The November 2009 Daring Cooks challenge was brought to you by Audax of Audax Artifex and Rose of The Bite Me Kitchen. They chose sushi as the challenge.Back in the day before we even kissed, let alone married and reproduced, my husband and I were the best of friends. If there was a foreign film to be watched or sushi to be eaten, we were off like a shot, leaving the rest of our group to mutter about raw fish and ask "When are you two finally going to start dating?" We referred to ourselves as "sushi buddies" and spent entire weekends watching the Colors Trilogy or playing at DisneyQuest.
Now we work opposite schedules and usually communicate via text message. Our child is our new shared passion, and we have the desperate need for a nap most in common. Even if we had a regular sitter we trusted or the desire to take a six year old to a sushi bar, a tight budget and The Kid's food allergies make going out for sushi impractical at best.
This November my husband had one of those birthdays with a zero at the end. When I saw that the Daring Cooks challenge for this month was sushi, I was ecstatic. We've talked about trying to make sushi at home, even going so far as to buy sheets of nori and a bamboo rolling mat, but our homemade sushi never quite got organized. This time, though, this time it was meant to be.
On the big day I rounded up my supplies and started nice and early to prepare for the birthday dinner. I followed the directions for making sticky rice to the letter. Spent hours steaming and fanning, vinegaring and massaging it.
The ungrateful grains turned out crunchy.
I didn't have enough short grain rice to start over, so I added water, gave it some more soaking time, and cooked it a bit more.
After considerable fussing, fixing, and fuming, I tasted the rice again. Then I ordered pizza.
Several days later with both the post date and my husband's birthday well past I looked over a fridge still full of sushi ingredients and gave the rice another shot. After repeatedly googling "sushi rice" and cruising around the internets, I changed the procedure by bringing the water to a boil before adding the rice and allowing it to cook for a few minutes at a full boil before reducing the temperature. It did the trick and the rice was simply splendid.
Since I'm not comfortable either preparing raw fish or serving it to my child, the fillings I chose were smoked salmon, avocado, steamed asparagus, cucumber, carrot, and mango. Grilled eel is one of my favorites, so I also bought some smoked whitefish, which I skinned and deboned, then gently warmed in some homemade teriyake sauce. Visually the pieces did not resemble the shape of the eel, but the flavor was deliciously indistinguishable to my uneducated Western palate.
Despite construction problems with several of the rolls, everything tasted incredible. My mat was too short to make a full sized spiral roll, so it was the worst casualty of my technique, but now that I've actually tried rolling sushi on my own, I can't wait to make it again.
Many thanks to Audax and Rose for a wonderful challenge! Be sure to check out all the amazing sushi made by the Daring Cooks this month.