Tag Archives: sushi

Asian Chicken Salad with Peanut Sauce and Soba Noodles


Last week, we’ve so enjoyed having my mom visit us from California.  She came to celebrate her 82nd birthday. 🙂

Denis did not photoshop this photo. His comment: What 82 year old woman has that jaw line!??

Other than when we took her to visit Denis’ lovely parents in Shelter Island, she’s been in our garden weeding, picking up leaves, pruning plants–basically working her green thumb magic on it (which I sadly did not inherit)!

I wish I had “before” pictures to contrast this with! There were less flowers all around, and the rocks and back were covered in leaves and weeds!

We call her the Energizer Bunny.

Instead of eating out, she preferred me to cook “things from [my] blog” for her, so all week, I prepared various dishes for her and revisiting some old recipes.

Lots of smoothies:

A ton of sushi, of course (click on each image for recipe):

With Miso Soup:

For her 82nd birthday which was the same day as Father’s Day, I made Reese’s Pieces and M & M waffles for brunch using our trusty Cadbury Egg Waffle recipe:

I bought a small bag each of Reese’s Pieces and plain M & Ms and scattered them on the batter before cooking in waffle iron.

And Crispy Fish Tempura Bites for dinner:

with Miso Green Beans:

And Rich Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting for dessert:

I used a double amount of  Chocolate Ganache Frosting in place of this frosting

Other meals were quick Chicken Quesadillas using cooked rotisserie chicken (after a long day of shopping–not much time to cook!):

I filled ours with cooked chicken, cheese, onions, and salsa

and Creamy High Protein Avocado Dip:

I discovered I don’t have to spend a lot of time searching for favorite recipes anymore — I can just do a search on my blog!

For her last night here, I decided to make something special and created my version of a chicken salad with peanut sauce, because she had mentioned she had had a great one awhile back during her many travels.  It is a quick and easy when you have leftover cooked chicken! We used more of the rotisserie chicken.  I also used my favorite peanut sauce recipe using roasted peanut flour (if you can’t find this, just peanut butter is fine–use this recipe instead minus sesame seeds) and coated cooked soba noodles and chicken with it (angel hair or vermicelli would work too).  Then I made a salad with shredded Napa cabbage, romaine lettuce, shredded carrot, julienned daikon radish, cilantro, green onions, and snow peas.  I topped the salad with the peanut sauce coated noodles and cooked chicken and garnished with more chopped cilantro and chopped roasted peanuts.

It was really good!  We had leftover sauce which I diluted with a bit of rice vinegar and used as a salad dressing over the course of the week –sans mom.  😦
We miss you obaachan! (Japanese for “grandma”)  Thank you for all your hard work here!!


Asian Chicken Salad with Soba Noodles and Peanut Sauce

Peanut Sauce:

¼ cup peanut butter (or 1 tablespoon peanut butter plus ½ cup peanut flour and 2 tablespoons water)

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon ginger, minced

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Salad Greens:

4 cups shredded Napa cabbage

2 cups shredded Romaine lettuce

1 cup sliced cucumber

1 cup julienned carrot

1 cup julienned daikon or other radish

1 cup blanched snow peas

2 scallions, sliced

¼ cup chopped cilantro, divided

Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

4 oz. soba noodles

2-3 cups cooked chicken, shredded

¼ cup peanuts, chopped

  1. Make peanut sauce.  Process all ingredients (peanut butter to sesame oil) in a food processor until smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Prepare vegetables.  Mix salad greens together in a large bowl, reserving about 2 tablespoons of the chopped cilantro for garnish.  Set aside.
  3. Make vinaigrette.  Whisk soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil together in a small bowl.  Toss salad greens with vinaigrette to taste.
  4. Cook soba noodles according to package directions.  Drain.
  5. Assemble salad.  Toss cooked soba noodles with shredded chicken and prepared peanut sauce (use as much sauce as you want depending on how dry or wet you prefer the noodles—you will probably have some leftover!).  Divide salad greens into four bowls.  Top with noodles and chicken.  Garnish with reserved cilantro and chopped peanuts.

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Filed under Appetizers, Breakfast, Desserts, Dinner, Fish, Pasta, Sides, Snack, Vegetables

Inside Out Salmon Sushi Roll


I was recently invited by Green Peace to enter their “Think Outside the Can” recipe contest.  They launched the contest to raise awareness on the destructive and irresponsible tuna fishing practices of large companies, such as Chicken of the Sea. The hope is that by raising awareness, these companies will realize their customers care about environmental practices.

