Month: September 2011

Petra, Jordan. Photo by Bernard Gagnon.

About the food of Jordan

Jordan is a desert wonderland – generally hot, dry, arid – and full of some of the most fabulous landmarks around. Just ask Hollywood – they love using Jordan’s unique scenery in films. Most notably, there’s the city of Petra, carved into rose colored stone – existing only in legends for 7 centuries until it was uncovered in 1812 deep in the desert rocks. How cool is that? It’s like the lost city of Atlantis, found… the stuff of dreams. Since it’s discovery, the allure of this city built into the stone has captivated millions, particularly Indiana Jones, in his last crusade. For real. Jordan also lays claim to the lowest point in the world – the Dead Sea at (-)1378 feet. That’s pretty low. But don’t worry – you won’t sink. The salt makes the water so thick that it’ll keep you afloat. This funny characteristic of the Dead Sea reminds me of  life – even when you’re at your lowest, someone or something will keep you afloat, as long as you just throw …

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Monday Meal Review: Japan

THE SCENE: Not only does Ava have no interest in tasting sushi, she won’t even touch the stuff. She takes one look at it and just shakes her head, content to nibble edamame. In the past, I’ve tried various techniques to get Ava interested in sushi. I order rolls with nothing but asparagus, cucumber, and avocado – her most favorite veggies. I “oooh” and “ahhh” over how wonderful my roll tastes. I have even taken her to dinner with her little friend Sanya who gobbles sushi down faster than most adults. To be honest, while Ava was transfixed and fascinated at such sushi enthusiasm in a fellow two year-old, at the end of the day peer pressure held no sway over Miss Ava. I was stumped. And nervous. You see, the moment I began this Adventure, I knew that I would be making sushi for Japan. How could I not? Sushi is fun, healthy, beautiful, and authentic. There had to be a way to get Ava interested. “Dip your hand in the water, and pat the …

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Sushi Rice | Shari

Makes 4.5 cups cooked rice (enough for 6 half rolls)  Some things in life take a lifetime to master. Sushi rice is one of those things. Every time I make it I get better. With every bite my smiles grow bigger and my belly happier. But I also look forward to the next time – and improving it – just as much. If you want to try – go for it! While it is admittedly difficult to make professional quality sushi rice, it’s surprisingly easy to make good sushi rice. As longs as you buy the right rice, you’ll be all set (Sushi rice is a special short grain rice, usually labelled as “sushi rice” right on the package). Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Sushi by Bridgid Treloar (I’ve used this book many times over the years for my sushi dinner parties – I highly recommend it both for the clear, creative recipes and beautiful pictures. Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups sushi rice (a special short grain rice, usually labelled as “sushi rice” – I found mine at Whole Foods) 1 1/2 …

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Espresso Jello with Evaporated Milk

Fills 10 standard silicone muffin liners or pour into 8×8 baking dish It’s wiggly. It’s jiggly. And it’s in your drink. Jellooooo for adults. You can thank Japan for their love of mixing textures – there’s nothing quite like slurping up jello squares into a round straw, along with a bit of milk. Gulp. Slurp. Chew. Note: If you substitute hot cocoa for the coffee, you won’t need the sugar as long as your mix is sweetened. Ingredients: For the jello: 1 1/2 cups hot, fresh brewed espresso (or coffee, or hot cocoa mix) 1/2 cup cold water 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin 1/3 cup sugar, or to taste (not needed if you use sweetened hot cocoa) For the drink: chilled, evaporated milk, to taste extra wide straws Method: First, dissolve gelatin powder over cold water. The water will thicken up into goup. Then, stir that goup and the sugar into freshly brewed (hot) espresso or coffee. Whisk until totally combined. Pour everything into mold(s) and refrigerate until set. A few hours is usually good. To rock out Japanese style, …

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The Bento Box: Every toddler’s dream lunch

I love cute hair cuts. Cute smiles. Cute babies. I especially love cute food. And believe me – the Japanese know cute food. Not content to simply let plain-Jane food lay limp in the lunch box, they have an entire industry devoted to countless accessories and gadgets whose sole purpose is to make food perky and cute. It’s the art of Bento. And it’s super kawaii (guess what that means?). A little background: Ava just started a 2 day per week preschool program and she takes a packed lunch. I love her school. Everything is so darn… well… cute – from the name of their class (Bunnies) to their pet fish. It’s appropriate that she brings a healthy, fun, and super cute toddler lunch. With that being said, let’s Bento! To start out, you don’t need much but a few tiny cookie cutters. You can use them to cut out steamed carrot stars, cucumber bears… And cheese giraffes (use sesame seeds for eyes). Today our little cheese giraffes are walking on a bed of steamed asparagus …

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Vegetarian Sushi | Futomaki

Makes 6 rolls (on 1/2 sheet nori seeweed) – serves 2 Do you have a yearning to be creative? An artist? Do you want to release your imagination into the wild? Are you also hungry? The answer is sushi. While sushi making is an art that requires years of training to master, everyone can play the game. It’s like I tell my husband – you don’t have to be Michelangelo to paint a personal masterpiece. Similarly, you don’t have to be a sushi chef to fill your belly with satisfying sushi. Today we’re tackling futomaki. Futomaki is a large sushi roll, typically filled with vegetables and/or cooked fish. I thought this was a good place to start for those of us who don’t have refrigerated work spaces for handling raw fish. After all, let’s be honest. This is all about fun. Not tummy troubles. So let’s get our art on and make some sushi. Once you get the hang of it, I highly suggest having a sushi themed small dinner party. It’s super sushi fun. Here’s what you …

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