May 04, 2010

Pay it forward giveaway | Nori roll-ups | Scallion flatbread | Cappuccino muffins

I recently flirted with the random fairy, and my wish to achieve random selection was happily fulfilled. I won the pay it forward drawing hosted by Mary on her blog, Mitten Machen. This means I received a lovely box of Maine products from Mary, and the obligation to send a box of Washington state goodies to a randomly selected reader of this blog. From my perspective this was a double treat; I received a gift, and now I get to seek out and choose special, locally made items to share with one of you. I've already got a few things picked out, and I'm learning about other local products that would be fun to receive. If you would like to take part in this pay it forward giveaway, mention your intention in a comment on this post. I'll randomly select a winner on May 11 and announce it in a post. (Remember, by entering this contest you're agreeing to hold a giveaway of your own, and award a box of local treats to someone else.)

My box contained a beautiful card with a Maine photo, A soy candle with the scent of the Maine woods, a leaf made of solid maple sugar, a handmade wooden bookmark, and a refrigerator magnet based on a painting by a Maine artist. Thank you so much, Mary!


Bits and crumbs

I've mentioned many times on this blog that I prefer simple foods. The stuff I often eat doesn't really warrant a blog post, and here is proof of that. I'd been munching practically all day, and wanted a light supper. Above you see wok-grilled local asparagus and canned chickpeas, topped with roasted red pepper spread, and served with a green salad. See what I mean?

Nori makes a convenient and tasty wrap for more than just rice. One of my favorite fast snacks is to cut two thin slices of cold, baked tofu into narrow strips, and lay them along one end of a toasted nori sheet, generously pile baby salad mix on top, and roll up. You can't cut this into pieces — you have to hold it and munch. It tastes so great I usually have to make a second one as soon as I've finished the first.

I saw a post by Zoa on The Airy Way about the scallion pancakes she made with a yeasted dough. It reminded me of the more traditional version of scallion pancakes we learned to make in a Chinese cooking class. Zoa made hers with dough she had stored in her refrigerator, and when I saw her pancake I was immediately attacked by a powerful craving. I've been using my stored bread dough (based on Healthy Bread in Five minutes a Day) to make English muffins and assorted flatbreads, why not scallion pancakes? I flattened a piece of dough, coated it with toasted sesame oil and chopped scallions, and rolled the pancake in the traditional way. I baked it in my wok and enjoyed it with supper. Great idea, Zoa!


More recipe testing

These are cappuccino muffins from Celene Steen and Joni Marie Newman. What more can I say?


Hey. Don't leave without entering the pay it forward giveaway! I'm serious. I've got some fun and tasty items planned for my pay it forward box, and you don't want to be left out. Just mention in your comment that you'd like to be included. (There are some GF products in the box so don't be afraid to enter if you need a GF assortment. You can always share anything that might not be OK.)


  1. I absolutely want a chance at WA goodies since I lived there for 9 years and loved it!
    I know what you mean about simple meals. Sometimes I look at our plates and ask my hubby, do you think any of our friends would eat this? We love it tho!

  2. Andrea, thanks for linking to my blog! I have to give credit where credit is due, though--in this case, to Bryanna Clark Grogan for the refrigerator dough ( But I am having fun with it! Let me stress on your blog as well as mine that any yeasted dough will do for this purpose. Whip up the dough, store it in a container, and use it within two weeks. And Bryanna is quite right, there is hardly any kneading necessary.

    Your simple supper looks super, and the nori thing is stupendous. What a beautiful photograph. It makes me want to wrap my supper in nori, but since I'm having stew with dumplings, just possibly it wouldn't look as good as yours ;-)

  3. OK, I admit I'd love to win a random box of goodies, and I pledge to send off some Wisconsin stuff to a random person...

    .... those nori roll-ups look delicious and make me want to eat one. Too bad we just ate huge bowls of oatmeal...

  4. Nori as a wrapper for snacks sounds just genius! I need to watch my iodine intake a bit because of my crazy thyroid, but I definitely won't let this one pass!

