Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sushi and Sweet Potatoes

Well, our family went out of town this weekend to visit my cousin one last time before she officially becomes a permament US resident. She has been married to her husband for over a year now and they have been living not only in separate cities but in separate countries! Their application finally got approve though and now she will be moving down to Montana with him! It's actually quite bittersweet right now because while I am so excited for them to finally be allowed to live together I'm sure gonna miss her.
Anyway, we got to visit my sister while we were out of town and actually stayed at her house this weekend. I would like to throw kudos in her direction. She had a kitchen flop and recovered beautifully! Now, this wasn't a flop like the Fried Rice flop I had a year and a half ago when I added too many chipotle peppers and it was unbearably hot and we had to chuck the whole dish. No, this was an unfortunate flop that had nothing to do with her skill. After preparing her tuscan chicken dish and setting it in the fridge to marinate she noticed a chip in the dish the chicken was in. She thought it unfortunate and nothing more until she walked across the kitchen and found tiny slivers of glass all over the counter and the floor. She looked at the dish and it had cracked across the bottom and the chip was the only noticeable break. Not knowing when the crack happened or where all the glass was she had to throw out the whole meal! (After keeping it in the fridge to show us all how pretty it was) Well, she called me, nearly in tears, told me how she would have to order in for the company she was having over for dinner and that she was really upset. However, when I got to her house later that night she had made up a beautiful steak salad and pesto angel hair pasta.
I think that's the marker of a true cook - someone who can recover. Your soup is too salty? We can fix that. Your meat is undercooked and company had already arrived? We can fix that too. The ability to pick yourself up and dust your kitchen utensils off is far more impressive than being able to follow a recipe.
On Friday night Matt and I had the opportunity to go to our favorite sushi restaurant! It's a cute little sushi train operation called Sushi House Ren just off of Richmond Road in Calgary. We first went there 5 years ago when I lived in Calgary. It just happened to be near my house and I had never had sushi before so Matt took me there. I got hooked on their Unagi from my very first visit. We've been back many times but hadn't gone for a couple years before Friday. We got there and we were the third party in line. It looks like business has been booming for them. We finally got a seat around the train and it was just as fantastic as I had remembered - and even moreso than Matt had remembered! What was supposed to be a stop for appetizers turned into our full meal! Matt had the sea urchin which was a fun experience and he loved their rainbow rolls. I stuck with the unagi for the most part (It's just so good! The best eel I've ever had - and I've actually had alot!) but I also tried their Jumbo Maki Rolls which were really nice and their crab meat was excellent. I tried a bit of the sea urchin and I finally realize why it would pair so nicely with coffee in a recipe. It's true that making sushi at home is far less expensive than eating out, and it's also true that driving to Calgary for sushi is far more expensive that staying in town - but until I can learn to make Unagi or find somewhere else that makes it anywhere near as good as that place - I shall continue to go to Calgary for the best sushi I've ever had.
Well, Matt and I got home tonight (we missed going to the bike show, which sucked) and I ran out to grab something for dinner. I decided to do pork chops which as a child (and a 21 year old) I needed applesauce with before I'd eat them. Well, I intentionally skipped the applesauce at the store and decided to go without for one meal. So I came home and looked at what I had: an open bottle of sparkling white, some red delicious apples, apple cider vinegar... it looked good! And it tasted great :) I threw together some spicy jumbo fries too. Those were a big hit with Matt. I actually think that I'll post that recipe! Oh, and I pureed a whole sweet potato for almost two weeks worth of meals for Gabe! He loves sweet potatoes. Anyway, here's the jumbo fries recipe:

Chipotle Jumbo Fries

1 Russett potato per person
Olive oil
Chili Powder
Chipotle Powder
Alpine Touch *this is an amazing spice from Montana. Addictive. You'd better have friends in high places to get this stuff.
Lawry's Seasoning Salt
Brown Sugar

Preheat your oven to 425. Cut your potatoes into long wedges. Toss in olive oil. Add spices (just guess) but don't add the sugar yet. Bake for 10 minutes. Flip the potatoes. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes more (until tender). Add brown sugar and toss. Bake for 2 more minutes.
Make sure you let them cool before you eat them!

Well, that's all for tonight. Party hard!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

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