Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sunrises

I love sunrises, they're never the same twice, some are spectacular, others nice, and all are welcome.     Here are a few of my favorites. 






















And if you followed an old link here expecting to see a recipe, please click here;  Sid's Sea Palm Cooking

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dogs

I was looking at my dogs today, laying on the floor in my office, just hanging out.    And realized I can't go anywhere without them shadowing me.   I really don't think that it's because I treat them all that special, apart from being the one who feeds them, takes them for walks, uses them to clean up the bits of food I drop on the floor when I'm cooking.   I don't really play with them, apart from throwing the occasional ball, but I do let them go for car rides with me whenever I can.    But they're my buddies, and I can't go anywhere in the house without them being there.   They would follow me into the shower if they could, except for the fact that they don't like baths.  They do like the water though.    They'll play for hours in the ocean, chasing balls.   I guess what it boils down to, is this, they're family, and family hangs out together.    

Our last three dogs have been rescues, and I would urge everyone who wants a dog to consider a rescue.  They tend to be very grateful and make great dogs.  At least our last three have.  Our first rescue was a small gray poodle called Kody.   He was an owner surrender, and then went to a home with a small child who tormented him.   They got rid of him because he was 'vicious'.  Hey, if someone constantly pulled my tail and ears I'd nip them too.   Kody was unique.      He was constantly looking to be challenged, loved to play fetch, loved the water, loved to figure out stuff.    He could keep up with the big dogs when they went into the water to fetch balls, and he loved riding on the waverunners with us.   

 
And then there's Mauli, we'd actually acquired her a few days before Kody passed.  With her we couldn't make up our minds if we wanted a big dog or another poodle, so we compromised.   And Mauli has now been with us for 11 years.   She was a rescue, in the sense that she was a breeder, who was a lousy mom.   And we didn't want to see her continue as a breeder, which would have been her fate.   So we got her and found out she would rather play with her ball than eat or sleep or ...   She also loves to dress up.  I only found this out because one Christmas while putting away some ribbon, she kept bumping the hand that had ribbon dangling from it, until I finally draped it around her neck.  She wore that ribbon for quite awhile.  Then we just started tying bandana's on her and changing them almost daily.     Although there was the year we dressed her up for Mardi Gras and she paraded around with her finery and loved all the attention she got.  

  And last and certainly not least, we have Chimi, who also is a rescue.  We got her after she'd been found tied in a backyard for months, during a harsh winter up north.  She was so malnourished and had never been groomed that when we took her to our groomer to have her groomed, the groomer told us that if she hadn't known us so well, we would have been turned into the Humane Society. 
Chimi before being groomed.

After the grooming.


And she has blossomed with us.   She loves to play with her big sister Mauli, still teases her, and runs and jumps and is a joy, and being the little sister, is also a bit of a brat.   But we love her anyway.  
They love to play in the water.

Fording the waves, Mauli at 13 years old.


They've made friends along the way.
Nomad and Mauli

Chimi, Sam and Mauli


Chimi, Sam and Moose

 Gone for Kayak rides;

Posed for Pictures;



Can't imagine my life without them. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

New Food Blog

If you bookmarked this blog, or are following it in any way, I thank you.   However, I'm going to let it go back to being what I first envisioned it as.   A place to showcase my pictures, my adventures, musings, crafts, kind of a catchall.    But, I do enjoy sharing my food adventures so I decided to launch a more food centric blog.   This one will have my recipes, my food adventures, some recipes from friends, potlucks, etc.    I do have all kinds of ideas for it and wanted something that actually had cooking or food in the title.    So here it is.   And yes there is a recipe there already, with more to follow.    http://sidsseapalmcooking.blogspot.com/  or just click here:
Sid's Sea Palm Cooking.

Thank you again for following along and I'll continue to post here from time to time.  

Sunday, June 5, 2011

California Rolls

It's been a long time since I've made California Rolls, and quite frankly, the last time I made them, they were awful.  But, a friend had a birthday yesterday and one of his favorite meals is Sushi, especially California Rolls.  So I made some again.   And you should have seen them disappear at the party.    I would consider them a success.   The pictures I took aren't really great, but should serve to show a little of the process.   I have to say, taking pictures with sticky hands is not easy.

And as usual, got busy with the actual making of the rolls and forgot to take pictures along the way.     I have to admit to going to Foodgawker and searching for California Rolls so I could make sure that this time around they would be edible, and they were. 
Basic list of characters:
Nori, rice vinegar, rice and bamboo mat

A couple of tricks first.   Rinse the rice before cooking it, it seems to help it develop the sticky factor you need.   And do not stir the rice after adding the rice vinegar/sugar mixture.   Cut and fold it as if you were adding flour to egg whites, you don't want to mash the rice, just make sure the rice vinegar is incorporated into the rice.   Use the bamboo paddle and make sure that the shallow bowl you put the cooked rice in is big enough that you can do the cut and fold without doing a 'rice mash'.  
Rice tossed with rice vinegar and sugar
I'll show you my pictures, but I have to say they're not as pretty or as descriptive as these here;  Annie's Eats
She puts some different stuff in there but the pictures are worth looking at.
Toasting Sesame Seeds
Toast the sesame seeds while waiting for the rice to cool down enough to work with.  Set them aside.
Grate some carrots, and make some pickled carrots to serve with the sushi or put some into the sushi.
I did a fine grate and added some rice vinegar and a little freshly grated ginger.    Not very much, just enough to taste.    Set those aside.    Open a can of crab or get your fresh crab out and rinse and make sure there aren't any nasty pieces of shells in there.   You don't want to cut the avocado until you are ready to start rolling.   They tend to turn a nasty shade of brown. 

