Are you my Mommy?

Are you my Mommy?
Are you my Mommy?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Gourmet Vege Friendly Picnic

This weekend has focused on family fun, which is a nice change of pace for us with all the projects we have had on the never ending list lately.  We had fun doing two things I listed on my last blog entry of free family Summer fun blog.  Friday night we enjoyed free Shakespeare in our local park and today we hit a local park with fountains for a Memorial Day family outing.  Given we are frugal and mostly vegetarian, we packed both meals.  Today was simple and standard lunch box items, but Friday was a little more gourmet.

The menu included Sushi, grilled Tempeh with  peanut sauce, Edamame, blackberries, and cookies.  Honestly, I made all this with what I had on hand and completed most during afternoon nap.  Normally, B loves to help me, but the preparation was more complex for the sushi.

Here is what I did and what I learned.

I thought I had only long grain brown rice and I fretted about getting it to stick together in the manner necessary for sushi.  Thus, I did the following.  I dumped one cup of long grain brown rice, 1/3 cup of amaranth (tiny grain that cooks up a little gooey), and 3 cups of rice in my slow cooker in the morning on high for 3 hours.  My prediction wast that the amaranth would give the long grain rice the necessary stickiness and guess what it not only worked but it added to the nutritional value. The grains were a little more done than I prefer, so I will shorten cooking time next time.  Slow cookers vary more than recipes admit, so you will just have to try it out and decide how long to cook.  My advice is to check it at 2 hours and continue cooking until desired tenderness.

Then, I warmed on the stove 1/3 cup of seasoned rice vinegar, 1 Tabelspoon sugar and 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of salt.  When all was nicely dissolved, I poured the mixture directly over the grains in the crock pot and tossed with a fork.  Let cool in fridge.

After this simply follow sushi making guidelines.  Honestly, I first learned a decade ago by reading a couple of books.  I will post a few tips here to help.

Get a bamboo rolling mat, I think it helps.
Place nori (roasted seaweed sheets) shiny side down on the mat
Dunk hands in bowl of cold water
Then, scoop up rice mixture and cover nori in thin layer (no more than 1/4 inch thick)*
Do not cover the last 3/4 inch of the side furthest from you.

Add matchstick or julienne type fillings about 2 inches in from side close to you, being carefully to have an even layer that is nice and lined up

Start rolling away from you using the mat.

When I get around once, I take time to use firm compression with palms of hands to make sure it all stays together.
I like to lightly moisten the uncovered nori end with water to help it seal.
Wrap and chill rolls in the fridge up to a few hours
When ready to serve, cut with a very sharp knife (I did this step right before we left and then rewrapped for the picnic.

Enjoy with soy sauce and wasabi.

*For fun you can substitute a shmear of cream cheese or smashed avacado...both are so yummy with crunchy vege fillings like julienne carrot or cucumber

Filling ingredients we love include carrot, bell pepper, cucumber, green onion, chives, sorrel (seriously good and nutritious, just lay the leaves on top of rice), Japanese style egg omlet with about 1/4 teaspoon of sugar per egg mixed in prior to cooking, Japanese pickled radish, radishes, jicama (awesome crunch, fresh spinach leaves.
 The big green leafy thing is the sorrel which has a pleasant lemony flavor...yum!

1 comment:

  1. Your sushi looks great, and I like the idea of amaranth to make sticky brown rice. I've had decent luck just using plain old medium - or long-grain brown rice for sushi, but a bit of extra stickiness makes sense.