Crab & Avocado Sushi

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Crab & Avocado Sushi

I love sushi!  Rolls, sashimi, maki, nigiri, just about any kind.  And while we decided long ago that it was the one dish we would always eat out, I couldn't resist giving it a try at home. While I don't have all of the traditional tools (a bamboo mat), I improvised and the results were outstanding!  This is a very basic recipe; after trying it you may very well decide that you want to do more exploring. This is much simpler than the lengthy recipe implies, so don't hesitate to give it a try!

Rice Ingredients:

1 cup sushi (short-grained) rice, rinsed in a colander until the water runs clear

2 Tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon Sake or Dry Sherry

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups water

Filling:

1/2 large avocado

Lime juice for drizzling the avocado, about 1 tablespoon

3 pieces of Nori (available in the Asian section of the market), about 8 X 7-inches each

1/2 English cucumber cut lengthwise into 8 X 1/4-inch strips, seeds trimmed off

1/4 pound cooked crab meat, picked over, best quality

Hot Wasabi Paste (available in the Asian section of the market)

Soy sauce, for accompaniment

Pickled Ginger, for accompaniment, if desired

Make the rice:

In a large heavy saucepan combine the rice with 1 1/4 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer cover tightly with a lid, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender.  Remove from the heat and let stand, covered tightly for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a baking sheet, spreading it out in an even layer.  Keep it warm and covered.

While the rice cooks, combine the vinegar sugar, sake or sherry, and the salt and simmer until the sugar is dissolved, the let it cool.

Sprinkle as much of the vinegar mixture as necessary to moisten it lightly tossing it carefully, then cover it wiht a dampened towel. (The rice may sit at room temperature for up to 3 hours before shaping the sushi rolls.  Do not chill it!)

Peel and pit the avocado, cut it into 1/4-inch (fine) strips and sprinkle with a little lime juice.

Heat the nori in a preheated 350-degree oven for 10 minutes until it softens a bit, and keep warm.

Shape the rolls:

Working with one sheet of nori at a time, place it on a bamboo mat or Silpat and with the long side facing you, spread about 3/4 cup of the rice in an even layer on each sheet, leaving a 1/2-inch border on the long sides.  Arrange 1/3 of the avocado strips horizontally across the middle of the rice and arrance some of the cucumber strips and crab meat on top of the avocado.  Dab the crab with a bit of the wasabi paste.  Beginin with a long side roll p the nori tightly, using the bamboo mat or Silpat to roll it and firm it.

Using a very sharp knife, cut the roll into 3/4-inch thick slices.  Serve with the soy sauce, wasabi paste, and pickled ginger on the side.

Makes 30 pieces

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Chef Lisa's Favorite Deviled Eggs

I have quite honestly never been a big fan of deviled eggs.  They appear at nearly every potluck and party, and as a serious egg-lover, it is surprising that until now I always passed them by.  Recently, I started thinking about the reasons for my lack of excitement for them, and realized that most deviled eggs I've eaten are pretty sweet, of which I am not a fan.  Having pinpointed the turn-off, I set about to make some I would enjoy.  Now, I've eaten deviled eggs that tasted like mustard and vinegar, too, and did not want to go that direction, either.  The goal was to find a way to prepare a savory egg that hit all the right notes, neither sweet or sour, but with sufficient flavor.  After seeing Chef April Bloomfield's recipe (of the Spotted Pig in NYC, famous for her deviled eggs), and studying the recipes in my cooking school textbooks, I created my own version.  I really like these, and so does my hubby, who was lukewarm to the dish, as well.  So enjoy your favorite style of deviled egg, but definitely give this recipe a try!  Makes one dozen

6 large eggs, boiled and peeled according to the directions in Chef Notes

3 Tablespoons real mayonnaise (not sandwich spread, like Miracle Whip)

1 Tablespoon champagne vinegar

2 teaspoons sour cream

1 teaspoon heavy cream

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Kosher or flaky sea salt

1 Tablespoon very-finely sliced chives (use slender, smaller chives, or just the fine ends)

1 Tablespoon very-finely chopped, very crisp bacon

Paprika or Cayenne

Cut the eggs in half length-wise and gently remove the yolk without tearing the white.  Place the yolks in the bowl of a small food chopper or processor.  (Set the whites aside.)  Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, sour cream, heavy cream, and mustard and process until very smooth and light.  Season with a little salt, to your personal taste.

Place the whites on a serving platter.  Fill a small pastry bag fitted with a large, plain pastry tip with the yolk mixture. (Alternately, if you haven't a pastry tip & bag, place the yolk mixture in the lower corner of a quart freezer bag, squeeze out the air, and cut about 1/2" off the corner of the bag.)  Squeeze the yolk mixture into the egg whites neatly.  Sprinkle with the paprika or cayenne (if you like a little heat), then sprinkle half with chives and half with the bacon. (Of course you can do all bacon or all chive eggs!)

Serve immediately, or refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.  Allow the eggs to warm up a bit, 20-30 minutes, after removing from the refrigerator before serving.

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Cucumber Flowers with Herbed Cream Cheese

   Cucumber Flowers with Herbed Cream Cheese, garnished with carrots and chives

Cucumber Flowers with Herbed Cream Cheese, garnished with carrots and chives

These are beautiful appetizers, lovely on a buffet or table; they taste just as good as they look.  A dressed-up alternative to herb dip and crudites, these are simple to prep, and a great way to get everyone to eat their raw veggies!  Makes about 30

1 Medium English cucumber, washed and dried

4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature

2 Tablespoons sour cream

1 Tablespoon mayonnaise

1 teaspoon fresh chives, sliced very fine

1 teaspoon finely-minced cilantro

1 teaspoon finely-minced fresh dill

2 teaspoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon all-purpose seasoning

1/4 teaspoon salt

Carrot or radish, sliced paper thin

Fresh chives or herb of your choice

Slice the cucumber on a mandolin or with a knife 1/4" thick.  Place the slices on a sheet of paper towel and pat dry with another paper towel.  Use a small flower-shaped cookie cutter to cut the cucumber slices into flower shapes.  Place on a serving platter, or a sheet pan if serving later.

Beat the cream cheese in a medium bowl until light; add the sour cream and mayo and beat until well combined.  Add the remaining ingredients and beat until very smooth. 

Fill a pastry bag with a plain tip, or a plastic freezer back with one corner snipped off with the cream cheese mixture.  Squeeze a dollop onto each cucumber slice.  Cut the carrot or radish slices in half or quarter, and arrange a piece on the cheese.  Cut the chives or herbs into small lengths or pieces and add to the flowers in a manner that appeals to you. 

Serve immediately, or carefully cover with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate.  Serve within 8 hours.

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Roasted Garlic Hummus

   Roasted Garlic Hummus

Roasted Garlic Hummus

This dip utilizes Roasted Garlic, a recipe that I shared a few weeks ago. The garlicis combined with some other very healthy ingredients, and it tastes amazing!  It's versatile; serve it as a dip with fresh veggies or toasted pita wedges, and equally tasty as a sandwich spread. The fact that you can whip it up in just a few minutes is a bonus. 

1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed

1 Tablespoon roasted garlic

2 Tablespoons tahini paste

Grated zest and juice of one medium lemon

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt, to taste

Place the beans, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and zest in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Slowly stream in the olive oil (add more for a thinner consistency.)  Add salt to taste.

Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to marry. 

 

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