Showing posts with label spam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spam. Show all posts

Monday, July 22, 2013

Pick a Veggie Sushi Rolls

This is the third time I've written today's post, and no matter if it's the charm or not I'm going with it.  First, I was going to share kohlrabi, egg, and Spam sushi rolls.  Then a post about gyro sushi rolls, then unagi, green onion, and salad mix rolls.  Finally I just decided to combine a bunch of sushi photo collages and call this Pick A Veggie From The CSA Farm Share Box and Roll Your Own Sushi.  However, many of the food porn photo sharing sites I submit to have character limits on post titles, so a bit of editing happened.

I started sharing sushi posts soon after I started this blog, with a smoked salmon, cream cheese, and cucumber sushi.  Later I shared my #strangebutgood maple teriyaki salmon sushi.  Today I'm going to illustrate how I take a (usually leftover) protein and combine it with on-hand vegetables to make sushi.  Sushi makes a great portable lunch when you are outside enjoying nature during warm days.  It's a real treat to open up your lunchbox and pull out more than a squashed sandwich.  I love to send my kids a 'disposable lunch' on field trips (disposable required by the school) using up leftover containers filled with whatever I had on hand, rolled up sushi style.
If you're looking for recipes featuring sushi-grade raw fish, look at some of my links below--I'm in the middle of the country and cooking for my family--you will not find me buying blocks of sushi grade tuna, though if you'd like to send me where it is, I'd be delighted to eat it. :)

My daughter and I have enjoyed lunch together a lot.  When she was a preschooler, she'd have school a couple of mornings a week and come home for lunch/nap.  Later, it was lunch before getting on the bus for afternoon kindergarten.
We'll gloss over the crowded, noisy cafeteria and lunch starting at 10:40am in our last district.  Here in Ohio the kids get an hour(!) lunch break and my daughter usually comes home for lunch.  My son usually finds something worth staying for  at school.
 My favorite lunches-with-my-young-daughter were in Hawaii, picking up a to-go order at Aloha Sushi.  There, my daughter would get tekka maki and I'd have unagi hand rolls.  The warm grilled eel, warm sushi rice, and delicate nori wrapping utterly satisfied me in a way that no store-bought box of sushi can.
When my son asked for unagi sushi for his birthday supper, on a night coinciding with our first CSA farm share pick up, I knew I'd be rolling up some farm fresh produce with our eel.  I just didn't know what it would be until I got the box (I've mentioned I like the Iron Chef aspect of CSA subscriptions, yes?). My possibilities were varied--salad greens, kale, Swiss chard, asparagus, green onions, garlic and strawberries.  I opted for onions and salad mix.  My son thanked me for not getting too wild for his birthday dinner.
I got wild later.  Since I had roasted asparagus, leftover roast chicken, and all the sushi fixings out, I rolled up some Roast Chicken and Asparagus rolls.
Leftovers from Gyro night in a sushi roll?  Why not?  Drain the tzatziki sauce really well (overnight in the fridge) for best results.
These meals follow the Theorem of Cooking Once and getting 2 different meals with the result, just like with my Chicken Adobo Summer Rolls.  The Food Blogger Corollary is simple--you've got the camera out and your kitchen is already messy, so why not get 2 blog posts for 1 kitchen clean up?  When I made Spam Chirashi Sushi I saved some slices of meat in stick form to use in these sushi rolls.  My daughter brought them to school for a food sharing event in her social studies class.  If you've never made sushi, refer to this post for more step-by-step instructions.  It's really fun once you get the hang of it, and even your failures taste delicious.

Pick A Veggie From The CSA Farm Share Box and Roll Your Own Sushi

NOTE:  I created this recipe to be gluten free through my choice of ingredients (Spam is GF!). Check labels to confirm that your products (I'm talking about you, soy sauce) are also gluten free. Good sources for determining that your products are gluten free can be found here: 

Using the recipe in this post for the building blocks listed below, for each 8 piece roll, you will need

1 sheet sushi nori
1 cup cooked seasoned sushi rice (1 1/2 cups if you want double rice inside out rolls)
a thin schmear of mayonnaise
Protein (see NOTE below)
Vegetable (see NOTE below)

With damp fingers, spread the rice across the sheet of nori on an Old Bamboo or the rolling device of your choice (I've got a New Pink Plastic, and while it's easier to clean than my Old Bamboo I like the hand feel of the bamboo better).  Spread a thin schmear of mayonnaise across the rice.  Top with the rest of the components.  Use the Old Bamboo to roll tightly away from you, stopping after one complete revolution to lift the mat so it doesn't get rolled up with your sushi roll.  Squeeze tightly.  Use a sharp knife to cut the roll into 8 pieces, wiping the knife with a damp towel in between cuts.
Serve with soy sauce for dipping.

NOTE:  Protein suggestions are 1/3 cup sliced Japanese Omelette (4 eggs, mixed with 1 teaspoon each sugar and salt, scrambled and chopped); 1/8 can of Spam, prepared per this post; 1/2 cup chopped roasted chicken, dribbled with teriyaki sauce; 2-3 slices prepared gyro meat, fried; 1/4 package marinated BBQ eel, or what else?  Vegetable suggestions are 1/3 cup finely shredded carrot, 1/3 cup peeled kohlrabi, sliced into sticks, 1/4 cup sliced spring onions, 2-3 pieces salad greens, 1/4 cup well-drained tzatziki sauce, or what else?

