ok, while I have a few other things to say, this post is mostly going to be about sushi. So, let's get that other stuff out of the way right from the get-go. Non sushi pics are a tomato and bell pepper soup, a masaman curry, and a "full monty" breakfast. the tomato soup is much like this version only with the addition of some baby red, orange and yellow bell peppers. i also added some chili powder to give it some heat. The masaman curry was a repeat of this recipe. just hadn't had it in a while and you know, had to feed that addiction we have. So if you are wondering how to assemble a proper bloke's full monty, it's basically just this: get some beans going ( I used some canned pintos to save time. I just combined mine with some sauteed onion, a little tomato sauce (actually I think it was v8 juice), salt and pepper, smoked paprika, and some coriander.) and once those are ready, set aside and then fry up some bacon or sausage (or both!), toast some bread, and then quick fry an over easy egg. I like to place mine on top the beans and crack the yolk. pretty filling...you could probably skip lunch with this one.
ok, sushi. Wow, where to begin? well, for the sake of time here, we'll talk about making rolls. While a perfect piece of hand formed sushi is one of life's great pleasures, it's not one of life's easy tasks. Rolling sushi, however, is pretty easy and quite fun. but first, there are a few things you need to pick up.
First, you need to get yourself a rolling mat. These are relatively inexpensive and can be picked up at most asian markets and even some grocery stores around town (i think I saw one at supes on 48th). If you have trouble finding one, I would recommend something like this.
Also, it doesn't hurt to have a guidebook. There are a plethora of good books out there, I just happen to have this one and like it for it's simplicity.
As far as ingredients, the main things you need to pick up are: short grain sushi rice (usually available in bulk, get mine at open harvest, but have also purchased this brand in a pinch at local stores), roasted nori sheets, and rice vinegar. you also need some sugar and salt but I assume most people have those already.
First step would be to get your rice going. I use my rice cooker, but you can very well just use a pot with a lid. You want to make sure you give the rice a good rinsing under cold water in a sieve until the water runs clear. once that happens, either put it in your rice cooker or into a pot with a tight lid. here is a rice recipe:
1 and 1/3 cups sushi rice
1.5 cups water
put washed rice and water in pot, cover with tight fitting lid. bring to a boil over med heat. resist the temptation to lift the lid, just listen for boiling sounds and once that happens, boil for 4 more minutes, adjusting heat if it boils over. after 4 minutes, reduce heat to very low and simmer for 9 minutes, then remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
while your rice is going, you need to make the vinegar mixture. For this you'll need:
4 Tbs rice vinegar
2 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
now, you could put this in a saucepan and heat it up until the salt and sugar has dissolved, but I just nuke it in a microwave for like 40 seconds. make sure it doesn't boil, you just want to dissolve the solids. after 40 seconds it should be hot enough to dissolve everything and if not, you can usually just help it along by giving it a good stir. once you have done this, set aside and wait for your rice to finish cooking.
ok, so rice is done and vinegar mixture is done also. now, you want to move the rice to a wide shallow dish like a baking dish or pie dish (i use the latter) and slowly pour the vinegar mixture into it, mixing and distributing the vinegar so that all of the rice is shiny. fan the rice gently (with a piece of paper, or towel, or, um a fan..., until it starts to cool. once cooled, you are ready to use the rice, or can cover it with a damp towel if you want to use it later (this is what I usually do. I make my rice earlier in the day and cover it so that when I am ready to assemble, I can just get my ingredients ready and go. this way, it seems super easy. a good way to spread out the work. and don't worry, the rice is basically pickled, bacteria would hate this rice, you'll be fine leaving it out.
now, the fun stuff.
now, you are ready to assemble. make sure your work surface is clean and then place your mat on your work surface, top the mat with a nori sheet (shiny side down), and then top with two handfuls of rice in the center. spread the rice evenly across the sheet and leave about 1/4 inch margin on the edge furthest from you. now it's time for your ingredients. whatever you are using, you want to be in long strips. In the photos above, I ended up using smoked salmon and avocado with some cream cheese. whatever you are using (especially in the case of raw fish) you want it to be of the highest quality possible. ok, so lay your ingredients in the middle of the roll. if you have multiple ingredients, just lay on either side of the fish/veggies/etc. now, place your thumbs on the rolling mat and lift the near edge of the mat with your thumb and index fingers. hold the fillings in place with the rest of your fingers. holding a small flap at the top of the mat, bring the near side of the roll over that it covers the fillings. bring the rolling mat down to meet the strip of nori, and gently squeeze along the length of the roll to tuck in the near edge of the nori. Lift the front edge of the mat slightly with one hand and use the other to gently push the roll forward so that the strip of nori not covered by rice seals the roll. Pull back the mat and neaten the ends. set aside in a cool place (not the fridge), while you make the remaining rolls. use a sharp knife to cut the roll into 6-8 pieces. after each cut, the knife will need to be wiped off and moistened to make the additional cuts. serve with pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce.
ok , so I know that was a lot to process, so for you visual learners out there, try this as a reference. (vid is for a half roll, prob better ones out there, but this is what I found right away)
finally went to bread and cup over the weekend. was pretty excited to go as I really respect what they are trying to do with using locally sourced ingredients, etc. I have to say that I was pretty underwhelmed, and bummed, because I really wanted to enjoy it. Our service was pretty terrible, our wine was forgotten until after we received our entrees, and the bread was pretty dense, ok it was really dense, but I didn't go there for the bread. I ordered the beef brisket which was said to have been braised in red wine with mirepoix but I certainly didn't taste that. it was served with butternut squash puree and roasted potatoes, and there was a rumor that grilled leeks were in there somewhere. I think i had about a 1 inch piece of leek (singular) on top of my meat. The meat was certainly tender, but lacked a lot of flavor and I was left wanting some sort of non-starchy vegetable to cut through the large amount of starch I was eating (perhaps more leeks?). Mames had some grilled flank steak that was very tough and fatty (I don't know if this had to do with the fact that it was grass fed or not, but they certainly could have taken extra measures to ensure tenderness) Perhaps it was an off night...i don't know. I don't think that I will be going back anytime soon, which was a pretty big bummer, because I dig what this guy is trying to do (I even follow his blog), i just think that he needs to spend a little bit more time concentrating on bringing the flavors of his food, up to the standard of the presentation (they did have very nice presentation, I will give them that.)
going to be working a lot these next couple of weeks, so that's why I decided to post two blogs. Marth is in china so, until next time...pieces.