My recipe uses an alternative to tuna– canned Wild Alaskan Salmon.  Salmon caught in Alaska is abundant and the fishing processes used are not damaging to the environment. This Seafood Guide is helpful to determine whether or not the seafood you are buying is eco-friendly or not.

The salmon salad I make has an Asian flair with roasted sesame oil and wasabi mayonnaise.  In Japanese convenient stores, tuna salad used in rice balls (onigiri) is common, and I thought I’d do a sushi roll (makizushi) version and replace the tuna with salmon.  You could also just use it in a sandwich or on crackers of course!

First, cover a sushi rolling mat with saran (I had forgotten to do this in the photo!  The saran makes life easier).  Then place roasted dried seaweed (nori) sheet on top.  Cover with a layer of seasoned rice using a spoon or paddle. I dip the back in water while pressing which keeps the rice from sticking to it.  Sprinkle the rice with roasted sesame seeds.

Flip the whole thing over so that the nori is facing up.  This is where the saran comes in handy!

Note: Make sure the mat is oriented so that the long side is facing you as in this photo! I failed to do this in the previous photos. 😦

Put a strip of the salmon salad in the middle with a sprig of green onion.  Then, using the roller, roll up tightly from the bottom.  Cover the filling with the bottom of the nori and rice and slowly continue to roll, gradually removing saran as you go (so that it doesn’t get caught inside).  At the top 3/4″ of the nori, wet with a bit of water with your finger and finish the roll.  The water will seal the ends together.

All rolled up.

Then cut the roll in half, then cut the halves into fourths, so you have eight pieces per roll.


I actually prefer the taste of the salmon used this way than tuna! 🙂

Salmon Salad

2 tablespoons of light mayonnaise

1-2  teaspoons of wasabi paste, to taste

6 oz can of Wild Alaskan salmon

1 teaspoon roasted sesame oil

kosher salt

black pepper

  1. Mix mayonnaise and wasabi paste together in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Drain salmon and break up flesh with a fork in a bowl.
  3. Add mayonnaise mixture and sesame oil to salmon and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Mix until incorporated.

Inside Out Salmon Sushi Roll

(Note:  Japanese rice, nori, and black sesame seeds are usually available in Asian stores or the International section in grocery stores.  Sushi rollers are available in Japanese markets or here.)

2 ½ cups cooked white rice (made from 1 cup uncooked rice)

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 ½ teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 sheets nori (dried roasted seaweed)

2 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds (black or white)

Salmon salad (see above)

1 scallion, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise

  1. While rice is cooking, whisk together rice vinegar, sugar and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Put freshly cooked rice into a large bowl and sprinkle with rice vinegar mixture.  Mix with a wooden paddle or spoon while fanning the rice.
  3. Cover a sushi roller with a piece of saran wrap.  Orient the mat so that the long side is facing you.  Place a sheet of nori on top.
  4. Spread half of the sushi rice on top in a thin layer, using a spoon.  Dip the back of the spoon in water to prevent rice from sticking while you press down on the rice.
  5. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds on top.  Flip over so that the nori is face up.
  6. Spread ½ of the salmon salad in center and top with green onion.  Roll the sushi by first covering the filling with the bottom part of the sheet and rice and gently pulling towards you so that the roll is tight.  Then slowly continue to roll while removing saran wrap.  When you get to the top, wet the top ¾ inch of margin of the nori with a bit of water with your finger and finish the roll.  The water will seal the ends together.
  7. Cut the roll in half, then cut the halves into fourths.  Make another roll in the same manner with the remaining salmon salad.

Yield:  16 pieces from 2 rolls.

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Filed under Appetizers, Fish

Bean Bean Sushi: Creative Sushi Making with Kids

Hope everyone is having a great 2012 so far!  I’m beginning mine with a slight thumb injury caused by over vigorously kneading the gum paste from this post.  Who knew of such hazards in the kitchen?!  Anyway, the healing process is slow and I have to be careful not over use my right hand (though I’m constantly using it!)  One of the activities that exacerbates it is handling the camera– changing lenses and even removing the lens cap is very painful for me.  I may not be posting so much for awhile, and just wanted to let you know.  (The photos in this post were taken pre-injury.)

The idea of making sushi at home may seem daunting to some people, but if you aren’t a purist, it really is easy enough to make on a weeknight.  My kid friendly version focuses on makizushi (the rolled kind) and does not involve raw seafood– just vegetables and cooked meats.

