Allison Day


For the month of July, 2008


As much as I love sushi, Son and I unfortunately don’t go out to eat sushi nearly often enough. Part of it is a time thing – he usually gets home from work pretty late, so not many sushi restaurants are open at that time. The other part is that sushi tends to be so expensive… it’s almost always cheaper for me to make sushi at home, and then we get to have the sushi exactly how we like it.

But every now and then, it’s nice to go out and try a new sushi restaurant. It allows us to try new types of sushi that we might not have every tried on our own, and it saves me the work of making sushi quite so often.

For the last few days, Son and I have been up north in Sunnyvale. There are all sorts of delicious restaurants up here, so there was no doubt in my mind that we would be visiting a sushi restaurant for at least one meal. As always, it was difficult to decide where to go, made even more so due to our unfamiliarity with the area. Luckily, we were accompanied by some “natives” who knew of some good sushi in the vicinity.

After some debate, we ended up going to Seto Japanese Cuisine. It has a wide selection of sushi, sashimi, and other Japanese dishes (perfect for those of us not so comfortable eating raw fish). As a table, we started off with some edamame and miso soup. The edamame was served hot and salted, which I found to be delicious. The miso soup was good, although I was a little surprised not to find any seaweed floating in it.

For sushi, Son and I decided to try some things we had never eaten before. This was the first time I had ever seen hirame (halibut) on a sushi menu, so there was no doubt we wanted to try that. We had never tried hotate (scallops) before, so that was another must-try. To round out our meal, we got two rolls: Spicy Tuna and Spicy Lobster.

The hirame nigiri was delicious. The fish was smooth and light, very similar to hamachi (yellowtail). My only complaint about the nigiri is that there was just a little too much wasabi on the underside of the fish for my tastes. Otherwise, however, it was great – the size of the fish was very generous.

The Hotate Special was amazing. Little pieces of the scallops were mixed with a scattering of tobiko and just enough mayonnaise to coat the scallops, without being heavy or overwhelming. These scallop pieces were placed on top of rice, gunkan-style. I actually would have preferred this as a dish by itself, rather than as sushi. I picked a few of the pieces of the scallop off of the sushi, and they were quite delicious. I would love just a bowl of the mayo-tobiko scallop pieces.

In the past years I have become more tolerant of spicy foods than I have ever been… but apparently not tolerant enough. The Spicy Tuna rolls were just a wee bit too hot for me. Not even shoyu and abundant water could convince me to eat a second one… but Son said the heat was fine for him. He even ate them with a bit of wasabi.

The Spicy Lobster rolls were delicious. Unlike the Spicy Tuna, these were not overwhelming in their heat. These rolls consisted of lobster, avocado, lettuce, spicy mayonnaise, and were rolled inside-out, then wrapped with pink soy paper. They were quite beautiful to look at. The spicy lobster mixture was delicious, and I loved the crunch that the crisp lettuce added to the roll.

If I were to visit Seto again, I would definitely order the Hotate Special and the Spicy Lobster roll again. If you’re lucky, I may even try to replicate them for Sushi Day eventually… so keep an eye out for them. 🙂

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Emily’s RollPosted on July 28th, 2008 · 13 Comments »

Maki Recipes


Who is Emily? In kindergarten, I had a friend named Emily who had the most beautiful long hair. She was astonished that I walked to and from school every day instead of driving. After kindergarten, she moved away. This is not that Emily.

In elementary school, my mother used to baby sit my classmate Cathy’s family before and after school. She had a very young sister named Emily, who was just a baby at the time. It’s amazing to look at pictures now and see how much she’s grown up since then – sometimes people just don’t age in my mind if I don’t see them often. This is not that Emily.

In middle school, there was a girl named Emily who was in G.A.T.E. with me. She was a year older than me, and was always so nice. She started dating a guy who I used to have a little crush on who was also a year older than me. Ten years later, they are still an adorable couple. This is not that Emily.

When I went to Camp Summersault, a camp for young cancer patients and their siblings, my first counselor was Emily. I adored her. She was so much fun to be around, and she even came to see me perform in the Nutcracker and other ballets several times. This is not that Emily.

In fact, this roll is not named for any Emily I know. Rather, it is my take on a roll of the same name that is from the menu of Tex Wasabi’s, a Californian BBQ and sushi restaurant co-owned by Food Network star Guy Fieri.

Not only is the roll beautiful in presentation (it’s so colorful!), it is also delicious. It starts out rich and salty from the smoked salmon on the outside, and the tobiko that the sushi was rolled in pop in your mouth. Once you get to the center, it is smooth, creamy, and a little crunchy from the tempura. In other words, delicious, delicious, and more delicious.

