Thursday, August 16, 2012

Yo Ho Ho, A Pirates Life For Me...Or At Least The Rum!!

Welcome to what I have dubbed as Free-Form Wednesday! Today is not about eating well or learning about how to make anything in particular, it is about grabbing some new recipe ideas and having a good time while doing it. I woke up today and along with some rambling thoughts while drinking my orange juice decided what to throw into the blog. I like the idea of not really planning it out and spending a few days doing research. When you think about it, a day of just letting your brain jump out and do what it wants is a really fun idea. I am not the most spontaneous person and this might be my chance to let go and take a walk on the wild side...Let me know what, you, the reader think of the idea for a day of free thinking.

Rum, you can cook with it and you can drink is all about mixing it up along with some ice and sitting back to enjoy the sunshine, good friends and good times...cheers!

~ Bermuda Rum Swizzle ~

2 oz Spiced Rum
1 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Grenadine
1/4 oz Falernum
Dash of Bitters

Shake this up with some ice and serve with either a lime or orange wedge.

You are probably asking about Falernum right now. This sweet syrup is now available in most liquor stores and has a a great flavor combination including almond, ginger and lime.

~ Island Mai Tai ~

1 oz White rum
1 oz Spiced rum 
1 oz Malibu rum
1 oz Orange Curacao
1 oz Sour mix
1/2 oz Grenadine
4 oz Pineapple Juice
2 oz Orange Juice

Shake all the ingredients together with ice and serve in a tall glass with a little cocktail umbrella and a slice of pineapple

~ Captain Morgan Pink Lemonade ~
1 1/2 Captain Morgans Spiced Rum
3 oz Cranberry Juice
1 oz Orange Juice
2 oz Club Soda

Fill a tall glass with Ice and add the rum along with cranberry juice. Top with club soda and orange juice.

~ Sailor Jerry Butter Rum ~
1/2 oz  Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
1/2 oz  DeKuyper Buttershot Liquor
1/2 oz  Vanilla Vodka
5 1/2 oz  Cream Soda

Pour the spiced rum, DeKuyper Buttershots liqueur, vanilla vodka and cream soda into a tall glass almost filled with ice cubes. Stir well and serve.

~ Bahama Mama ~
3/4 oz White Rum
3/4 oz Spiced Rum
3/4 oz Coconut Rum
3 oz Orange Juice
3 oz Pineapple Juice
Splash of Grenadine

Pour alcohol over the ice and add in the pineapple and orange juices. Stir and top with a a splash of grenadine. Garnish with an orange slice or cherry

~ Raspberry Mojito ~

2 1/2 oz White Rum
2 Lime Slices, cut into wheels
1 Tbs Agave Syrup
1 Sprig Fresh Mint
6 Fresh Raspberries

Take 3 raspberries and 1 of the lime wheels along with the mint, place into a metal shaker. With a muddle press or the back of a spoon crush the lime, mint and raspberries together. Add agave and stir. Add in ice and rum. Shake and then pour into a rocks glass filled with ice and the second lime wheel. Top with remaining raspberries.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

For The Love of Sushi...Pt 2

Welcome back to the Makisu (the rolling mat for those who may have forgotten) for Sushi Part 2!!  I have known for many years how to make Sushi and only recently have I tried to really learn about the history, the ingredients and artistry that goes into it. I can say now without any hesitation that not only do I have much to learn, I have also just begun to actually understand what it takes to truly master this incredible art form. The best part of learning about Sushi, at least for me is the appreciation I now have for just how complex its world really is.

A Sushi Chef must train for years to become a true master and an apprentice can begin training at the age of 15. This same apprentice may spend up to 2 years in the beginning of their training learning how to make Sushi Rice!! The art of Sushi has evolved considerably over time and was originally used as a way to actually preserve fish. Layers of Carp, a native fish, were placed in layers inside of a jar along with rice. A lid was placed on top and it was left to ferment for up to a year at a time. The fish would then be eaten while the rice was discarded. As time continued to move forward, newer methods of preservation were discovered that allowed the fish and rice to both be eaten.

