Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Bacon, Onion, Smoked Gouda – Thanksgiving

To one and all, hope you had a grateful Thanksgiving!  (Whether you are in the US — or Canada, which does this thing earlier in the fall — or not, there’s always a space to be grateful about the good things about life and living).

I’m thankful for good friends and family, and for essential good health.

I brought the following to a large gathering of folk in Massachusetts, not all that far from where Arlo Guthrie had that “Thanksgiving dinner that could not be beat”.  The hosts supplied the turkeys and I think some of the pies.


Prep Time:Depends on the necessary slicing & dicing.  About 40 minutes?
Cook Time: 30 minutes for the pan roasting, and up to an hour for the baking.
Rest Time: 5 minutes.
Serves:  Medium sized pot luck with LOTS of food.|
Leftover friendly:  Yes, either in the oven or nuked.  


Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Bacon, Onion, Smoked Gouda

Note, the measurements are approximate.

  • 30 ounces of Brussels sprouts, shaved (de-stemmed and cut into slivers)
  • ½ pound bacon
  • 1 large onion, diced coarsely
  • 4 or 5 ounces fresh cranberries
  • Fresh thyme, sage to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup cranberry-infused Balsamic vinegar
  • 4 ounces shredded smoked Gouda cheese
  • 4 ounces sliced smoked Gouda cheese

In a really large skillet (or do it in batches) cook half the bacon, as a layer, using a splash guard.

Remove bacon, allow to drain on a paper towel. Pat dry, break up pieces, and put in a large bowl.

Add half the onion and half the sprouts to the skillet with the bacon grease.

Allow the onions and Brussels sprouts to roast, stirring occasionally.  Add about half the seasonings to the skillet.Stir again.

When they begin to brown, and both veggies are cooked through, add half the Balsamic, and mix further, another 3-4 minutes, allowing some of the liquid to cook off from the Balsamic.

Remove to drain on more paper towels, patting this dry.

Mix the veggies in a bowl with the bacon (crumpled).  Do reserve some bacon separately.

Follow the above steps above again, with the remainder of the bacon, sprouts, onions, seasonings and Balsamic.

Mix all together.

In a small pot of water, add the cranberries and heat them until they are cooked – only a few minutes.  They will split their skins.

To a baking pan, add about half the veggie and bacon mix, interspersing with cranberries, reserving some for the end.  (A slotted spoon will drain them off nicely).

Now, scatter the shredded cheese over the top.

Add the rest of the veggie/bacon mix.

Add the spare bacon atop this.   (OR reserve that spare bacon for ATOP the the next layer…)

Cover with a layer of cheese slices.

Finish off with the rest of the cranberries.   Set aside until ready to bake.  (If you are doing this the day before serving, simply wait to add the final layer of cheese and the few remaining cranberries until the day you plan to serve.)

Bake, covered, for 40-50 minutes at 350 F, remove cover for last ten minutes, continue to bake, and serve hot.  (If you are travelling and bringing this somewhere, save this baking step for when you reach your destination, making sure your host/hostess has oven space.  We’re dining in a community kitchen, so there was space!)

Thanksgiving, recipe, Brussels sprouts, Gouda, bacon, cranberry

Ready for the oven

PS:  Can’t find cranberry Balsamic vinegar?  Find a complementary fruit-based Balsamic and use that.


White Cranberry-Pear balsamic vinegar, from

To make vegetarian:  Use butter instead of bacon grease, and perhaps add some sliced water chestnuts  for crunch.

I was inspired by the below recipe, although the author boiled frozen Brussels sprouts, and I pan-roasted  fresh ones.  What I took was the idea of adding bacon and adding smoked Gouda.   I knew before this popped up in my feed that I’d wanted to do something with this wonderful vegetable that I’d hated in my childhood.  Because I’ve grown to appreciate it, in all its roasty goodness!  (Hmm, I’d always liked cabbage and broccoli???)


Two turkeys, sliced and ready for our devouring!

I am thankful to be able to share this recipe with Fiesta Friday, and the two co-hosts, Julianna and Hilda.  I am also grateful to share with Real Food Fridays!



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Skillet Mac and Cheese with Veggies

For many in America, mac & cheese is “comfort food”.

We didn’t grow up with it as such, which is why I usually put the word “comfort” into quotes.  One man’s comfort is another’s discomfort…

skillet mac and cheese, pasta, gluten-free, recipe, vegetarian

Discovering a comforting macaroni and cheese dish.

