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Friday, January 30, 2015

Sushi for One, Day 6 (Root and Sproot Sushi and Swiss Sushi)


For this sixth day of Sushi Week, I thought I’d twist away from what you expect sushi to be. The first one, Root and Sproot Sushi, is root vegetables and other favorite foods, and the second one involves chocolate! That’s right! Dessert sushi! Exclamation points!

You’ll need a standard amount of sushi rice for two rolls, but the filling amounts are too small to worry about. You have fun with it on your own!

½ cup sushi rice (small grain, white rice)
1 cup of water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/8 cup rice vinegar
Nori sheets for wrapping makis
  1. Cook the rice in the water. Watch it, because small amounts of rice like this will suddenly be cooked and burning! Put it into a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small bowl. Using a sweeping motion with the rice paddle, pour the vinegar solution over the cooked rice, smooshing the vinegar into the rice. Make wide Zs over and over in the rice, occasionally bringing the bottom rice up to the top until it’s thoroughly combined and the vinegar has all been absorbed.
  3. Wait until the rice is COMPLETELY COOLED. 

Tra-la-la

I’m not going to repeat rolling instructions. If you need them, here’s a link to Day 1.

Let’s take a look at the interesting part, the fillings.

Root and Sproot Sushi: Roasted sweet potato and roasted beet wrapped around roasted asparagus with teriyaki sauce.
Swiss Sushi: Modeling chocolate, sliced strawberries, and mint, with coconut and dates ground in the blender instead of sushi rice. Melted chocolate dipping sauce.



Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sushi for One, Day 5 (Los Angeles and Ninja Sushi)




For this fifth day of Sushi Week, Today's offerings might be a little stereotypical: Los Angeles Sushi and Ninja Sushi. The first is crunchy and moist and the second will make you feel like you could surprise your cat in the dark.

You’ll need a standard amount of sushi rice for two rolls, but the filling amounts are too small to worry about. You have fun with it on your own!

½ cup sushi rice (small grain, white rice)
1 cup of water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/8 cup rice vinegar
Nori sheets for wrapping makis

  1. Cook the rice in the water. Watch it, because small amounts of rice like this will suddenly be cooked and burning! Put it into a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small bowl. 
  3. Using a sweeping motion with the rice paddle, pour the vinegar solution over the cooked rice, smooshing the vinegar into the rice. Make wide Zs over and over in the rice, occasionally bringing the bottom rice up to the top until it’s thoroughly combined and the vinegar has all been absorbed.
  4. Wait until the rice is COMPLETELY COOLED. 

Tra-la-la

I’m not going to repeat rolling instructions. If you need them, here’s a link to Day 1.

Let’s take a look at the interesting part, the fillings.

Los Angeles Sushi: Green onion, avocado, cucumber, and carrot, with soy sauce and wasabi

Ninja Sushi: Teriyaki baked tofu, sweet potato, pea sprouts, with soy sauce and wasabi


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sushi for One, Day 4 (Italian and Russian)



For this fourth day of Sushi Week, I offer you Italian Sushi and Russian Sushi. Oh I know these are not nations you think of immediately when you think of sushi, but give it a moment. Wouldn’t nori and a little vinegared rice add some nice complimentary flavors to, say an Alfredo sauce? And beets and sour cream are a given, so don’t wait. Just try it!

You’ll need a standard amount of sushi rice for two rolls, but the filling amounts are too small to worry about. You have fun with it on your own!

½ cup sushi rice (small grain, white rice)
1 cup of water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/8 cup rice vinegar
Nori sheets for wrapping makis 
  1. Cook the rice in the water. Watch it, because small amounts of rice like this will suddenly be cooked and burning! Put it into a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small bowl. Using a sweeping motion with the rice paddle, pour the vinegar solution over the cooked rice, smooshing the vinegar into the rice. Make wide Zs over and over in the rice, occasionally bringing the bottom rice up to the top until it’s thoroughly combined and the vinegar has all been absorbed.
  3. Wait until the rice is COMPLETELY COOLED. 

Tra-la-la

I’m not going to repeat rolling instructions. If you need them, here’s a link to Day 1.

Let’s take a look at the interesting part, the fillings.

Italian Sushi: Cooked zucchini, steamed spinach, baked sweet potato, green onion, and tofu-based Alfredo dipping sauce.

Russian Sushi: Pickled beets, cabbage, Tofurkey Beer Brat, and faux sour cream dipping sauce with horseradish

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sushi for One, Day 3 (German and Greek)



For this third day of Sushi Week, I offer you German and Greek Sushi. The first is substantial and rather stereotypical and the other is a play on Spanakopita, one of my favorite foods from any culture.

