Monday, February 14, 2011

A sushi frenzy.

Because I work today and we're trying to save money for spring break, Erik and I decided to have a day early and low key Valentine's Day celebration.  It consisted of sushi, veggie tempura (mmmmmm), strawberries dipped in a chocolate mousse type of thing and champagne (I'm not certain it was real champagne, but it was delicious).

Sushi at home seems terribly intimidating, what with the rolling, the seaweed and the special rice.  I can't imagine how one would feel if you had to put actual fish in there!  But really, it isn't that difficult.  I found this awesome website that gives many detailed instructions from an actual sushi chef.  It even includes recipes for Vegan and Kosher sushi!  I will let Marisa help you out with suggestions on sushi.  One thing though--Be patient.  You need cool rice and you can't roll up your sushi too fast if you're just beginning, otherwise you could end up with a mess.

As far as tempura, I'm not usually one to eat deep fried foods (except for chips, of course) but there is something about vegetable tempura that I absolutely love.  I have it on rare occasions and use grape seed oil so it higher in the polyunsaturated fats (the good fats) and the bad fats are practically non-existent.  So you can pretend it's good for you :).  The recipe I used was very basic.

Tempura Batter
1 Egg (you can try an egg substitute if you would like)
1 cup Ice cold water
1 cup all purpose flour

Beat egg in a small mixing bowl.  Add the water, making sure it is very cold.  Gently mix in the flour, being careful to not over stir.

For the actual frying, I went from experience.  You are supposed to deep fat fry between 160-170 degrees Farenheit, but I don't own a kitchen thermometer and don't really care to spend the money on one if it's not absolutely necessary.  If you are in the same boat, here is what I suggest;  Heat the oil in a large-ish pan (I used the stainless steel dutch oven my grandma gave me for Christmas) over medium high.  Once you can tell that the oil is pretty hot by hovering your hand over it, spoon a small amount of batter into the oil.  It should brown a little fairly quickly, but not be smoking.  If it doesn't cook fast enough, the batter will soak up the oil.  If it cooks too fast, you will burn it (and end up "testing" your smoke detectors).  When you think the oil is at the correct temperature, dip thinly sliced vegetables of your choosing into the batter and place in the oil.  Be sure to flip it over so you cook each side.

Dessert was my own creation.  Put about 1/4 cup cream or mascarpone cheese into a bowl.  Add 1/8 cup cocoa powder, 1/8 cup agave, 1/8 cup milk and a tablespoon of Kahlua.  Whisk it together until light and fluffy, adding more milk for texture or any other ingredients for added flavor.  Then dip your strawberries or another fruit of your choosing.

 It was an excellent Valentine's Day.


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