly roll with a rolling pin to push the seasonings into the dough, and then cut in half length-wise, then cut into strips. Twist each strip before arranging on a cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 10-15 minutes. Serve hot or room temperature.

(Original recipe came from a forum thread on that I can't find any more! I've modified slightly- they said to use an egg wash instead of a rolling pin.)

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Pasta with Mozzarella in a Spicy Cream Sauce

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I made this up for dinner a few nights ago when my husband was going out of town. I wanted enough to feed us for the rest of the week, so I used two pounds of pasta, but this recipe could easily be cut in half. Once you’ve mixed your pasta and sauce, everything else is just to taste. A cross between a stove-top lasagna and a risotto, this is a hearty meal, perfect for cold winter nights!


Aunt LoLo’s Creamy, Spicy Pasta


2 pounds spaghetti (broken in half) or your favorite pasta

1 jar of sauce, plus 1-3 jars of water (depending on pasta)

2 cups salsa

6 oz. heavy cream

2 cups mozzarella cheese


In a dutch oven, combine dry pasta, spaghetti sauce and enough water to cover the noodles. Cook over medium heat, adding water as necessary and stirring often, until the noodles are soft. (Approximately 20 minutes). Stir in salsa and a few glugs of cream. Stir to combine and cook a few more minutes to combine flavors. The sauce should be creamy and coat the noodles with very little liquid left over. The noodles will absorb a lot of water – you are cooking them almost like a risotto.

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When the noodles taste nice, smooth them out and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Put them in the oven under a high broiler and cook just until the cheese is toasty, bubbly, and brown in a few spots.


Enjoy with a nice salad!