Sunday, September 9, 2007

Roll it up

Although Persian, my friend 'Koover' can cook Asian food like a pro. If there was anyone I would attempt to roll sushi with for the first time, it would absolutely be him. So when he was in town visiting a couple weeks ago and we happened to pass by the Japanese market I'd noticed so many times before (and have always desperately wanted to go inside), we spontaneously made the decision to make sushi for dinner that night.

My sis, Koovs, and I shopped around the small market for all the essentials: Koover, of course, guiding us with what we needed and taking charge of reading the directions on the sushi rice so we got the right vinegar and other essentials. When we left the market we had rice, fresh sushi grade tuna, ebi, seawood, avocado, vinegar and green tea ice cream in hand. We stopped on our way back to my apartment for the bamboo roller, some mango, basil and tomatoes. We were really excited to break the seal and roll sushi for the first time as none of us had done it before.

I left the rice making to Koovs. He's a rice making pro although he usually make Jasmine rice and not the sticky rice required for sushi rolls. Regardless, the rice was perfect and we tried to stay true to the directions by using a small battery operated fan while pouring in the vinegar and stirring. Pretty funny image to see my sister with a light up fan next to this big pot of rice; I'm sure that's not exactly the way they did it back in the day. Anyways...while the rice was cooking, Koovs and I cut up all the ingredients to go in the rolls: Avocado, mango, tomatoes, basil and the tuna and shrimp. We set up a station on my kitchen table with little bowls that contained all the fillings and started to create our sushi masterpieces.

Once you put the seaweed on the bamboo mat, you take the sticky rice and spread it all over; using water on your hands to 'un-stick' the rice. In the center of the mat (topped with your seaweed and rice), you put your ingredients. We started simple with tuna, mango and avocado and ended up using all the ingrediants at once by the end. All of it tasted delish. Then you roll it up. We tried this two different ways--once with the rice on the outside (not so successful,) and then ended up continually using the rice on the inside after my sis of all people gave it a go.
Rolling Sushi]
Once the sushi was rolled up, we cut the sushi into slices and arranged on the plate.

I think what most people are scared of when rolling their own sushi is the quality of the fish, but the tuna we got from the Japanese market was extremely fresh and tasty. Also it was extremely cheap comparitively to what you recieve in restaurants. A piece of tuna sushi at a restaurant could cost you $4 a piece; but a relatively big piece of tuna used in 3 rolls costs about $4 for the entire piece at the market. I would probably recommend getting the fish at a speciality shop though; super markets just won't cut it.

(roll with ebi, mango, avocado, basil)

(roll with tuna, mango, avocado)

It all proved to be a scrumptious and great experience. It was really fun to roll your own sushi and be proud of your creation. Even my sis (who's not from the cooks) was having fun ; and I mentioned that rolling sushi is similar to rolling a joint; needless to say she was rolling some pretty tight rolls. She got the mvp for the night.

So...I'm definitely considering having a sushi rolling party...and maybe we can roll a few other things too. Whose bringing the fillings?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

On our way to brunch...we found another brunch

Definitely a new brunch shout out: While attempting to go to Friend of a Farmer, one of my favorite places to go for brunch for their amazing omelettes and country fresh feeling, l-dawg and I ventured to City Crab based on it's close proximity to our original spot (actually the line at Friend of a Farmer was ginormous...I guess everyone had the same idea as us).
I had been to City Crab before and really remember enjoying the brunch there. The thing I had remembered most about the last trip was the ridiculously good bread basket with corn bread and other treats. This time we weren't served the bread basket (maybe they got rid of it?) but I was thankful for it (those brunch bread baskets are dangerous!). In any case, we both ordered the same thing--egg white omelette with rock shrimp, mixed vegetables and cheese (me-cheddar, her-goat). It was really great. I've never thought to put shrimp or seafood for that matter in eggs before. Turns out, I've been missing out. (Although, I have had a lobster omelette before so I guess that counts). Other items on their omelette menu included an omelette with lump crab and others with shrimp. A definite recommend for something a little bit on the different side.

A quick post script--for seriously the best french toast in nyc, go to Dos Caminos. I know it's really known for it's upper scale Mexican fare, but I'm telling you--order them. You won't be disappointed. My sister got them one brunch and I was basically wishing I could telepathically switch our plates.


While at first I was hesitant to eat Greek food after I got back from my vacation, I slowly made the plunge back into some of my favorite foods. I started by trying to incorporate feta cheese into salads and omelettes but the feta always fell short. Then I began to order my signature greek salad from 2 of my favorite Turkish restaurants in my neighborhood: Taksim and Sip Sak. This proved successful. And while I know that no feta cheese will ever be as creamy and flavorful as what I had in Greece, at least the feta used in these salads are of the better quality for the US.
Yesterday I went with one of my friends to Moustache in the west village for middle eastern/mediteranean fare. I had the chicken kebab over pureed lentils which was simple and great. And I think it gave me the final push to accept that the medeteranean food here will never be quite as good the authentic type, but can still be tasty and delicious. Next on my list that I've been hearing great things about is Pylos. I'll get there sooner rather than later, and at least I know it's a shorter trip to the east village than back to Europe.