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Archive for the ‘How-To's’ Category

Sushi…

…is super fun, tasty, and healthy.  We’ve been wanting to try to make our own for awhile now, and with the arrival of our new sushi mat and paddle and some help from the April issue of Food Network Magazine, we jumped into our first sushi endeavor together last night.

Making sushi really isn’t that difficult; it is just a bit tedious and time-consuming!  For vegetable sushi rolls, you need:

  • 3 cups Japanese rice
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 10 nori sheets
  • sesame seeds
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 plum tomato
  • 1 small red onion
  • 20 asparagus spears
  • Wasabi paste
  • romaine lettuce

Start off by making the rice.  Simply follow the directions on the rice bag!

Slice up all of your vegetables: peel the cucumber and cut it into matchsticks, then, thinly slice the avocado, tomato, and red onion.  Also, boil a bit of water and drop the trimmed asparagus in until it is nice and bright green, about 5 minutes.  Then, plunge it into ice water to blanch it.

While the rice is fluffing, combine the vinegar, sugar, and 1 tsp. salt in a saucepan over medium.  Stir the liquid just until the sugar and salt dissolve and it’s ready to go.

Pour 1/4 of the vinegar mixture over the fluffed rice.  Using a wooden spoon or paddle, mix the vinegar into the rice.  Then, add the rest of the vinegar slowly to get it well-incorporated throughout all the rice.  Let it sit for 5 minutes.  You now have some super tasty sticky rice!

Next, cover your sushi mat with some saran wrap.  Lay a piece of nori on the mat, then moisten your hands and scoop out a handful of rice onto the nori.  Press it with your damp hands to spread the rice evenly over the nori sheet, then sprinkle on some sesame seeds.  Keep moistening your hands as you work–the rice is super sticky and damp hands will make the process much easier!

You’re ready to stuff the sushi!  Carefully flip the nori rice-side down on your sushi mat and turn it long-ways.  Spread a tiny bit of Wasabi paste about 1/3 of the way up the nori.  If you love Wasabi, put a good dollop.  If you’ve never had Wasabi or aren’t crazy about spicy foods, use only a tiny, tiny drop.  As we found out last night, Wasabi will KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF.  It was quite hilarious to see both of our reactions, including Schatzi yelling about how his facial bones were melting and pouring out his nose and me waving my arms all over the place as if we were at a revival…

Add a piece of lettuce, some cucumber, avocado, tomato, and onion on top of the Wasabi.  Don’t worry if some of the veggies hang off of the nori.

Roll your sushi away from you with your hands tucking in the vegetables as you roll.

Then, take the mat and wrap it around the outside of the sushi roll.  Press the roll into a tight rectangular log using the mat as a guide/press.

The last step is to slice the sushi into 4-5 pieces.  Ta-da!

Despite the Wasabi completely throwing us for a loop, this sushi was absolutely delicious!  We can’t wait to make another batch and experiment with some fresh salmon.  Hint: it’s even better served with some Tamari sauce.

*sc

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Leeks…

…are truly delightful!  I had not cooked with them until, of course, I saw a recipe for them on RR.  Leeks are a type of onion that grow underground (of course) and push their way up.  Because they grow underground and have leaves, they are quite gritty and have to be washed very well before you cook with them.  In fact, let’s just have a little tutorial on how to deal with leeks. Trust me. You want to cook with them!

Ok. this is a leek:

Begin by chopping off each end:

Then, slice the leek straight down the middle:

Next, dice it up (I think this part is super fun because it is so easy to chop quickly!):

Finish the prep process by swirling the chopped leeks in a bowl of cold water. This is what actually gets them clean! Then, dump them in a colander to drain out a bit. Voila.  You are on your way to deliciousness.

So what can you cook with this tasty type of onion?  Well, we made bacon, leek, and tomato spaghetti, which is quite delicious.

Most recently, we made an oatmeal-crusted flounder with an awesome bacon-leek topping and balsamic drizzle.

So. Try something new! Go get some leeks!

*sc

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