Archive for December, 2008

Grow Your Own: Japanese Salad

A couple of weeks ago, some friends had a sushi party, where they made several types of sushi for a wonderful dinner. Thanks again, Bill and Barbara, for a fun, delicious dinner!

I brought a Japanese shrimp-noodle-cucumber salad I discovered last year and really enjoyed. It went over well 🙂 I used green onions from our garden in this dish.

Japanese Noodle, Shrimp and Cucumber Salad

Dressing
2/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used peanut oil)
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 pinch cayenne pepper

Salad
1 lb. fresh bean sprouts
14 oz. dried chuka soba noodles (I used spaghetti, broken in half)
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
2 lb. cooked bay shrimp
3 large cucumbers, peeled, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
6 green onions, sliced
1 tbsp. black sesame seeds, for garnish

Dressing: Whisk together vinegar, soy sauce, oil, sugar and mustard in small bowl. Season with cayenne pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and leave at room temperature).

Salad: Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add noodles and boil until tender, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Blanch bean sprouts in boiling water 30 seconds. Drain and refresh in cold water. Drain well.

Place noodles and sprouts in a large bowl. Add sesame oil and toss to coat. (Can be prepared up to 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate bean sprouts and noodles separately.) Add bean sprouts, shrimp, cucumbers and onions to noodles. Drizzle with dressing. Toss gently to combine. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Japanese Salad

This is my contribution to Grow Your Own, the twice-monthly food blogging event that celebrates home-grown food. It’s hosted this month by the founder, Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes.

Bread-Baking Day: Festive Breads

As I’ve said before, I’m not much of a baker, but I’ve been stretching into trying new things this year, so for a Christmas gift to my co-workers, I decided to make a holiday bread. I wanted to do something other than the seemingly ubiquitous apple or cranberry flavor, so I Googled around for a while, and eventually found a Ginger-Orange Quick Bread recipe on About.com – perfect 🙂 The recipe makes three mini-loaves, so I bought enough ingredients for three recipes and spent a few hours on a recent Sunday filling the kitchen with yummy baking aromas. The bread is delicious.

I was afraid the amount of crystallized ginger required would make it too spicy, but the baking seems to mellow the flavor. You can still taste it really well, but it’s not overwhelming at all.

If you decide to make it, here’s a tip: The crystallized ginger at the grocery store cost almost $10 for 2 ounces, and I needed 18 ounces total for three recipes. No way I’m spending $90 on ingredients for co-worker holiday gifts – sorry guys 😉 But I checked at my local gourmet kitchen store, the Kitchen Koop, and they had crystallized ginger for $1.25 per ounce. Not sure why it’s such a deal there, but there you are. And here it is.

Ginger-Orange Quick Break

Merry Christmas Eve!

Keep an eye on Santa Claus – he’s heading our way!

NORAD Tracks Santa

Christmas Porch
This is part of a neighbor’s porch, decorated for Christmas. I heard the owners used to be either set decorators or shop window decorators in New York City.

Photo Friday: Best of 2008

I took this photo in May at James River State Park at sunset. I love the way it came out.

Photo Friday: Weathered

I’ve lived in Virginia for years now, driven around the country roads here and in North Carolina, and I still can’t get over how many dead and dying buildings there are out there. Maybe I just didn’t notice them growing up in Michigan, or maybe Michiganders are more likely to tear them down, but it always amazes me to see these poor, collapsing buildings along the side of the road.

This one is near James River State Park in Nelson County, Va., where we have been a few times in the last couple of years, for kayaking/canoeing races and last year, Dan and I went for a long weekend of biking in September.

Really \"weathered\"

It’s Holiday Tour Time

Last weekend, I was a hostess at one of the homes on the Holiday Home Tour our neighborhood civic league, the Port Norfolk Civic League in Portsmouth, Va., puts on as a fundraiser every year. Below is one of the homes on the tour – Culpeppers Boat Rental and the family’s home.

It’s an interesting building – the front is the store of a boat-rental operation where people can rent small boats for crabbing or fishing and behind it is living quarters for the family that owns the shop. It was really cute inside and they had a case of interesting antique fishing tackle, among other goodies.

Culpeppers Boat Rental/home on the Port Norfolk Holiday Home Tour

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