SIMPLE STACKED SUSHI

I’ve tried the roll-your-own sushi and it works–sometimes. A couple years ago, I came across a recipe for stacked sushi in a cookbook titled “Bite Me” and had to try it. And modify it. It’s now a family favorite–easy to make and less expensive than restaurant- or store-bought sushi. Our family prefers sushi with pre-cooked shrimp or imitation crab, but if you’re more adventurous, you can substitute raw fish. As for the pics–yes I went a little overboard–the first shows the sushi when you first pop it out of the dish. The next pic is of cut sushi, and I cannot emphasize strongly enough the importance of using a very sharp knife to keep the nori sheets intact. The last two pics are of stacked sushi served up right. Give this a try and be inventive with your ingredients–shrimp, crab, cucumber, carrots, avocado, cream cheese…

1-1/2 cups instant white rice

1-1/2 cups water

2 tbsp rice vinegar

3/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise

4 tbsp wasabi horseradish (often shelved near prepared horseradish)

4 sheets nori (roasted seaweed) Note: This go-around, I substituted softened spring roll wrappers for the 2 middle nori sheets which not only made the sushi easier to cut but lightened up the seaweed taste–thumbs up from all)

3 tsp sesame seeds

1 cup grated or matchstick carrots (or 1 large cucumber sliced thin)

1-1/2 cups imitation pre-cooked crab, semi-shredded (if budget allows, by all means use real cooked crab)

1 large avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced thin

1) cook instant rice in water according to package directions; remove from heat, let sit 5-10 minutes; stir in rice vinegar; set aside and let cool

2) In small bowl, mix mayonnaise and wasabi horseradish; set aside

3) Line an 8″ square pan with plastic wrap, allowing 4-5″ overhang on opposite sides (will be folded over sushi for refrigeration)

4) Place 1 nori sheet in bottom of pan and spread with 1/3 of cooked rice; sprinkle on 1 tsp sesame seeds; spread 1/3 of wasabi mayonnaise over rice and top with carrots

5) Place 1 nori sheet (or softened spring roll wrapper) over carrots and spread with 1/3 of cooked rice; sprinkle on 1 tsp sesame seeds; spread 1/3 of wasabi mayonnaise over rice and top with crab

6) Place 1 nori sheet (or softened spring roll wrapper) over crab and spread with 1/3 of cooked rice; sprinkle on 1 tsp sesame seeds; spread 1/3 of wasabi mayonnaise over rice and top with avocado

7) Place remaining nori sheet over avocado; fold overhanging plastic wrap over sushi and gently press down on sushi with palms; weight sushi with a couple books and refrigerate 1-2 hours

8) Remove sushi from refrigerator; fold back plastic wrap; place large plate over top of pan and gently turn over, allowing sushi to drop onto plate; remove plastic wrap; with sharp knife, cut sushi into 1″ squares

9) Serve with soy sauce and wasabi horseradish for dipping; nice accompaniments are bowls of white rice or a light soup like miso

Servings: 4

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EVOLUTION OF A COVER ~ SPLITTING HARRIET (Head Over Heels Inspirational Romance) Re-release

PART I: And now for another episode of Evolution Of A Cover. This time, it’s for the upcoming re-release of my third inspirational romance, SPLITTING HARRIET. Here’s the original cover, which I absolutely adored–among my favorites.


PART II: Though the first four of my seven Chick Lits (aka Humorous Contemporary Romance) are stand alones, I’ve tied them together under the Head Over Heels series title—a nod to the lovely combination of romance and high heels with a big city feel. Let’s start with the stock photo my cover designer hunted down. Perfect! It shows a younger version of Harriet “Harri” as introduced in the prologue when she was deep in her PK rebellion phase.


