Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sushi Night!

Sushi Night: A Tutorial 

I learned how to make sushi from the infamous Craig Baxter (my husband's best man at our wedding). 

If you are ever in the market for a best man you should definitely pick him; he flew out the salmon he caught and cooked for us (more than once)! And he's a pretty great guy in general. 

Sushi mat and paddle purchased at Fred Meyer for about $8. I appreciate that Michelle and Craig talked us in to buying them while we were hanging out in Portland for a craving on Michelle's part - because now we have them for homemade sushi whenever we want! I also don't know that I ever would have gotten into it otherwise. 

For making sushi for 4 people I cooked 3 cups of sushi rice with 3 1/2 cups of water in my rice cooker. 

I love this thing! You just set it to cook, it cooks, and pops up when the rice is done. 

When the rice was done I mixed together 1/3 cup rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp sugar and 1 tsp salt and added it into the rice. 

I generally figure you need about 1-1/2 rolls per person. So I used 6 or 7 sheets of Nori total - I don't really remember. I use 3 when I make sushi for just Ross and myself. Also from Fred Meyer - Haggen and Trader Joe's don't seem to carry them. 

While the rice is cooking you can gather your other ingredients - and this is where it gets fun! We almost always use smoked salmon, a cucumber, an avocado, cream cheese, and a pepper of some sort (I particularly like jalapeƱos!) You can use whatever ingredients your heart desires! For my birthday a couple years ago Ross made a mushroom bacon swiss roll - though it wasn't worth a repeat because it was too salty. 

You want to prepare all your veggies and other ingredients by slicing them into pretty thin slivers.

Slicing also helps you find and pick out some bones of the salmon. 

One the rice is done and your ingredients are prepared, use a spoon to spread the rice out over the majority of the Nori. Leave about 1/2 inch on one side to account for rolling. Also, it is helpful to keep a bowl of water nearby to dip the spoon in as you are making sushi to help manage the super sticky rice. 

Sprinkle some sesame seeds on the rice and lay out your ingredients along one side of the Nori. 

Then roll it up like you are rolling up a sleeping bag - nice and tight. 

Use the mat to assist in rolling, and then squeeze the roll to make everything stick. 

Then you need a cool plate to serve your sushi on. We bought this at the Saturday Market in Portland . If was Ross' find (as I've mentioned, looking at pottery is one of Ross' favorite things to do.) 

Then slice your rolls about 1/2 inch think - maybe thinner. I use a serrated bread knife as it seems to work best. This you will also need to dip in water or rinse off every roll or so as it gets all sort of stickiness on it. Also - the ends of each roll will most likely be a sacrifice - and by sacrifice I mean the bits that fall apart and you get to eat while you are preparing the sushi! 

And there you have it. 

Next step: take lots of pictures. 

From many angles. 

Put the camera in the digital macro setting. 

Yeah - it was sunny, because our Sushi night was last Friday Night. I'm a bit behind perhaps? Oh well. Unfortunately, it has been raining ALL day. Not just raining though, torrential downpours reminiscent of the aguaceros I experienced in Costa Rica. 

The occasion for the Sushi Night was a viewing of the movie 127 Hours with our friends Chris and Lauren from our Basic Climbing course. 


The guy freakin' cuts his arm off!!!!!!!!! Ah - it was a bit weird with all the Hollywood movie effects and such, but an incredible TRUE story about spending 127 Hours trapped under a rock. Highly recommended - but save it for after a rock climbing trip like we did. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I bought this bag of Winter Rye Berries at the Farmer's Market last Saturday and decided to give them a try.

A Wheatberry is the entire wheat kernel (except for the hull), which includes the bran, germ, and endosperm.

A beautiful, healthy, whole grain! 

The directions say to place 3 cups of water to 1 cup of berries in a pot and bring to a boil, and the reduce to medium low, cover and cook until tender (about 40-50 minutes). 

Well, my stove is somewhat unpredictable, and I get distracted, so I used my rice cooker instead - which worked out wonderfully! I added the water and berries in the same ratio, turned the switch to cook, and left them alone until I heard it pop up. They were perfect! 

Then I put them in a Pyrex bowl with a lid and set them in the fridge. What on earth am I going to do with them? I just cooked them with no real plan in mind. Well, here is some advice from a fun food blogger who seems to have some everyday. Ask Kath. 

I had some for breakfast this morning: I mixed the wheatberries with granola, blueberries and my homemade yogurt. (I added 2 Tbsp maple syrup and 1 Tbsp vanilla to the yogurt right before I poured them into the jars - it is delicious. Definitely going to repeat that yogurt recipe!)

I liked them in my morning yogurt and granola - it gave it a pleasant chewy texture - and who doesn't love the nutrition from a whole grain? 

For lunch I added them to the salads I made us; I figured they were in lieu of croutons. 

Also a winner!!!! I really liked the taste and texture in the salad, though it was a bummer that most of them sank to the bottom of the salad bowl - they were hard to get to until the end. I think Ross is pretty neutral about them, and perhaps is just kind enough to eat them because I am cooking for him. Or it's because he is a boy, or a passive-aggressive Minnesotan, or just not quite the foodie that I am... who knows. 