Freeing yourself from the notion of making traditional sushi opens up your world for creative play and improvisation and is a fun activity to do with kids.

All you need is a sushi rolling mat, nori sheets (dried seaweed), cooked Japanese rice seasoned with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt, and whatever filling you’d like to put in the sushi.

Roasted seaweed found in Asian markets.

Awhile ago Jamie announced that he had a new idea for a sushi roll that he wanted to try and make.  He called it “Bean Bean Sushi” and he envisioned it to be filled with ketchup and cooked green beans.  I was dubious, but never one to say “no” to a vegetable creation — especially coming from my son, I told him we’d make it for lunch that day.

This is what we did.  First I cooked rice in my rice cooker (here are directions for stove top cooking). While it was cooking, we got all the fillings together.  I decided to make mine and Denis’ with some leftover grilled chicken, cooked shrimp, leftover grilled Kirkland marinated salmon,  scallions, and avocado.

When the rice was ready,  I seasoned it with a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar and salt.

To make the rolls, I set the nori rough side up (shiny, smooth side down) on a sushi rolling mat.  I spread the surface of the nori with a thin layer of the seasoned rice, leaving a margin at the top.  It helps to wet your fingers with water while doing this to keep the rice from sticking to your fingers.

Jamie put ketchup in the center and then steamed green beans on top.

I made Denis a grilled salmon and wasabi mayonnaise roll.

Then we rolled it up starting from the long side closest to us.  As we rolled, we gradually  let go of the end of the rolling mat (or else it would be rolled inside the sushi!) and continued to roll the sushi cylinder inside the mat until we got to the top margin.  Then, we wet the nori with a bit of water — it acts as glue– and completed the roll.

I made three rolls — one for each of us.  For the inside out roll, I covered the mat first with saran and laid the nori on top of the saran.

After covering the nori with rice and then black sesame seeds (you don’t need to leave an uncovered margin at top for an inside out roll), I turned the nori and rice over so it was nori side up.  The rice side should be on the saran covered mat.  Then, I laid some shrimp, avocado, and scallions on top of the nori and rolled the sushi up, this time with the rice on the outside,  in the same manner described above.  Once you get the hang of rolling, it’s really quite easy.  It helps to do it slowly.  Try and keep the roll tight and even while rolling.  A perfect roll has all the filling in the center.

When the rolls were finished, I cut each in half and then cut those halves into fourths.  So one roll yields eight pieces.  It helps to use a very sharp knife and to dip the blade in warm water between cuts, so it doesn’t stick.

The rolls after cutting.

Surprisingly, Jamie’s Bean Bean roll was actually quite tasty.  Who knew ketchup, green beans, rice, and seaweed would go so well together?

Jamie's "Bean Bean Sushi"

Inside out shrimp, avocado, scallion roll and regular salmon and Trader Joe's wasabi mayonnaise roll.

Makizushi (Rolled Sushi)

Nori sheets (Dried Roasted Seaweed)

About 2 cups of short grain Japanese rice

2 1/4 cups water

3 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/2 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

fillings for sushi (for example, wasabi, wasabi mayonnaise, plain mayonnaise, ketchup, cooked meats, smoked meats, steamed vegetables, raw vegetables, cooked egg — basically anything you can line up in the center of a sushi roll!  The other day, Jamie tried to make one with edamame succotash, but it didn’t work so well, because the edamame and corn kept falling out…)

1.  Rinse rice in water several times until the water is almost clear.  Cook in rice cooker with water or cook on stove.  Prepare fillings and have ready.  Also have a small dish of plain water set aside.

2.  Mix vinegar, sugar and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.

3.  When rice is finished cooking, transfer to a non-metallic bowl, preferably a wooden or glass one.  Sprinkle vinegar mixture on top (don’t pour all at once — taste rice as you go and season to taste-you may not need to use it all).  With a large wooden spoon, mix rice with a slicing motion.  With your other hand (or employing a helper), fan the rice as you mix to take away the excess moisture.  Keep sushi rice covered with a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out while you are making the sushi.

4.  Lay a sheet of nori on a sushi rolling mat rough side up.  Spread sushi rice on nori in a thin, even layer, using the back of a spoon or fingers. Wetting spoon or fingers with water helps to keep the rice from sticking.  Leave an 3/8 inch margin at the top uncovered.  This is the part that you will use as a seam to close the roll.

5.  Place spread if using and choice of fillings in the center of the roll horizontally.  Lift the mat with your thumbs, holding the center ingredients with your other fingers.  Slowly roll into a cylinder, while moving the rolling mat out of the way (so it doesn’t get rolled into the sushi).  At the top of the roll, wet the uncovered seam of nori with water and complete the roll.