When we did have it, it was something the parents quickly prepared from a box and baked (they did add more cheese) prior to going out and leaving us at home with the sitter.  This could be a desirable outcome, but it all depended on the identity of said sitter.  It certainly wasn’t a “sit around the table and enjoy together” meal.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a really enjoyable baked or casserole mac and cheese, even when made from scratch — excepting the lobster mac and cheese my brother once made, but that was because that dish was very top-heavy on the lobster!    (If I remember correctly, there were also some tasty and complementary veggies in the mix, too.  Bell peppers, I think.)

I finally ran into a skillet mac and cheeese, at work of all places.  The cafeteria was serving to-order skillet mac and cheese — the noodles already prepared and still a bit au dente, and you’d get up to four types of cheese, and a variety of veggies, and some voluntary hot pepper flakes to add atop the finished product.  I think one of the reasons I liked it was for a similar reason to liking my brother’s mac and cheese — it’s not just noodles and cheese!  In this case there are some good, tasty veggies in place!  And no added bread crumbs (starch added to starch… really?).  So anyhow, for me the skillet is the way to go.

recipe, skillet mac and cheese, vegetarian, gluten-free,

Getting onions underway

This was so good I actually re-created this a couple times with some wheat-based pasta someone dropped off for me while my ankle was broken.   Now, I am making it again, with a few adaptations (they didn’t use sherry at work) in gluten-free mode for this blog.

It’s very rich — it’s not for every day dining.  And I can’t think of a good short cut for vegan meals, as you really need the meltiness of real cheese.  (There is now a pea-based cheese substitute, so for those who don’t do soy, look into that — but I doubt it is “easy” to make that melty and exciting, especially without excipients.)

recipe, skillet mac and cheese, vegetarian, gluten-free,

Plus shrooms and snow peas…

I also don’t recommend fat-free or reduced-fat cheeses as any number of other excipients and sugars are added to those for “mouth-feel” (1% fat milk is not 1% of whole milk, after all — whole milk is 3.5% fat)!  As for pre-shredded cheeses — they add anti-caking stuff to that — pull out the kitchen tool and do it yourself.  The extra work will help keep you from deciding to make this every night!  You could shred it, but laying into the cheese with a knife is quicker and works just as well.

recipe, skillet mac and cheese, vegetarian, gluten-free,

And, plus sherry and cheese…

Except for the optional red pepper flakes, this recipe is nightshade-free.  Leave them off, if you desire.  The sherry can be omitted, too – sub in an equal amount of low sodium vegetable broth.

For the pasta I chose a type made from chickpeas — black bean pasta would also work, or a rice-based noodle.  Follow the package directions, and note that for bean-based pasta, the moment you go from au dente to very soft is much quicker than with wheat-based pasta.

recipe, skillet mac and cheese, vegetarian, gluten-free,

The rotini shape sounded appealing…

Prep time:  10-15 minutes
Cook time:  around 15 minutes, depending on level of onion browning
Rest time: Not needed.
Serves:  2-3 as a main.  5 as a side.
Leftover friendly:  Store in microwaveable container in fridge.  
(It is likely you can also re-heat in oven in appropriate container.)
Suggested side:  Tossed salad drizzled with a homemade unsweetened vinaigrette.

Skillet Mac and Cheese with Veggies

  • 4 ounces of pasta noodles (chickpea, bean, rice — or whatever)
  • Quality cooking oil, one tablespoon.  I used avocado oil, which I source from Costco/BJ’s.
  • 1/2 large onion.  (Slice thin and chop coarsely)
  • 4 ounces button mushrooms (or add in some shiitake!),  Slice and break up large pieces.
  • 4 ounces snow peas. (Break in halves or thirds)
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry (or low sodium boxed vegetable broth; or your homemade veggie broth).
  • 8 to 10 ounces total of a variety of meltable cheeses.  (I used Monterrey Jack, Gruyere, Fontina and just a little smoked Gouda – these all add their own flavor signature, and the Jack is for additional creaminess.)
  • The leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh tarragon (sub in 1/4 teaspoon or so of dried if necessary, but it’s not quite the same.  You can play with oregano or other herbs, too.)
  • Optional red pepper flakes, to taste.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Prep all the veggies, and get some water ready for the pasta.

In a medium large skillet, heat up the oil, and add the onions.  Cook them to at least translucent — you can continue the process until they are well-caramelized, if you wish.

Add in the mushrooms (they will soak up the oil, which is why I start with that much).  Cook until done.

Start the pasta water to boil, and add the snow peas to the skillet, along with the salt and pepper, and stir, about one minute.

