Friday, February 25, 2011

Cafe World Challenge Week 47

I attended a Japanese cooking class last year and have used my notes from that class to make sushi. I'm not a fan of raw fish sushi and prefer eating rolled sushi ie. maki. I usually order the vegetarian option at restaurants, but I had leftover smoked salmon from making the Lox Bagel so I added that too.


The term sushi actually refers to the rice which is mixed with rice vinegar. This rice can then be topped or rolled in various ways. My cooking instructor stressed the importance of properly cooked rice, so I followed her instructions:

Sushi rice

3 cups of sushi rice
4 cups of water
3 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

Place rice in a medium sized saucepan. Remove excess starch from the rice by rinsing it 3 or 4 times. (Add cold water until the rice is covered, then drain water.)
Add the 4 cups of water to the rice and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover the saucepan and reduce the heat so that the rice continues to cook, without boiling over.
Cook for 15-20 minutes then turn off the heat.
The secret tip: Don't peek, do not remove the lid until the dish is ready to serve.
When ready, mix the rice vinegar into the rice.

Cover your sushi rolling mat with plastic, it keeps things clean and non-stick. I wanted to make inside-out rolls, with the rice on the outside, so I tried both methods. Method 1, was to lay the nori on the mat and then cover it with rice and then flip it over, the rice sticks pretty well to the rougher side of the nori. I also just spread rice onto the mat and then pressed the nori into it to cover. Both worked okay. A good tip was to keep a bowl of water at hand to dip your spatula or spoon into. This dislodges sticky rice and makes spreading easier.

I laid my smoked salmon in the centre of the nori parallel with the bamboo. If you did it the other way it wouldn't roll properly. I used avocado and fine carrot sticks in mine. Then just roll up tightly. Remember you don't want to enclose the mat so fold the mat over the fillings to form the roll. I then sprinkled mine with toasted sesame seeds and cut it into pieces. I served mine with soy sauce with a little wasabi mixed in.
Very delicious. Considering it was the first time I did this myself, I think it worked out pretty well.


Progress: 81/86 (only 5 to go)

Next up: I didn't get time to make Unbirthday cake for my husband before he left, but will attempt it when he returns, which will be after his birthday. He's at sea for 3 weeks.

* Disclaimer: Image owned by Zynga. This site is not owned by Zynga. This site is not the owner of the intellectual property.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wild Thing skirt

I've found a new favourite skirt pattern. It sews up quickly and easily and has a few variations so that many looks can be created with ease.

Unfortunately the pattern is Out of Print, but you can still find it on the Butterick website.
It is Butterick 4613 and it has six variations including self fringe, flounce and lace edged. I made up View A, which actually has a self belt, but I omitted the belt.

I'm planning to make this version up in the Navy wool crepe to go with the Vogue 8692 jacket. I made a muslin and was so super happy with the style that I decided to immediately rummage through my stash and make up a wearable version. I came up with the ridged cotton woven in an animal print that I used to make this Burda jacket.

I LOVE THIS SKIRT!!! It's fitted through the hips without being restrictive. It has a waist facing and centre back zipper.

I also tried a new hemming technique on this skirt. The fabric is a little stiff so I didn't like the idea of hand stitching a hem and I really didn't want a top stitched hem. So I used hem tape for the first time. I have the Heat 'n Bond Superweight tape. I think it turned out great. The hem is nice and crisp.

I can see myself making many more versions. If the pattern pieces weren't currently attached to the wool on my cutting table I'd pull out a different fabric and sew another up.

I finished this skirt 2 weeks ago and have been waiting to get my hubbie to take a photo of me in it. But in the meantime I've been sewing more braid on more naval uniforms. My husband has been advertising my services to the unit. I should get a photo with all the guys and girls together posing with their Jen-sewn braids. That would be fun.

I've had a little hiatus from sewing my own garments, so I've turned to the sewing blogs for inspiration. One of my favourites, Faye's Sewing Adventure, has just turned 4. Congrats Faye!! She is having a giveaway a week on her blog over the next 4 weeks to celebrate. Check it out. It was actually her blog that inspired the Butterick skirt pattern choice as she made a version a while back and she also made a great animal print jacket which was one of a few made by the blog girls at that time. When I read through my blog list I always have a pen and paper in front of me and jot down any ideas or pattern numbers that I like and then I usually transfer the info to a computer file where I list my current and future projects and any additional inspirational tidbits. I've seen some lovely sewing room fix-ups and tidy-ups on the blogs lately, so that will be my next mission....get my sewing stuff a little better organized. Then maybe I can get in gear to get back to my sewing projects. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cafe World Challenge Week 46

Blah, blah, blah.....

That's how I feel lately!! So sorry about being lazy about blogging. I've had one thing after another happen that has hampered my plans and my creative juices have run dry. Not that any of my mishaps have been in the creative realm of my being, but it impacts my general mood. In the grand scheme of things I suppose it hasn't been that bad.
I had my large, heavy wooden fireplace mantle fall on my toes and cause severe pain and limited motion for a week. Then my husband goes away for a week and I get to deal with crazy little boys all on my own. Then of course it's that time again when talk shifts to possibly moving again. UGH!!! So my mind goes crazy. Then I get rear-ended and then have to deal with all the admin involved with a collision and insurance and car repair. So a few days got completely swallowed up with that. Now I have my husband home, but he's off again for 2.5 weeks. Aside from the stress of trying to find a job, but then if we're moving why am I bothering?

