Salmon Sashimi, Crispy Rice, & Special Mayo Sauces – Let’s Talk Sushi Pizza!

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A photo tribute to one of my all-time favourite sushi dishes, the salmon sushi pizza!  Even though Sushi Time is more expensive than other spots in the city by about 25 to 50 cents ($7.25), it’s always one of my go-to dishes whenever I come.  I’ve had their salmon sushi pizza three times already!  Which is saying a lot considering I hate and try to avoid ordering the same thing over and over again at places I love and go back to.  The blog would be one huge snooze fest if I did that! 

Their sushi pizza gets to me every time though.  With its breaded, crispy rice (the sushi “pizza” is cut into 6 pieces), mayo sauce, and super thick slices of salmon sashimi with sesame seeds and green onions sprinkled on top, it is so, so good and one of the meals that truly inspired me to scrapbook my food photos and photograph food seriously.  It played a big part in my very first sushi experience in the city downtown and I’ll forever remember it as the moment my eyes and tastebuds were opened to so much more.

If you can believe it, the very first time I had sushi pizza was at an all-you-can-eat buffet in Scarborough about 5 years ago!  Up until that point I had no idea such a thing existed and my mum and I were so ecstatic when we found this adorable and delicious sushi concoction!  I’ve tried many different sushi pizzas over the years, both at AYCE spots and regular ones and the one at Sushi Time on Queen West still remains my favourite.        

All sushi pizzas have different toppings and different ways of utilizing and displaying them on the crispy rice pizza base, but they always have tobiko and special mayo sauce of some sort, sprinkled and drizzled on top.  Some places will chop and dice the salmon sashimi and mix it with some spicy sauce to form a salmon salad while others will include diced veggies or use different kinds types of sauces like thousand island style dressing, barbeque, or sweet teriyaki.  They come in a a variety of different kinds with salmon, tuna, BBQ eel, and eggplant being the most common.  I’ve only ever had salmon sushi pizza, so I’m dying to try tuna and eggplant the most. 

If you love sushi pizza as much as I do, feel free to share your favourites around the city!   For those of you looking for a fabulous deal and bang for your buck, you absolutely have to try the salmon and crab sushi pizza from Big Sushi in the Annex!  The next time I go I promise to get more and better photos, but in a nutshell, theirs is truly a meal-size dish ($7.50) and the salmon sashimi, shredded crab meat, and avocado slices are loaded on making it almost more like a pie than a little sushi pizza! 

And if you’re having sushi pizza from Ginza, be sure to order it without the diced red onion.  The diced red and green bell peppers delight me, but the red onion takes away from the pizza and it’s much better off without it.  My dear friend Aamer swears by the sushi pizza at Sushi Sky and I am mega curious about the tuna pizza at Yonge Sushi just south of York Mills on Yonge Street, so we’ll see how those ones measure up!  In the meantime, if you enjoy sushi but have never tried sushi pizza before, you should.  It it one of the funnest, most enjoyable things to eat, ever.

*****

Sushi Time is located at 325 Queen St. West near the corner of John St. and Queen West.  Situated between University and Spadina Ave., Sushi Time is on the south side of Queen and are open for business at 12pm, 7 days a week.  You can view their menu in PDF form at their temporary website HERE.

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On My (Chinese) Kitchen Table: Ground Pork Fried Rice with Green Onions

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Rice has always been a part of my life.  Coming from a Chinese girl like myself, that probably doesn’t sound any alarm bells, but hear me out.  Rice has played a role in some of my funniest memories (according to my uncle, my aunt was enjoying her fried rice so much she flung a few grains into his ear with her rapid fire chopsticks), and in my early stages of socialization in true-blue Chinese culture where my great-grandmother would cook me baby portions of congee as a toddler.  It wasn’t until I finished high school and started university though that I started feeling restless about the consistent rice noshing.  I wanted to experiment, I wanted to try new things.  My dad has never had any qualms about inhaling on an everyday basis, but I knew my mum and I wanted to branch out and eat other kinds of meals.  In short, my mum and I started feeling bored and we could feel ourselves falling into a food rut. 

