Wednesday, May 7, 2008
From caterpillars to caterpillar rolls...
When I wrote the stinging caterpillar post, I thought It'd be clever to end with a caterpillar sushi roll since tying bugs and food together is always good for a laugh. Somehow, the real caterpillar pictures went on and on, and I knew adding a recipe at the end would be disastrous. Plus, I think I need to work on rolling caterpillar sushi a bit more. The avocado sorta gets mushed out of shape when I apply pressure to the mat-- still tasty, but I need to work on my technique. I'm happily willing to eat these sorts of mistakes, and I'll probably be eating a lot more since these hit my sushi spot and fit in with the way I want to eat this Summer.
My favorite sushi stuffing ideas have been on Pakupaku for ages, though I've yet to get that section finished. Yesterday, I was lazy and didn't want to go to the store for ingredients, so I used what we had in the kitchen: dried shiitakes, cukes, carrots, avocado and beets. If I'd been more ambitious, I would have made some tempura for the innards.
The cucumber pickles were a snap. Peel and seed half a cucumber and cut into strips. Toss in a good squeeze of beet juice (grate and squeeze out the juice with your hand), a small squirt of agave, rice vinegar and toasted sesame oil.
For the mushrooms, I simply hydrated a handful in boiling water, squeezed out the excess water when they were soft, and tossed with tamari. You could be fancier and use a ponzu sauce if you wanted.
The carrots were julienned with an OXO tool that I purchased thinking it was a regular vegetable peeler. I like it, and it's easier than pulling out the ol' Benriner, so no gripes from me.
I made both inside out rolls and regular futomaki, and the rice filling was seasoned traditionally with rice vinegar, salt and a bit of granulated sugar. I went non-traditional too--I used a combo of organic short grain brown rice and a cereal blend I found at Hong Kong Market. I freakin' love this stuff, it's got all kinds of things in it besides rice; oats, barley, job's tears, aduki beans and mung beans. I just used a tiny bit of the blend, so the sushi wouldn't be co-opted with beans.
Also, if you're interested in less standard sushi fillings, you might be interested in Japanese pickles. I have two cookbooks, which give lots of information: Tsukemono Japanese Pickling Recipes by Ikuko Hisamatsu and Easy Japanese Pickling by Seiko Ogawa.