Friday, October 30, 2009

Vegan Sushi w/Green Tomatoes, Yams + Mexican Hot Sauce; My Last Burger(?!?!); and a Macrobiotic Chef to Know

Seaweed is ridiculously good for you. Used with soy, it's proven to kill cancer cells, for one thing (and sugar grows them! who knew?), it's mineral rich, and it's the most nutritious vegetable on earth. 


"Good Health" = An Excuse to Eat More Sushi
When I decide to eat more seaweed for general good health, I'm thinking homemade vegan* sushi.

'Cause sushi is ridiculously delicious, and I'm in the mood to make up some crazy things.

This photo, btw, is of the amazing disappearing asparagus-avocado-green tomato-pickled jalapeno hand roll.




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(*I'm  so  not vegan. I ate a giant hamburger last week. See? [Scroll 3/4 down page.] The best part is that I ate the giant (cheese, actually)burger after attending a vegan cooking lecture. Ha!

The lecture was a presentation by vegan macrobiotic nutrition consultant Roxanne Koteles-Smith, who cooked at the Ritz Carlton SF under celeb chef Sylvain Portay and trained at both the New England Culinary Institute [NECI] and the Kushi Institute. Woman has chops.

I know her how? Using a custom dietary regimen and supplements, she recently shepherded my elder cousin into complete breast cancer remission with no pain during chemo [an astounding achievement according to all of my cousin's doctors and nurses].

Seeing my very Southern cousin convert so gracefully to an all-organic/local, gluten-free, sugar-free, and cow/dairy-free diet was mega inspiring. [She turned me on to amazing treats like melty, tasty goat brie, too. YUM.]

Sooooooo, after hemming and hawing about changing in my fabulously eclectic diet for a more healthful one, I am going to start seeing her for consultations and I'm going to get healthy as cr*p. I figured I'd better squeeze in one last slab of cow!)
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That said...

Vegan Homemade Sushi Is Tight!
Because you don't have to mess around with raw fish, and it's way cheaper

(After the initial investment, of course, in good wasabia japonica powder, nori seaweed sheets, brown rice vinegar, brown rice syrup [a smart substitute for sugar], mirin [rice wine], bamboo sushi rolling mats, good organic white short grain sushi rice [Lundberg!], good tamari [fancy wheat-free soy sauce], chopsticks, blah blah blah, pickled ginger [overkill if you ask me].)


Basically, if you go bonkers with the avocado and the spicy things, your rolls are going to rock, kindof no matter what.

Getting creative with veggies and condiments is the fun part. See that little monkey dish of yellow business up in the left corner of the photo above? Shaved Meyer lemon! Rind and all. Floral, sweet, lemony snicket.



Fun Times with Goofy Vegetables
We threw some green tomatoes in the Benriner mandoline slicer and marinated them in umeboshi plum vinegar. Oh, SNAP.

I baked a Mahon yam and sliced it into strips. Creamy.

Hit the cucumbers and the carrots with the Benriner too; my sweetie made us some swanky matchsticks!





Pickle Me This, Batman.
Sliced up some garlicky pickled jalapeno that I pickled myself! I used Karen Solomon's new book, Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It, as my guide.

(See those peppers? My stepmom and stepsister grew them thangs organically out of holes dug in haystacks, and fertilized 'em with cricket poop tea. Affectionately branded "Kricket Krap." Ahem. They are goooood!)





Anyway, Karen's pickle recipe is awesome! I highly recommend the book, reviewed this summer on Eat Me Daily.

And look, it is so attractive. Christmas gifting, yo! Check it out here.









Gather Ye Sesame Oils While Ye May
Even though our sesame oil's been in the fridge, it hasn't been touched in a year. It ain't rancid, but it's completely lost its yum, so the "sesame oil steamed spinach" trick I had planned wasn't really a hit, even with delicious homemade gomasio (pulverized roasted sesame seeds and salt -- also kept in fridge). Dang!


I was pretty pumped to make a spicy asparagus roll, all the same.

This one includes avocado, asparagus, slivered Meyer lemon, and carrots, with gomasio and a generous swath of specialness**.







Mexican Hot Sauce = Sushi Coup de Grace
We don't have any Sriracha or other Asian hot sauce in the frigo (yet), but I was kindof stoked to try my fave creamy-consistency Mexican hot sauces that I brought back with me from California.



**Salsa Huichol, you are my friend. Smooth, creamy, super warm spiciness from Tepic, Nayarit, MX. I heart you.













Oh, hi there, dark, rich, creamy, spicy Valentina Tamazula, made in Guadalajara, MX! You're my favorite. Don't tell Huichol.













Warm, Sweet, Vinegared Rice. Yum.
My friend Anne, a.k.a. The Shop Tart (if you haven't visited her on the world wide internet web, treat yourself) loaned me some mirin (rice wine) and her sushi cookbook, Sushi Made Easy, mainly for the rice recipe, but also for the rolling techniques, how-to photos, etc.

I like borrowing things from good friends; it creates an excuse to casually hang out when you give back whatever random thing you borrowed.





Oh and that rice recipe ROCKS! I will tell it to you if you ask, but the main bits are thus:
Rinse and drain your rice, like, 20 times til the water runs clear (ha!), drain it for an hour, bring to a boil w/2 1/2 cups water pound of rice, cover, simmer 5 min, simmer on super low for another 15 min, then let it sit steaming off heat, in pot, pot lid replaced by a tea towel for another 15 min. IS GOOD.



Ah, the finished product. Creamy, crunchy, spicy, savory. Dang!!














A sushi roll with steamed spinach, baked sweet yam, avocado, gomasio, hot sauce and carrot really does not hurt my feelings at all.


And for the record, there really is a difference between commercial wasabi powder (tinted horseradish + mustard powder) and the real stuff, made of harder-to-grow wasabia japonica.

It is subtle, vegetal, and sublime!






All I have to say is thank f-ing g-d for hand rolls. YUM.




Who even needs dessert with a hot little cone like that?

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photos: TB

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