Mixing things up has pushed us to get more creative and to leave behind the safety net of the traditional Chinese white dinner, all the while reminding us that rice is still very much an integral part of our food culture.  The whole point was to seek a balance and I think we’ve found it: don’t necessarily abandon it, but don’t rely on it too heavily for the sake of tradition and routine.  For this reason, fried rice has functioned as a happy-medium, as a way of breaking up any form of monotony in the kitchen without denying the fact that we are Chinese and hey, we consume a lot of rice!  Even though I don’t consider fried rice in particular to be the defining dish in Chinese and/or Cantonese cuisine (this quick association actually makes me cringe because it’s so awfully misguided and stereotypical), I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love fried rice, or at the very least enjoys one specific kind.  Pineapple and chicken, egg and shrimp, seafood, mixed vegetables – I love them all, especially when I have it at the really nice sit-down Chinese restaurants with the banquet-style set dinner meals and the little dim sum tea cups! 

My mum has always made fried rice every so often as a treat for my brother and I when we were growing up, and my mum’s ground pork fried rice is one of my all-time favourite comfort, home-cooked meals.  Similar to the lemon green onion rice I posted a week and a half ago, it’s a white rice dish comprised of lean ground pork, chopped green onions, lots of minced garlic, sautéed buttom mushrooms on occasion, olive oil, and our special light-hearted touch: red pepper chili flakes!  Normally, I would sprinkle on some Worcestershire sauce (geep-jup, as we call it in Chinese) or sweet chili sauce, but this time around I felt like something cold on top of the hot rice, something with a little bit of tanginess to it: sour cream!  With a plate of pork and green onion fried rice, a dollop of sour cream, and a smattering of chili flakes, I have myself a plate of home-cooked comfort.

From the Television Screen to My Kitchen Table: Lemon and Green Onion Rice from Best Recipes Ever

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I thank my lucky stars for television cooking shows.  I don’t remember how many times I’ve mentioned this on the blog (or if I’ve mentioned it at all), but I adore Food Network on Channel 52 and I love Best Recipes Ever by Canadian Living with Kary Osmond on CBC, Channel 6.  I watch them both religiously.  I watch it on weekdays, weekends, while I’m scrapbooking, and after my soap operas.  When I’m home during the day, my television lineup from 3pm-5pm is as follows: Best Recipes Ever on CBC, Michael Smith’s Chef at Home on Food Network, Ricardo & Friends, and Giada at Home.  And don’t even get me started on Iron Chef, Best Thing I Ever Ate, and Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.  I avoid the reality tv type shows like the plague, but the ones I just listed?  LOVE.  I’d say 70% of my television consumption is dedicated to Food Network and food and cooking related shows (the other 30% is comprised of sports,  soap operas, and the occasional prime time show such as Big Bang Theory which I love to pieces) and I’m telling you, I’ve learned so much from watching others cook.

My mum and I have Best Recipes to thank for this new dinner dish of ours.  It’s SO simple that it makes me feel somewhat embarrassed that I didn’t think to do it like this before.  My family and I eat rice on a pretty regular basis and one of my favourite home cooked meals is this minced pork fried rice my mum makes (which I will be blogging about soon) with minced pork, garlic, and lots of green onions.  What we didn’t think to do was to flavour our rice with lemon zest to make a simple lemon rice.  I KNOW.  Lightbulb “duh” moment, right?  So thanks to Best Recipes, we snatched a new dinner dish to put on our kitchen table and we absolutely love it.

Cooked rice (we used white Jasmine rice, but any rice will do) with the zest of one lemon (there are 4 people in my house, so if you’re cooking for yourself or for two people, half a lemon should be good enough), and as many chopped green onions/scallions as your heart desires.  I love green onions so I dumped a bucket-full on my serving.  If you wish you can mix in a little garlic and olive oil, but I left mine plain the first time around with just the lemon zest and green onions and I have to tell you, this rice is now going to be a staple in our home.  Thank you television, I love you.      

Happy Canada Day! Enjoying Picnic Food and a Giant Bowl of Potato Salad

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Before you go “Oooo!”, I didn’t make these myself!  This was just a cute cupcake display celebrating Canada Day and Canada Day long weekend!  I feel kind of silly for not thinking of this sooner, but I totally should have compiled a bunch of food posts related to yummy maple things in the city!  A d’oh! moment on my part now that it’s after the fact, but the idea has inspired me to be on the lookout for some sweet maple goodies the same way I want to find all the best Nutella items in town!  I have a few maple foodie items in mind already (maple cupcakes!  Maple crepes!), so hopefully when Canada Day rolls around again next year, I’ll be prepared. 

