"Those who forget the pasta are condemned to reheat it." ~Unknown

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Plate Upon Plate, Roll Upon Roll

Back in April when we made sushi Dad and I didn't really know what we were doing. So, now that we have more cooking experience in general (and a little sushi experience) we're trying again. This time, instead of cucumber rolls and miso soup, Dad and I are going to make California, and cucumber rolls.
Thanks to last time Dad and I aren't stumbling over pitfalls like last time, forgetting to make a vinegar dressing, and all sorts of other stupidities. One of our accidents last time was not really measuring that well, our sushi cookbook was printed in Australia, so all the measurements are in milli-liters, and grams. Leaving us and our calculators to get everything into cups and tablespoons. Enough to drive us crazy.
The cucumber rolls are done and, unlike last time I only had one " epic fail" in my attempts to roll the sushi. Progress! but on to new and better things, now I get to try to roll a California roll.
That was kinda fun... and hard. we layer the rice on top of the nori then you flip the rice/nori so that the rice is down. I then layered on mayonnaise, cucumber, krab, (we couldn't find the real deal) and avocado. Then we rolled it and covered it in roe which are flying fish eggs. My mouth is watering.
We made the salmon sashimi and spread out the sushi, plate upon plate, roll upon roll. A feast.
Sticky rice is gone, the roasted eel and raw salmon, cucumber, seaweed, and fish-eggs are gone. We swallowed whole the rolls and and left behind dirty dishes. And then we brought out the dessert that we picked up at the Japanese supermarket we went to today.We tried, but failed to choke down the play-do like bean paste. It is called Daifuku and is made from red bean paste. I never have and probably never will understand Japanese candy, or the lack of a cultural sweet tooth. Dad started to say something about Japan's historical isolation with no international trade and how lack of access to sugar lead them to develop desserts out of Adzuki beans. I was off to refill my glass of Sprite - sweet corn syrup- to wash down the red bean paste dessert experiment. But at least their raw fish is good. It's kind of strange the sushi rolls Dad and I made were really large and, for whatever reason the sushi restaurant a few blocks from our house makes massive rolls. This gives us "the saburo's debacle" Do you stuff it all in your mouth or bite it in half and watch it fall apart. It seems to be an interesting neighborhood curse. We'll call it the Sellwood-Moreland style of sushi. It was a good meal.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Better When You're Eating

Remember pirogi? Well the weather over here changed so fast this year that it's already winter. And as far as Cy and I are concerned winter weather means its pierogi time. So Cy is kneading dough and Dad is chopping potatoes and we're getting ready for a pierogi feast.

The dough is resting and with nothing else needing to be done, Cy spotted a brown paper grabbed a rubber band and put it on his head. "Chefs Hat," he declared! Cy proceeded to take a block of cheese and grate it to mix with the potatoes as the filling. Click, click, mash, mash. Yip, hooowwlll, dog dreams. Click, click, mash, mash, wait, wait. Just a quiet Sunday afternoon in Portland.
Since Dad is outside working on adding mudflaps to my bike Cy has taken it upon himself to shape the cheese and potato mixture into balls to fill the pierogi whilst the onions simmer in butter on the stove and the dough sits resting, waiting.

The smell of butter and onions fills the kitchen, the mouthwatering aroma of fresh dough mixing with the greasy sensation of cheesy potatoes wafting in and through the kitchen building the rafters and supports of a great shifting building to fulfill all the senses. This is the whole idea behind the open kitchen in a restaurant. This is going to be a true fĂȘte. For whatever reason we had a few extra cheese balls which, luckily, make an excellent snack.
Ohh. Is that kielbasa and sauerkraut I smell warming on the stove? Let the feasting begin.

Wow that was good. The kielbasa was rich and smoky, the pierogi were soft, greasy and wonderful. Don't try and get me started on those onions that got simmered in melted butter. Mmm. And everything was salty. I need a tall glass of water. Pierogi are always better when you're eating.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

End Of Summer Steaks

Well, the first week of school is over and another Sunday is here. This morning Cy, Dad and I woke up and went fishing with our neighbor, Kim. So of course I was hoping to cook a fresh chinook salmon that had never seen the inside of a refrigerator. But instead of reelin' 'em in we just sat there ... waiting, talking, waiting and talking. We didn't catch any fish so instead of the freshest salmon of our lives we made alternate plans. Mom called on the cell phone about an hour before we gave up; Dad asked her to buy steaks. Despite the lack of fish, we had a great time hanging out on the river.
I've seasoned them with salt, pepper, cinnamon and olive oil. Last night I was looking at our google analytics page. It shows us where all of you are looking from, how much time you spend on the blog, your page views and all sorts of other cool stuff. A couple months ago we were surprised to find visits from Moscow, Spain, The Netherlands, Brazil and Australia. But last night our jaws dropped to see a visit from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Better known as Saigon. Now, while Moscow, London, Melbourne, Amstelveen and Zurich were cool, This one topped all because we spent a couple of days in Saigon about a year-and-a-half ago. We love the international readership we've drawn with our cooking. Now back to the steaks.
Now that we've started the grill we are chopping our basil and scrubbing the potatoes. We have an all potato hobo pack planned and a corn dish where we put kernels in browned butter and basil. Our friend, Ben, has brought us dessert, a large watermelon, which is very heavy for its size. Dad says this is because sugar is heavier than water, and this one is loaded with sugar.
We've added a little more to the steaks seasoning and have prepared a hobo pack for our millions of potatoes. I'm not sure if it qualifies as a hobo pack though, it only has the potatoes, olive oil and butter in it. Once the steaks go on the grill (where the hobo packs are) I'm going to start our corn dish.
The hobo pack is on the grill and the steaks are almost ready. I have finished sautéeing the corn and just pulled the steaks off the grill. I think we're ready to eat!

The potatoes were succulent and buttery, the corn was sweet and fresh and summer-y, and the steaks were tender, and perfectly seasoned. That watermelon sure lived up to its name, sweet and watery. It was a wonderful meal for this end of summer day.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Summer's End

How did summer fly by so fast? It almost seems like yesterday when I stood behind a classroom door with all my friends and counted down to the beginning of summer. It only seems like yesterday. Yet Tuesday, Cy and I must go back to school. The summer just flew by and so, too soon we find ourselves in the kitchen on the last Sunday of summer with squid on the menu.
Squid will forever be calamari in restaurants, if simply because it sounds less slimy. But here its squid that slimy elongated cousin of the octopus. When your in fifth grade at Llewellyn Elementary School (where Cy goes and I went) you spend three days at Camp Magruder doing in-the-field science learning, and you get to dissect a squid. Tentacles, eyes, ink sac, it changed calamari to squid forever.

Right now the squid is being battered and put in the oven Cyrus has already prepared a mayonnaise, garlic and lemon juice dipping sauce for the squid. We also have a salad and (shh, it's still classified) ice cream and brownies for desert. Even though the squid is in the oven the kitchen is still a flurry of activity. Dad at the mixer mixing brownies, Mimi at the sink helping keep the kitchen tidy, Cyrus stumbling over the dogs with a package of something in hand to add to the brownies. The wonderful scent of cooking, breaded squid wafting through the air.

For one reason or another the squid aren't browning. I'm getting the feeling however that we will be eating them anyways as Dad is scraping them off the bottom of the pan.

We ate 'em alright. They were good, yes, but they weren't as good as they would have been if they had browned. Oh well, I guess we will never know what went wrong and kept the squid from browning. The dipping sauce was great and dessert was sublime.