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It’s the 24th of the month, and as always, Taste and Create beckons. This month our palates travel to India, the country of spicy foods and crazy curry. As much as I would have loved to try some curry (and as much as Son begged for curry), unfortunately that wasn’t happening. The Ralph’s near my new apartment has a pathetic International section, and we haven’t had the time to search for ethnic supermarkets in the area. So instead, Pain Au Chocolat.

I’ve been a fan of chocolate croissants (which is essentially what these were) for quite some time. When I was doing some physics research a couple of summers ago, I used to stop by the little coffee stand right outside the building and buy a warm, flaky chocolate croissant for the bus ride home.

These croissants were actually much easier to make than I expected them to be. At first it’s a little difficult to keep the filling inside when you are rolling them, but once you get the hang of it, the rolling goes quickly.

The croissants are delicious. The chocolate filling is sweet but not too messy, and even a little salty. The only thing about the croissants that I would change would be to switch the type of oil used in them. The olive oil made them taste a little bitter to me, but it wasn’t too much of a problem because when Son took them to work, they were all eaten up.

Overall, these are delicious chocolate croissants! Perfect with a cup of coffee or tea (or even hot chocolate) for breakfast or dessert.

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Although I have forever loved inari sushi in it’s simplest form, I always look for delicious ideas to spruce up my old favorite.

Several weeks ago, I was at Whole Foods and I needed something quick for lunch, so I stopped by the sushi section. (Yes, I eat store bought sushi. It’s not all bad.) I bought a tray of inari sushi which had shrimp and spicy mayonnaise on top. Of course I was a little skeptical, but my skepticism was unfounded. The sushi was amazing.

Then and there, I vowed to replicate the sushi for Sushi Day. This combination is far too delicious to keep to myself. It is a simple, easy recipe that almost anyone will love. (yesterday I made a double batch in less than an hour, including the cooking time for the rice.) The spiciness of the sauce can be adjusted to suit your tastes, and the shrimp can be omitted for vegetarians. This inari sushi is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser.

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Breakfast RollPosted on July 16th, 2008 · 8 Comments »

Maki Recipes


I can’t start my day without breakfast. I get cranky, and lightheaded, and, well, it’s not a pretty picture. For me, breakfast is undoubtedly the most important meal of the day (unlike some other people, who refuse to eat breakfast!) So, since certain people refuse to believe my diet consists of anything other than sushi, it makes sense for me to come up with a breakfast sushi.

Because… um… this is what I eat for breakfast every morning. Riiiiight. (Heck, if I had the time and energy in the morning to make this, I would eat this for breakfast every morning!)

Bacon, tamago, and green onion. All perfect in sushi. But it needed something else, something to make it truly a breakfast roll. Shoyu just didn’t do it for me, and maple syrup… way too sweet. Maybe, just maybe… yep, I know what you’re thinking, and yes. I did. A mixture of shoyu and maple syrup did this roll justice, and finished it off perfectly.

If you ever wanted sushi for breakfast? This is your roll.

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Bulgogi RollPosted on July 13th, 2008 · 8 Comments »

Maki Recipes


Son and I love Korean food. He is sure to get the hot tofu soup (extra spicy!), and I never fail to get the bulgogi (BBQ beef). When the waiter comes out with a burning hot plate, the beef is smoking and onions are still sizzling. You can see the sugars in the onions caramelizing, and smell the smoky-sweetness of the beef. The silky sweet onions are the perfect contrast to the flavorful, chewy beef.

Since I love bulgogi so much, the natural choice (for me at least) would be to put it in a sushi roll. The rice cuts through the richness of the bulgogi and the onions, and balances it wonderfully. Sure, it takes a bit of time to make, but even without rolling it in sushi, the bulgogi is well worth the time spent.

This bulgogi recipe is adapted from Discovering Korean Cuisine: Recipes from the Best Korean Restaurants in Los Angeles, by Allisa Park.

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Beach Grill MakiPosted on July 10th, 2008 · 11 Comments »

Maki Recipes


Imagine walking along the beach on a bright summer day. The cool salt water rushes in to swirl around your ankles, then races away playfully. A slight breeze brings a whiff of salty ocean air. You hear seagulls squawking all around you. The taste of the briny ocean air is on your lips as you watch the sun set over the immense ocean.

After a perfect day at the beach, you need a perfect meal, so why not a summery sushi? To me, summer means one thing – lots of grilling. Perhaps some sweet, salty, teriyaki marinated shrimp on the barbecue? Maybe grill (or even better, saute) an onion, until the bitterness is gone and all that’s left is a soft sweetness? And maybe, just maybe, roll them both in a sushi roll. The result? Absolute heaven. Wonderfully delicious. Completely worth all the effort needed to make it.

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