    It's really funny how the pay it forward giveaway changed. I think when it started out over at Shelly's blog, it was about homemade gifts. But I like the local gifts idea as well!

  5. Nancy,
    Ha! Your "do you think ..." question made me smile!

    You may want to say "any yeasted VEGAN dough" since dough with dairy and eggs shouldn't be stored for very long. I've been basing my unkneaded bread on the "Healthy Artisan Bread in Five..." book but I've always cut the yeast and salt to two teaspoons (from 1-1/2 tablespoons). I also now add the 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten Zoë and Jeff recommend. And I use white whole wheat flour in a higher proportion than the authors do. The HBin5 blog ( is a good source of info about unkneaded bread — I know Bryanna mentions it on her blog. Zoë and Jeff's first book, "Artisan bread in 5" didn't include whole grains but I've always subbed white whole wheat for the white flour with great results. BTW, when I use the dough for flatbreads, I don't let it rise before baking.

    I agree with you that wrapping stew in nori would be ... problematical. HA!

    Did you eat oatmeal for dinner? I like the breakfast for dinner and dinner for breakfast concept. So much more interesting.

    A box from Wisconsin will definitely have to contain cranberries, right?

    I remember the homemade gifts giveaway — that was a great concept, and I think it's still circulating. The "local gift" idea is fun, too. I like discovering what easy-to-mail products are made where I live, especially since I'm a fairly new resident in this city.

  6. How cool is that nori roll idea! Way easier than making sushi rice, for sure. I'd like to get in on the Pay It Forward deal. I LOVE that idea.

    Also, I'm so glad you made those scallion pancakes, because I also admired them on Zoa's blog and forgot to make them!

  7. I'm glad your package arrived safely. Finding small, hardy items was a fun challenge! I can't wait to see what Washington prizes you choose.

  8. Congrats on winning the contest/giveaway--that is so fun. I would love to participate, but I don't have a I guess that disqualifies me, huh?!?

    I love simple foods too, and I think your asparagus dish looks and sounds amazing! Asparagus is so good it is best enjoyed simply, I think :-)


  9. Trinity,
    I've always been very fond of nori! Adding scallions and toasted sesame oil to bread makes it taste so good. :)

    I keep trying to find things that are relatively lightweight but one thing I want to get comes only in glass. Oh well.

    I wish you could participate, too but how would you get people to sign up? I have a blog but I can hardly get people to enter. I think the odds of winning this little contest will be very high. :)

  10. Such a lovely idea! And your stash sounds great. :) I love your idea for quick and easy nori rolls--I often don't make them because I think I don't have the proper filling. Won't hesitate next time!

  11. That is a great idea! I'd love to participate in this Pay-it-forward contest :)

  12. I LOVE nori rolls, that is such a great and fresh idea! I like simple foods too, most of the time, the more veggies the better! Everything you've got here looks fantastic.

  13. Yum, yum to all the food, even the hastily thrown together, but especially those yummy pancakes. Include me in the draw Andrea, it sounds like fun and I would enjoy picking out gifts for someone :)

  14. Ricki,
    I was thinking that avocado and salad rolled up in nori would be good. The only problem is you have to hold onto it and eat it because it doesn't stay rolled up. It's kind of a one-person on the fly snack!

    Thanks for commenting Nick. You're in the drawing!

    "Most of the time" is the key. Sometimes it's nice to cook something really special. BTW, you've been running an amazing series on your blog. Brilliant!

    You are included. I like the idea of sending my Seattle stash all the way to Scotland!

  15. I must try wrapping some stuff in nori! It looks tasty, nutritous and not-fattening-at-all!!!

    All your things look so good. I came here this evening for inspiration because I MUST LOSE WEIGHT! And I'm inspired! :o)

  16. Penny,
    I love nori so anything wrapped in it tastes good to me. I try to limit myself to two pieces because of all the iodine.


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