Saturday, November 27, 2010


Light foods. That's the ticket for the next few days. No cream, no sugar, no butter... Let's allow my intestinal flora to adapt to a lower calorie world.

I love fish, but I don't eat it very often. It's up there with why I don't own diamonds and why I eat only organic pork as my pathetic consumer activism. Woo, my participation in the decline of society is slightly less than average for my social group. I'm such a martyr.

A couple of months ago, I read an article on making fish free sushi at home. I believe they suggested egg and prosciutto as ideal toppings. Not vegan. Happily, their advice on rice making was spot on- sushi rice really does go with most things. And if it doesn't work as sushi, it can quickly be turned into onigiri.

So yes. Cook a cup of short grain rice- since stickiness is not as essential, I sometimes use brown rice. Let's not go halfway when we're debasing the cuisine that brought us the noodle sandwich. Please don't cook the rice in a pressure cooker- it's what my mother does, and it always makes me sad.

Add seasoned rice vinegar- or rice vinegar and sugar and salt. A couple of dashes should be sufficient- frequent tasting is essential.

Now, I either compact the rice into nigiri type blocks or make rolls. I have a spiffy little press for this the nigiri: before they hold together the rice usually must be compacted by almost half. They can be hand shaped, but you must be really awesome.

Not ready to invest in sushi hardware? Buy a few sheets of nori, cut them in half, and put a stripe of seasoned rice down one long edge. Add filling and roll up- dabbing the nori with water at the end. (Some people toast the unfilled nori by waving it over a burner on high. There should be no rational likelihood of the nori catching on fire.) Slice the sushi into bite sized bits with a sharp knife- it may need to be cleaned partway through the process. Serve with soy sauce. If wasabi and gari are available, use those too.

What sort of fillings are delicious? Avocado, of course. And cucumber is traditional. I like to use a little bit of seasoned tofu, or some carrot pickles or mirin pickles. I like fried shiitake mushrooms and bell pepper and cilantro and toasted sesame seeds and dabs of miso and green onions. Kimchi might not be bad. Thin strips of kale might be nice. Shiso leaves would be slightly decadent. I don't like pickled plum paste, but I suspect various ripe fruits might be good. Stand in the produce aisle (or at the market) until something strikes you as a good idea. Don't prepare more than a cup or so of assorted fillings, or there will be all sorts of leftovers.

As concrete advice, I suggest bell pepper strips, cucumber, and a thin layer of red miso.
Or fried shiitake mushrooms and cilantro and sesame seeds. Or avocado. Avocado is always good.

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