You’ll need a standard amount of sushi rice for two rolls, but the filling amounts are too small to worry about. You have fun with it on your own!

½ cup sushi rice (small grain, white rice)
1 cup of water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/8 cup rice vinegar
Nori sheets for wrapping makis

  1. Cook the rice in the water. Watch it, because small amounts of rice like this will suddenly be cooked and burning! Put it into a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small bowl. Using a sweeping motion with the rice paddle, pour the vinegar solution over the cooked rice, smooshing the vinegar into the rice. Make wide Zs over and over in the rice, occasionally bringing the bottom rice up to the top until it’s thoroughly combined and the vinegar has all been absorbed.
  3. Wait until the rice is COMPLETELY COOLED. 

Tra-la-la

I’m not going to repeat rolling instructions. If you need them, here’s a link to Day 1.

Let’s take a look at the interesting part, the fillings.

German Sushi: Tofurkey Beer Brat, sauerkraut, pickle, and  brown mustard dipping sauce


Greek Sushi: Kalamata olives (chopped up), steamed spinach, tofu-based feta “cheese,” and pesto dipping sauce. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sushi for One, Day 2 (American East Coast and French)



For this second day of Sushi Week, I offer you American East Coast Sushi and French Sushi. One is a study in sturdy food, and the other, a collection of delicate flavors.

You’ll need a standard amount of sushi rice for two rolls, but the filling amounts are too small to worry about. You have fun with it on your own!

½ cup sushi rice (small grain, white rice)
1 cup of water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/8 cup rice vinegar
Nori sheets for wrapping makis

  1. Cook the rice in the water. Watch it, because small amounts of rice like this will suddenly be cooked and burning! Put it into a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small bowl. Using a sweeping motion with the rice paddle, pour the vinegar solution over the cooked rice, smooshing the vinegar into the rice. Make wide Zs over and over in the rice, occasionally bringing the bottom rice up to the top until it’s thoroughly combined and the vinegar has all been absorbed.
  3. Wait until the rice is COMPLETELY COOLED. 

Tra-la-la

I’m not going to repeat rolling instructions. If you need them, here’s a link to Day 1, which has instructions.

Let’s take a look at the interesting part, the fillings.

When I think of the East Coast, I think of history and sporting events. And in France, I think of elegance, fancy sauces, and a certain distinctive precision during prep in the kitchen. How does that translate to sushi?

East Coast Sushi: Tofurkey Beer Brat, red onion, pickle, yellow mustard dipping sauce.

French Sushi: Lettuce, haricot verte, courgette (zucchini), caramelized onions, toasted and chopped almonds. For a dipping sauce, I made a vegan BĂ©arnaise Sauce out of white wine, white wine vinegar, shallots, vegan margarine, finely ground cashews, water, lemon juice, salt, turmeric, fresh tarragon, and fresh parsley (you’ll see specific measurements soon, in a recipe for faux Eggs Benedict).  



Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sushi for One, Day 1 (American South and Algerian)




My definition of “sushi” might be somewhat loose. It’s mostly a wrap with a nice dipping sauce, I suppose, although there is a strong tendency for nori (seaweed) and sweet sushi rice. But I thought it would be fun to take sushi around the world and see what happens.

For Day 1 of Sushi Week, I’m going to start at the beginning of the alphabet of my collection of Sushi around the world. Go ahead—cross some borders!

You’ll need a standard amount of sushi rice for two rolls, but the filling amounts are too small to worry about. You have fun with it on your own!

½ cup sushi rice (small grain, white rice)
1 cup of water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/8 cup rice vinegar
Nori sheets for wrapping makis

  1. Cook the rice in the water. Watch it, because small amounts of rice like this will suddenly be cooked and burning! Put it into a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small bowl. Using a sweeping motion with the rice paddle, pour the vinegar solution over the cooked rice, smooshing the vinegar into the rice with the paddle. Make wide Zs over and over in the rice, occasionally bringing the bottom rice up to the top until the sweet vinegar is thoroughly combined.
  3. Wait until the rice is COMPLETELY COOLED. Don't put it in the refrigerator, though. It gets an unpleasant stiffness to the rice if you do. 

Tra-la-la

Now, let’s get to the wrapping. I’ve provided two methods for wrapping: the Old-Fashioned method and the one for klutzes, like me.

