Alas, I fear the time has come here at Cramped Kitchen to step away from the blog for the time being. While I have immensely enjoyed opening my culinary world and sharing with you my many mishaps and occasional accidental successes, I find myself needing to take a prolonged break. As my AmeriCorps term comes to a close in late August, it is time once again to begin job hunting, and when you add that on top of the 60 hour weeks I am currently doing at the Boys and Girls Club, I find myself with not a lot of free time. It was a long and arduous decision, but in the end common sense and George Washington’s face helped me realize that those precious few free minutes every day should be spent with Jess rather than working on the blog (stupid heads, I should have known tails never fails). Jess will continue to post here, and I hope to return in the fall when I find myself a full-time job. I have had such a great time cooking and writing this for you, and I appreciate those of you who took the time to read it. Even if you only read it once. Or stumbled upon it by accident. Or had to read it because I am your son and you are required to love me. Regardless, thanks, and I hope you have enjoyed it.
Being that this is the last post for a while, I thought I would wait for something good to post about, and tonight is definitely the night. We love cooking Asian-style food, and tonight we made chicken fried rice and homemade sushi rolls. Now some of the people I went to college with are sushi snobs and would probably turn up their nose to our efforts, but I thought it was amazing. We went with simple California rolls, which is crab, avocado, and cucumber rolled up with rice in seaweed. It is actually a lot easier than you might think. The key is spending the time to get the rice right. We started with sushi rice, which we were able to buy in bulk for very cheap. We used about 3 cups of dry rice, and ended up with 5 rolls. The first step is to wash the rice thoroughly, rinsing until the water is no longer cloudy. We then boiled it, as we do not have a rice cooker. While the rice was cooking we heated some salt and sugar in rice vinegar until completely dissolved. This mixture was mixed in with the rice after it had finished cooking and was set aside to cool. Now I am not a big rice person, it was always too bland for me, but this simple addition added so much great flavor to the rice that I would have eaten it by itself. Once the rice was done it was simply a matter of putting everything together. Thin slices of avocado, cucumber, and imitation crab were placed on a bed of rice and rolled up in a sheet of seaweed. It really was not a lot of work, and the taste was fantastic. And considering it cost us less than $2 per roll to make, we will be trying this again very soon. Maybe next time we will be more creative and try a more difficult roll.
The other part of our meal was a simple chicken fried rice, something I have been craving since I have been away from Appleton and separated from my baby. This too was a simple dish. We started with about 2 cups of rice, (we actually just made 1 big pot of rice for the sushi and the fried rice), and then stir fried it in our wok with mushrooms, carrots, peas, chicken, garlic, ginger, and some red pepper. Once again, after cooking the rice, it is simply a matter of minutes to throw this dish together. It was the perfect meal to go out on (temporarily). It was so easy that I could make it, and it was so delicious I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. And just like restaurant style Asian food, I ate half a plate and was full for about an hour, at which point I found myself starving again.