I've got some other ideas to tempt you:

California Roll at Just One Cook
Chirashi Sushi at Ninja Baking
Dragon Roll at Just One Cook
Festive Cucumber and Ginger Sushi at Ninja Baking
Ginger Cashew Nori Rolls at Spabettie
Jewshi with Caper Mayo at What Jew Wanna Eat

This post is shared on the Clever Chicks Blog Hop, Tasty Tuesdays, Mostly Homemade Mondays, the Wednesday Fresh Foods Link Up Pot Luck Party, What's Cookin' WednesdayWhat's In The Box, Food on Friday and the From The Farm Blog Hop.

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Monday, April 8, 2013

Spam Musubi Chirashi Sushi [Food Bloggers Against Hunger]

I started this blog because I've picked up a number of clues for what to do when you're overwhelmed with fresh produce--from your CSA farm share, your garden, your neighbor's garden, or a deal at the store you couldn't pass up.  Got too much of a certain vegetable, say, kohlrabi?  I can help you.

The flip side of the coin, having too little food, is what we're on about today.

I have never truly experienced food insecurity.  I had weeks in college where I couldn't afford to buy food and pay rent, but I worked at a restaurant so I managed to eat on the days I worked, and even take home a doggie bag for my days off (and I was only responsible for myself and my dog).  That's not food insecurity.
The Feeding America website defines food insecurity as not always knowing where your next meal is coming from.  As a person who has the skills, supplies, and space to put up whatever my garden decides to grow, it's very troubling to me that nearly 1 in 5 children in America, and more than a quarter of all kids here in Ohio, live in households with uncertain nutritionally adequate and safe supplies of food (source).

I'm happy to join with Food Bloggers Against Hunger to dedicate today's post to bring awareness and inspire action to end childhood hunger.

What can you do?
Well, certainly donating to Scouting for Food, or Stamp Out Hunger (coming May 11th), or your community canned food drive helps. Buying a few extra super sale items during your regular grocery shopping and dropping them at the food pantry helps.  Donating your excess garden produce helps. Teaching gardening at your kids' school, and donating the excess produce at harvest time, helps (and is so fun!).
If your CSA farm share provides you with something you just can't find a way to like (have you checked my Recipe Index By Ingredient?) please donate that item to your local food pantry each week when you get your box.  I remember I was surprised to learn that fresh produce can be donated directly to many food pantries.  Last year my local Foodbank distributed 1.2 million pounds of fresh produce (source: Feedwire Spring 2013) to hungry folks in a 3 county region--more than double the previous year's distribution!

When my young daughter said one December, after seeing all the holiday-time donation barrels at her school, "what do the people eat next month?", I realized that seasonal charity is not enough.

Help end hunger on a national scale.

Please take a moment, using this link, to tell Congress you support Federal nutrition legislation.  I just did, and it took me under 3 minutes and I even personalized the heck out of my message. Try it!  Now!

I'll get the recipe ready while you do.

There are some foods that seem to sharply divide the population.  For example, you love cilantro or you think it tastes like soap.  Me, I think it tastes like soap and love it anyway. Trend bucker.

Spam seems to be one of those foods.  Growing up I don't think I was much aware of Spam.  As an adult I observed it was an item that was often ridiculed:  called "mystery meat"or "poor people's food", Spam was definitely not the kind of food fit for a Discerning Palate.  Even recently, when I was helping pack boxes for the mobile food pantry at The Foodbank, I heard comments belittling a can of Spam that was unloaded from a donation barrel.  Why?  It's an inexpensive protein source that is shelf stable, doesn't require special tools to open or prepare, and can be used in a variety of ways.

My thoughts on Spam changed when I lived in Hawaii.  In the convenience stores across the US, you can find hot dogs, sausages, and taquitos hanging out under heat laps, ready to eat if you've got the munchies.  But in Hawaii, in addition to those usual suspects, there's this sushi-looking thing.  Spam musubi.  It's a slab of marinated cooked Spam (in place of fish) seatbelted onto a pad of rice with some nori.  I had to try it (I've never had to try a tacquito) and it's good eating!  Heck, even Martha Stewart likes Spam (browned in butter and put between thick slices of good bread, according to an interview I heard on an NPR show).

Because I'm happily inundated with veggies when I get my CSA farm share, I add vegetables to as many things as I can.  I once happened to have a kohlrabi burning a hole in my crisper (hey, it happens) when my son asked for Spam Musubi, so I made these rolls.  But if we're not needing a portable meal, or I have less time to prepare supper, it's fun to make Spam Musubi Chirashi style.  My friend Lasar introduced me to this scattered style of sushi, and I've expanded on her technique (though her original recipe card lives in a stack clipped on my fridge--for 3 moves/4 fridges now!).
Yes, my kohlrabi is naked.  I used the greens in this pizza.

Most of the ingredients should be available at your local grocery store, all except furikake and you don't even need that.  If you're in an Asian market getting supplies for this, look around for furikake.  It's a rice seasoning blend.  It keeps forever and is delicious on popcorn, though, note to vegetarians, it frequently contains bonito flakes or dried egg.  There are many different flavors of furikake.  I've tried 3, and my favorite remains the one that Lasar handed to me before she moved to Europe:  Katsuo Fumi Furikake.  My son and I sprinkle this on our plated servings.  My spouse and daughter do not.

Like cilantro, you either love it or you don't.

If you have preconceived notions about Spam, but have never even tried it, give this a try.  Listen to some Hawaiian music (Home In These Islands by the Brothers Cazimero is playing now) and transport yourself.  It's technically Spring and this taste of the islands 'ohana style helps me to feel the balmy breezes.