Baguette Croutes With Brie, Avocado Mousse, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

This is a pretty easy hor d’oeuvre to make. They taste good and look fancy so you can impress your guests and friends at all the fancy dinner parties you go to or throw. Or you can make them for yourself and just feel fancy alone.

Ingredients

1 avocado
Salt
Baguette, cut on a diagonal into ¼-inch slices
1/2 pound of lite brie, cut into slices
Sun-dried tomatoes cut into strips
Olive oil

Place the baguette slices on an aluminum sheet and brush olive oil on the sides that will be toasted facing up. Put aluminum sheet in the toaster oven and toast until slices are lightly toasted.

Prepare the avocado by mashing the ripe avocado with a potato masher or large spoon until it becomes smooth.

After the baguette slices are toasted, place one piece of brie on each baguette slice. Spoon some avocado mousse on the brie, and top with a few slivers of sun-dried tomato.

Reference
Baguette Croutes With Brie, Avocado Mousse, And Sun-Dried Tomatoes

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Cucumber Avocado Roll

One of my favorite rolls. This will also fully explain how to make sushi rolls.

Ingredients

Seaweed sheets for sushi rolls (Go for a medium priced seaweed. The cheap stuff will break too easily and the more expensive stuff is for hand rolls.)
Cooked sushi rice
Avocado, cut into large quarter slices
Japanese or Hothouse cucumber (I used Japanese cucumber here), peeled and julienned

Tools

Bamboo sushi mat
A large bowl filled half way with water

While the sushi rice is cooking, I prep my ingredients for my roll as well as set up my roll-making area. In this case, I first peel and julienne the cucumber and cut the avocado.

Next I wrap the bamboo sushi mat with plastic wrap. This is key for easy clean up and to prolong the life of your bamboo mat.

I also prep the sheet of seaweed. Cut off 1 inch from the top.

When the sushi rice is ready, my set up looks like this. I have the bowl of water in the corner to dip my hands in to clean off rice from my hands. Dampen your hands in the bowl before handling the rice. It’ll make it easier for you to manage. Be sure that your seaweed sheet is rough side up. That’s where your rice will be going.

With damp hands, make a snowball of sticky rice in your hands and place it on one side of the seaweed.

Press down on the ball of rice with your hands, working towards the other side of the sheet and into the corners. If you have gaps on your sheet, just grab smaller amounts of rice and press it in.

Your completed sheet should look like this.

Gently peel the sheet up and flip onto the smooth side. Place julienned cucumber down in a horizontal row, followed by the quartered avocado slices. Don’t place your fillings in the middle of the sheet, but 3/4 down the sheet.

Now to wrap. You are going to wrap it similar to wrapping a burrito very tightly. If some of the filling starts spilling out a bit, that’s ok. You are doing something right.

Lift the bamboo mat starting towards the end nearest to you while lightly curling your fingers where the filling is.

Then you are going to pull over the mat more and squeeze the filling in tightly with your hands.

Continue wrapping slowly and bit by bit until you get this.

Time to take it to the cutting board.

Cut the roll in half.

And then half the halves.

And then half the quaters so you will have 8 pieces.

And then you are done! Serve up some soy sauce and enjoy. If you want it a little spicier and you don’t have wasabi, try dabbing the pieces with Sriracha. 

California Roll

California rolls. Probably the roll that introduced us all to sushi and it’s always a safe bet when going to a sushi bar. This post will show you how to make them at home.

Ingredients

Seaweed sheets for sushi rolls (Go for a medium priced seaweed. The cheap stuff will break too easily and the more expensive stuff is for hand rolls.)
Cooked sushi rice
1 Avocado, cut into large quarter slices
1 Japanese or Hothouse cucumber (I used Japanese cucumber here), peeled and julienned
3 Crab meat sticks, defrosted, and shredded

Tools

Bamboo sushi mat
A large bowl filled half way with water

A lot of this post is going to be almost exactly like the one for the Cucumber Avocado Roll, but with a minor difference in that we are adding shredded crab meat.

While the sushi rice is cooking, I prep my ingredients for my roll as well as set up my roll-making area. In this case, I first peel and julienne the cucumber and cut the avocado. After the crab meat sticks have defrosted, I place each one in between my hands and lightly rub together to make it shred like this.

Next I wrap the bamboo sushi mat with plastic wrap. This is key for easy clean up and to prolong the life of your bamboo mat.

I also prep the sheet of seaweed. Cut off 1 inch from the top.

