Tuesday, May 18, 2010


We eat Japanese food at least twice a week in our home.  I love how it tastes and how it makes me feel.    So this may come as a surprise to most of you, but I've never made sushi at home.  I've made it on special occasions with my family, and I've eaten the "real thing" at some incredible places in Tokyo, but that's it.  I've never made it for my own family.  And really, sushi is a special occasion kind of thing, not an everyday food by any means, but I decided it was time.  Especially for my little girl to eat some!  Afterall, being a 1/4 Japanese, she's going to be asked her whole life if she likes sushi or not.  So she better know what it is.

Oh, and she does like it, by the way.

So just in case you didn't know this, sushi doesn't mean raw fish in Japanese.  It refers to the way the rice is prepared.  And sushi can have cooked fish, sometimes even egg on/in it.

We decided on the simple California Roll.  With short grain brown rice instead of white.  Not at all traditional, but I wasn't about to try nigirizushi since pretty much only trained sushi chefs make that, and some of the other ingredients that usually go in makizushi aren't so readily availabe here.  And I like avocado.  And I got a huge bag at Sam's this week for our fish tacos.

Brown Rice California Rolls
serves 2
For the rice:
1.5 C short grain (brown--optional) rice
1.5 C water
1/4 C rice vinegar
2 T sugar
1/2 t salt
  1. Wash rice until water runs clear.  Cook with water in a rice cooker.  (Or cook it on the stove top like most people;) )
  2.  In a small pot, put the vinegar, sugar, and salt.  Heat over medium heat and stir occasionally until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. Once the rice is cooked, transfer to a large bowl (ideally a Japanese wooden bowl designed for sushi), and pour over the vinegar dressing over the rice.  Toss the rice with a flat wooden spoon or a rice paddle, with horizontal slashing strokes.
For the sushi: (depends on how much you want to put in)
vinegar rice
2 sheets toasted nori seaweed
1 egg, lightly beaten
crab meat (or imitation crab, which is what you'll usually get at a sushi place)
avocado, sliced thin
seedless cucmber, cut into thin, long strips
  1. Cook the egg on medium heat into a very thin "pancake", remove from pan and let cool.  Once cooled, cut the egg pancake into thin strips.  Cut the crab meat into thin, bite sized pieces.
  2. Using a bamboo sushi rolling mat, place the nori down with the shiny side up.
  3. In a thin layer, place some rice over the nori, leaving a 3/4 inch gap at the top and bottom.
  4. In a horizontal line, layer the ingredients.  Then, using the rolling mat, tightly roll up the nori around the rice and filling.  Using your finger, spread some water over the exposed nori and seal shut.
  5. Using a very sharp knife, slice the roll into 6~8 pieces.  It's easiest if the sushi is chilled a little bit.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

another one of those last minute meals

In fact, I looked in my fridge and saw parsnips and broccoli that needed to be eaten pretty quick, so I got them prepped while I thought what in the world to serve with that.  Afterall, you can't really have a dinner of just pureed parsnips and roasted broccoli, can you?

So I made aglio e olio, but this time with fabulous minced shallots along with the minced garlic.  Good choice!
These were all so simple that I don't feel like I need to add a recipe. 

For the pureed parsnips, I peeled and cut off the ends of 2 medium sized parsnips, cut them into little pieces, and boiled them in slightly salted water.  Then I drained them, threw them in the food processor with about a tablespoon of butter, salt and pepper to taste, and a little (about 2 T?) whole milk.  After tasting it I felt like it needed a bit of a bite so I added some freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese.  My baby girl ate a ton!  It's similar to the texture of mashed potatoes, but silkier and a VERY different flavor.  It's kind of sweet, almost floral.  You have to try it sometime!

Roasted broccoli, I'm sure I've had on here before.  450°F oven, cut broccoli into bite size pieces, toss in salt, pepper, olive oil.  Roast in the oven until the florets are crispy and browned and the stems are no longer crunchy.

And the aglio e olio I've done before.  It's a staple in our home.  It's a nice simple but delicious dish that goes with ANYTHING.  Fish, chicken, even heavier meat, and of course--like tonight--veggies.