Don’t overcook the snow peas — add in the sherry (or veggie broth), and then the cheese.

When the water boils in the pot, add the pasta to the pot, and cook ON THE AU DENTE SIDE as per box directions.

Stir the skillet ingredients, reducing heat to a simmer so that you don’t overcook the snow peas or scald the cheese.  Make sure everything melts.  Add the tarragon and the optional red pepper flakes.

Drain the cooked pasta and flip it into the skillet, and continue stirring until everything is mixed appropriately.

Plate and serve, or let folks serve themselves.

For four people (as a main), size up accordingly, and use that LARGE skillet!


Instead of snowpeas or mushrooms, there is a whole world of other veggies to explore in this dish.  Of course, different veggies will require different cooking times.  Frankly, adding veggies is a highlight to mac and cheese, turning a pedestrian dish into a delight.  Ideas:  Bell peppers of various colors, broccoli, broccolini, shaved Brussels sprouts, slivers of golden beets. asparagus… we could go on…  Oh, and onions could be replaced by leeks… 


Visit the Link Party at Fiesta Friday!  Hosts are:  Linda and Jhuls.

Visit the Link Party at Real Food Fridays!




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Chicken Heart and Cheese Omelet

Yes, I know not everyone shares my love of certain types of offal, and they’re welcome to pronounce it “awful”.   If you don’t want to use chicken hearts (or can’t find them), feel free to use a portion of leftover boneless skinless chicken thigh from another meal (fat removed).

omelet, recipe, eggs, chicken hearts, cheese

A hearty breakfast earlier this week.

Hearts are really muscle, very dense muscle, and very low in fat content, yet high in nutritional punch.   Heart is actually one of my favorite “cuts” from most any animal where I’ve tried it and when it has been cooked properly — yes, I see you looking at me with questioning eyes…  That’s okay!

With chicken hearts, as with any other part of chicken, they need to be thoroughly cooked.  I have a couple sources where I can buy a small batch – use some of them for other recipes, but reserve three or four per partaker, for breakfast.  This is probably about an ounce, or maybe a little less.

There is usually a little external fat that the butcher may leave on the outside upper portion of the hearts — cut that off and discard.

As for cheese — any good melty cheese you like is good — cheddar, Fontina, Gouda, smoked Gouda are especially recommended, but let what you like or have to hand be your guide.  I’ll mention what I used.

recipe, omelet, chicken heart, cheese

Prep station on the bamboo cutting board

French-style omelets never are allowed to brown.  I’m copacetic with a little browning, but  the eggs getting crunchy are right out.  The sauce the omelet will cook in will encourage a bit of browning, if only simply from the coloring of the tamari or the coconut aminos.

To the recipe!

Prep Time:  10 minutes.
Cook Time: 15 minutes plus or minus a minute or two.
Rest Time: not applicable.
Serves:  Recipe listed as per each person – multiply ingredients as needed.
Leftover Friendly:  Not really.

Chicken Heart and Cheese Omelet

  • 3-4 chicken hearts, fat cut off and discarded.
  • 1-2 pats of butter (or 1/2 teaspoon healthy cooking oil – I recommend avocado or coconut oil, but I’m okay with the occasional use of grapeseed oil).
  • garlic powder and ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or coconut aminos
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ounce, more or less, of thin-sliced meltable cheese.  (I had smoked Gouda to hand.)
  • 1 green onion/scallion, chopped.
  • 1 sprig fresh tarragon coarsely chopped  (or 1/8th teaspoon dried tarragon flakes)


Prep the veggies — chop the scallions fine, and the fresh tarragon coarsely.  Prep the cheese as needed.

Take those fat-cleaned hearts, and slice them into thin slices, somewhere between 1/8th and 1/4th inches thick.

In a small skillet (assuming this is just for one person — size up if you are doing two people, natch!) heat your butter or fat on medium heat.  Meanwhile, beat up the eggs in a small bowl.

When the cooking oil/fat is hot (a drop of water sizzles) add the sliced chicken hearts, garlic powder and ground pepper.  Allow to pan fry until done, stirring as you work, about five minutes.  Add the tamari/coconut aminos, and allow the hearts to cook another minute.  Remove the meat to a plate.

