Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Semi-Vegan Returns to Meagan Another Day

More vegan eats! (From someone who is not actually a vegan, she just plays one at home).

Me and my room had some friends over for dinner and decided to make some vegan sushi. As with our holiday party, we went a wee bit overboard while shopping and prepared about eight million different kinds of ingredients.

The basics of making sushi rolls: not actually that hard: prepare rice with rice vinegar; spread a row of said rice of some nori; spread ingredients lengthwise on the rice; roll with a sushi mat; chop roll; eat with soy sauce and wasabi.

What's challenging about making sushi with fish is, you know, learning how to chop up raw fish so that you don't end up contracting an intestinal parasite that grows to be the size of your lower intestine.

What's challenging about making vegetarian sushi is managing to combine vegetarian ingredients in a way that's flavorful enough to come through and taste interesting (Easier said than done: the rice and nori cover up a powerful amount of flavors. And I love rice and nori, but...you need a little pizzaz to your sushi roll, you know?).

So, in essence, there way a lot of prep work involved. We used Brigid Treloar's Vegetarian Sushi (Essential Kitchen Series) which helped provide some ideas.

There was a lot of chopping:

That's blanched* green onions, chopped cucumber...
*no clue what "blanching" is? I didn't either! It's cooking something very, very, quickly in boiling water, then dunking it in cold water 
Chopped red peppers, blanched asparagus,  seasoned shiitake mushrooms (soak dried shiitake mushrooms till they are not dried anymore, then boil in soy sauce and mirin)...
And also seasoned carrots (boiled in soy sauce and mirin).
If you're wondering why the above veggies looked so pretty, it's because my roommate chopped them with a mandoline. I'm scared of that thing and won't touch it. It makes such pretty, pretty vegetables though. 

We also toasted TWO KINDS of sesame seeds, as well as pine nuts. 

You can also see the rice cooker in this picture.

 And we made terikayi sauce (not as hard at it sounds! Basically, boil and simmer soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. If you're sensing that "boil in soy sauce and mirin" is a pattern here -- it is!). We also made a sesame-miso paste (basically, miso paste plus sesame seeds plus mirin). 

So, yeah, a lot of prep work. Not too crazy difficult prep work, just a lot of it. And I was lucky to have my skilled-with-the-mandolin roommate, cause, MAN do I hate chopping. It's a character flaw. 

Here's a picture of the prep table. 

Here's a brief video of the prep table, when I didn't realize the video button on my phone was on:

The actual MAKING of the sushi is the fun part, though. They're just, so...pretty! 

We made rolls with spinach and pine nuts: 

As well as rolls with asparagus, red pepper, and sesame-miso paste (a combo I was wary of but turned out well)

It's so sexy, y'all. 
We also made fake nigiri sushi by putting a piece of seasoned carrot on some rice, and tying it with the blanched green onion. 

Hey, you know what? My first Really Old Pictures of Food Entry was about vegetarian sushi. It's fate, y'all. 

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