PART III: First Mock Up ~ Oh, I like the “lean” you gave her! And what fun, eye-catching swirly-majigs. However, to tie in the books, I’d like to duplicate the cut paper background created for Stealing Adda and Perfecting Kate, but in a different color. Let’s show more of her face–to just above the eyebrows–give her auburn hair, and try a different colored T-shirt. Oh, mustn’t forget the crown of thorns tattoo. Yes, I told you she’s a rebel 🙂


PART IV: Second Mock Up ~ Nice! That’s about the right amount of face, but the hair needs to be darker red–er, auburn. She insists she is NOT a redhead. Yes on the crown of thorns tattoo, but can you move it down a bit to show more? And let’s remove the winged heart tattoo. Don’t want her too wild, you know 🙂 I’m not sold on the pink and blue T-shirts, though much depends on the background. Speaking of which, the purple isn’t grabbing me.

      mock2-3 copy


PART V: Third Mock Up ~ Yes, that’s a better shade of red–er, auburn. As for the background, let’s give charcoal a try to make her hair pop, and set it off with a red T-shirt.

mock2-3


PART VI: The Final! Introducing the new and improved SPLITTING HARRIET cover. It was completed last fall and took about a week from concept to finished product. Adore my cover designer! Coming soon: the new FAKING GRACE.

 

ONCE UPON A TIME, I WAS A REBEL. AND I HAVE THE TATTOOS TO PROVE IT.

Did I mention I’m also a preacher’s kid? That’s right. And like the prodigal son after whom I modeled myself, I finally saw the error of my ways and returned to the fold. Today my life is all about lead me not into temptation. When I’m not serving as Women’s Ministry Director at my father’s church, I’m working at Gloria’s Morning Café. I even have worthy goals, like saving money to buy the café, keeping my Jelly Belly habit under control, and never again hurting the people I love. No more parties. No more unsavory activities. And no more motorcycles!

You’d think I was finally on the right track. But since dad’s replacement hired a hotshot consultant to revive our dying church, things aren’t working out as planned. And now this consultant thinks I’m in need of a little reviving myself. Just who does this Maddox McCray think he is? With curly hair that could use a good clipping, a tattoo he makes no attempt to hide, and black leather pants, the man is downright dangerous. In fact, all that’s missing is a motorcycle. Or so I thought. But if he thinks he’s going to take me for a ride on that 1298cc machine of his, he can think again. Harriet Bisset is a reformed woman, and she’s going to stay that way. Even if it kills me!

Excerpt: www.tamaraleigh.com

To Pre-Order: Amazon, iBooks Store, Kobo Books

SIRLOIN-ONION-GIARDINIERA HOAGIE

Senior says this is the best sandwich ever (I think I’ve heard that before). Of course, one of his recent dinners was a salad he deemed “too green,” so anything overflowing with meat was bound to earn a gold star. The only complaint came from Junior Too who, to my surprise, said there was no way he could eat the whole thing. But he did–and a piece of pie 🙂

STEAK:

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp olive oil

1-1/2 lbs boneless top sirloin steak

ONION AND GIARDINIERA TOPPING:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large red onion, halved and sliced thin

1 cup beef broth

1-1/2 cups Giardiniera (I used Mezzetta brand), drained and coarsely chopped

6 pepperoncini, sliced thin

OTHER GOOD STUFF:

4 Hoagie rolls

1-1/2 cups shredded jack cheese

1) Fire up grill; remove steak from fridge and pat dry

2) In small bowl, combine oregano, basil, thyme, black pepper, and sea salt

3) Rub olive oil into both sides of steak, followed by combined seasonings on both sides; let sit 10 minutes

4) Meanwhile, to large skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil and onions; stirring often, cook 10 minutes until onions soften; reduce heat to low and add beef broth, Giardiniera, and pepperoncini; cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally

5) Meanwhile, toss steak on grill and cook to desired doneness (for medium, I cooked 8 minutes each side)

6) Remove steak from grill and let sit 5 minutes; slice thin

7) Assemble each sandwich as follows: cut hoagie almost all the way through and lay open; top with sirloin, onion-Giardiniera, and jack cheese; serve immediately

Serves: 4 with big appetites

PROSCIUTTO-CHICKEN-MELON SPINACH SALAD

When one of my lovely girlfriends visited me awhile back, I made this salad for lunch. It’s quite easy, and the combination of cantaloupe, avocado, prosciutto, and pine nuts is amazing. Gone, gone, gone!

6 cups baby spinach

1 lb grilled chicken tenderloins, sliced thin and chilled

4 cups diced cantaloupe

2 avocados, diced

4 oz prosciutto, chopped

1/4 cup diced red onion (optional)

2 oz pine nuts

Dressing suggestion: Ken’s Steakhouse Lite Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette (yes, I’m recommending it again)

1) Prepare each salad as follows: spread spinach on plate and top with chicken, cantaloupe, avocado, prosciutto, red onion, and pine nuts; serve with dressing of your choice

Now wasn’t that easy?