Without cleaning the skillet, return it to the heat, wait a moment for the skillet temperature to re-equilibrate, and add the beaten eggs.  Cook until they mostly harden.  With just two eggs, I feel no need to flip, but I do use the spatula to move the eggy stuff around, so that everything eventually cooks through.

recipe, omelet, eggs, cheese, offal, chicken hearts

This is the canvas upon which breakfast will be spread

Drop in the bits of heart, then the cheese, then the tarragon, then the green onion/scallion.  Reserve a small portion of scallion for omelet ambiance atop, later.

recipe, omelet, eggs, chicken hearts, cheese

Lay it on me!!!

Fold omelet in half, and let cook further, watching for all the cheese to melt, and the egg to cook completely.

Plate, and serve with the remainder of any scallion on top of the omelet.

This recipe is probably shocking people over at:  

Fiesta Friday.  (Co-hosts Antonia and Petra

Real Food Fridays.



Posted in Breakfast, Cooking, Offal, Poultry | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Dining Out: The Lazy Goat, Greenville, S.C.

Yes, the next five posts (at the very least) will be actual recipes, but here’s one final Dining Out for now, written up early last night after the excellent meal, before the election unfolded, and with the photos jammed into place just now:

Dining out,Greenville, South Carolina, restaurant, Moroccan lamb,

Greenville, South Carolina — The Reedy River and its falls, about 7 pm.

Located in downtown Greenville, which was a larger and more thriving locale than I expected (the town looks small on the tourist guide map I had), this restaurant seems top notch.  It is a little on the pricier side, but not too badly so.  The ambiance is refreshing, and the location by the Reedy River is probably enjoyable in most weather.

I ordered the Moroccan Lamb (braised shank, warm pita, cucumber yogurt and crispy plantain chips) and the Crispy Brussels Sprouts (Serrano ham, slices of shaved Manchego, and a sherry glace) from the “Graze and Nibble” portion of the dinner menu.

Dining out,Greenville, South Carolina, restaurant, Moroccan lamb, Brussels sprouts, Lazy Goat

Plantain “ears” in the Moroccan dish; wonderful crispy Brussels sprouts. (More pita than necessary.)

There’s another section on the menu:  “To Share or Not to Share”.  Heartier portions.  I opted not to share even with myself although some of the choices looked very enticing.  But, I figured two small plates would give me more variety and selection than simply one large plate.

I did select the 250 mL carafe of Chateau Freynelle — I was walking back to the night’s digs.  A very pleasing wine!!!

Both the lamb and the Brussels sprouts dishes were outstanding.  Cooked to perfection and seasoning.  The sprouts were fabulous.  They may have been just a tad too sweet fo my personal taste buds if eaten alone, but eaten alongside the lamb dish they were a highlight.  Their crispiness was a delight.  The lamb was tender, and this meal was a delight.

For dessert (as it were) I had a charcuterie platter.  You could choose what you wanted from a selection of charcuterie meats, cheeses, and several sides.  Meats and cheeses would be presented in one-ounce increments. I simply ordered a Wisconsin unpasteured Gouda, and an Italian Calabrese.  Along with an order of what turned out to be WAY too many olives for me.  (If you go as a group — order one order of olives for the table… no more than that!)  The Calabrese was delicately spicy, and I suspect the Gouda wasn’t the best pairing for it.  None the less, both were good selections.

Dining out,Greenville, South Carolina, restaurant, Moroccan lamb, Brussels sprouts, lazy goat

Yes, I started nibbling on the cheese before remembering to take the photo – the presentation was proper when it arrived at my table.

The olives were of at least two varieties, and I took the rest as takeout.

Rating:  4.75 out of 5.0 stars.

The Lazy Goat, 170 Riverplace, Greenville, SC 29601.

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Dining Out: Yummy House, Tampa, Florida

Chinese cuisine in this country (the US) falls into two categories:  American-Chinese, and authentic Chinese-Chinese — the later more typically found in the more vibrant of the nation’s Chinatowns.

The restaurant I am reviewing is more American-Chinese than Chinese-Chinese, but the place brings in an old-country sensibility, and it is one of the rare one of these that in my experience is downright GOOD.  Probably because many of their cooking techniques are indeed Chinese in origin.  So actually they blend American-Chinese and Chinese-Chinese to make really good food.  The primary focus of their recipes is Cantonese.

We (a party of eight adults and one toddler) descended upon this restaurant the evening of November 5th.   We ordered lots of food, and most importantly, we shared.

Yummy House, Tampa, Florida, Chinese, Restaurant review

Welcome to an abundance of food!