Old-Fashioned Normal Person Method:
  1. Cover a sushi rolling mat with plastic wrap and place a sheet of nori on it.
  2. Put about half of the rice on the nori sheet close to the bottom edge and smoodge it flat to cover about ¾ of the sheet. It will be sticky. Getting your hands damp helps with that.
  3. Line up your fillings in a neat little row near the bottom of the rice. You’ll want to pile it as neatly and horizontally as possible.
  4. Pick up the edge of the mat and roll the nori and rice up inch by inch, using the mat to help you keep it tight. Pause often to make sure it’s really tight and resettle the roll on the mat. Keep rolling until you’re finally through the whole roll. Stop just short of rolling it the last little bit.
  5. Take some of the remaining rice and smoosh it thoroughly against the edge of nori to act as glue, and then finish rolling the maki up.
  6. Place the roll on a piece of plastic wrap and slice it in half (the short way, silly, unless you’re going to do something fancy). Slice each of those halves in half, and then cut those halves too. You should have eight pieces of sushi.

Handy Device, High-Tech Method for Klutzes (I used this http://tinyurl.com/k9zrh69 ):
  1. Cover a sushi rolling mat with plastic wrap and place a sheet of nori on it.
  2. Dampen the bottom of the device and smoodge about ¼ of the rice into it. It will be sticky. Dampening your hands will help with that.
  3. Line your fillings up and put another quarter of the rice on top of them into the nifty device. Smoosh the top of the device down on the rice and push hard! It should squish out a bit at the sides.
  4. Take the top off the device and turn the contraption and its contents upside-down onto a blank piece of nori, quite near the bottom, but not quite at it.
  5. Push the rest of the device carefully off of the rice so that you have a tidy little rice log on the nori sheet.
  6. Pick up the edge of the mat and roll the nori and rice log up inch by inch, using the mat to help you keep it tight. Pause often to make sure it’s really tight and resettle the roll on the mat. Keep rolling until you’re finally through the whole roll. Stop just short of rolling it the last little bit.
  7. Take some of the remaining rice and smoosh it thoroughly against the edge of nori to act as glue, and then finish rolling the maki up.
  8. Place the roll on a piece of plastic wrap and slice it in half (the short way, silly, unless you’re going to do something fancy). Slice each of those halves in half, and then cut those halves too. You should have eight pieces of sushi.
Now, then, on to flavors. Today’s are American South and Algerian. I’ve never been to either place, but I'm told that their food is distinctive.

American South Sushi: Watermelon, cantaloupe, and mint with a lemon and powdered sugar dipping sauce. I surrounded mine with figs because, you know, figs. 

Algerian Sushi: Grated carrot, avocado, steamed spinach, with rice on the OUTSIDE of the nori sheet and flipped over. Then I made the inside log of rice and goodies, rolled it up inside, and draped cooked sweet potato over the top. This one I dipped into traditional wasabi-laden soy sauce. 





Thursday, January 22, 2015

Chocolate Tartlet for One


 

This little pie is just right for when you want to treat yourself. It’s easy to make—the only hard part is waiting for it to solidify. Oh, and you can put just about any kind of fruit in there, but I’ve found that fresh is best.

For the Crust:
¼ cup raw almonds
3 TBLSP dates, pitted and chopped a little
1 ½ TBLSP unsweetened coconut
A pinch of salt
1 ½ TBLSP coconut oil
For the Filling:
2 TBLSP coconut oil
½ a large banana
2 TBLSP maple syrup
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ¾ TBLSP unsweetened cocoa powder
For the Fruit Surprise (optional):
Three small strawberries OR five raspberries, some chopped mango, chopped pineapple
Additional chopped or sliced fruit for decoration.

Make the Crust:
  1. Pulse the almonds in a food processor or blender until crumbly. Add the dates, coconut, salt, and coconut oil, and pulse until it’s smooth.
  2. Press the dough into a ramekin so that it lines the bottom and sides. You’ll want it to be evenly thick all the way around, but with a nice big space in the middle for the filling. (If there’s extra dough, make balls out of it for a snack later.)

Make the Filling
  1. Melt the coconut oil. You can put it in the microwave for 10 seconds or put it ever-so-briefly on the stove. Sometimes, just cupping your nice warm hands around the measuring cup is enough to melt it.
  2. Place the melted coconut oil, banana, syrup, vanilla, and cocoa powder in the food processor and whirl until it’s smooth.

Assemble the Pie:
  1. If you’re making a pretty surprise fruit center, place the fruit attractively in the bottom of the pie crust.
  2. Pour the filling into the pie crust. It’s soupy now, but it will be like a very stiff pudding when it hardens. Give the bottom of the ramekin a sharp tap on the counter, to make sure any bubbles are gone and that the filling has settled into all the nooks and crannies.
  3. Make the top pretty, whether that’s by swirling the chocolate filling or by ornamenting with cut fruit.
  4. Freeze for 15 minutes or let it sit in the refrigerator for an hour.


Variations:

It’s good plain or with strawberries, but try it with pineapple, apricots, mango, banana, raspberries, cherries, or, if you’re really feeling wild, undressed fruit salad!