Greg and I were first introduced to sushi shortly after moving to Florida, twelve years ago. I am a little pickier than he is, but we are both huge fans.
Sushi is basically a food preparation that originated in Japan. It consists of cooked vinegared rice combined with ingredients such as raw or cooked seafood and vegetables. It is often served with pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce.
We have a couple of favorite sushi restaurants that we still visit when we are in Florida. However, since moving back to Georgia, we have not been able to find a spot that we enjoy. So, I have found an incredible, no fuss, substitute to make at home. It’s the sushi bowl. Set up a sushi bar and have your guests customize their sushi bowl exactly the way they like it.
There are endless possibilities for your sushi bar. A few of my favorites are steamed shrimp, imitation crab meat, cucumbers, carrots, and avocados. However, you can even offer grilled sirloin and raw seafood if you prefer. I urge you to follow the recommended guidelines for eating raw fish if you decide to use raw seafood products.
- 2 c. sushi rice
- 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- ½ tsp. salt
- Suggestions for toppings:
- Sliced avocado,
- Carrot stirps
- Cucumber, seeds removed and sliced into strips
- Steamed shrimp
- Sushi grade tuna
- Smoked salmon
- Chopped scallions
- Nori, thinly sliced
- Pickled ginger
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Soy Sauce
- Spicy Mayonnaise (recipe follows)
- To prepare rice, rinse under cold water until water runs clear. Drain.
- Cook rice according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan heat 3 tbsp. rice wine vinegar, sugar, and salt. Simmer, stirring often until sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.
- When rice has finished cooking, remove the rice from the pot and into a wooden or plastic bowl, using a wooden spoon. Do not use metal and do not scrape the bottom of the pot.
- Add rice vinegar mixture to the rice right away. Mix gently with wooden spoon and set aside to allow rice to reach room temperature. Do not put rice in the refrigerator to cool of faster.
- Spoon rice into medium sized serving bowls. Add toppings of your choice and serve with chop sticks.
- 5 tbsp. mayonnaise
- 1 tsp. Siracha
- Mix together with a whisk, until smooth.
I ran across this old recipe the other day. It was a pudding that I would fix for the kids when they were little. I can remember them helping me with this Creamy Banana Pudding when the vanilla wafers were almost as big as their little hands. I had not made this banana pudding in years. All it took was running across it in an old stack of recipes, and it was on the table for dessert that night.
The family loved it. This is a simple, easy, no fuss dessert, but you would have thought I had served them something from a 5-star restaurant. I thought this would be a great recipe to share with you. It can be made in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or you can make cute little shot glass desserts. It’s an excellent dessert for cook-outs, covered dish dinners, or just a simple weeknight dinner surprise.
Creamy Banana Pudding
- 1 box Vanilla wafers
- 2 (3.4-oz.) boxes Instant vanilla pudding
- 1 c. milk
- 8-oz. sour cream
- 1 lg. container Cool Whip
- 4 bananas
- Whisk pudding, milk, sour cream together in a large bowl. Fold in ⅔ of the Cool Whip.
- Cover the bottom, pf a 9 x 13-inch dish with one layer of vanilla wafers. Place one slice of banana on top of each wafer. Spread half of the pudding mixture on top of bananas. Add another layer of wafers and bananas and spread remaining pudding mixture over top. Top with remaining Cool Whip. Refrigerate until time to serve. Store in the refrigerator.
You can layer these ingredients in small shot glasses.
On holidays, I desire the traditional flavors. The tastes that take me back to sweet memories. Memories of simpler times, times spent with family, lots of laughter, and loads of love. This Pineapple Upside Down Pound Cake takes me there!
Pineapple upside down cakes are traditionally one layer cakes, decorated with fruit and a sugary glaze on the bottom of the pan, then served upside down. The recipes have been around for years and graced many of our grandmother’s tables.
This recipe brings two great traditions together for one fantastic dessert! The pound cake has a delicious glaze and is beautifully decorated with pineapple and cherries, but it’s all done in a Bundt pan! Such a great dessert for Easter!
This cake is delectable! I felt that this cake was best served fresh. In fact, while it was still warm was my favorite time to enjoy eating this cake. I stored any leftover cake in the refrigerator then zapped it in the microwave for about 10 seconds before serving from the refrigerator.
Pineapple Upside Down Pound Cake
- 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
- ¾ c. packed brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 lg. can (approx. 20-oz.) pineapple slices, drained well and cut in half
- Approx. 16 maraschino cherries, drained well and dried
- 12-oz. unsalted butter, room temperature (3 sticks)
- 18-oz. granulated sugar (2½ c.)
- 2½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 gently rounded tsp. salt
- 5 eggs, room temperature, beaten
- 13-oz. cake flour (2¾ c.)
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 8-oz. chopped pineapple, drained
- 2 oz. sour cream, room temperature
- Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan, set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Melt 6 tbsp. butter in a small saucepan. Add ¾ c. brown sugar and pinch salt and cook until dissolved. Bring to a boil. When bubbly, with no butter sloshing around the edge, pour into greased and floured 12-cup Bundt pan. Arrange pineapple pieces and cherries in the bottom of the bundt pan as shown above, set aside.
- Whisk together the cake flour and baking powder until well combined. Set aside.
- Puree pineapple and sour cream together in a blender. Set aside.
- Cream the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla until light and fluff, scrapping the bowl often.
- With the mixer on medium speed, add the beaten eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition, until completely incorporated. Stop to scrap down the sides of bowl as necessary.
