Sunday, August 10, 2008

Vegan Sushi???

I can't tell you how many times I've told someone that I enjoy sushi, and heard the response, "But I thought you didn't eat fish!" The most common food misconception (besides the one that vegans don't get enough protein) probably has to be that sushi always contains raw fish or seafood. Not so! "Sushi" is actually a Japanese word that translates to something like "vinegared rice." That's it! Just rice and a bit of vinegar to give it flavor, wrapped up into bites with other yummy things. Good thing for us vegans, there are TONS of options when it comes to sushi. From inari (rice stuffed tofu pockets) to these beautiful nori maki, the possibilities are endless.

As you might recall, one of my New Year's resolutions was to try making sushi. Well, this past weekend I did just that. Using Veganomicon's Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls recipe (which was soooo simple!) and following the instructions that came with my bamboo mat (and I think a Post Punk Kitchen episode), I quickly whipped up the rice in my rice cooker, steamed and mixed the tempeh with some spices, sliced the avacado and green onions, and I was ready to roll (pun intended)! Here is the nori (seaweed layer- not slimy at all, but like paper) arranged on the bamboo mat, with the rice covering 2/3rds of the seaweed and the fillings laid in a narrow line across the middle of that. Then, it's just a matter of rolling up the nori with the fillings inside, pressing on the bamboo mat to keep it all together and even.

And presto - my first sushi roll!

Then, you just slice it up into bite-sized pieces....

It makes quite a feast! I sprinkled them with black sesame seeds, as suggested and they look rather pretty! I ate them with some low-sodium tamari and of course, wasabi paste! (I'm not that big a fan of the ginger slices). Verdict? Well, my husband said that they were better than the kind made by the Japanese folks at our local store, because they held together much better when you bite into them! I'll take the compliment and give this recipe four stars...although I'll try a different filling next time!
To make up for last time's Cashew-Ginger Tofu (which I found out my mother also made but she and my tofu-phobic dad just loved it!), I decided to make some Cumin-Lime Tofu with pepitas from ED&BV, to top my salads this week. I can't help but eat great, big salads for weeks at a time throughout the summer! Everything is so fresh and beautiful!

I soaked some arame (another kind of seaweed - very, very good for you!) to add to the salad, along with a Cumin-Cinnamon salad dressing, also from ED&BV. Delish!!! I loved the tangy bite and smaller pieces (accidental) of this tofu recipe. Three and a half stars!

Of course, a girl can't be healthy all the time.... I made some Jam-Print cookies from ED&BV last weekend for a Sierra Club get together and man were they good!!! Four stars.... They were nutty and crunchy and soft and chewy and the blueberry jam was such a nice, different take on the traditional (my choice)! The only problem was that the indentations weren't deep enough, so the jam ran over a bit.

Time for your close-up, jam cookie!

Leslie's Bad But Good Bars were another treat I whipped up (no baking required) for a recent party. The bars as a whole were probably at 2 1/2 to three stars, but mostly I had difficulty with the bottom layer. I could have added more sweetener - and I think I will next time- to make it sweet enough and to help it be less crumbly. There were quite a few steps to this. Because I didn't know if these were the best I could do, I whipped up an even faster batch of peanut butter oatmeal cookies from Vegan with a Vengeance. They are soooo easy and soooo yummy! Definitely NOT healthy in any way, but everyone asked for this recipe, not the bar one. Oh well. The bars were all devoured, still. Next week, I plan on making either spanikopita (another on my New Year's List) or tackling ED&BV's vegetable phyllo roll (can't recall the exact recipe title). Have a good week, everyone!


VeggieGirl said...

Haha, oh goodness, people need to do their research!! Sushi is NOT only synonymous with raw fish!! :0)

Wowza, the sushi and all of those decadent-looking treats sound heavenly!!

Mihl said...

It's awesome that you cook so much food from all of my favourite cookbooks. So much to droll over, especially sushi and bars. You included all of my favourite ingredients in your sushi (avocado and black sesame). And I love wasabi too.
A couple of days ago I posted a picture of vegan sushi rolls on flickr and someone from a pescetarian group contacted me twice if I wanted to add my picture to their group. Ha ha, they must have thought that sushi can't be vegan, too!