First off, place a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the bamboo rolling mat.   You're going to sprinkle some sesame seeds down first and they tend to fall through the mat otherwise, and also the rice grains get stuck there as well, and that makes the mat hard to clean. 
Then put a thin layer of rice on top.   Pat it down with your wet hand.
If you notice there is a bowl of water to the right of the bamboo mat, this is very important, you need to keep your hand wet, otherwise the rice sticks to everything.  
Then add a sheet of Nori,
Then add your fillings, some avocado and some crab:
Roll it up using your sheet of plastic wrap.     Shape it a little so it's nice and round and place in the refrigerator.
Take out a little later and slice.
Continue using the rest of the rice and Nori.   I alternated by putting a sheet of Nori down first, placing a thin layer of rice on that with the fillings and then rolling those up.  (I did say I forgot to take pictures, I was on a roll.)
Here's a picture of the finished platter with the wasabi, carrots and sesame seeds to go with them.  You also need some soy sauce for dipping.


California Rolls

4 cups cooked sushi rice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Mix the vinegar and sugar together until the sugar dissolves and sprinkle over the rice, folding it over itself, so you don't mash it.    Set aside to cool.
1 avocado cut in strips
1 can crab or sushimi or whatever you like
3 small carrots, shredded and dressed with rice vinegar and fresh ginger
2-4 spring onions
thin strips cucumber if you like, I didn't but that's because so many people I know can't tolerate cukes.
toasted sesame seeds or
black sesame seeds

Layer the rice on the nori, place a couple pieces of avocado and some crab, roll it up and place in the fridge in some plastic wrap.   Continue with a roll with some spring onions and carrots, or whatever you like inside.
Slice thinly, each roll makes about 8 pieces, and serve with some wasabi, soy sauce, sesame seeds and carrots.

I'm going to make this again, now that I've got the rolling bit down, and hopefully next time I'll remember to take more pictures. 
Personally, I think these were the best California Rolls I've ever had and judging from how quickly the plate emptied I think everyone at the party thought they were good as well.   (by the way, a few pieces were left for the birthday boy, and he appreciated that). 

For more recipes go to http://sidsseapalmcooking.blogspot.com/ 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Pantry necessities, my version.

I think everyone has a master list of stuff you have in your pantry, your go-to stuff you can make a meal out of when unexpected company shows up, or just what you perceive of as the STUFF YOU HAVE TO HAVE ON HAND. 

I've got the basics, flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, chocolate chips, coconut, Craisons, oatmeal, confectioners sugar, and walnuts and pecans for baking and always have some marzipan on hand (I did mention I was Danish didn't I?).


 And everything is either plastic containers or ziploc bags.  (I know the bag of sugar isn't, but I just bought that and it's now in a container).     Florida is notorious for bugs, and you don't want an infestation of them.  
As well as always keeping a couple of pounds of butter in the fridge just in case a cookie attack happens and you need to make an emergency batch of  Kitchen Sink Cookies 
I also keep an array of canned goods handy.     Always have stuff for making Spaghetti sauce (and sometimes I cheat and start with a can of spaghetti sauce and doctor it up)  or Mexican food on hand.



Plus odds and ends of hot sauces, pickles and olives, and other sauces as well.     

Best ever Olives, if you can find them. 

 And if you noticed what looks like six packs of beer on the wire shelves, do you have any idea how handy those empty cartons are?   You can organize with them, put all those small bottles in them, and the bottles don't fall over, they stay put.    Those cartons are also handy outside during cookouts.   One of them will hold the ketchup, the mustard, a cup full of eating utensils, a handful of napkins, salt and pepper and some pickles.   See, I just filled up every spot, and they're easy to carry out.   

And this isn't even all the stuff, I also keep lots of other stuff handy.  
I get these at Sam's Club
And let's not forget some other basics, oatmeal and brown rice.  I also keep some long grain white rice, as well as short grain and sushi rice on hand. 

So there you have it, most of what is in my pantry.   Oh wait a minute, I didn't show you the oils and vinegars, dang.   I also keep several kinds of vinegar handy.   Cider, balsamic, rice as well as plain old white vinegar.   And then there's the oils.   Always have Olive oil, peanut, canola, and toasted sesame seed oil on hand.   And I use all of them.   

What's in your pantry?  

For more recipes please check out   http://sidsseapalmcooking.blogspot.com/   All about food. *giggle*