crab sushi rolls (1280x362)

california sushi rolls

Warmer weather is finally here! That means it’s time to start making an effort to create dinners and snacks that do not require the oven (and therefore heating up the entire house).

crab sushi rolls to serve (1280x820)Kootenay Spice’s first of many such posts is a tasty California sushi roll made with cucumber, crab and avocado. There are dozens of variations on the California sushi roll. We choose this one because it is simple and relatively easy to make and much easier to eat and dip into sauces. Other variations include wrapping the seaweed on the inside of the roll and slicing the avocado into strips the size of the cucumber. We admit, we use artificial crab meat, which can be replaced with shrimp or scallops.

crab sushi rolls ingredients (1280x1165)

For this recipe you will need:
Sushi rolling mat
1 cup dry sushi rice, rinsed well
1 1/4 cup water
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp white sugar
2 tsp sesame seeds
4 nori seaweed sushi wraps
1 avocado
1 4” section of cucumber
1/2 cup of sliced crab meat

First things first, you need to make your sushi rice. Some people go ahead and use regular white rice, but the sushi rice has a bit of a sticky sweetness that makes the rolls that much better. Soak your cup of rice in water for at least 15 minutes, changing the water regularly. Put the rice into a medium saucepan and stir in the water. Bring the rice & water just to a boil. Stir once, cover and reduce heat to low (as low as your stove will go). Do not stir the rice or lift the lid while it is simmering. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until all of the water has been absorbed. Empty into a non-metallic bowl and using a non-metallic spoon, stir in the rice vinegar, sugar and sesame seeds. Set aside to cool while you prepare the cucumber and avocado.

Peel the cucumber and slice it in half. With a small spoon, scrape the seeds out of the inside of the cuke and slice it into small strips, a little smaller than 1/4”.

Peel the avocado and empty the meat into a bowl. Using a spoon or spatula, squish it into a paste and set aside.

crab sushi rolls filling (1280x897)Now we put together the sushi rolls! You will want to have a small cup of water handy to dip your fingers in to prevent the rice from sticking and to seal each roll closed.

crab sushi rolls prep (1280x939)Lay a seaweed wrap on the rolling mat and cover with 1/4” of rice, leaving about 1” at either end. Save yourself some frustration and grief by dipping your fingers in water and spread the rice with your hands instead of a spoon.

crab sushi rolls rice spread (1280x975)

Spread a layer of the avocado mush over the bottom half of the rice. Add a few strips of cucumber and slices of crab close to the bottom end of the wrap.

crab sushi rolls pre roll (1280x985)

Roll the sushi from the bottom up, keeping it as tight as possible, leaving the 1” of un-riced seaweed exposed. Dip your fingers in the water and run them along the seaweed. Finish the roll by pressing the watered edge against the rest of the roll. Place the roll seam side down on a plate and go on to the next one!

crab sushi rolls mid roll (1280x570)

To serve the sushi, cut the rolls into 1” sections and serve with soy or teriyaki sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi paste. These rolls do not keep well, but can be eaten the next day if you seal them well and put them in the fridge.

crab sushi roll to eat (1280x1088)

And there you have it! Your very own homemade sushi rolls! We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

measurement conversions

At Kootenay Spice we tend to do a lot of doubling and tripling recipes and reducing recipes by half, a quarter and so on. Knowing some quick and easy measurement conversions comes in very handy when we’re doing this.

masurement conversions

We’ve made this conversion chart and have it posted inside a few cupboard doors in the kitchen. It is useful for dry or wet ingredients and has saved us from a few close calls. Such as at our wedding when we were multiplying recipes by six to ten. A few times we thought we were right about how much of an ingredient to use, but checked the chart and found we weren’t even close!

The conversions that we tend to use most are 5 milliliters in a teaspoon, 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon and 4 tablespoons in a quarter cup. From these 3 basics, plus a little head math, we can come up with a conversion for nearly any amount.

You’ll want to bookmark this page or print out the image and have it handy in the kitchen. You’ll be surprised how useful it can be!

salmon and spinach salad

This is the gourmet lunch we treated ourselves to on Sunday afternoon. Our local grocery store has a to die for fish selection with some amazing prices, and the salmon steaks looked too good to pass up!

salmon & spinach salad

A light coating of olive oil, a sprinkle of our Lemon Garlic Pepper and a few minutes on the grill with a light toping of BBQ sauce at the end resulted in some of the best salmon we have had in years!

We tossed together a delicious hot spinach salad and thoroughly enjoyed our lunch! Don’t worry, we’ll share the recipe for the salad in the near future!

finished egg nest 1

egg nests

Looking for a different and fun way to prepare your eggs for Sunday morning breakfast? Kootenay Spice has the perfect recipe: egg nests! These cute and tasty eggs are both filling and delicious. Normally we eat 2 eggs each with our breakfasts, but one per person is enough with these!

finished egg nests

To make egg nests for 2 people you will need:

2 large eggs
¼ tsp salt
2 Tbsp fresh, grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to bake at 450˚F with the rack in the middle.

