Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day Recap and New Projects

Over the last few days I've noticed there really isn't a good abbreviation for "Valentine's Day".  V-Day is an entirely different day and no one would be enamored to see VD.  Therefore, we will stick with the more cumbersome, but acceptable, Valentine's Day in its entirety.

I had decided that I was going to make miso soup and sushi for our Valentine's Day dinner.  After delivering some caramels and cake hearts, I went shopping for a few things I would need.  On previous occasions, I have found sashimi grade tuna in Carbondale.  It was not to be yesterday.  Instead I purchased a small steak of yellowfin. 

The cute little remnants in my stock bag
will remind me of Valentine's Day the
next time I make stock.

For the miso soup, I used the recipe on the container as a guideline.  I've not used miso before, but had the impression it was quite salty, so I wanted some vegetables in it to absorb some of the flavor.  I had some leeks and used those instead of onion.  I cut some carrots with my little heart cutter.  Something red would have been nice, but beets were out of the question and red pepper wasn't what I had in mind either.  I was very happy with the appearance, but it turns out that miso (at least the red miso I had purchased) is also slightly sweet.  Didn't care for that so much.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the pot of soup we didn't eat, but I'll come up with something.  (The hubs suggest stock, and I'm thinking that has potential.)

You can see a couple of little broccoli stem hearts in there as well.

Knowing that food-borne illnesses related to seafood can be particularly hideous, and having had the unpleasant of experience of salmonella in the past, I chose to sear the tuna.  So my sushi was not authentic, but it was safe.  And the hubs didn't seem to mind too much.  It's been awhile since I've made sushi.  There were a couple of things I had forgotten:  1) making sushi always takes longer than I think it will; and 2) sticky rice is called sticky rice for a reason.  I spent pretty much all afternoon prepping and it was still almost 8:00 before it was ready. 

Sticky, sticky, sticky rice. 
This stuff can try the patience
of a saint.  (And I'm no saint!)

My original thought had been since it's Valentine's Day, I would try to roll the sushi from both ends and make it heart shaped.  By 7:00, I was getting tired, was very hungry and fortunately had the insight to recognize my limitations.  Even with that, it wasn't the prettiest sushi I've ever made, but it was still tasty.  (But by then I was so hungry, the miso soup was tasting better too.)

Since the sticky rice sticks to everything,
I had to rinse off my knife blade after every cut. 
After the first roll, I wisened up
and cut two rolls at a time. 
Work smarter, not harder as Chef says.

As for today, I'm going to kick back and do a little housework and gear up for a little shopping on Wednesday and experimenting on Thursday.  I have a couple more ideas for caramels I want to try and while shopping I found some Cara Cara oranges that begged me to take them.  Yes, that means more marmalade is in my future.