Every Day is a Sushi Day!
When I first tried uni, at a little sushi restaurant in Honolulu in the summer of 2008, I was not a fan. Something about the texture, the saltiness, and how exotic it seems just put me off. For the next three years, I was convinced that I just plain didn’t like uni.
In spring of 2011, I was at a fellow food blogger’s house, filming some sustainable sushi videos for a friend with a couple of other friends of mine who are also food bloggers. Among the types of seafood we had to work with was some fresh golden uni.
Since this was my first time meeting Rachael and Greg, and at the time I had only met Cathy and Martin once… I sure as heck wasn’t about to admit that I, a sushi blogger, didn’t like uni. Especially since everyone else was raving about it so much.
So I tried the uni temarizushi that Rachael made… and they were actually pretty good. Then I ventured to try the fresh uni straight from the tray… suffice to say that since then, I’ve become a full-on uni lover.
Lucky for me, uni is pretty sustainable, not to mention good for you as well (and also an aphrodisiac… oh la la! ~_^)
If you want to know more about uni, why not listen to the uni episode of my Miso Hungry Podcast?
A few weeks ago, Rachael gave me a cool little kitchen toy called a Rice Cube. (Disclaimer: I got this as a gift, and Rice Cube also donated several Rice Cubes for us to give away on our podcast.) So when I bought a tray of uni for the uni episode, I wanted to find a way to use the rice cube with it.
I tried compressing the uni into a cube with the rice… but that just looked ugly (though still delicious). So instead I made a cube with the sushi rice, laid a lobe of uni over it, then sprinkled it with paprika and topped it with a sliver of green onion. I actually liked this better than normal nigiri, because not only was it ridiculously easy to make, the ratio of rice to uni was also perfect.
If you want a Rice Cube for yourself, you can buy one through their campaign to fight childhood obesity on IndieGoGo at a discount and have the proceeds go towards fighting childhood obesity. OR… you can head over to the Tako Episode of my podcast, where we’re giving away three of them!
Miso Hungry! (I’ve got an exciting announcement… and a giveaway!)Posted on January 17th, 2012 · 7 Comments »Other Sushi Randomness
Food blogging. It’s mostly written word, complemented by some (hopefully) beautiful photographs of delicious food, with maybe an occasional video or two thrown in the mix. Blogging’s easy. Anyone can do it (lots of people do, and very well at that!)
Then there’s podcasting. Another beast entirely. Wrought with all sorts of challenges and insecurities blogging doesn’t provide. (After all, who doesn’t think it’s really flipping weird, when made to listen to a recording of their own voice?)
Of course, there are also many of the same worries – will anyone show up? Will people like it? Am I just going to sound like an idiot, putting myself out there like this?
So why am I waxing poetic about the differences between blogging and podcasting? Well, I’ve been blogging for five years, two months, and seventeen days. (Not that anyone’s counting.) I’ve gotten that pretty well under my belt, even if we already know that I kind of suck at it (given that I got in… oh, about seven posts last year. Oops.).
But podcasting? Not really something I ever thought I’d do.
Pfft. Who, me? Podcast? Yeah, right. I hate my voice! I suck at talking!
But then I was talking to my friend Greg (who is, himself, a podcaster), and he said, “You know, you should do a podcast. Yeah… you’d have a good subject for a podcast.” I came out of that conversation perplexed (I do? What could he possibly be talking about?)… but also intrigued.
After some serious thought (Son can tell you that I was talking about that conversation the rest of the evening), I decided that if I were to do a podcast, it would have to be about Japanese food. Of course. What else could I possibly talk about that would make a good podcast? (I doubt I could make either programming or dance interesting enough by myself to carry an entire podcast… especially with no previous podcasting experience under my belt.)
This was all hypothetical, of course. It’s not like I was actually considering doing a podcast.
But the seed had been planted. I knew I couldn’t do something like this myself (after all, all of my favorite podcasts feature multiple people – Spilled Milk, The Joy the Baker Podcast, The Table Set…) so just days later I asked Rachael Hutchings if she might be at all interested in doing a podcast with me.
(It was a surprise to me too… I asked her on a whim, completely spontaneously, knowing she was the only person I’d want to do a podcast like this with. But once I asked – and she said yes! – there was no turning back!)
In the span of a weekend, I went from never having even considered ever podcasting to seriously discussing putting together a podcast with my new partner in crime. (I’m still not even sure I believe this is all happening.) Two months later, we’ve already recorded several episodes and are ready to launch!
