Crazy for Some Sushi!

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Sunday night has become watch party night for Walking Dead for my foodie friend and I. It’s a much anticipated night throughout the week as we’ve challenged each other to explore foods from different cultures. This past Sunday was Sushi night! Little did my friend know that I have a cheating contraption that makes it oh-so-easy. Used previously, it worked splendidly yet again. And our sushi was delicious. Both last night and today for lunch.

This contraption is about the oddest thing you’ll ever see. It looks like a caulking gun with a plunger on the end. Basically, you open it up, put the rice and your goodies in, then close it and push out the sushi on to your nori paper. Then roll it up and cut it up

. And it eliminates trying to make the perfect little roll by doing the hard work for you. It took a little bit of exploration to find the nori in this little southern town – I actually had to go to Nashville to get it, at Whole Foods no less. Then I got some wasabi paste and pickled ginger at Publix, along with the tuna and swordfish we used. The tuna was expected, the swordfish came from a suggestion from the fish monger there – he said it was commonly picked up by other customers because it was a milder fish with a flavor similar to Mahi Mahi (which I actually like). It was surprisingly delicious.

We did up the fish three ways – raw, with a tiny dribble of sesame oil for a smoky flavor, and with some lemon-garlic powder and sea salt. I think the third one took the cake in flavor. Although they all tasted great. Our other ingredients included carrots, cucumber, avocado, bell pepper and radish. All chopped in to little bitty slivers. It took some knife skills, let me tell you. And rice? Use the rice cooker – not the stainless pot. It burns when you don’t stir it up and you have an electric stove. Thankfully we salvaged a majority of it. And then make sure you mix in that dribble of rice vinegar for the perfect sushi flavor.

I also made a yummy asian slaw to go with this – though we didn’t get that far – I might have forgotten it in the fridge because the sushi anticipation was killing me and we had been munching on the sashimi already… I sent him home with some so that it didn’t go bad in my fridge and I had some with my lunch. I think letting it sit made it even better. It had some of the same ingredients: cucumber and carrot, with the addition of cabbage, bean sprouts and tangy green apple. I then dressed it with lemon juice (to keep the apple from turning brown), and a vinaigrette made with a tiny bit of mayo, agave, sesame oil, rice vinegar and spicy garlic mustard. Yum.

Zombies and sushi… how is that not the perfect combination??? Fish has the same texture as “BRaaIInnnsSSss!!!” And yes I know I’m an odd bird sometimes.

Here Fishy, Fishy

IMAG0547Fish tacos. Among most people, there seems to be a love hate relationship with this delight. For me, it depends on the ingredients, how the fish is cooked and the overall combination of flavors. I prefer a crisp, crunchy, clean flavor. And I managed to achieve that with my most recent creation. I looked in my freezer as I was leaving my house at the horribly awful hour of 5 a.m. and decided I should use the fish that has been in there for quite a long time. And for some reason, though I am usually of the mantra “fish are friends, not food,” fish sounded good.

Most of the way home, I was trying to decide what I was going to do with the filets calling me from the freezer – I’ve found that if I really exhaust all the possible cooking options in my mind, I’m less likely to be lazy and stop somewhere to just pick something up. I didn’t think that this breaded tilapia would be good on tacos, and then I realized using my schnoz that it was actually  flavored breadcrumbs. Ok. Now it had possibilities.

One of the other fish that I have in my freezer is cod, and I was thinking about making a hoisin glazed cod as well. So I kind of combined my two ideas by making a slightly tangy/spicy hoisin sauce for these as well. It was definitely the perfect finishing touch that made for the perfect crispy, crunchy, clean, tangy taco that totally hit the spot.

And you can’t see it here but I also had a delicious half of an acorn squash with this. MMM Veggies. MMM Squash really, I really do enjoy just about all the kinds of squash when it’s cold outside.

Hoisin Tilapia Tacos

Ingredients:

Tortilla – one per taco

Lettuce, chopped or shredded – a fresh made, lightly sauced, cold coleslaw would be good here too

1 Tomato, chopped – I made two tacos and had some left over

Avocado, chopped – I used about half an avocado for my two tacos because I’m an avocado freak

Feta cheese, to taste

Breaded (seasoned) Tilapia – freshly made or frozen. I’m lazy, I did my from a frozen state. I used one filet for my two tacos.

Cooking spray in a small Pyrex casserole dish to cook your fish

For the sauce:

Hoisin, about 2 tbsp

Frank’s Red Hot sauce, about 2 tsp… 10 dashes or so?

1/2 tsp horseradish

Directions:

  1. Prepare your fish how you prefer. I stuck my frozen fish in the greased pyrex casserole in a preheated 425 degree oven for about 25 minutes. While that’s cooking, make everything else.
  2. For the sauce, mix the three ingredients in a small ramikin and adjust seasoning to taste.
  3. Prepare toppings, warm the tortillas on a paper plate with a damp paper towel covering them for about 30 seconds in the microwave.
  4. Prepare taco with desired toppings minus the sauce in the warm tortillas. Either put the cheese directly on the tortilla or directly under the fish so that it will melt a little.
  5. Once the fish is cooked, remove from the pan and let sit about two minutes so it stiffens a little bit and gets the nice crispiness. Then cut in half and place on the tacos.
  6. Fold, eat, enjoy. Yum.

On a final note, apparently I’m feeling very hyper today. It’s probably from lack of sleep and coffee. I’ve been talking about a hundred miles an hour and I just reread my post….slowly noticing that I am forcing you my loyal readers to bounce along a very winding train of thought that has no clear final destination. Sorry about that.

Finally cooking two nights in a row…

So I got a new job, and it means that I might actually be able to come home and cook more often! Go figure! I’m really excited, and I got an almost sneak peek this week, when I got to cook two nights in a row for the first time in months!

So night one. I got this seafood mix from an oriental store that a friend of mine introduced me to, hoping to make a dish reminiscent of the frutta di mare (fruit of the sea) that we had gotten in Italy. But of course, I can’t remember exactly what went into it, so I just threw some stuff together and called it good. Well the sauce rocked. The fish…well that left a little to be desired. This particular mixture had crab meat in it…I mean, imitation crab meat. Soft and gushy did not mix well with the other textures, and frankly was a little sickening. Unfortunately, the squid/octopus was chewy, but the clams were good! I think the same sauce with fresh seafood would be significantly much tastier.

The sauce though. The sauce was amazing. I used oil with garlic, tomato paste, tomato sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano and hot sauce and let it simmer with the seafood. It was so so good! I think it would be good on really any kind of protein.

For my second night, I made a chicken kebab. Now this wasn’t just any chicken kebab…this had Korean BBQ sauce on it that I got at that same oriental market. I used some of the veggies from our Halloween get-together to make these that much more scrumptious, and added some very flavorful rice along with it. These kebabs had piece of bell pepper, then a pineapple chunk, and then a very sturdy carrot, and that pattern sandwich some marinated chicken tenders. Then the skewers were put in to the rotisserie and cooked for approximately 40 minutes or so. The tenders weren’t very thick, so they didn’t take long at all to cook. Let me just say, I added a little bit of chicken broth to the rice with the water, and that gave it such a good flavor! I should have cooked it just a tad bit longer though…It became like this sticky sushi rice almost. But I tend to like rice like that better. It just seems like it almost goes down smoother.

Can’t wait to keep up my cooking spree 🙂