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Excelsior! As promised, I’ve finally got around to finishing up the first piece in a new series of cook-the-book style posts! First at-bat is Stan Lee Presents the Mighty Marvel Superheroes Cookbook. 

The book begins with a brief introduction and some basic tips on safety and kitchen cleanliness. Then, as any good morning would, delves into some breakfast.

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A wise man once said “There has never been a sadness that can’t be cured by breakfast food” and a trip to your local diner will prove that every time. While studies have more or less debunked the conventional wisdom that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, starting your morning with good food is a great way to set the tone for the rest of the day.

With Captain America’s Day Starters, we get a few different options for easy, healthy and delicious kick start.

‘Fresh fruit or fruit juice. Lots of vitamins C and A’

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I’ve wrote on here a few times about how great smoothies can be for breakfast. Blend up your favorite mix of fruits and veggies with some juice or milk (I also like to throw some type of sea vegetable in the mix) and you’re ready to go. Once you blend your mix, you can freeze it in an ice cube tray to make things even easier while you’re still groggy. This particular blend I threw together features banana, pineapple, orange, mango and sweet potato.

‘Milk is the best source of calcium. It’s need for strong bones and teeth. It also supplies protein – essential building blocks for our bodies’img_4825

Milk is certainly nutritious, if not a little bit weird as a concept, but yogurt has even more calcium and is loaded with beneficial bacteria. Mixed with granola and some fresh fruit, it makes for a hearty, protein-packed breakfast.

‘Bread or cereal, lots of variations in this department’

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For simplicity, flavor and customization, look no further than Avocado Toast, loaded with Omega 3 fats and complex carbohydrates. The only two things you need are in the name itself. Apart from avocado and toasted bread, the possibilities are near endless. The folks over that The Kitchn have a great piece to get your creative juices going; Here, I’ve got 12 grain bread with butter and sesame seeds, mashed avocado, and thinly sliced cucumber tossed with salt, pepper, chili flake and lime juice.

Now, for those looking for a more traditional American-style breakfast, look no further than Hulk’s Fried Potatoes with Bacon and Eggs

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This dish needs little explanation, if any at all. Bacon, eggs, toast, breakfast potatoes; Maybe some coffee, if you’re so inclined. I will give one little trick I recently picked  up while working mainly breakfast shifts: par-boil your potatoes with onions and garlic. This cooks them through, so when you fry ’em up they’ll be soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. It’s the same principle to making great French Fries.

In Our Next Exciting Issue…

The Thing’s Clobbered Omelet

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Any chef worth their salt knows their way around a knife. Keeping a sharp knife and knowing a few basic cuts will put you leagues ahead of most home cooks, and plenty of professionals that I know. Uniformity of your knife cuts will not only increase the visual appeal of your food, but will also make it cook more evenly. I could sit and go on about how important proper knife skills are, but any introduction I could give would pale in comparison to Alton Brown’s “American Slicer” episode of Good Eats. In the episode, Brown goes over the basics of which knife to use for what application, sharpening and honing, and classical knife cuts. The full episode is available on YouTube for $1.99, or for free download on The Pirate Bay. If you’re looking to boost up your knife skills, I cannot highly recommend enough watching this episode.

For the 15th week of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Cooking Challenge, I was a bit stumped as to what could really showcase precision cuts. Other than brunoise-ing a bunch of veggies to garnish a consomme I couldn’t come up with much. I went to think of some dishes where presentation was just as important as the taste of the product and quality of ingredients, and immediately struck a chord. When I was a kid, we didn’t have cable or satellite TV at our house for one reason or another. So when we went to my Nana’s house for Sunday dinners, my brother and I got our fill of the ol’ boob tube. For my brother, that mostly meant catching up on cartoons. While I took in my fair share of cartoons as well, it wouldn’t be hard to catch me curled up on the floor with a pillow and taking in reruns of Essence of Emeril, the show that would inspire nine-year-old me to become a chef. Among the various episodes of Julia Child and Martin Yan, one of my favorites was the Japanese import Iron Chef. For those unfamiliar with the original series, challengers were selected by the mysterious Chairman to do battle in the kitchen against the Iron Chefs, masterful cooks each specializing in a particular world cuisine such as French, Italian, Chinese, and Japanese. I was always a big fan of Hiroyuki Sakai, Iron Chef French, but the viewers more familiar with the American series will know Iron Chef Japanese, Masaharu Morimoto. Known as much for his personality, Morimoto is was the only chef from the original series to return for the American version. Morimoto is known for his absolute precision in intricate presentation, which he displays prominently in his sushi. Morimoto was the first introduce many style of traditional sushis to American diners. One particular style of sushi, the Shikai Maki roll, is made to replicate the design of stained glass and showcases exact knife cuts and the true skill of a sushi maker. While I am, by no means at all, a sushi maker, I’ve always enjoyed sushi and figured that it would be a great opportunity to showcase some knife work.

Shikai Makizushi

I’ll admit, I did not have high hopes for this attempt at such an intricate roll. However, once I started to assemble it it turned out to be much easier that it seemed at first. Using Morimoto’s own recipe for sushi rice, I made enough to fill a few rolls, then got to making my knife cuts. I’m quite partial to California rolls, albeit not that tradition, so for ingredients I used cucumber, avocado and crab meat. Most California rolls are down with imitation crab sticks which are made from pollock, but I wanted to go with the real deal. I nice fine julienne of the crab and avocado got piled in between a roll of nori, cucumber and rice, then shaped into the four section. The interior diamond design is really what should shine through in a shikai roll, so I think in that respect I kind of failed. The overall appearance is still pretty nice though, and it definitely tasted good, so I would consider the dish as a whole a success. In any case, it just gives me a good excuse to practice making more sushi!

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