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sushi

Rainbow Nori Rolls

Rainbow Nori Rolls

I was recently asked to review two of Urban Outfitter’s cookbooks, both centered around clean and wholesome eating. First up,?Power Snacks, chock full of 50 pages of healthy snacks abundant in energy-boosting nutrients.

Broken down into several categories, the cookbook offers up classic “On the Go” snacks like Squash & Pumpkin Seed Muffins, “High Energy” bites like rainbow chard roll-ups, “Sweet Indulgences” including Chocolate Avocado Pudding, and more. Yummmmm-y!

Rainbow Nori Rolls

Full of color, I was instantly drawn to the Rainbow Nori Roll recipe, featured in the “Take to Work” section of the book. Laying out all of its ingredient on the table, it was hard not to be excited about all of the beauty going into this particular power snack. I mean, just look at that vibrant photo above. Pure awesomeness.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

I love snacks that are able to pack in a bunch of vegetables. So often, when we need a mid-afternoon refueling, we reach for something sweet, and often that means something that’s not too entirely healthy. With options like this – that feel entirely like a treat, but a savory one at that – it’s easy to keep snack-time the healthy pick-me-up that it’s meant to be. In other words, this recipe is far from the nap-inducing snack that too often steals away our second half of the day.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

Another pro, these nori rolls really pack in the flavor, especially for an all-vegan sushi option. The sauteed asparagus and ginger give them an extra boost, and the beets really add something here, too.

That being said, if you have avocado on-hand, definitely add it. You can rarely go wrong with avocado in vegetarian sushi.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

Likewise, there’s tons of room to play around with other ingredients in this recipe. You could add baked tofu for a little extra protein, or cucumbers, or other veggies of your choice. You could play with the grain, for instance, like I did, and try swapping the risotto rice for brown rice. I used a short grain brown rice, cooked it with a little extra water (1 cup rice to 2 1/2 cups water) and for a little extra time until it achieved the sushi-ready stickiness that it needed.

You could add wasabi to the roll or to the dipping sauce. You could add herbs. Or mango. Or whatever your heart may desire.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

Keep in mind, this isn’t a whip-up-in-5-minutes kind of snack. While the veggie prep is simple, there are a lot of ingredients to chop here, and the assemblage is a process, particularly if you’re new to sushi-making. That being said, sushi is easier to roll than you might think, so don’t let intimidation get in your way.

To save time, buy beets (unseasoned) that are already cooked. You can usually find them in cans in the veggie/bean section of the grocery store. You could also make the rice the night before, or prep some of the ingredients ahead of time.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

While these are best eaten the day-of, they’ll definitely last if you make them a day-in-advance. In fact, I’ll be enjoying some leftovers for lunch today.

Prep them on a Sunday and when the Monday stomach rumbles roll around, you’ll have a beautifully fresh snack waiting for you full of that extra zest you need to get the week going.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

 

You can check out the cookbook for other fun snack ideas. And stay tuned for a preview of Urban Outfitter’s other book,?The Clean Eating Kitchen, in the days to follow! Continue Reading…

Fall Sweet Potato and Kale Sushi

Fall Sweet Potato and Kale Sushi

Septemblur.

That’s all I have to say about this last month of summer. A good month for certain, but even more certainly, a fast one.

With just one (single!) day left of summer and one day till autumn, I have two words to say right now — s w e e t    p o t a t o.

Sweet Potatoes

I don’t know about you, but it feels like I woke up one morning, and poof, out of thin, (brisk, leaves-falling-through-it) air, autumn suddenly appeared. Sundress weather turned to sweater weather practically overnight, and sundown hours setup fort before I even had time to tell them I’d prefer they wait a bit longer.

That is life. You turn into this thing called an “adult” — generally the same meaning, but just a shorter form of the word adolescent — and life begins to blur.

Summer, don’t leave me. Please.

Fall Sweet Potato and Kale Sushi

On the bright side, fall brings with it an array of awesome qualities outside of just the dreaded onset of winter. Fall foliage, apple picking, apple pie, apple oatmeal, apple everything.

