Lenten Friday cookalong, part 4
Well, since you asked. Here is the Sushi Episode. Today we are making everyone's "gateway" sushis: California Rolls. Now, the thing of it is that you must first make the suchi rice -- rice is key, people! -- and not just any ol' rice, short-grain sushi rice. There are several varieties in the more frou-frou shops and Asian markets (including rices with varying degrees of aging!) but chances are you'll just find one or two at your local Food Hut. You'll need about a cup of rice and a cup-and-a-quarter to a cup-and-a-half of water and a teeny pinch of salt. Cook the rice as you normally cook plain white rice. (But do NOT wash it if that's part of your rice routine.) We like to use the giga-cheap and spectacularly excellent and, best of all, IDIOT PROOF Nordic-Ware microwave rice cooker. $10 ($8, if you catch it on sale) at Amazon.First off, the implements of destruction. Yes, those knives are scarily split-an-atom sharp. Which they need to be, because the rice they will need to cut will be pretty [darned] sticky and unless you have a knife that's sharper than a razor, you'll end up making a dog's breakfast out of what ought be your family's dinner.Readers with young daughters: Your wish has come true.
In Japanese this means "Show me respect or I'll #$%&ing cut your #$%&ing arm off! Don't you DARE #$%& with me!!"
The rice, once cooked is to be spread out and cooled. At this point you need to sprinkle it with "sushi vinegar" which is basically rice wine vinegar (diluted cider vinegar works in a pinch) to which sugar and salt -- 3:1 ratio -- has been added to taste; you need to balance the sweet and tart and salty.Joey-san deconstructing some cucumber. You want any vegetable pieces to be thin in relation to their crunch. Cucumbers are tenderer than carrots, so they can be thicker. Carrots really ought be matchstick thin.Putting the rice on the nori. Which sounds like Japanese gangsta slang. IT WILL BE STICKY. Do not panic. You will note the KrabStix(TM), which is really just pureed pollock bound with egg whites and tinted with annato. Real crab is several degrees of complexity removed from the skills of a 10 year old boy. If you call it surimi, though, it sounds way mo' impressive than KrabStix(TM).10 year old boy posing proudly in mid-process, having just placed the surimi on the rice. (Keen-eyed observers will note how he drapes the kitchen towel over his shoulder, Gordon Ramsay-style.)
Then the vegetable are placed atop the Kr...er...surimi, just before rolling. [Not pictured, avocado bits.] We cheated and slipped a bit of cling wrap underneath to facilitate the whole thing. Roll TIGHTLY and refrigerate -- still in the cling wrap, to prevent the rice from trying out -- for about 10 minutes to firm up the "log" o' sushi.
...and slice! (The trick is to wipe clean and wet the knife -- also some sort of Tokyo slang, probably -- between slices. We used a hollow-ground Santoku, but a non-10 year-old sushi master would use a Yanagiba knife.)
And there ya have it. Sushi by a 10-year old. I can hear the dowry zooming skyward...but not as much as if he hadn't donned the headband.