Enough of my rant!!! Thanks for listening. I needed to just hammer out my frustration on the keyboard, you were spared the worst of it, the delete key was used extensively.

So with just myself and the little guys to feed I haven't been cooking anything reportable....but managed to squeeze in a Cafe World dish. Lox Bagel. My 5 year old loves smoked salmon so he was very happy.


This was an easy one. I bought "everything" bagels and spread them with my favourite whipped chive cream cheese, topped with salmon and thin slices of red onion. Pop open a bag of potato chips and Voila!!!

Next Up: I'm making Sushi...finally and since my hubbie will be away for his birthday, I'll make the Unbirthday Cake before he leaves.

Progress: 80/86 (nearly there..I haven't added any of the new dishes, since I haven't been playing to unlock any of them)

* Disclaimer: Image owned by Zynga. This site is not owned by Zynga. This site is not the owner of the intellectual property.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cafe World Challenge Week 45

We had a great Cafe World inspired dish this week, Chicken Adobo. I don't know how authentic the version was, but it tasted great. Like the stew in the previous post, my boys loved it.

I'm still pondering how to make an affordable Unbirthday cake. I could really cheat and say since it's no one's birthday and its a cake, it's an Unbirthday cake, but I don't think so. I investigated using fondant for decorating the stacked cakes, but it was $18 for each coloured tub and the multicolour packs with smaller quantities to cut out shapes and decorate is $11. What I might do is use coloured butter cream frosting and then use the $11 fondant to add stripes and shapes. Since I am expending lots of energy on the decorating I bought two boxes of devil's food cake to make the process a little simpler.

Anyway...back to the Chicken.


Here in North America, if you hear Adobo you think Mexican, which it is too. But this version is the Filipino version. Read the wikipedia entry for the detailed explanation.

Basically the Filipino version is meat simmered in vinegar. My husband grimaced at the thought, but ended up really liking it. My only change to the recipe I would make in future is to use reduced sodium soy sauce. Since you're using a whole cup, it was a touch too salty for my liking. The other great thing about the recipe, for me at least, was that it used pretty standard pantry staples. I only needed to buy the chicken and sprite (which is optional anyway). The sprite is suggested to sweeten up the tangy sauce. I used it because I knew it would bubble up the sauce when added and I figured my son who sometimes helps me in the kitchen would get a kick out of it. He thought it was really cool. Although I think he liked his little glass of sprite better, my kids are still little and I don't let them drink pop, so it was a treat. The bubbles in pop or even carbonated water seem to wreck havoc on his poor tummy though and he usually ends up with tummy cramps, so he told me, "mom I can't have too much I don't want my tummy to hurt." SMART LITTLE BOY!!

Okay so enough chatter, click here to get the recipe on

Up Next: I'm hoping to get an Unbirthday cake done.

Progress: 79/86

* Disclaimer: Image owned by Zynga. This site is not owned by Zynga. This site is not the owner of the intellectual property.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Seriously Super Stew

I made an amazing beef stew last week and am finally getting time to share it now. I found the recipe in the November 2009  Homemakers magazine. The recipe is on their website HERE.
This particular issue has some fantastic recipes and the splotchy condition attests to it's use. My other favourite from this issue was the "One-skillet chicken Provencal", the cover recipe. I don't think I've taken a photo of this one, but have definitely made it more than once.

Back to the stew...the issue has 5 different beef stew recipes and with the colder weather, I was craving a hearty delicious stew. The stew's intense flavour is due to almost a whole bottle of .....

The dried porcini and other mixed dried mushrooms also add tons of flavour and since the water used to rehydrate the mushrooms is added back into the stew, none of the flavour gets lost.

I served the stew with plain boiled potatoes, but it would be fantastic with mash too. It was a good thing that the recipe makes 6 to 8 servings because everyone wanted seconds and my eldest wanted stew for breakfast the next day and then stew for his school lunch and then instead of greeting me when I picked him up, his first words were, "Can we have stew again for dinner tonight?" So clearly a HUGE hit.

For my Cafe World Challenge followers: I've decided to finish off the remaining dishes when I can and probably won't be posting them every week. I'm stuck on trying to make an Unbirthday cake, as my cake decorating skills are non-existent. While I think on that, I'll try to make Chicken Adobo later this week. We have a huge snow storm heading our way tonight so I'll have to see how the roads look tomorrow and see if I get to the grocery store. They're predicting 30 cm overnight with blizzard conditions. But of course I used to live in Quebec City so I should be used to this weather. Weather is really pretty mild here in Windsor (for my non-Canadian's on the Canadian side across from Detroit)

Anyway cheerio, keep warm and don't let the weirdo weather get you down.