Monday, April 20, 2009

Kimbap (aka Korean Sushi)

I first saw this made by Andrew's stepmother who is from Korea. More recently, I learned to make it from a group of international students (or their spouses) who meet for a weekly culture group. You will be amazed at how easy and tasty it is! Most of the ingredients mentioned below can be found in an asian market - some of them may even be available in the ethnic section of your local grocery.

Start by making a batch of sushi rice. One of the best step by step tutorials on how to do this can be found here. One of the major differences between Korean and Japanese sushi (aside from not using raw fish) is the flavor of the rice. While Japanese sushi uses rice vinegar to flavor the rice, Korean sushi uses a couple of tablespoons of sesame oil. Start off small and add to suit your tastes.

Lay one sheet of roasted seaweed (sushinori) shiny side down on a bamboo sushi mat.

Using the back of a spoon (or fingers well oiled with sesame oil) press the sushi rice in an even layer on the seaweed, leaving about 1/2 inch at one end.

Place your ingredients at one end of the sushi roll. We used pickled daikon, pickled burdock (often packaged together at asian groceries), steamed spinach (not pictured), and imitation crab. You can use pretty much anything you like. Some popular combinations can be found here.

Using two hands (when not taking a picture), roll the sushi tightly. Use the mat to get started, then let it fall back and just roll, pressing lightly so the rice will stick to the seaweed as you roll. When you get to the end, use a little bit of water to moisten the seaweed and seal the roll.

Voila! Here is your finished product! Using a sharp knife cut the roll into 1/2 inch slices.

And serve with your favorite dipping sauce - we especially like Bragg's Liquid Aminos.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Roasted Beets

Beets are another one of those vegetables that I wanted to teach myself to like this year - and with the help of my brother, who is a huge fan of beets, I'm happy to say we have succeeded. It turns out that more often than not, the simplest methods of preparation yield the tastiest results when it comes to vegetables.

For beets, simply scrub them really well with a vegetable brush, cut off the tops and ends, and pare away any "hairy" spots where little feeler roots have sprouted (you can peel the whole thing if you want, but it's not really necessary). Cut the beets in wedges and toss with olive oil (and salt and pepper if desired). Spread in a single layer in a glass dish and roast for about 45 minutes at 325. The beets are done when easily pierced with a fork, but not mushy.Here are our beets before roasting. Aren't they pretty? We used a combination of red, golden and Chioggia beets. They won't be quite as vibrant after roasting, but they'll taste wonderful!

Roasting really brings out the sweetness in the beets. For a nice contrast, you can toss them with the following dressing (or just serve it on the side).

Pour 1/2 cup sherry vinegar.
Add sugar, salt, and pepper to taste.

Sorry that's not very exact, but I honestly don't know how much I use. Just start off with a little and add until it suits your tastebuds!