Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year's Dinner Recipe & Photo Swap

Do not make sushi when you are brain dead.

I can't believe how many little things just didn't go well yesterday when I was making some as per promise to The Daddy Man and because I wanted something cool to put in my "What did I eat for the last meal of 2005" entry for CookingDiva.

First of all there was the rice. Somewhere in this vacuous brain I seemed to believe that making enough rice to feed an army was necessary to feed three sushi lovers. Hmm.... not a good thing when there are only 12 pieces of nori in the whole friggin' house on New Year's Eve, aka "the night people close stores early".

Uh.... then there was the nori. Somehow I seem to believe I am a master sushi chef who knows what the *&!^ she is doing. I trimmed a nori sheet down in half like I THOUGHT I saw in Togo Sushi. BIG mistake. I not only screwed up rolling both small pieces which later refused to cut without explosive behaviour BUT I did something even more stupid. I did it again. Thus I ruined 2 of 12 precious nori pieces. Thankfully the second attempt was better because I cut a bigger piece but I ruined a perfectly smaller but good piece of that nori sheet trying to roll a mini version.

Then there was the sushi mayonnaise that I put inside each roll. I ALWAYS make sushi with this mayonnaise. Except for three rolls last night. Just about four. You'd think I'd been into the bubbly stuff early by the way my brain cell function was down to small blips.

The Daddy Man expressly mentioned how much he loved the asparagus sushi I make many times. So I expressly roasted them carefully in the pan with garlic and had some beautifully roasted emerald stems in a bowl. Which I just about forgot to salt. Okay.. that was fixable. But then... while fighting with the mini nori strips and down to the last two nori sheets I notice the green glisten from the corner of my eye. So lots get shoved into two... then I carefully unroll a sushi mayo-less concoction and insert remaining asparagus.

Stupid me decides to do a couple of inside-out rolls. Not only do I forget the saran wrap before starting but also manage to forget part of the procedure. Two manage to mangle together only held together by the starch of the rice. Try to roll it in the little bit of fish roe I thawed. It does not go on evenly as I had hoped. Looks like melted cheddar cheese on them. Spread them out on the rolls and proceed to mush more into the rice that I intended. Result looks a bit pathetic and misshaped.

Imagine, if you will a cut to a knife shot. Note the ragged bits of seaweed refusing to cut despite the sharpness of blade. Watch as the inside out rolls threaten to flatten into pancackes as you cut. Watch how the little baby sized rolls explode like touch-me-not seed pods when the knife hovers overhead.

I notice then just how off-kilter almost all the fillings are. I don't remember doing something different than usual on the regularly-wrapped rolls. I note how I will not get that brand of ginger ever again because the red colour makes many of the pieces look like a little girl's party dress.


At least it tasted good. At least it was eaten. At least some looked edible enough to photograph. Let's just hope this is like the saying "Bad dress rehersal. Good performance" because if Dec. 31, 2005 was a dress rehersal for 2006, I'm going to have a damned good year. Pray it's not a preview of coming events.

Here's the recipe for the sushi rice:

Sushi Rice

2 cups sushi rice
3 cups water
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp sea salt

1) Wash rice about 1 hour before you start to cook. Place the rice in a mesh strainer and place that inside a medium bowl. Rinse well with water (rubbing rice gently to release starch) until the rinse water runs fairly clear. Drain rice and let sit int the strainer for 1 hour.

2) In a heavy sauce pan with a lid, combine rice, water and 1 tsp sea salt. Let the rice sit for 5 minutes, then turn the heat to high. Bring to a boil, uncovered, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover the pot with a lid. Cook for 20 minutes or until the water evaporates. Keeping covered (do not peek) remove from heat and let rest for 20 minutes.

3)While the rice cooks: In a small bowl combine rice vinegar, sugar, and sea salt, stirring until the sugar and salt dissolve completely.

4)After rice has finished cooking and resting, transfer rice to a large shallow pan and spread out evenly as you can without mushing too much. Sprinkle seasoned vinegar mixture over the rice as evenly as possible and then gently mix with a flat wooden spoon. For the next 5 minutes or until cooled down, stir rice breaking up rice clumps and mixing vinegar in well. Cover pan with a damp kitchen towel. Can be kept at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours before using.

I gave the recipe for sushi mayonnaise recipe before. With these recipes, a bamboo mat, deft fingers and interesting fillings you too can grow over-confident and make your sushi look like it was hit by a truck. ;-) Happy New Year!

My New Year's Results:


linda said...

Well I am impressed ~ they look darn good and I am not sure i could do anything like that!

Melissa CookingDiva said...

Nerissa, they look fantastic! Happy New Year and thank you for posting your entry.

Crazy Gaijin said...

You're back!! HOORAY. I love reading your posts, and was wondering when you were returning. Sushi looks really good. I have yet to make some for my blog, but it will be soon. I might have to steal some of your ideas....

Happy New Year

Rachel said...

They don't look bad at all! Be proud!

michelle said...

My dear Nerissa, I think they still look tasty despite the trials and tribulations it took to make them. I want to try your sushi mayonnaise on my own sushi next time. I'm also still giggling from your comment about The Frog's steak in your last post :) Happy New Year to you, and I hope your holidays were wonderful. I'm looking forward to hearing about all that 2006 might bring to you!

s'kat said...

It certainly came out looking smashing in the end! Here's to a better New Year!

By the way, I tried making sushi *once* before. After that, I decided that there are some things better left to the professionals. ;)

Ruth said...

Nerissa, I loved the post - particularly your sense of humor.

From the photos, no one would guess how difficult the journey. They look awesome.

Thanks for sharing.

Nerissa said...

Thank you to everyone for the kind comments. I was pretty cranky the day I wrote that and felt pretty unhappy with what felt like a lot of struggles to do something that normally isn't that big of a deal for me.

Linda: Thanks. Don't be sure you couldn't do it. I didn't think I could when I first tried but with practice I became okay at it. :)

Melissa: Thanks, you're welcome and Happy New Years to you! :)Hugs

Yes gaijin babe, I'm back. Awww... you made me blush with your lovely comments. I'd love to see your sushi and feel free to steal away. I wouldn't be food blogging if I wanted to keep my recipes secret!;)

Rachel: Awwww... gee shucks! Okay, I'll be proud ;) Thanks

Michelle: So nice to hear from you :) Thanks for your sweet words. Oh, I think you'll like the mayo. :) Ah, Frog does like his rare steak. It was funny to hear him rave and roll his eyes in ecstasy as he ate. Happy New Year! My holidays were BUSY! I hope yours were nice. Let's have a great ole time in 2006

s'kat: Ta! To a better New Year? I'll raise the bubbly to that! I wish that sushi wasn't so good because it IS fussy and long in the making. But I kinda had to learn since I didn't want to restrict my eating of sushi to three times a year.

ruth: Thanks! With the lack of seriousness in my family you HAVE to end up with a sense of humor or perish. ;-) Thanks for the compliments :)

sailu said...

10/10 on that,Nerissa.

Nerissa said...

Thanks so much, sailu! :)