This month was hosted by Renee! We got an early start in the month and that was good because weeks and weekends fill up around this time of the year like its nobodys’ business! She found this book on Sushi and boy was it a thorough one. Probably 50 different rolls and a couple of soups, noodles and rice dishes thrown in there. Three of us made rolls, and then we had a shrimp & rice dish and tempura & noodle soup!

So we started off with some store bought seaweed salad. I could eat this for days and days! Probably cause its salty…. But store bought was allowed in my mind because it came from the H mart!


But this was the only store bought item of the night, so keep on scrolling to see the rest of our delicious creations!

This was the sticky rice vinegar flipping portion of the evening. I never knew how the rice got sticky like that! All I know is that it is important to flip the rice and not stir it as to release too much starch!


This was the first impromptu pieces put together by impromptu Joanne. You should really see Joanne in the kitchen. She is a little buzzing birdie with all of the energy and talent anyone could ever need. I’m glad I have her there to teach me things and bring up my own confidence in cooking techniques. So back to the sushi! I think it was salmon and very simple – just atop rice with a nori belt. Dang that fish was good quality! Hoorah H-Mart.


Here is Julie rolling out her inside out sushi rolls. What lovely delicate hands you have Julie!


This was number two impromptu sushi roll. Maybe it wasn’t impromptu?? Joanne clue me in! I have no idea what was tucked inside the nori, but there was a good helping of weird Japanese kewpie doll mayonnaise and topped with roe! I did not try this one…


And frying action commenced! WE (as in Joanne and Alayne) fried up shrimps and two kinds of vegetables. That hot oil is mighty scary.


And the fruits of their labor. Deeelicious tempura atop a “soup” of noodles. I helped with the broth for the sauce thanks to Ned’s teachings and the amazing meal he made me back in September. So this elusive sauce – a dashi. The cookbook called to use a quick dashi powder which you just reconstitute. But since Ned had made the dashi from stock previously, I had the ingredients to make it from scratch. So Joanne and I tried our darndest to make 6 cups of it from the ingredients I had. I think it turned out awesome! Classic umami – gotta love it.


Here was Alayne’s decadent roll. Why decadent you ask? Cause it had kobe beef! She sauteed some of that up and rolled it with fresh chives (courtesy of Renees backyard) and kimchi. (and you know whats cute about Alayne? She loves Japanese food so much she named her two beloved kitties, Kimchi and Miso! Also I think those kitty names are just cute ones anyway!)


Here was Maria’s rich dish. Very rich I say as there was alot of that kewpie doll mayonnaise used… It reminded us of a shrimp salad, which is fine, but our palates just could not handle it! No worries Maria, you will do better next month!  (Boy do I sound presumptuous… unlucky recipes just come along sometimes and my first cookbook club venture in November 2008 was no exception!


This was another shrimp dish for the evening. An Alayne creation! I have no idea what the other filling ingredients were though…


Now to my very basic rice topped sushi. I blanched asparagus and snow peas. Newsflash: Blanching only requires mere seconds of cooking in boiling water. How did I not know this?? Somehow I thought blanching was more like boiling… Joanne steered me in the right direction and the veggies turned out great. Then I made nice little long scoops of rice, topped it with the veggies, made a nori belt and added a dollop of aforementioned strange mayonnaise. I was amazed how tasty my simple rolls were! Alayne helped me get my rice log technique down. (which basically consists of making your hands wet and manipulating the rice in your hand for like 15 seconds before shaping it. A bowl of water is crucial to sticky rice manipulation. Otherwise you will have sticky rice club hand and that is never a good thing!)


Next was the slightly more complicated vegetable roll. I used a mandorine and sliced carrots really thin. When I had got 20 good sized slices I added them to a small pot with 1/4 cup of dashi stock. Then I put it to a boil and allowed the carrot slices to absorb the dashi, making them “seasoned” as the book called it and giving it very good flavor. Then I blanched some scallions and use those to make belts. I also macerated up some ginger with a microplane grater and topped the roll with just a smidge of the ginger. This was the favorite one that I made. The teensy bit of ginger really added alot to it!


So last but not least, here was Julie’s masterpiece. A Mango and avocado inside out roll and the icing on the cake was having it rolled in the tempura fried bits of batter. My favorite of the evening. Having that texture contrast and the awesome flavor of the filling just made it wonderful.


So all in all, the sushi cookbook Renee chose was a perfect one for us. Maybe it could have used a little more explanation on each page, but maybe that the sushi novice in me speaking. Lots of creative and tasty recipes and beautiful photos to boot!


And just because she is the honorary member of the cookbook club, here is our required picture of the adorable Colette. Isn’t that name just beautiful?? And boy does she loves to suck! Whether it be her thumb, or binky, or the flavor of that night, mom’s finger, its so cute. And I really love her baby smell.

So onwards to next month! Alayne is hosting and we are doing Jose Andres! Can’t wait to try to teach everyone my poor knowledge of the Spanish language!


CBC is extraordinary.

It all started a few years ago with a bunch of hungry girls. Once a month we get together, cook, eat, and bond. The time I spend with these friends is so important to my life. I recently had my second little girl and although we have still been cooking I have not been blogging. It is important to share the time we Cookbook Club ladies spend together because you should share what is good. I hope that other people will make time and commit to a group like ours.
The last dinner we had at my house was using the Momofuko cookbook. My Step Mom Barb gave it to me for Christmas last year and I was reluctant to cook you of it without the support of my friends. I was lucky enough to eat at his restaurant for my birthday last year and had the pork buns and bo ssam both which were great and we recreated well. About every 6 months we try to invite the guys to CBC. They get a little jealous and have not been smart enough to start their own club so we take pity on them and cook up a great feast that we all enjoy. Since my Robby was leaving for Bangladesh for 9 weeks this May CBC became a farewell dinner. It was perfect. Great food, tons of dishes, drinks, and a night hanging out in the backyard that no one wanted to end. Thanks ladies for another fantastic evening.

The night started with Elizabeth’s Pork Buns. Looked time-consuming was they were totally worth it! Who would not like homemade buns.

Correct me if I’m wrong but Julie made the mussels, pan-roasted bouchot mussels with os, to be exact and there were lots of them. Beautiful.

Emily Powell, my sister in law was a participant this month. She made homemade ramen. The broth took her a whole day to make and don’t get me wrong it was good. But you better have some time on your hands and some people who will appreciate the effort.

This was my bo ssam. So good and easy everyone should make this for a crowd.

Joanne’s pan-roasted asparagus with poached egg and miso butter. This was my favorite.

Maybe Julie made these….or Joanne made the mussels…it was all good. These are roasted rice cakes. A new product to me that might not make it into my normal routine but were fun to try.

And last but not least cake. Alayne’s cake. She will have to explain…


I can’t wait till next month. Another CBC with the guys this time at Julie’s house where we get to cook and hang out in her wonderful kitchen. See you all then if not before.