I tried everything we ordered except the sweet and sour chicken, and the shrimp lo mein.  (I am not a fan of “sweet” main dishes — although it was reported that this dish was not as sugary as it so often is; I was also not in the mood for noodles, so I skipped that, too.  We had a couple folk who skipped seafood dishes, so it all evens out…)

I enjoyed EVERYTHING.  Well, the least favorite to me (and to others) was the dish I ordered — the clay pot seafood combo with shiitake and tofu.  The fish in it (shrimp, calamari strips, scallops) was cooked just right, but there was not much in the way of seasoning.  And stems had been left on some of the shiitake.  All in all, the flavor profile was bland.  You need to punch up tofu and the rest of that dish with flavor.

A highlight was the snow pea dish.  I think it came with scallops, but what I remember about that dish was the hearty crunch of snow pea in a good seafood sauce.  Unlike at many Chinese-American restaurants, this sauce was not remotely heavy.

There were two orders of Mongolian beef and one of a ginger beef — I preferred the ginger beef to the Mongolian, but both were excellent.  The beef in both cases was tender, cooked as thin slices, and served with assorted veggies and spices that were dish-dependent.

The roast duck was excellent – very little fat, and tasty crispy skin.  And there was another seafood dish that was very tasty.

A nicely satiating repast!

Oh, yes, we’d started the meal with appetizers, also shared.  We ordered salt and pepper calamari, salt and pepper chicken wings, and pan fried pot stickers/dumplings to share around.  The calamari was tender and cooked/seasoned to perfection, as were the wings, which were almost the size of small drumsticks.  I was less impressed with the dumplings, but I was outvoted by most of my compatriots.  They seemed kind of “crispy” to me, and the filling seemed bland — but as noted, others really liked them.  (I think my bias towards steamed dumplings is showing!)  The appetizers came with a couple of dipping sauces — including a hot pepper sauce.

Oh — the toddler really liked his chicken wing!  Even more than the sweet and sour chicken which had been ordered with him in mind.  (He even downed a portion of calamari that his granddad kindly gave him.)

For those inclined, there are two dishes on the menu featuring frog legs.  I could have been tempted, but I wanted to join in on the food sharing that went on.

There is no liquor license here, but you can bring in wine for your table.  For large groups, there are round tables with a lazy Susan in the center to facilitate food sharing.  We seated nine chairs with comfort.  The place looks unimposing from the outside, situated as it is in a tacky strip mall, but don’t be fooled by appearances.  The staff is great, and the environment is clean.  And the food is worth coming back again for more.

Addendum:  I had some of the leftovers tonight for dinner.  Yum.  And taking some of the leftover hot dipping sauce that had been provided for the salt and pepper appetizers lent new life to the remainder of that seafood clay pot dish!

Rating:  4.5 stars.

Yummy House, N. 2620 E. Hillsborough Avenue, Tampa, Florida.



Posted in Appetizers, Asian & Asian Influenced, Commentary, Cooking, Reviews | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Dining Out: Wholly Smokin’ – Florence, S.C.

I’m on the road again. At any rate, on a trip down to meet my little grand nephew.  I have so far done a combination of bringing some of my own food in a cooler, gone out to eat dinner at a Cuban restaurant in Maryland in the company of my cousin, her husband and my uncle and aunt (Very Good!) with leftovers for breakfast, ate at a mediocre buffet at the bottom of Virginia, and now (well, November 3rd) dinner at Wholly Smokin’ Downtown, Florence, South Carolina.

Wholly Smokin, BBQ, Dining out, Florence, South Carolina, smoked

Two-meat sampler platter with two sides. 1/2 rack of pork ribs, burnt ends, lima bean with corn, sweet potato fries. Glass of lime-infused seltzer to the right top.

Florence off of the Route 52 exit doesn’t seem to have much happening but loads of typical strip mall sort of things — motels, chain eateries, and so forth.  And really bad traffic patterns and traffic lights that always turn red as you approach them – and stay that way for quite a while!

I’ll note that the gas prices were as cheap as anything I’ve seen so far on this trip, including further south in this state (which is when I needed to buy the gas…)  But it also has, a little off the highway (I-95) a smokin’ fine BBQ restaurant.

When in South Carolina…. try barbeque!

While they do have the Carolina signature shredded pork shoulder, this restaurant also smokes up a variety of other genuine cuts, including salmon.   I was dog tired after my drive to date, so I didn’t think to opt for the shredded pork — indeed I was in the mood for ribs.  And, while I was about it, how about getting the two-meat sampler platter, and prepare up to review two styles of meat?  I’d never eaten burnt ends before (they’re from the brisket), so that was my second selection for that platter.