Wheatberries can be substituted for rice in most recipes - a local alternative to those trying to keep their food miles down! I think I am going to try some in my next bread recipe as well! Apparently you can grind them up and use them in pancakes and muffins as well. 

Question: Have you ever eaten wheatberries? How did you prepare them? 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! 

Jesus is Risen!

He is Risen indeed! 

If you have ever wondered how I came upon the title of my blog, it came from my favorite Easter hymn: 

Let us talents and tongues employ,
reaching out with a shout of joy:
bread is broken, the wine is poured,
Christ is spoken and seen and heard.
Jesus lives again; earth can breathe again.
Pass the Word around: loaves abound!

Christ is able to make us one,
at his table he set the tone,
teaching people to live to bless,
love in word and in deed express.
Jesus lives again; earth can breathe again.
Pass the Word around: loaves abound!

Jesus calls us in, sends us out
bearing fruit in a world of doubt,
gives us love to tell, bread to share:
God (Immanuel) everywhere!
Jesus lives again; earth can breathe again.
Pass the Word around: loaves abound!

Words by: Fred Kaan, 1975
Music by: Adapt. Doreen Potter, 1975


After church this morning we enjoyed the traditional Easter breakfast from Ross' family: Egg Bake with orange slices and cinnamon rolls. 

I did not wake up early enough or plan ahead for cinnamon rolls, so we settled from a pinwheel from LaFeen's. It wasn't exactly settling, however. =)

I also tried an herbal coffee that we received as a sample at the Earth Day Celebration yesterday. 

It is a non-caffeinated and non-acidic herbal coffee substitute. 

While I was excited for "chocolate tea," I really wasn't a fan of it. It was a bit too sweet for me; after all, I do love my coffee, and I almost always drink my coffee black. I think the thing I really love about it is the nostalgic memories of when I was living in Costa Rica. 

If you like a sweet coffee though, you might like this! 

Happy Easter to you and your family wherever you are and however you celebrate! 



What a GORGEOUS day in Bellingham! One of my most favorite Saturday morning activities is heading out to the Bellingham Farmers Market

The market was packed as temperatures reached near 60! This weather is almost my favorite -  blue sky without a cloud in sight and sun - but 10 more degrees and I could have been wearing a sun dress! 

I got to wear my Chacos today! These are definitely my favorite pair of shoes ever. (Sorry about the blindingly white feet.)

We started off with a light breakfast at the farmers market with a gourmet breakfast roll - eggs, potatoes, onions and cheese served with a breakfast gravy. 

This is perhaps our new favorite market food! They are super crispy and have a great flavor. 

New at the market this week were radishes... 

Kale flowers (which taste like broccoli) and spinach, which I did not manage to take a picture of, though they were both wonderful in the lasagna I made for dinner tonight! 

We also picked up some wheat berries. I have seem these all over the food blogging world - so when I found local and organic wheat berries for $4 - I had to go for it. The farmer, Jay, says that he uses them in lieu of rice in his dishes, but I have also heard that people use them in a wide variety of ways, like in oatmeal! 

One of Ross' favorite things to do at the market is to check out the pottery. (My favorite market activity is to sample cheese.) Ross found a beautiful plate that was half off - and when the artist told him that his plates were microwave and dishwasher safe - he caved. It is going to be a pastry plate - for when I make muffins or donuts. Apparently I need to learn how to make donuts.  

Then we headed over to Western's campus for their 40th Earth Day Celebration. Isn't this just the best message for a piece of chocolate to tell you? 

I got to sample some organic and fair trade chocolate from Terra Organica. Dark chocolate is my favorite treat - but Ross usually goes for milk chocolate because dark chocolate makes him sneeze! 

Then Ross and I signed a a few petitions, one in particular was to ban plastic bags in the city. Bag it Bellingham is what the initiative is called. 

Then I participated in a contest to see if I could fill a bag with groceries in 30 seconds flat - and it was a challenge! I made it in just over 30 seconds, so I still won the prize -this bag! (Interesting fact: I won a free bag at an Earth Day fair a few years ago by correctly answering "fecal coliform bacteria" to a trivia question.)  

This was a big hit with the little ones, though I don't think they got it. "Support Dinosaurs - Don't use Fossil Fuels" 

While we were at the market we got coupons for a dollar off a pint at Chuckanut Brewery and Kitchen. Yeah, we know it was a marketing ploy to get us to go to the brewery and eat food and spend $30 to save $2 - but we LOVE that place! Not mention their beers have won numerous awards. 

We were ecstatic to see that they had their Vienna Lager back in the rotation - it is our favorite of their brews. 

For lunch Ross had the Reuben - lean corned beef, house-made kraut & Swiss on local Rye with Russian Dressing and yam fries. Ross got the yam fries more for me than for him - they are my absolute favorite side dishes!

And I had the AMAZING Yamburrito - 

Yams, roasted garlic, cabbage, carmalized onions, Jack cheese and 
corn in an oversized flour tortilla topped with house made tomatillo 
salsa. Served with rice and black beans. 

Ah glory - local beer, sun, and local food! After lunch we went for a walk around town, did a little shopping for climbing gear (one of our new favorite ways to spend time together - climbing!), and then came home for a nap (napping is perhaps my favorite afternoon activity). We're trying not to get too down about the impending week of rain in the forecast... 

Overall, on of my favorite kinds of days!