Like Bubba on shrimp, I could talk endlessly about the things you can do with apples. But instead, let’s talk sweet potatoes. After all, they define the warm color of this season, exemplifying its deepest shade at their best.

What am I looking forward to most this fall? Orange.

Fall Sweet Potato and Kale Sushi

I’m not ready to jump ship from summer. Don’t let this recipe deceive you. However, I admit, I am ready for sweet potatoes. When the weather crisps up, their soft heat brings more warmth to the table than my favorite winter sweater. And you know I am always ready for kale on that table, too.

So, here it is, my first autumn recipe of the year. Even if you’re a weeping-for-summer-to-stay kind of person like me, one thing’s for sure, this meal won’t disappoint. I say that even if the first cool, can’t-eat-outside evening you consume it during does. (Okay, okay. I know. Chilly evenings aren’t as bad as I’m making them out to be.)

Garlicky Kale

Here, garlicky kale and simply steamed sweet potatoes make for a classic pairing, yet an innovative, fall-feeling sushi. The ingredient combo also elevates an already healthy cuisine to a whole other level, which is exactly how I like to embrace the changing of seasons — on the right foot for my body.

Fall Sweet Potato and Kale Sushi

You’ll find sweet potato sushi as an option on many vegetarian sections of sushi restaurants. Yet, it’s rarely an item I reach for, given it’s often just sweet potato rolled up in rice. Make it yourself, however, and add some sautéed kale to that equation, and you get an incredibly flavorful roll, with sweet-bitter and soft-chewy contrasts. Creamy avocado, a mainstay in all my sushi dreams, makes the whole thing complete, along with wasabi to offset the sweet potato.

Still a simple roll, no part of this is really complicated. Yet together, it all works so well.

Fall Sweet Potato and Kale Sushi

Grab a sushi mat and get ready to roll. Even if you’re mat-less, a clean flat surface, and press from your hands can do the trick. Just don’t tell the sushi chef masters I ever suggested that. Continue Reading…

Vegetable Nori Rolls with Crunchy Lentils and Turmeric

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

It’s crazy how much can happen in a year. How fast time can move. How change can progress. At the beginning of 2013, I quit a full-time job that, while paying my bills, was doing little else but bringing me down. I then cycled through a jillion part-time jobs, took a jillion and one photos, fell in love, fell out of love, traveled on impulse, flew out to Paris, photographed my first wedding, launched a few new ideas, schemed up a few more, had a ton of “is this real life?” moments, met a lot of clients, made new friends, shedded old friends, have become really comfortable with myself and learned a ton about what it means to live life if you really want to live it. At my age, it means taking chances. Trying new things. Learning what, and maybe who, it is you love. And practicing all of that, one way or another. Maybe that goes for every age. Probably so.

Rainbow Veggies

This year has also been a year of more and more experimenting in the kitchen, seeking out new inspiration, and growing my food photo skills. The food blog world is continuously proliferating. I saw it this past year more than ever, and find myself endlessly inspired. I’ve also come across some new friends with similar visions to spread healthy eating, and who share in the joy of eating and cooking with others. This, as well as stumbling upon some new start-ups in my city with similar viewpoints, excites me more than ever. I can’t wait to keep filling my life up with these connections and companions, and venturing into new directions. And of course sharing some of the successes here on my blog.

Vegetable Nori Rolls with Crunchy Lentils and Turmeric

A few of my favorite ingredient discoveries this year include coconut flakes, ground cherries, raw honey and the turmeric root I’ve used to spruce up this wintertime sushi. Turmeric root is a gorgeous, and incredibly healthy kitchen ingredient in which lately I simply cannot get enough. You can find it at Whole Foods, masked in a form that resembles the root-like structure of ginger. In fact, the two look nearly identical until you peel the outer layer, and find the vibrant orange of the turmeric masked beneath. A common spice in Indian cooking, likely you’ve used, or at least tasted, its powdered form before. In its fresh status, it takes on a slightly less pungent flavor that crosses its inherent characteristics with that of both ginger and carrot. At least, that’s what it tastes like to me.