So without further ado, I bring to you the Miso Hungry Podcast!
Rachael and I have gotten together to bring to you a podcast all about Japanese food! So far we have three episodes ready for your listening pleasure: our Introduction, our first whole episode in which we talk about the Japanese New Year, and Episode 2 which is all about Candy!
You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (and if you feel like it, we definitely appreciate your comments and ratings!)
All you have to do to enter is go over and check out our podcast, then come back here and leave a comment letting me know what you think, and what you’d like to hear us talk about in the future on the podcast! (One entry per person; you can enter until 11:59pm PST on Monday, January 23rd; winner will be chosen using random.org; anyone can enter – I can have it shipped internationally. If you want to leave a comment but don’t want to enter the giveaway, just let me know in your comment!)
And if you don’t win, or want to buy any of the other SUPER CUTE things she has in her store, the coupon code JAN2012 is good for 15% off throughout Etsy!
What about all those insecurities I talked about at the beginning of the post? Well, they’re still there, of course. (It continues to be seriously weird, listening to my own voice when I’m editing our podcasts.)
But one night, while working into the wee hours on our new podcast, I heard an interview that Carson Daly was doing with Chris Hardwick (The Nerdist), and this quote really resonated with me:
“It’s weird when I think about, that most people listen to the podcast than watch most cable channels. But you know, even if they… even if most of those people went away, we’d still keep doing the show. That’s kind of how I know it’s something I should be doing, because I would do it no matter what.”
-Chris Hardwick, nerdist.com
Even though I still worry no one will listen to the podcast (although it’s turning out far better than I had ever hoped it would), I’ll still do the podcast no matter what… because we have so much fun doing it.
I love to cook for others. Like, really, really love making sushi for other people.
In a perfect world, I’d be allowed to experiment and have as much freedom coming up with new rolls as I do here on Sushi Day. But this isn’t a perfect world, and not everyone will eat all the random rolls I put together (and, to be honest, not everything I attempt comes out well…). And I’m okay with that.
These days, there are a lot of things you have to take into account when making sushi for other people, like if you’re going to a potluck. While my Spicy Shrimp Inari is always a crowd pleaser, you know there are always a few picky eaters: “I don’t eat seafood… at all.” (Hence my Man Sushi… trust me, that’ll convince any meat eater that sushi’s actually delicious!)
Then there are those with allergies – gluten-free? Just stay away from tempura. (And bring some wheat-free tamari soy sauce… did you know that most normal soy sauce actually has wheat products in it?) Dairy-free? Okay, no rolls with cream-cheese.
And, of course, you have those with other dietary restrictions, like vegetarians and vegans. At the most recent potluck I went to, I knew we’d have a few vegetarian/vegan attendees. So in addition to the other sushi dishes that I brought, I decided to come up with a vegetarian roll.
Obviously, I was going to use primarily vegetables in the roll. I considered using tofu, but decided against it since I didn’t think there would be a quick, easy way to make tofu taste good in sushi. (I needed something that wouldn’t be too time-consuming, since I was making four dishes that morning for the potluck.) I also couldn’t resort to tempura-frying the veggies, since tempura isn’t vegan – the batter uses egg. For the same reason, no mayonnaise is allowed either.
But it had to be a delicious, somehow interesting roll. It just wouldn’t be right to make delicious rolls for my meat-eating friends, and then bring a boring, “blah” roll for my vegan friends. So I had to come up with something so good even the meat-eaters would love it.
“Asparagus… roasted. Obviously. I love roasted asparagus.”
“Onions… sauteed? Nah, I want a texture contrast. How about fried? Yeah, I’ll need to heat up oil to fry the Arctic Char and Cream Cheese Wontons, so I can just fry up a bunch of thinly-sliced onions before I start the wontons.”
“What else… what would go well with asparagus and onions? Hm. How about carrots? Yeah, carrots would be good. But I don’t want to just roast them. I’m already roasting the asparagus; another plain roasted vegetable would be boring. Oooh, what if I glaze them with a little maple syrup? That would add a nice sweetness that should round out the roll.”
So how did it turn out? According to my veg(etari)an (as well as my omnivorous) friends, this fish-less, meat-less roll was a grand success. So much so, that it has definitely earned a place in my regular potluck menu. ^_^
Question: What do you do when you’re tasked with making sushi for a group of friends, but one of your male friends has never eaten sushi and refuses to try raw fish?
