No. Not going to see the Rolling Stones. Nope. Not running some rock & roll marathon.
I made sushi.
I have to admit, I was inspired by Elizabeth's [Sushi] Rollin' With My Homies post. I'm not a fan of reposting on something someone just did, but I had to try sushi again. Last time I attempted this, it was a rice-aster. I had flecks of short-grain brown rice in my hair for weeks. But when I saw the success Elizabeth had, I decided I would give it another try. So I cranked up some country music and began sushi rolling. (I know, there's no connection, but I like to listen to country while cooking.)
I first had to pick up some ingredients that were not currently in my cupboard:
- Nori wraps
- Wasabi powder
- sesame seeds
I started the process by making some Quick and Dirty Pickled Ginger
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 large hunk of ginger peeled and sliced mandolin-style
Bring vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil. Add sliced ginger and boil for 5 minutes. WARNING: Boiling vinegar will drive away your most vile neighbors, but will also send everyone else within a 1000-yard vicinity running to the hills. Pack a jar with ginger and boiling liquid. Let cool, and the refrigerate for at least and hour before eating.
I know there aren't many ginger fans out there, but I love it. This quick pickled ginger recipe leaves quite a kick, so I wouldn't advise it for the meek of heart. If you like ginger like me, the more the better!
I then got started on the rice. Elizabeth says that the keys to making brown rice sticky are 1) use a 1 cup:1 cup:1 Tbsp ratio of rice:water:rice vinegar and 2) DO NOT use metal utensils or bowls. I am a fan of the Lundberg short grain brown rice; in fact, I do not know of any other brands that produce this kind of rice in the U.S. I suggest you see Elizabeth's notes on making sushi for more insight.
I was on a roll (ha), and decided to make miso soup, too. I really wanted seaweed salad, but Hannaford doesn't carry seaweed. I made this basic miso soup recipe on the back of the Shiro Miso (for which I paid a small fortune for). From the Eden Foods website, Shiro Miso is "often called "sweet white" or "Kyoto-style" light golden paste and is the sweetest and lowest sodium miso. It is made in small batches and is hand crafted by one of the oldest miso companies in Japan in the ancient traditional manner, from organic rice, US organically grown soybeans, pure water, sea salt, and koji. It is the most popular miso in Japan."
It was very bland, and I did have to add some salt. In the future, I'd add some vegetable broth in place of the water, and more veggies!
Next came the very arduous and potentially fatal process of sushi rolling.
Here, I have all of my fillings cut into long strips. I used mango, cucumbers, avocado, and leftover sweet potato. No raw fish here. So far, things are looking pretty un-chaotic.
A 1/2 cup scoop of brown rice/rice vinegar mixture spread over a nori wrap. Still pretty calm. I added some avocado and cucumber here, too.
Seriously? Okay, at this point things were looking good. But where I ran into trouble last time was in the cutting part.
Getting ready to cut...
Success! I can't believe it worked. Elizabeth was right. The secret's in the rice vinegar.
This is where it gets embarrassing. I spent the next hour (or way more) making TONS of rolls. I keep wanting to make "on a roll" jokes, but I'll stop.
It worked every time! I did end up eating the ends along the way, because those tended to fall apart, but other than that, I now have plates full of vegetable or mango rolls!
Doesn't that look like raw fish? Nope, it's cooked sweet potato! It even kind of has the texture of salmon sushi...
I topped the sushi with some toasted sesame seeds, and plated these bad boys up with some light Kikkoman soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger.
Like Elizabeth mentioned in her post, this revamped style of sushi brings a lot to the table: brown rice adds a little bit of fiber and vitamins not had in white rice, the vegetarian-ness of this sushi does not require the certification of raw fish sushi chef (and they can be saved for lunch tomorrow), sushi night adds variety to an otherwise monotonous week of meal, and the pickled ginger and wasabi will blow your head off!
Question of the Day: Do you DESPISE ginger or LOVE it to the ends of the Earth? Personally, I love it and if I have kids and I have a girl, I'm naming her Ginger. :-) By that time, the Gilligan's Island reference will be history.