Oh, yes, need some greens — we could pick two sides, and lima beans were the only green selection for sides (the restaurant does serve salad platters, too, but not as a combo).

The dinner was AWESOME.  Both meats were tender; gently low and slow BBQ cookery in play.  The ribs were not (as they so often can be) fatty.  The burnt ends were entirely yummy – a taste treat for the gustatory soul.  Sauce wasn’t even necessary!

Two types of sauces were supplied:  the sweet, tomato based St. Louis sauce, and the mustard-based South Carolina sauce.  Both were very good, but my tastes run towards the mustard, and I was glad to have finally had a chance to try this on “native” soil.  Agreed, it belongs more with the Carolina shredded pork, but 1) I love mustard and I prefer my food less sweet, and 2) I need to limit my consumption of nightshades, of which tomato is one.

Wholly Smokin, BBQ, Dining out, Florence, South Carolina, smoked

And a concoction of Carolina Mustard Sauce behind my dinner.

The lima bean/corn side was very tasty, lightly seasoned and a great complement to the meal.  The sweet potato fries were of perfect texture.

Ambiance – the front seating area is a regular dining area — in  the back is bar seating.  On Thursday nights, a band plays live back there starting at 7 am.   They seemed to be competent country.  You can hear them in the front but you’d still be able to carry on conversations.  The restaurant is neat and clean, and waitstaff are friendly, efficient, and capable of juggling several tables smoothly.

And yes, the food is all smoked on site.

Rating:  4.9.   And so good and wonderful that I didn’t need or want breakfast the next morning.  (Yes, I know… unusual!).  I left satiated, not stuffed — no, I didn’t finish all the fries.

Wholly Smokin’, 150 South Durgan Street, Florence, South Carolina.


PS, edited 11/10/2016:  I tried pulled pork BBQ in Columbia, but I wasn’t impressed with the place I stopped in at.  Meh.  And their mustard sauce was basically just — mustard.  A little water and vinegar and some sugar.  

Later, I passed by an open-air roadside pulled pork BBQ joint — looks like probably the Real Deal — but the sign announced that they were only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.  But if you are on Route 11 going east out of Pickens, SC, check them out?




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Onigirazu – Japanese Rice Sandwiches

I discovered this idea quite by accident while surfing around on You Tube, and decided to create my own Onigirazu — basically sushi rice wrapped with a nori sheet to form a pocket, with whatever inside the rice that stirs your fancy.  It’s something new in the world of Japanese eating, and so just about anything can go inside.  Slice the pocket in half after assembling.   I used a rice cooker for the rice, set on sushi setting.

The recipes include a sushi preparation more in tune with traditional Japanese types of ingredients (although the sandwich itself is not traditional), and a Western breakfast-style preparation.  I also wanted to include a vegetarian preparation, using more traditional Japanese ingredients.

Thus:  (THREE recipes for the price of one post!)

rice sandwiches, japanese, recipe, vegetarian, seafood, breakfast

Three! I love these!

  • Seaweed Salad and Maguro (Yellowfin Tuna) Onigirazu
  • Breakfast Pork Sausage and Egg Onigirazu
  • Avocado, Shiitake, Green Onion, and Cucumber Vegetarian Onigirazu

I use a rice cooker to make my rice – on the sushi setting. Time will vary for that.  4 ounces will give you an excess of rice for this; the 100 mL setting is pretty much just the right amount.  Most measuring cups (in the US at any rate) do give metric as well as old-fangled measurements these days.

Another note:  in order NOT to have my rice cooker turn yellow or purple — I added the turmeric and the pomegranate juice at the end of the cooking process.  I don’t know if the color would be hard to remove or not, so I simply opted not to find out!

Make the rice sandwiches while the rice is still warm.  This enables the sticky-ness to adhere.

Onigirazu, Japanese rice sandwiches, seafood, breakfast, vegetarian

Onigirazu sandwiches awaiting the knife. Let them rest five minutes after making each, so the nori can anneal to other portions of nori. Then slice with a sharp, wetted knife, and discard the plastic wrap.

Here are three suggestions:

Seaweed Salad and Maguro (yellowfin tuna) Onigirazu

Prep Time:  5 minutes, can be done while rice cooks. 
Cook Time:  Rice will vary.
Rest Time:  five minutes
Serves:  one or two sandwiches per person.  Multiply ingredients for more.

