Thursday, October 29, 2009
The West Tisbury Public Library has an impressive collection of vegetarian and whole foods cookbooks. The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen (my newest and hardest crush) was our most recent find. I immediately ordered it. Tal Ronnen is the vegan chef who catered Ellen DeGeneres & Portia de Rossi's wedding... He also happens to be really cute! Call me, Tal.
His book is filled with beautiful photographs and incredible vegan recipes, including one for Quinoa Maki with Avocado and Cajun Portobello Fillets, which I used as the basis for this Avocado & Sweet Potato Quinoa Maki. Of course the great thing about sushi is that the variations are as endless as your imagination. Making sushi at home sounds like a daunting and frustrating task. I didn't even use a sushi rolling mat, so I fully expected to crash and burn. It ended up being incredibly simple and straightforward. Keep that secret to yourself and everyone will think you're a kitchen goddess.
Ingredients: (makes 4 rolls)
4 sheets of sushi nori (seaweed wrappers)
2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (optional)
1 tablespoon sambal (or any spicy chili sauce)
1 cup dry quinoa
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 sweet potato
1 tablespoon wasabi powder (or prepared wasabi)
1. Mix the wasabi powder with a few drops of hot water until it forms a thick paste. Set aside.
2. Mix the vegan mayonnaise with the sambal. Set aside. (Vegan mayo still creeps me out a little. I just used straight up sambal, but for those with delicate taste buds, just skip it.)
3. Cook the quinoa according to package instructions. (You could make this with white or brown rice but quinoa is a fun twist on sushi, and just so darn good for you!) When the quinoa is cooked, stir in the rice vinegar and sugar. Set aside to cool slightly.
4. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the sweet potato. Slice into 1/2 inch sheets, toss in olive oil, and roast at 425 until cooked through, turning once.
5. When all your ingredients are ready, roll the sushi! Place a sheet of nori (seaweed) on your cutting board or counter. Spread a thin layer of quinoa across the nori, leaving a 1-inch strip at the far end to seal the sushi. (The quinoa was sticking to my fingers a bit so I used the back of a spoon, which worked perfectly!)
6. Spread a bit of the sambal mixture across the center of the sushi, parallel to the seal strip. Top with a layer of avocado and strips of sweet potato. It doesn't have to be perfect, but try to make it relatively even.
8. Wet the sealing strip generously with water. Starting at the end closest to you, roll the nori firmly over the filling towards the 'naked' sealing end. When the roll is fully closed, press firmly (but not too hard) and set it on your cutting board, seam side down.
9. Using a sharp knife, cut the maki into eight equal-ish pieces. Serve with wasabi, soy sauce, and pickled ginger!