Over 5 years after our honeymoon in Hawaii, I’m recreating one of my favorite discoveries of the trip: Spam Musubi.
We picked some up in a convenience store near the volcanoes and it was an unexpectedly good breakfast. It was also the first time I’d ever eaten Spam. Though we had plenty of fresh fruit, raw fish, and other delights, this portable snack stuck in my mind.
When individually wrapped in cling wrap, these are perfect on-the-go snacks or work lunches. The one in the photo below might be a bit worse for the wear after a trip to work in my bag, but tasted great and held together well.
Makes 10. Adapted from several recipes.
- 2 cups uncooked sushi rice
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
Rinse the rice in a strainer or colander. Combine with water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until rice is tender and water absorbed.
In a small saucepan, combine the rice vinegar, oil, sugar and salt and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Stir into the cooked rice and continue stirring for a minute or two until the rice is glossy.
- Rice (from recipe above), cooled halfway to room temperature
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 12 ounce container Spam
- 3 to 5 sheets sushi nori (dry seaweed), depending on desired width of wrapping strip
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Slice Spam lengthwise into 10 slices. This sounds difficult, but just cut in half first, then cut each half into 5. It’s easy to cut.
- Stir together soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar until sugar is completely dissolved.
- Brush sauce on both sides of Spam slices and let sit for at least five minutes.
- While it’s marinating, saw out the bottom of the Spam can with a box cutter and fold over the edges so they’re not as sharp. Or, if you’re civilized (I’m not), you might own a musubi press.
- Heat oil at medium high in a large cast iron skillet. Cook slices until lightly browned; no need to wipe them off, just make sure they don’t burn.
- If you’d like, you can brush Spam with any leftover marinade after browning.
- Cut seaweed sheets in half (for complete coverage) or thirds (for a narrower strip).
- Put a strip of seaweed on your work surface, then the spam can on top, with an opening on the bottom.
- Press a handful of rice into the bottom of the Spam can from the top, then top with a slice of Spam, and press down on the spam. Gently remove the Spam can and wrap one side of the seaweed strip around the rice and spam.
- Dip your hand in a bit of water and wet the remaining length of the seaweed strip, then complete the wrap. The water helps the seaweed stick to itself.
- Wrap individually pieces in cling wrap if you’re not going to eat them right away.
My husband and a friend decided to have a beer tasting to celebrate their birthdays, which are a week apart. What a good excuse!
With all the beer lovers we know, it was difficult to keep the guest list small enough to fit in our dining room, and we wanted to try a somewhat serious sit-down tasting. We ended up with just short of 20 guests and asked each to bring a 750ml bottle of beer, which works out to a little over an ounce per person. We even ordered a case of beer tasting glasses and I designed a beer tasting sheet (PDF).
Since this was our first tasting, we decided not to specify a style or to taste blind. When guests arrived, we grouped their beers into themed flights. We spontaneously paired these groupings with the food – recipes are at the bottom of this entry:
- Paler ales and soft pretzels (our first time making them!)
- Belgians and Liege waffles
- IPAs and buffalo chicken dip
- Porter with meatballs
- Dessert-type beers with stout brownies
We also had plenty of snacks on hand, including sriracha popcorn (pop and toss with sriracha and melted butter), bacon caramel popcorn, cheese plates, hummus with vegetables, and an assortment of chips and nuts.
If I had to choose a favorite beer from the night, it would be the Collaboration No. 3 – Stingo, a joint brew by Boulevard and Pretty Things.
- Bacon Caramel Popcorn: bacon caramel popcorn recipe
- Soft Pretzels: via Tasting Table. I let the dough rise all day at room temperature.
- Liege Waffles: used the recipe on the package of Lars Pearl Sugar because it was so much simpler than others I found. I let it rise 3 hours or so, longer than recommended
- Buffalo Chicken Dip: Pressure cooked 5 skinless chicken thighs on high for 15 minutes in some Franks’ Red Hot sauce. Shredded and mixed with a package of cream cheese, 1/2 cup mayo, 1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot, 1 cup shredded cheddar, season to taste and add more hot sauce if desired. Filled in ramekins, sprinkled with blue cheese, baked at 350 until bubbling.
- Stout Brownies: I used this recipe but wasn’t too happy with it. It tasted great (how could it not?) but it completely stuck to the foil and was a total mess.
Last month, we bought a grill and entered a whole new world of outdoor cooking. While searching our chest freezer for grillable items, I came across lamb hot dogs and lamb kielbasa from a family friend with a farm. It seemed a shame to top lamb sausage with the usual ball-game ketchup and yellow mustard combo, so I sorted through the jars in our fridge and threw together a condiment with a little class. It went with the sausage so well, I’ve already made it a few times.
- Black dry-cured olives
- Red onion
- Roasted red peppers – I used jalapenos, but a less spicy alternative might be better
- Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
Dice the olives, onion, and red peppers into approximately 1/4 inch pieces. Mix with the capers and add lemon juice to taste if desired. Let sit at room temperature while you prepare the sausage.
I think mint or basil would make a tasty addition – what would you add?