Sunday, June 24, 2012

Well, that didn't work

First, let me get the confession out of the way.

I don't love sushi.

There, I said it. Take my foodie card away if you must, but I think I deserve a pass considering I like liver and beets and broccoli and all the other things that end up on other people's "don't eat" list.

Before you start telling me the wonders of fresh raw fish, I have one thing to say.

It's not the fish.

I like sashimi and ceviche and tuna tartar. No problem at all with any of that. The problem is the nori.

I just ... ugh... can't eat it. I don't know if it's taste or texture or both, but I just can't eat it. I've tried. If you want to make some nori-less sushi for me (and I know there are some) then I'll indulge. But that leaves out a lot of varieties of sushi, because sooooo many of them include nori.

So, since I don't really like sushi, you'd be correct if you guessed that I'd never made sushi. Never. Not once. I do, however, own a sushi mat. Don't ask.

Ugly sushi. Not pretty at all.
As soon as I entered the Marx Foods Integrale Gauntlet contest that featured a short-grained brown rice, I had sushi on the brain.

I made it past the risotto challenge, then the rice pudding challenge. The third challenge was an open theme, and I decided to do sushi.

Yep, me who doesn't love sushi was going to make sushi. But with a twist.

I had plans. I had visions of what my beautiful sushi would look like. I'd seen Morimoto make sushi on Iron Chef. I was sure I could make it work.

To get around the nori issue, I decided to use swiss chard leaves. I blanched them and shocked them and they softened nicely but still held together.

That's the last thing that went completely right.

First I undercooked the rice, then I overcooked it. The first batch of pickled vegetables I decided to use were ugly in the sushi. The second batch looked okay but not any better than okay.

Amazingly, rolling the sushi wasn't as difficult as I thought (but you don't want instruction from me, trust me on that.) The sushi rolls were a little wonky, but they held together well enough and I got them sliced. But when I looked at them, I thought, "Do I want to dive into this and eat it?"

No, not really.


Back to the drawing board.

My new recipe is done, it looks great, tastes great, it's completely different from sushi ... and it will be posted just a little bit later today. But I thought you might like a little laugh.

Chard and pickled vegetable sushi. Probably not the best idea I've ever had.

However, on the way to making sushi I made something that I thought was pretty darned good, and unusual. It didn't work with the sushi, but I thought it was pretty great on its own. I'm not going to give you any hints, but there will be a recipe later.

Meanwhile, feel free to gaze in awe at my sushi that looks interesting, but may not actually be something you want to eat.