I hope everyone is having (and will have) a fantastic weekend whether you’re staying in the city, going to the cottage, or leaving the province all together.  I’m actually spending my entire weekend at home and I am so looking forward to it.  I’m a little bummed to be missing out on some awesome food events (the 1st gourmet food truck fest in Toronto at the Distiller District tomorrow!  Why oh why did it have to be THIS weekend at one of my fave neighbourhoods when I’m not going out??), but I know that the heat won’t be good for me and I know when my body is telling me to slow down and stop.  So staying at home it is.  I’ll be catching up on my ZzzZzzz’s, scrapbooking, cookie baking, reading, watching baseball (I’m still bitter that our Jays lost today!), and taking advantage of some much needed down time.  Hopefully I’ll be able to take new photos of some previous scrapbook layouts, update the Food Calendar, and pinpoint my next farmers’ market visit for next week which is expected to be quite the scorcher, eek!   

I was very excited about dinner today.  Canada Day = picnic food in my mind and we had a giant bowl of potato salad chilling in the fridge from this morning with the baby potatoes I bought at the Queens Quay market on Wednesday.  Carrots, cucumber, red bell pepper, green onions, hard-boiled eggs, julienned salami and ham, black pepper, and chives make for one yummy Canada Day summer salad!  Annnd we can’t forget about the ice cream 😉  A lickety good ice cream post to come tomorrow!  Happy long weekend and happy Pride everyone!

Chunks of the baby potatoes, diced cucumber and red bell pepper, sliced carrots, and green onions all mixed in together.

Adding the wedges of boiled eggs, YUM!

The finished potato salad dressed in some mayo and seasoned with black pepper, dried chives, and bacon bits!  I like eating my salad on bread, so here’s the potato salad sitting on a bed of romaine lettuce on French bread.

P.S.  My brother has recently discovered the joys of sticking bars of chocolate in the freezer.  He says it tastes incredibly good, much better than room temperature chocolate *chuckles*

The Keys to My Heart: One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato, Four…My Homemade Mashed Potatoes!

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Okay, so if you know me, you know what my favourite foods are: sweets (especially cake and cupcakes), sushi (bring on the salmon and avocado!), cream cheese (and any cheese for that matter), pasta, and a plethora of veggies including bell peppers, baby spinach, arugula, avocado, mushrooms, and broccoli among many others.  I am also a passionate potato lover!  Let it be known that I have never met a potato I didn’t like.  Baked, roasted, scalloped, mashed, I love them all and I go crazy with toppings and seasonings!  My mum and I sprinkle dry basil flakes on our roasted spuds, I love me some peas and gravy in and on my mashed, and hand me some sour cream with my baked potato and I am a happy girl 😀  My mum and I made a hot, steaming, fresh bowl of mashed potatoes last Friday and I am loving how they turned out! 

We used yummy Yukon gold ones for our homemade mashed potatoes.  For 6-8 potatoes, peeled and quartered, boiling them for about 20 minutes did the job.  After the potatoes came out of the hot tub, we added some margarine (about 3 tablespoons) and a very generous splash of milk.  And I mean generous.  We wanted our mashed potatoes nice and soft and whippy, so we added enough milk to the bowl so that we could see the milk around the edges of the potatoes.  Drowning them would make them soppy and gross, but we added just enough so that the milk peeked through. 

Then came the fun part: mashing!  I’m sure everyone has their favourite kitchen activity (and a not-so-favourite to go along with it.  Chopping onions, anyone?) and mine is using the potato masher, haha.  I had a very fun time mashing my black beans for my black bean burrito filling and I was quite happy to go at it with the masher again.  I guess I find it satisfying mushing things!  *laughs*  We added lots of black pepper, dried basil and parsley flakes, a sprinkling of bacon bits, and a heaping handful of chopped green onions/scallions which gave it some fresh colour and crunch.  The potatoes were delicious and at just the right consistency!

I can’t wait to make another batch sometime and try out some different seasonings and add-ons, maybe some red pepper chili flakes for a little heat, or maybe some corn and beans.  Making potatoes totally reminds me of the episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S in the first season where they’re celebrating Thanksgiving and everyone wants and likes their mashed potatoes in a different way and everyone is bickering because nobody can agree on anything, ha!  So, how does everyone like their potatoes? 😀