In the 1800's a man, Yohei Hanaya began what might be described as the beginnings of modern day Sushi. Hanaya would serve Sashimi along with Sushi Rice out of a Yattai or street stall. The fish was packed in ice and customers would select the different types of fish they wanted to eat. This custom of choosing fish and watching it prepared is still evident with modern Sushi restaurants today. A second tradition of dipping fingers into the large cup of tea at the end of a meal is still practiced as well. These days, we use a finger bowl of warm water or hot towels at the end of a meal. The same Yattai's which were around during the time of Hanaya, all had curtains hanging from the counters or shelf tops where customers would gather around.The busiest vendors always had the dirtiest curtains. The thinking was that the a stall with dirty curtains meant more customers and therefor better food. After eating, patrons would dip their fingers and then wipe them on the curtain.

Cleaner by far now than it used to be, the traditions of Sushi still endure. In order for you to become the best at-home Sushi Chef possible, you will need the tools I spoke about in part one, which if you need a refresher can be found here (just click the link). As I continue writing, the assumption is that you have a rolling mat and the ingredients/products along side of you in the kitchen. I was able to locate what I think is a pretty good photo of someone rolling Sushi with what appears to be the recipe I have for you. Typing the steps has proven to be a little tricky, so as always...if you have a question or need help just give me a call or drop me a note over at

So, are you ready to give it a roll?

California Roll
(Futomaki Sushi)
4 Rolls, which will make 32 pieces

As the name implies, this particular Sushi was indeed invented in California

4 Sheets of Nori
3 Cups Sushi Rice, click the link here for the rice recipe
1 or 2 Cucumbers, Cut into long thin strips. Try for about 2 inches long and around 1/4 inch in thickness
8 Jumbo Shrimp, Cooked and with all tails and shells removed
1 or 2 Avocados, Peeled and pitted. Cut into strips slightly thicker then the cucumbers

~ Steps ~

1.  Lay out a sheet of Nori onto your Makisu

2.  Place 3/4 cup of rice onto the Nori, spread it evenly towards both sides. In the back, leave about 3/4 of an inch bare. Allow the rice to form a ledge/mound at the back end of the Nori. This mound should run the width of the Nori sheet.

3.  Lay 2 of the shrimp across the center of the rice. They can be cut if needed lengthwise. When laying them down be sure to go from right/left and not up/down. 

4.  Lay the strips of cucumber down along the center as well. Next to the shrimp.

5.  Lay the strips of avocado down in the same manner as the shrimp and cucumber

6.  Roll the mat over once, pressing as you go with both hands to keep it firm. The roll needs to go all the way back to the edge of the rice. Leaving the small strip of rice free Nori out. See the second picture to judge how far back you are rolling.

7. While keeping the firm pressure on the mat, gently allow it to be peeled back just enough to so that when you roll it forward the small strip of Nori connects to the roll. Use your fingers to ensure the roll is tightly packed and in the shape desired. Allow the mat to unroll.

8. Each roll should be handled carefully. Cut the roll in half with a very sharp knife. Try not to pressure the knife through the roll as that will make it collapse. Each half should the be cut in half again. Each quarter piece can be cut in half. Arrange on a plate with your choice of condiments, like Soy Sauce or Wasabi.

Remember, practice makes perfect and if you don't succeed on the first attempt it's OK...even now I still have trouble rolling the Sushi and getting it perfect sometimes.

Well that does it for Sushi. While I know that the choices for ingredients is vast, making your own choices for flavor is what makes it fun. Any ingredient can be used and don't hesitate to try out different combinations. If you want some ideas on what might work, please let me know. I can put a page up with a dozen or so recipes or I can email you back with ideas.

Coming up later this week...Free Form Wednesday, where we visit a bunch of recipes from Mexico minus all the chatter of me typing/talking and on Friday I want to take a trip along the Mediterranean for some more exotic flavors. Have a great day everyone and enjoy the read. As always please feel free to comment.