  • 4 ounces or 100 mL sushi rice
  • water for rice — prepare according to package or to your own rice cooker instructions.
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 2 sheets nori
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 pound sushi grade raw yellowfin tuna, sliced thinly (you may sub other fish)
  • 1/3 cup seaweed salad (I nabbed some as takeout from my local sushi bar)
  • wasabi to taste
  • coconut aminos or tamari sauce for dipping

Directions:  Make rice, add vinegar and optional salt to rice, mix gently so as not to crush rice or turn it into a paste.

Lay out individual sheet of nori on a length of plastic wrap, on a working surface, shiny side down.

Drop some rice down in the center, and flatten.

Add a dollop of seaweed salad over the rice, to the edges of the rice.

Add some slivers of yellowfin tuna in a line across, about 1/8th pound.

Dab the top of the fish with wasabi, should you wish.

Layer rice on top.

Fold the nori as a package, bringing up each corner to meet in the middle, with some overlap.

Fold the plastic wrap up over, seal relatively tightly, then flip over and let sit five minutes.

Prep up the second nori wrap in the same way.

Slice packets in half using a sharp, wetted knife, and enjoy either warm or (same day) cold.  Dip in tamari as desired.

Check out a series of photos for this preparation below:

Japanese, rice sandwich

Warm rice centered on nori.

Japanese, rice sandwich, tuna, Onigirazu

Seaweed salad on rice on nori

Japanese, rice sandwich, tuna, Onigirazu

Tuna and wasabi on seaweed salad on rice on nori. NOTE: that blast of wasabi on the second piece of maguro (tuna) was way too intense even for me…

Japanese, rice sandwich, seafood, tuna, seaweed salad, Onigirazu

Sandwich, cut in half.  This doesn’t look so aesthetic, as it was my first effort!  Tasted great, however!

Breakfast Pork Sausage and Egg Onigirazu

Prep Time:  10 minutes, can be done while rice cooks. 
Cook Time:  Rice will vary.  10 minutes for the pork and eggs, can be done while rice cooks.
Rest Time:  five minutes
Serves:  one or two sandwiches per person.  Multiply ingredients for more.

  • 4 ounces or 100 mL sushi rice
  • water for rice — prepare according to package or to your own rice cooker instructions.
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1/4  teaspoon turmeric (optional)
  • 2 sheets nori
  • 1/2 teaspoon healthy cooking oil 
  • 1/4 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/8 – 1/4  teaspoon ground dried sage
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 slices of meltable cheese (optional)
  • 2 eggs

Directions:  Make rice, add vinegar and optional turmeric to rice once cooked, mix gently so as not to crush rice or turn it into a paste.

Towards the end of the rice cooking time — Cook the pork and its seasonings (to make a pork sausage).  Note — I made it as a scramble; in the future I’d make two thin pork sausage patties, simply because I had a lot of scrambled pork that would not lay up nicely on the rice, and a patty would compact in more of the ground meat for my purposes.

To the pork, add the pepper, sage, oregano, fennel seed, garlic powder and salt.  Form into two thin patties and cook through in the oil in a skillet – NO pink, flipping as needed.   (Or do it like I did as a scramble of ground pork with seasonings.)   Set aside.

Cook the two eggs any way you like — I went with “over medium” – keeping the yolks soft but not liquid, simply because liquid would be messy.  You can do this other ways:  over hard, scrambled, omelet-style…

Lay out individual sheet of nori on a length of plastic wrap, on a working surface, shiny side down.

Drop some rice down in the center, and flatten.

Drop a pork sausage patty (or enough ground scrambled up pork) on the rice.

Add a slice of optional cheese.  (Oh, in my case, I forgot!)

Add an egg (or half of whatever egg prep you made).

If you didn’t use a pork patty, you can optionally add more ground pork scramble to the top.

Layer rice on top of that.

Fold the nori as a package, bringing up each corner to meet in the middle, with some overlap.

Fold the plastic wrap up over, seal relatively tightly, then flip over and let sit five minutes.

Prep up the second nori wrap in the same way.

Slice packets in half using a sharp, wetted knife, and enjoy either warm or (same day) cold.

Here’s some photos of this process:

Japanese, rice sandwich, breakfast, nori,

Turmeric-infused sushi rice on nori. Turmeric has so many health benefits I couldn’t resist.

Onigirazu, Japanese, rice sandwich, nori, egg, sausage

One egg. I flipped this one over and allowed the yolk to get solid enough not to run. Obviously, your egg-tastes may vary. Have at it!

Onigirazu, rice sandwich, rice, Japanese, breakfast, egg, pork sausage

On top of the egg, add more ground pork sausage, or just cut to the chase with additional warm turmeric-laced sushi rice.  Note: ground pepper and turmeric provide synergistic health benefits.