- Add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, mixing on low just until each addition is incorporated. Begin and end with dry ingredients for a total of 3 dry additions and 2 wet additions.
- Carefully spoon batter over the caramel pineapple layer in the prepared pan.
- Smooth the batter, and bake in preheated oven 55 minutes or until done. Place a cookie sheet on the rack below the cake to catch any caramel that might spill over. (this was not a problem with my cake)
- Remove cake from oven and cover with a piece of foil. Let stand for 45 minutes, then turn out onto a cake plate. Replace any fruit pieces that may have stuck in the pan and smooth down
- Serve at room temperature.
Memories of Easter make me homesick. Not only for home but everybody and everything familiar with home. Growing up in a little North Georgia town where everybody married and settled down in the same town I had the great opportunity of actually having a relationship with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. I grew up on a little dirt road where I could walk to my grandparent’s house. My best friends (my cousins) lived just next door.
Families are smaller and more scatter these days. Even my kids don’t know their cousins and extended family the way I did. I have enjoyed moving and living in different cities as an adult, but did I cheat my children of the great family memories like I have?
If you are lucky enough to be gathering with family this Easter, here is a salad that everyone will love. You can assemble it the day before, and it will hold up great. This recipe comes from Pastry Queen Parties by Rebecca Rather and Alison Oresman. It is one of my favorite things to make up and have for lunch on weekdays. These salad jars would be perfect for picnics too.
Just a quick update on my recovery. Other than pain from the staples in my heel I am doing great. I will be in a cast by the time you read this. I still can’t stand or walk on my surgery foot, but if all goes well hopefully that will come in two weeks! I do have a touch of cabin fever, or maybe it’s farm fever. I would just love to hop in the old Suburban and drive! That will not come for a while but at this point the simple act of walking will be great!
Wishing each of you a blessed and happy Easter!
Layered Salad in a Jar
- ¼ c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 medium lemons)
- ½ c. white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp. milk honey
- ⅔ c. extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 c. feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 lb. orzo pasta
- 1 (16-oz.) bag baby greens, spinach, arugula, or romaine
- 5 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
- 1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ c. pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
- 1 cucumber, coarsely chopped (with peel)
- ½ c. feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 tbsp. dried oregano, or 2 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano leaves
- TO MAKE DRESSING: In a bowl whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, honey, and olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Whisk in the feta. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- TO MAKE THE SALAD: In a large pot, cook the orzo in salted water according to the package instructions. Drain and run cold water over the pasta to stop the cooking. Put the orzo in a large bowl and toss with ½ cup of the dressing. In a small bowl, stir together the green oinions, tomatoes, olives, and cucumber. In a separate small bowl, stir together the ½ c. feta and the oregano.
- TO ASSEMBLE THE LAYERS: Have 12 (1-pint_ wide mouth canning jars with lids ready. Spoon ⅓ c. of the orzo into the bottom of each jar, and follow with 1 layer each of the following; ¼ c. green onion-tomato-olive-cucumber mix, 2 tsp. feta-oregano mix, and ½ c. packed greens. Spoon about 1 tbsp. of the dressing on top of each salad. (You will have some dressing left over for another use.) Top with lids and refrigerate until needed. To serve, shake the jar to distribute the dressing.
- DO IT EARLY; The dressing and orzo can be prepared up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated. Assemble the salad in jars up to 6 hours before it is to be served. Keep it cold until serving time.
It looks like Easter will be quite for me this year. Because of my surgery, I will not be cooking an Easter meal this year. It’s unlikely that I will even travel to see long distance relatives. Instead, maybe I can find someone that will make this magnificent carrot cake, which brings back sweet family memories, for me.
Aunt Carolyn is my daddy’s sister. When I was growing up this cake was always on the dessert table at my grandparents house. It was one of her specialities, and if you didn’t get a piece of cake quickly, then you might just miss out. Unlike most carrot cakes, this cake has no nutmeg, no pineapple, and it is not frosted with cream cheese frosting. This frosting is the same frosting that you find on German Chocolate cakes, another one of my favorites!
This cake gets better with time. Because of that, I suggest that you bake and assemble the cake 24 to 48 hours before serving.
Heirloom Carrot Cake
- 1½ c. vegetable oil
- 2 c. sugar
- 4 lg. eggs, separated, at room temperature
- 4 tbsp.hot water
- 2½ c. self-rising flour
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1½ c. grated carrots
- 1 c. chopped pecans
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 lg. can evaporated milk
- 1 c. granulated sugar
- 1 c. shredded coconut
- 1 c. chopped pecans
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- To make cake:
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour three 8 or 9-inch round cake pans and set aside.
- In a small bowl mix the dry ingredients and set aside.
- With an electric mixture beat the oil and sugar. Add egg yolks, mixing well. Add hot water and mix.
- Add dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Fold in carrots and nuts.
- In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold into cake batter.
- Divide batter among the three prepared cake pans. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until cake tests done with a toothpick.
- Remove from oven to cooling rack. Cool in pans for 5 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.
- To make frosting: In a saucepan, add the butter, sugar, milk and egg yolks. Cook over medium-high heat until thickened. Stir in coconut, pecans, and vanilla.
- Place one cooled cake layer on cake plate and top with ⅓ of the frosting. Top with 2nd layer and top with ⅓ of the frosting. Then top with the 3rd layer and top with the final ⅓ of the frosting.