Vegetable Nori Rolls with Crunchy Lentils and Turmeric

For these sushi rolls, feel free to use whatever staple ingredients of the season you have on hand. This time of year, steamed sweet potato could be nice, or maybe some kohlrabi, sliced thinly into matchsticks. I chose to go with this colorful array I had in my fridge, running out only to obtain an avocado. Don’t miss that component if you can help it! Once cubed, slightly sprinkle it with salt. This really draws out the flavor of avocado.

A fresh start to the New Year, we could all fair well to commit ourselves to a path of healthy eats. As I’ve said before, a healthy body = a happy mind. That’s worth repeating and remembering. Cheers to all of you and another year ahead. With all that happened in 2013, I’m brimming with energy for what this next year will bring. Thank you for being a part of my life.

Vegetable Nori Rolls with Crunchy Lentils and Turmeric

Continue Reading…

Nori Brown Rice Bowls with Hoison Sauce

Nori Brown Rice Bowls with Hoison Sauce

I can’t seem to kick my iced coffee habit. The days are nearing a blustery 40 degrees, and I’m still walking out of my local cafe with ice in my java. My hands are cold, my nose is red, my coffee is staring up at me like, “girl, what were you thinking? Now I’m cold too.”

What can I say. I like high fives. I like to ride my bike. I like my coffee over ice. All year around.

Sushi, on the other hand, is not something I always reach for as wintery weather sets in. It’s by far one of my favorite meals to grab during the summer. But this time of year, it often gets ousted for soup.

Ooooh, fall.

Ooooh, fall.

Bowls like these, however, combine the best of two worlds. Fresh veg, rice and nori, all wrapped up in a warm package. Feel free to add other sushi favorites, like avocado, sesame seeds, and maybe even a splash or two of rice wine vinegar into the cooked grains. This is essentially a free-form salad, inspired by Asian flavors, not entirely adherent to sushi. The bowl is what you make of it, my friends.

Nori Brown Rice Bowls with Hoison Sauce

Continue Reading…

Vegetarian Brown Rice Sushi Rolls

I’m definitely no sushi master, but it’s rather fun to make and truly not that difficult once you get started.  It had been quite some time since the one and only time I’d ever made sushi, so of course that needed to be changed.

Unlike Chinese food, which I get sick of before I even leave the restaurant, I could consume sushi several times a week and never tire of it.  Plus, I always feel so light and refreshed after eating it.  Like my dad always says, it’s best to leave the dinner table still a little hungry.  That feeling of fullness will hit you soon enough, and if you happen to find yourself with a little extra room in your stomach a few hours later, it’s nothing a good dessert can’t easily cure.  I think that’s why I never get worn out of sushi.  Rarely am I left from a sushi night feeling weighed down, and plus, I always appreciate a good excuse to eat dessert.  🙂

I had a few friends over the other weekend for some sushi and sangria (anyone else think saké’ tastes like pee?), and it made me realize that sushi is the perfect dinner party activity. Our sushi didn’t look perfect, but it tasted amazing, which is what counts in my kitchen. There will definitely be some more sushi-making going down in the near future.  Making the rolls yourself allows you to get creative and have fun with what goes inside. Plus, you can utilize healthy, whole grain rice, which makes sushi that much more of an excellent lunch/dinner item.

I had a bunch of summer produce picked from my CSA job, so we went with several summer veggie sushi creations, like beets and mint, and cucumber and squash.  We paired nearly every combo with avocado because for me, avocado is the key to vegetarian sushi.  It adds the kick of richness needed to make sushi stand out, and that tender creaminess that raw fish would normally lend.  If you want, feel free to experiment with some seafood combinations too, but I can’t say I’m daring enough to trust my local seafood spots.  Besides, the raw beet/mint/avocado combo. looked nearly like a tuna roll, and tasted just as good (and fresh) to me!

So grab a sushi mat and get rolling (and rockin’) and let me know of what your favorite combinations turn out to be!

Click here for photos and recipe…