October 28, 2006
Roll, Cut, Serve
I was recently invited to a Japanese themed dinner party and was asked if I could bring sushi rolls as an appetizer. I’m always happy to oblige, especially for this hostess as her dinners are always over the top delicious. I would have loved to be able to bring her some sashimi as well as rolled sushi, but you just can’t get high quality, fresh seafood where I’m living right now, so that wasn’t an option. My rolls ended up being various combinations of the following: rice, crab, mango, cucumber, carrot, pickled asparagus, ginger and wasabi. I usually start out making specific types of rolls, but then forget ingredients. I know this hardly seems possible, all of my ingredients are sitting right in front of me. My mise en place is always in order but my brain is not. These things happen.
I definitely should have had my camera with me at the dinner, but I feel weird about snapping pictures of everything I eat when I’m with a group of people I don’t know. It’s easier for everyone involved when I can just be sneaky and take pictures in the kitchen on my own. But let me try to tell you how great everything was. The hostess had prepared multiple courses that began with my sushi appetizers as well as tempura shrimp. After the appetizers we had a lovely miso soup. Next up was a cold savoury custard with mushrooms, seafood and chicken, I forget what it was called but there was some story behind it about having element from land, sea and air. Somehow the chicken counted as being from the air… don’t ask me. As for the custard, the variety of textures and flavours was really unusual but in the best possible way. The main course was something new for me too, I’d eaten all of the components before, just not together. On the table were two big electric frying pans into which we put chicken and browned it and then added a mixture of sake, sugar and soy sauce. After the liquid we added a whole lot of extras: sweet potato, zucchini, mushrooms, tofu, noodles, spinach, (the non-tainted variety) and let everything come to a simmer. Each person had a bowl with a whole egg in front of them and some rice. We cracked our eggs open and then everyone used their chopsticks to take what they wanted from the pan, dipped it into the egg and then mixed it with rice. The hot food coming out of the pan heated the thin layer of egg that coated it and it was really tasty. The pots were refilled twice so everyone definitely had their fill. But the night wasn’t over just yet. To finish off lightly after so much food we had a simple mango custard with fresh clementine slices on top. We also had sake and Japanese beer throughout the meal. Everything was excellent and there was an interesting mix of people which made for some good conversation. All in all a very enjoyable evening except that I was so stuffed by the end of it I thought I’d have to be rolled home.
Appetizer + Sushi + Dinner + Japanese