Easy: MAN SUSHI. (Just imagine I’m saying that in a deep, “manly” voice.)
But what on earth is “Man Sushi”?
Well, what sort of food does your stereotypical man love? That’s an easy one: beef, and anything battered and fried. Of course.
All you have to do is put grilled beef teriyaki and tempura-fried vegetables in a sushi roll, (and throw in some spicy mayonnaise for good measure), and you’ll have a roll that your man will not only try, but will still be talking about a year later.
By now, most of us have heard about the 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan, and the devastating tsunami that followed. I’ve been watching the news all night, and my heart hurts seeing all that’s happened over there. Image from Kyodo News I was in Japan about a year ago, and fell in love with the [...]
A Valentine’s Day Love Story, and Oysters with a Saffron SaucePosted on February 14th, 2011 · 11 Comments »Other Recipes
It was the very beginning of the year 2005. I was a freshman at UC Irvine – a dance major. It was a miserably cold, rainy winter in Southern California. Ants had infested my dorm room, and the boy I had been dating for the last nine months had just broken up with me, a week into the winter quarter.
I was a mess.
As any teenager is apt to feel after a breakup, I was devastated. I didn’t have many friends at my new school – I’ve always been terribly shy around new people – and I felt awful about myself after I got dumped. Alone as I felt at the time, I started to do things that I might not have ever even considered before that winter… like try out for a ballroom dance team at the university.
I remember sitting in my dorm room, reading the Anteater Weekly – a weekly newsletter emailed to all the students, with information about club meetings and other events happening at UCI. Ordinarily, I would never consider going to any of the events listed – I was always too shy to join any clubs, or show up to anything but my normal classes on campus. But that week, right after my breakup, something caught my eye – there were going to be auditions for a ballroom team the upcoming Friday.
I had always wanted to do ballroom dancing, but in high school I had no time to do anything other than study and rehearse with my pre-professional ballet company. So, timid as I was, I decided I was going to go try out. I didn’t think I would get in – after all, I didn’t really have any ballroom experience, other than dancing with a Latin band the previous summer, and UCI’s dance program was very competitive. But I figured it was worth a try – I was certain I would love it if I did manage to get in.
So I went – and not only did I completely rock the audition, I actually ended up spending most of the ‘practice’ time at the audition trying to teach the routine to other students who had no dance experience at all.
Son was in the first year of working on his Master’s degree in Information and Computer Science at UCI. He hated it there. At the time, he was considering transferring to USC for his second year. But in the meantime, he had decided to take the Social Dance class to fulfill his one non-major elective that he was allowed to take, since he enjoyed latin dancing.
He hadn’t intended to audition for the ballroom team. But the teacher saw that he was a good partner – something that can be hard to find – and convinced him to try out.
Son says he noticed me that very first day, that he couldn’t stop watching me at the audition – somehow, out of all the girls trying out, I was the one who caught his eye. I didn’t notice him… yet. I was too busy trying to help the other girls learn the very easy ballroom combination.
Mackerel with a Mustard Sauce, and a Contest for the Lunar New YearPosted on February 3rd, 2011 · 20 Comments »Other Recipes
Happy Lunar New Year, everyone! It’s the Year of the Rabbit (or Year of the Cat, if you’re celebrating the Vietnamese calendar). How are you guys celebrating?
We celebrated with lots… and lots… and lots of food. Oh man. I must say, having a Vietnamese boyfriend is awesome. ~_^
Plus, we’re back! And in the spirit of the new lunar year, we’re giving away that adorable Lunar Calendar dish towel in the first photo.
For a while now, I’ve been wanting to do a video or two on Sushi Day.
And as I’ve mentioned in years past, New Year’s day is a huge sushi day for the Japanese side of my family.
So Son and I figured, why not combine the two?
Without further ado… our first Sushi Day video! Straight from my itsy bitsy kitchen, on New Year’s morning 2011.
Silly, yes. But aren’t I always? It was definitely a fun little video to put together, even if I was really rushed trying to do a video and roll all twenty rolls of sushi for my family’s New Year’s celebration at the same time.
(That photo was of half of the final result.)
So what did you guys think? Was it awesome… or did it totally suck? Would you like to see any more videos here on Sushi Day? (Or should I not quit my day job? ~_^) And if you would like to see more, what sort of videos would you like to see? …I’m completely open to suggestions. ^_^