When the sushi rice is ready, my set up looks like this. I have the bowl of water in the corner to dip my hands in to clean off rice from my hands. Dampen your hands in the bowl before handling the rice. It’ll make it easier for you to manage. Be sure that your seaweed sheet is rough side up. That’s where your rice will be going.

With damp hands, make a snowball of sticky rice in your hands and place it on one side of the seaweed.

Press down on the ball of rice with your hands, working towards the other side of the sheet and into the corners. If you have gaps on your sheet, just grab smaller amounts of rice and press it in.

Your completed sheet should look like this.

Gently peel the sheet up and flip onto the smooth side. Place julienned cucumber down in a horizontal row, followed by the quartered avocado slices and the shredded crab meat. Don’t place your fillings in the middle of the sheet, but 3/4 down the sheet.

Now to wrap. You are going to wrap it similar to wrapping a burrito very tightly. If some of the filling starts spilling out a bit, that’s ok. You are doing something right.

Lift the bamboo mat starting towards the end nearest to you while lightly curling your fingers where the filling is.

Then you are going to pull over the mat more and squeeze the filling in tightly with your hands.

Continue wrapping slowly and bit by bit until you get this.

Time to take it to the cutting board.

Cut the roll in half.

And then half the halves. And then half the quaters so you will have 8 pieces.

And then you are done! Serve up some soy sauce and enjoy. If you want it a little spicier and you don’t have wasabi, try dabbing the pieces with Sriracha.

How to: Sushi Rice

Making sushi rice is a bit of a process. However today’s how-to will get sushi rice that you can make rolls and sushi with.

Ingredients

Sushi rice (brown or white)
Seasoned rice vinegar (Be sure that you buy seasoned rice vinegar as opposed to regular rice vinegar. Seasoned rice vinegar already has sugar in it and it will make your rice perfectly sticky.)

When shopping for sushi rice, look on the bag for it to indicate that it’s short grain sushi rice. I like to go to a Japanese market and pick out a bag from there. I’ve cooked with cheap bags of rice and more expensive bags of rice and I have noticed that price does make a difference in the quality and taste of the rice you are getting.

As for cooking the rice, measure the quantity that you want. If you are making a couple of rolls, a cup of uncooked rice will be enough. Now rinse the rice.

As you can see, with the first rinse, the water on top is quite cloudy. It’ll take a few of rinses for it to look clearer. It took me close to ten rinses to get my rice to look more like this.

It’s not completely clear but it’s better than before and that’ll be good enough.

Next, cooking the rice. You can use a rice cooker or you can do the old stovetop method like I did. Fill up the water about 10% more than the level of rice in the pot.

Bring to a boil.

Partially cover it and lower the temperature.

Check your bag for cooking times for the rice as rice quantity and time vary.

When your rice is done, it should look fluffy. Do a taste test just to make sure your rice is soft. It shouldn’t be soggy soft nor crunchy.

While still hot, pile the rice evenly onto a plate. Pour a tablespoon of the seasoned rice vinegar and sprinkle it throughout the plate of rice. Repeat. With the same spoon, turn the rice over on the plate repeatedly to spread the rice vinegar throughout the rice. Allow to cool.

To test if you rice is sticky enough, take a mound of rice in your hands and mold it as if making a snowball.

The rice should stick together and hold. If it doesn’t, add another tablespoon of rice vinegar and work the vinegar through the rice as before by turning the rice over with a spoon.

Turkey, Avocado, and Mozzarella Sandwich with Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomato Mayo on Ciabatta Bread

With the pesto and sun-dried tomato mayo sitting in the fridge, it’s time to make something amazing with them. I give you this.

Ingredients

6 slices of thin, deli sliced turkey breast 
6 slices of avocado (I used a little less than half an avocado)
2 lettuce leaves (or more to your liking) 
4 slices of part skim mozzarella (or enough cheese to cover the bottom slice of bread)
Pesto
Sun-dried tomato mayo
Ciabatta bread

Slice ciabatta bread in half. On the bottom half of the bread, spread pesto and then place slices of mozzarella cheese on top over the pesto. Put this slice of bread on a sheet of aluminum foil and put in the toaster oven to bake for a few minutes until the cheese melts.

Meanwhile, spread sun-dried tomato mayo on the top slice of bread. Top with lettuce, slices of avocado, and turkey.

The mozzarella cheese on the bottom half of the sandwich should be rather melted by now. Take it out of the toaster oven to cool. Smush both halves of sandwich together and enjoy!