Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Cucumber Roll, Deconstructed

I came across a great idea on Tastespotting the other day and I'm so excited to share it with you. It's a rare occasion while browsing Tastepotting that you don't come across something cool. It's just so full of creativity and these cucumber rolls are a perfect example of that. While I love sushi, I've never tried making it myself. I'm very intimidated by the whole process. Starting with the rice; I'll just be honest here...I suck at making rice. It's the bane of my cooking existence. I even have a rice cooker and still, it's hit or miss. So ask me to make sushi rice and I might just pass out. Next we have the nori. How long do you soak it? I don't have the rolling thing so I won't even go there. Besides, I can see the filling falling out all over the place as we speak. Finally, the fish. No matter how great of a fish monger you have, I'm paranoid.

Needless to say, the anxiety I experience by just thinking of the ordeal is not worth it. Plus, I don't mind leaving it up to the professionals. This take on a sushi roll however, is something I can wrap my head around. I knew these rolls would be good but I didn't realize they would be this good. I also couldn't believe how satisfying they would be. Between my boyfriend and myself, we ate about three days worth of our recommended veggie servings. I'll give you the recipe for the way I made them but you are only limited by your imagination here. I also made my own pickled ginger to go along with these and it was great.

RECIPE inspired by Garrett's Table:

1 large long english cucumber
1 avocado
1/2 carrot, julienned
5 radishes, julienned
1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 TBSP ginger, cut into chunks
1/8 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/4 package extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch squares
sesame oil
olive oil, for frying tofu

Using a mandolin or cheese grater, slice the cucumber into long thin strips. Mix the rice wine vinegar, sugar, sesame oil garlic and ginger in a small bowl. Add the carrots and radishes to the vinegar mixture (the red pepper is not to be marinated.) Set aside for at least 20 minutes. Add the oil to a pan and heat to medium high. Fry the tofu on all sides until lightly browned. Remove the tofu from the pan and let cool. Slice the avocado into 1/2 inch squares (the same size as the tofu.) Once you are ready to roll, remove the carrots and radishes from the marinade and drain lightly on paper towels. Lay a cucumber slice down. Starting at one end, place a few pieces of the carrots and radishes followed by the red pepper, tofu and avocado. Holding the cucumber end with one hand and the filling in the other, begin to roll, tucking the cucumber end under the filling. Roll all the way to the end. If you aren't serving these right away, secure with a toothpick until you are ready. Continue the process with the rest of the ingredients.

Makes about 8-10 rolls

Pickled Ginger courtesy of Stetsuko Yoshizuka
2 lb fresh ginger root
3 cups vinegar (white or rice wine)
2 cups sugar
2 tsp salt

Wash fresh ginger root and rub off skin. Slice the ginger thinly and salt them. Leave salted ginger slices in a bowl for one hour. Dry the ginger slices with paper towels and put them in a sterilized container/jar. Mix vinegar and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil. Pour the hot mixture of vinegar and sugar over the ginger slices. Cool them. Cover the jar and store it in the refrigerator.

Makes about 2 cups


diva said...

oh how lovely. i love pickled ginger, or gari. :)
beautiful presentation and it must be so refreshing!

toontz said...

So pretty! The rolls look so refreshing and tasty.

Hanna said...

Reeeally nice rolls and definately goin to try that picled ginger- oh my :P


Kevin said...

That looks good!

My Sweet & Saucy said...

What a great looking little appetizer!

Vicarious Foodie said...

These look really pretty! Great vegetarian dish.

~Madeline~ said...

Hi Diva,

See, I have no business making sushi when I can't even get the right name for pickled ginger!! ;)

Thanks toontz and kevin! They are so refreshing.

Hi hanna,

I was so surprised with how great the ginger turned out, and it's so easy!

Thanks my sweet and saucy and vicarious foodie!

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