Separate the yolks from the whites of the eggs. The whites can be combined in a mixing bowl and the yolks in 2 separate, oiled bowls. Take care not to break the yolks and cover with saran wrap to prevent them from drying out.

whisking egg whites 1

whisking eggwhites 2

Now we make meringue with the egg whites. Sprinkle the salt into the egg whites and start whisking. If you have an electric hand mixer, you will definitely want to use it. Start on the slowest setting, increasing every minute or so and whisk until stiff peaks are forming, about 7 – 10 minutes.

whisking eggwhites 3

parmesan on egg

Gently fold in the parmesan cheese. Do not stir in or you will deflate the meringue.

On a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, divide the meringue and cheese mix into 2 mounds (or nests).

empty egg nest

Create a well in the centre of each nest and place in the oven for 3 minutes, until it is just beginning to brown.

cooked egg nest pre yolk

Remove from the oven and very gently place each egg yolk into the centre well of the nests.

half done egg nests

Return to the oven for 3-4 minutes, until the yolks are cooked to your preferred doneness and the nests are nicely browned.

finished egg nests

And there you have it, a fun new way to cook your eggs! You can try it with different hard cheeses like gruyere or romano, but parmesan is by far our favourite! Enjoy!

bacon ranch spaghetti squash cooked

creamy bacon ranch spaghetti squash

Spaghetti is our absolute favourite type of squash to use in the Kootenay Spice kitchen. Not only is it versatile and delicious, it is easy to make too!

We have created a creamy bacon ranch sauce that makes a savoury topping that is fabulous baked with spaghetti squash and anything else you want to try it on!

bacon ranch spaghetti squash ingredients

1 large spaghetti squash
2 cups milk
1.5 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp Kootenay Spice Ranch Dressing Mix
4 strips of bacon
drizzle of olive oil
1 cup shredded cheddar

Cook the bacon in a medium pan. Once cooked, remove the bacon and set the pan aside. Do not drain the bacon drippings; we will use them later to cook the roux. Let the bacon cool and chop into bite size pieces.

cooked spaghetti squash

Preheat your oven to 375˚F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and place it cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove and let cool. Once it is cool enough to handle, use a spoon to scrape the meat from the squash into a baking dish. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, mix and set aside.

spaghetti squash in pan

Whisk the Kootenay Spice Ranch Dressing Mix into the milk.

In the pan we used for cooking the bacon, make a roux out of the butter and flour by melting the butter in the pan and whisking in the flour. Continue whisking about 3 minutes, until you can start to smell the flour cooking. Slowly pour in the ranch seasoned milk. Whisk about another 3 minutes, until the sauce starts to thicken. Stir in the bacon pieces.

bacon ranch sauce

Pour the bacon ranch sauce over the spaghetti squash and sprinkle with shredded cheddar.

bacon ranch spaghetti squash oven ready

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is browning and beginning to bubble.

Let cool at least 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

bacon ranch spaghetti squash cooked

pre cooked eggplant parmesan

eggplant parmesan

We love to try new things in the Kootenay Spice kitchen. This eggplant parmesan was our first attempt at cooking eggplant and we love it! Layered like lasagna, fresh mozzarella, homemade breadcrumbs and our signature marinara sauce make this recipe unique and delicious!

This meal will feed 2-4 people and requires the following:

eggplant parmesan ingredients

1 large eggplant
2 cups marinara sauce
mozzarella, sliced in ¼” slices
parmesan, grated
2 Tbsp olive oil
¾ cup flour
2 cups breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
oil for frying
fresh basil
fresh rosemary
pepper to taste

Preheat the vegetable oil in a deep pan over medium-high heat. Preheat the oven to 400˚F.

sliced eggplant

While the pan and oven are heating, peel your eggplant. The easiest way to do this is cut the ends off and peel with a potato peeler. Slice lengthwise into ½” slices.

eggplant parmesan ingredients

Dip the eggplant in flour, then the egg, then press firmly into the breadcrumbs to coat evenly. Set aside and continue with the rest of the eggplant.

breaded eggplant

Fry the eggplant in batches of 3-4, taking care not to overcrowd your pan. Fry about 2-3 minutes per side, until they are lightly browned.

marinara lined pan

Lightly coat the bottom of a 9×9 baking dish with some marinara sauce.

Place a single layer of eggplant in the pan. Cut them to fit if necessary. Sprinkle on parmesan cheese and add a layer of mozzarella slices. Pour about ½ of the marinara sauce over the cheeses.

parmesan mozzarellapre cooked eggplant parmesan

Add another layer of eggplant, cheeses and the rest of the sauce. Top with basil, rosemary and pepper, followed by a final layer of mozzarella.

cheesed pre cooked eggplant parmesan

Bake about 20-30 minutes, until the cheese is beginning to brown.

finished eggplant parmesan

And there you have it! Fairly simple and very delicious! Once you try it, you will completely understand why it is our favourite way to cook eggplant!