6.  Wet a sharp knife and cut roll in half.  Then cut each half into four pieces.   Continue to wet knife in between cuts to prevent sticking (I like to have a tall glass of water to dip the knife into).

Enjoy!

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Autumn Bounty: Roasted Acorn Squash and Seeds

Hope all you folks (who celebrate it) had a nice Thanksgiving!  We visited our family in Illinois for a week.  I also visited the children at Woodland Primary School in Gages  Lake where my sister-in-law works on Monday. We had fun pretending to make soup!

From the Daily Herald -- my sister-in-law is in the back in the striped sweater!

While I was in Illinois, I received a really touching email from a woman whose adorable 2 1/2 year old daughter, Addison, enjoys my book, Soup Day.  She did a blog post about them spending the day recreating the story that is so perfect I just have to share it.  Check it out here!

Before, during, and after the Thanksgiving festivities, we all indulged in comfort foods and desserts.  My mom made our favorite enchiladas.

My nephew made amazing grilled chicken sushi.  Unfortunately I have no photos!  Major fail on my part.  He basically grilled some chicken breast seasoned with salt and pepper in olive oil.  Then he cut it into strips and rolled it with cucumber, green onion and wasabi on seasoned rice and seaweed.  See the maki method here.  We also made crazy kimchee and jalapeno versions with smoked salmon and avocado that were so good.

My nephew’s girlfriend made these decadent, addicting Oreo Truffles with milk and white chocolate.

Photo credit: Run For Your Life on Food.com

My cousin made her own inventive creation of Coconut Frosted Pumpkin Cupcakes filled with Haupia (Hawaiian Coconut Pudding).   She’s from Hawaii and had the brilliant idea of combining Ina Garten’s Pumpkin Cupcake recipe (sans Maple Frosting) with this Haupia and Frosting recipe  (sans cupcake).  They were to die for!!

Since my brother’s house was overflowing with decadent food, I focused on making a lot of vegetables!  One of dishes I made was my favorite fall veggie that is also readily available throughout the winter months—acorn squash.  You can steam cook and even microwave them, but my favorite way to prepare them is to roast them at high heat.  It really brings out the natural sugars, and you can do double duty and roast the seeds at the same time.

To serve, I mash the cooked acorn squash halves in their skins a bit and add butter and brown sugar and cinnamon to taste.  I cut the halves into wedges and serve them in their skins.  If you don’t eat the skins, it’s easy to scoop out the sweet flesh and eat with a spoon.  It tastes like dessert.

We like to eat the savory roasted squash seeds as is or tossed on our salads for added crunch.

For about $1.49 per acorn squash, this is a fantastic deal I love to take advantage of this time of year.  🙂

Roasted Acorn Squash

non-stick spray

1 medium acorn squash

butter to taste

brown sugar or maple syrup to taste

cinnamon to taste

Roasted Acorn Squash Seeds

Seeds from an acorn squash

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

Kosher salt to taste (or other spices — cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic salt might be good!)

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil.  Spray with nonstick spray.  Set aside.

2.  Cut acorn squash in half lengthwise.  Scoop out seeds and stringy flesh.  Separate seeds from flesh and rinse in a colander.  Spread seeds out on a paper towel to dry a bit.

3.  Place acorn squash halves cut side down (I do this to get them caramelized on top) on parchment or foil lined baking sheet.  Roast for 30 minutes.

4.  While squash is roasting, scrape seeds off paper towel into a medium bowl.  Toss seeds with oil and seasonings.  Set aside.

5.  When squash has roasted for 30 minutes, flip halves over so cut side is up.  Set timer for 20 more minutes and continue roasting.

6.  When timer goes off, move acorn halves to one side of the the baking sheet and spread prepared seeds on other side of pan in one layer.  Set timer for 10 minutes.

7.  When timer goes off, stir seeds and continue to check every five minutes or so once or twice.  Remove seeds to a plate when they are golden.  They will crisp up more as they cool.  Test acorn squash flesh to see if they are done.  If they are soft like a cooked sweet potato, they are ready.

8.  Season acorn halves with butter, brown sugar or maple syrup, and cinnamon to taste.  Cut into wedges and serve.
9.  Serve seeds as is in a bowl or tossed on salads as a healthy, crunchy condiment.

Mmmmm!

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Filed under Children, Desserts, Dinner, Sides, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Vegetarian