Onigirazu, Japanese, rice sandwich, nori, breakfast, egg, pork sausage

I’m getting better at making these things look aesthetic!

Avocado, Shiitake, and Cucumber Vegetarian Onigirazu

Prep Time:  10 minutes, can be done while rice cooks. 
Cook Time:  Rice will vary.  8-10 minutes for the shiitake, can be done while rice cooks.
Rest Time:  five minutes
Serves:  one or two sandwiches per person.  Multiply ingredients for more.

  • 4 ounces or 100 mL sushi rice
  • water for rice — prepare according to package or to your own rice cooker instructions.
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil — a Korean influence.  (You can do the vinegar instead.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds (optional).
  • 2 sheets nori
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate juice or juice left over from boiling purple beets (Optional; this is for a hint of pink.  Not so vibrant as the turmeric!).
  • 1/2 teaspoon healthy cooking oil 
  • 3-4 ounces shiitake mushrooms.  Remove stems, and break up the larger ones. 
  • 1/5th cucumber.  Remove all skin from the supermarket waxed ones, if you use.  But preferentially use the English “seedless” cukes.  Removing skin on these is optional.  Slice thin.  Either as thin sticks or thin slices.  
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced.   
  • 2 scallions/green onions, slice the white parts thin, and the green parts to 1.5 – 2 inches of length.
  • Salad dressing of your choice; use thick, not thin / watery (optional).  If it is watery, your rice will get soggy.  I opted out since most commercial salad dressings are rather icky, ingredient-wise; and I didn’t really have a good opportunity  to make my own, and use it ALL up, this week.  Just a drizzle if you do use. 
  • Gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos, for dipping.  

Directions:  Make rice, add vinegar and optional pomegranate juice or beet juice to rice once cooked, mix gently so as not to crush rice or turn it into a paste.  Add in a half teaspoon of roasted sesame seeds if you are so inclined.  Again, mix gently.

While the rice is cooking, prep the veggies (and cook the shiitake).  Keep the whites of the scallions/green onions separate from the lengthier bits of green.

When ready, put about one quarter of the rice on each sheet of nori, apiece (shiny side down, with the nori on some plastic wrap).

Add most of the green parts of the green onions on both nori sheets, reserving just a few.

Divy up the shiitake over both nori sheets atop the earlier toppings.

Add thin slices of avocado over the toppings.

Here is where you’d drizzle some thick salad dressing, should you have and want to use.

Add the remainder of the green onions/scallions, including the finely diced bits of the white parts, over the toppings.

Top both off with the rest of the rice.  (I had a little less than planned, but no matter.)

Fold the nori as a package, bringing up each corner to meet in the middle, with some overlap.

Fold the plastic wrap up over, seal relatively tightly, then flip over and let sit five minutes.

Prep up the second nori wrap in the same way.

Slice packets in half using a sharp, wetted knife, and enjoy either warm or (same day) cold.

And, here’s some photos of this one!

rice sandwich, Japanese, recipe , scallions, vegetarian, vegan

Starting out. I was hoping that the pomegranate juice would have imparted more color. Feel free to omit! (Adding more would have made the rice too watery.)

Onigirazu, rice sandwich, Japanese, vegetarian, vegan, recipe, shiitake

After that yummy shiitake!

Onigirazu, rice sandwich, Japanese, vegetarian, vegan, recipe, shiitake, cuke, cucumber

A layer of English cucumber

Onigirazu, rice sandwich, Japanese, vegetarian, vegan, recipe, shiitake, avocado, cucumber, scallion

Ah, fresh avocado! Fresh green onion! (If you don’t plan to eat this for a few hours, some lemon juice may just keep the avo green.)

Onigirazu, rice sandwich, Japanese, vegetarian, vegan, recipe, shiitake, avocado, scallion, cucumber, cuke

A final layer of rice

Onigirazu, rice sandwich, Japanese, vegetarian, vegan, recipe, shiitake, cucumber, cuke, scallion, avocado

Slice! (Wet a sharp knife for this task.)

Onigirazu, rice sandwich, Japanese, vegetarian, vegan, recipe, shiitake, avocado, green onion, cuke, cucumber

Ready to enjoy! I dribbled tamari over this as I ate. A wonderful lunch.

This recipe is shared at Real Food Fridays!!

And is shared at Fiesta Fridays, with co-hosts Margy and Suzanne!!


Posted in Asian & Asian Influenced, Breakfast, Cooking, Meats, Seafood, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments