Monday, February 23, 2009

Maki Sushi

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I don't just eat sushi, I adore it!
Since a Japanese friend of mine made me some when I first came to the US, I was hooked up immediately!
It's just amazing how you can love something you've never tasted before, but I did.
And I still do.

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I was kind of intimidated though by the way of making it, until my good friend Lois posted step by step on her blog. I dared myself and I made a LOT, but no fish unfortunately, because of the kids :-) It was delicious and I recommend it!

Since on her blog the step by step instructions are in Bulgarian, I decided to translate it in English and post it here with my pictures.
However, I have pictures only of the finished product, so if you want to take a look at her step-by-step instructions, take a look here.

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You will need:
1 and 1/2 cups jasmine rice ( for sushi)
2 and 1/4 cups water
4-5 seaweed NORI ( large sheets)
1.35 oz rice vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt

For the filling- you can use whatever you like- eggs, fish, caviar, crab sticks, carrots, avocado, scallions, seedles cucumber, tofu etc.
Whatever you use, it has to be cut on long sticks, so it can be place in the middle of the sushi roll and not fall off when you cut it.

First, wash the rice thoroughly with water, then place it in a bowl and add water until the rice is covered. Let it soak for 30 minutes, then drain it.

Place the rice in a large sauce pan with a lid and add the 1 and 1/4 cups water . Place the pan over medium heat until it reaches boiling point, then let it stay for 5 more minutes and turn the heat off. DON'T remove it from the stove and place the lid on top.
* If you have a rice cooker, you can skip that part, but for the majority of us folks that don't that's an easy way to steamed rice at home.

In a small sauce pan warm up the rice vinegar, salt and sugar. Have in mind that you don't have to boil it, only the salt and sugar have to dissolve. Leave it aside.

When the rice is cooled down, fluff it with a fork and add the rice vinegar.

Now, you might think you need a bamboo mat to make sushi, right? Wrong!
I made mine on a plain plastic cling wrap!
Off course if you have bamboo mat or want to buy one, go ahead but you don't NEED, it, it just would be nice to have one.

So, place a sheet of Nori on top of the wrap, spread enough rice to cover the sheet, then place the strip cut ingredients at the end closer to you( so it would become the middle part of the sushi) and start rolling.
When you roll you need to detach the cling wrap on top with your fingers. By doing that you will be rolling only the Nori and rice, not the plastic wrap with it.
( take a look at Lois's picture here).

When you are finished, cover the sushi with the plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for a couple of minutes. As a matter of fact you can prepare it for guests the night before if you are not using fresh fish.

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When it's cold and ready, cut with a very sharp knife and serve on a platter with Wasabi, marinated ginger and/or soy sauce.

You can use caviar or dry fish sprinkles as a topping as well.

You can very well use the "reverse" Maki sushi idea that I made too- spread the rice and place the Nori on top of it, that way your sushi will be white on the outside and black on the inside. Don't forget to roll the sushi roll in sesame seed ( black preferably, but white is OK too) before you cut it.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

I had a very hectic day yesterday. I had so much going on that I didn't even notice it was Friday 13th! On the other hand, maybe it's better I didn't know :-) Not that I am that much superstitious, but just in case you know ;-)
Anyway, yesterday we went to Michael's ( the store) and decided to pick up things for our project for Daddy. We couldn't go earlier, because Ellie had a viral rash ( again! :-( but we had something in mind. However, when we were in the store, the kids kept coming up with new ideas, and we stayed there a loong...LONG time.
So finally when we left, we have bought something totally different from what we initially planed.


We decided to make Daddy a "book"-box that he can put small stuff in while at work ( he has all kinds of books on a shelf) so I grabbed a unfinished wooden box for $2.50 and a wood burner for $16.50.

My son and daughter's "book" for their Daddy ( Valentine's day)

The whole project took us ( the kids helped with the painting, I burned the wood) around 1.5 go 2 hours.

My son and daughter's "book" for their Daddy ( Valentine's day)

This is my first time woodburning, and I didn't have time to find a stencil, so I just went...and burned whatever it came to my mind at that moment :-)

My son and daughter's "book" for their Daddy ( Valentine's day)

Somebody told me it reminds them of J.K Rowling's " Beedle the Bard", and since I am I huge fan, I take that as a compliment :-) The only thing I don't like about it is that I didn't have more time. I would have done a lot better if I had couple of days to finish it, to apply gloss coat etc, but the kids decided that at the last minute, what can you do.

The "book" box we made for Daddy for Valentine's day

The wood burning was much more intensive work than I expected and that's why I ran out of time with the food preparation, so the kids ( and I) made this 15 minute dessert from cappuccino soaked lady fingers, a 5 minute dark chocolate pudding, some frozen strawberries and eclairs, some white topping and coco bean chips on top.
Extremely easy ( a 5 and a 2 year old put it together for 15 min, how hard can it be?! :-) and delicious decadent dessert.

My 5 minute dessert for Valentine's day

As a finish to our project the kids decided to make a book for their dad, saying how much they love him. Each page had 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 hearts and the number, and the last too pages had hand prints ( my son and daughters) and a sign " to infinity ....and beyond". You can check it out here.

For a finish we went to a Japanese restaurant, it was the kids' first time on Hibachi table and they had a blast :-)
Happy Valentine's day everyone!!!

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