Servings: 4

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 07/05/12–the one that disappeared into a black hole (which is the reason WordPress and I met up).

LADY OF CONQUEST: #1 Bestseller ~ Thank you, Readers!

We were in a quandary. Yes, we were. LADY OF CONQUEST released two days ago, landing on the bestseller list and climbing up to the #2 slot–right next to its sister, LADY OF EVE in the #1 slot. Talk about thrilled–and oh so blessed! The quandary? Silly, I know, but while the two sat there swapping tales of their rewrite journey, LOC remained second to LOE. I was a little slow, but I finally realized LOE was not going to relinquish her hard-won slot in her current state–on sale for $.99. Nothing I could do about that other than wait for the sale to end. And today, LOE is back to $4.99 and LOC and she have swapped places. Thank you, Readers, for making it possible by entrusting your precious time to my stories. You bless me 🙂

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CURSED ~ England of The Norman Conquest, 1068: Two years have passed since the Battle of Hastings changed the course of a nation. As the defeated Saxons continue to chafe against the yoke of Norman rule, Rhiannyn of Etcheverry finds herself at the center of a rebellion when the conqueror she refuses to wed dies in her arms—cursing her to never know the love of a man or the blessing of children. Certain only her silence can save her people from retaliation, she holds close the dark truth about his death. But when his avenging brother saves her life, she discovers another side to the celebrated warrior of Hastings—one that will test her loyalties and beliefs. And expose the innocent heart beneath her Saxon pride.

UNFORGIVEN ~ Renouncing his holy vows, Maxen Pendery pledges to discover who murdered his brother—even at the cost of the soul he has wrestled to save since thrusting his sword in the blood-soaked soil of Hastings and walking away. But when Rhiannyn of Etcheverry is at his mercy, she continues to protect the rebel leader to whom she was once betrothed. Though breathtakingly lovely, she refuses to use her wiles against Maxen, instead disarming him with her sharp tongue, strong will, and a selflessness that unexpectedly stirs his ignoble heart. Might the cursed beauty be the death of him? Or could she prove his redemption?

To Read an excerpt, visit: www.tamaraleigh.com

Available from: Amazon, B&N, iBooks Store, Kobo Books

LADY OF CONQUEST: Happy Release Day!

LADY OF CONQUEST ~ After a longer than usual journey to rewrite this last “bride” book, it is done. Hoping you, dear readers, enjoy Lady Rhiannyn and Maxen Pendery’s love story.

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CURSED ~ England of The Norman Conquest, 1068: Two years have passed since the Battle of Hastings changed the course of a nation. As the defeated Saxons continue to chafe against the yoke of Norman rule, Rhiannyn of Etcheverry finds herself at the center of a rebellion when the conqueror she refuses to wed dies in her arms—cursing her to never know the love of a man or the blessing of children. Certain only her silence can save her people from retaliation, she holds close the dark truth about his death. But when his avenging brother saves her life, she discovers another side to the celebrated warrior of Hastings—one that will test her loyalties and beliefs. And expose the innocent heart beneath her Saxon pride.

UNFORGIVEN ~ Renouncing his holy vows, Maxen Pendery pledges to discover who murdered his brother—even at the cost of the soul he has wrestled to save since thrusting his sword in the blood-soaked soil of Hastings and walking away. But when Rhiannyn of Etcheverry is at his mercy, she continues to protect the rebel leader to whom she was once betrothed. Though breathtakingly lovely, she refuses to use her wiles against Maxen, instead disarming him with her sharp tongue, strong will, and a selflessness that unexpectedly stirs his ignoble heart. Might the cursed beauty be the death of him? Or could she prove his redemption?

To Read an excerpt, visit: www.tamaraleigh.com

Available from: Amazon, B&N, iBooks Store, Kobo Books

STEALING ADDA Audiobook Now Available!

Thrilled to announce the AUDIOBOOK release of my first contemporary, STEALING ADDA: A Head Over Heels Inspirational Romance, performed by my wondrously talented narrator, Mary Sarah Agliotta. Does she know Adda, or does she know Adda! FUN! Available from Amazon, Audible.com, and iTunes.

Preview a sample of STEALING ADDA at: Amazon.com, Audible.com  iBooks Store

 

And releasing tomorrow 06.04.15: LADY OF CONQUEST! Excerpt: www.tamaraleigh.com

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