Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sushi + Ginger Ice Cream

We began the dinner with miso (we used an organic Hacha Miso paste from EdenSoy, and added green onions, grated carrots, garlic, and sea weed; we forgot to add salt). The entrée consisted of Tuna nigiri and carrot-and-green-onion rolls.

When making sushi, a few tricks are worth knowing. Rinse the sushi rice and simmer in 1.5 times as much water 20 minutes; let steam at least ten. Drizzle the top of the rice with a mixture of a Tbsp or two rice vinegar and a tsp each salt and sugar. Move a thin layer to the nori for rolls while the rice is still hot: the steam will help it cling. When the rice is cool enough to handle, rinse your hands in cold water and squeeze heaping-tablespoons into clumps by hand. The cold water will keep the rise from sticking to your hands. Nori gets very sticky when in contact with a little water; have handy a clean towel for your hands, and a little bowl of water for when you want to glue the end of a strip of nori back to itself.

One cup dried rice made just the right amount for three large sushi rolls and 12 large pieces of nigiri. Allow one green onion per roll (slice it into thin strips); one large carrot, washed and made into strips with a vegetable peeler, is enough for four rolls.

Expect about 1/4 pound fish per person when making sushi (1/4 pound of fish translated into six large nigirizushi). The best tuna in Berkeley, by the way, is at the Farmers' Market for $13.50. Which is to say that, wine included, we probably spent $20 for the entire meal, and it would have been at least $60 for the two of us at a restaurant.

Pair fish, especially raw fish, with a dry Pinot Grigio or Sauvingon Blanc. Meridian's Pinto Grigio is a good $5-$6 choice.

We finished the evening with homemade ginger ice cream (not pictured). Peel and slice thin two small nubs of fresh ginger, and simmer in 2 cups milk in a double boiler; turn off the heat and let steep ten minutes. Meanwhile, separate four eggs, saving the whites for another dish, and whisk the yolks with 1 cup sugar in a heat-proof two-cup glass measuring cup. When the milk smells strongly of ginger, remove the pieces with a slotted spoon, and ladle a few Tbsp hot milk into the eggs, whisking. Keep ladling and whisking in a few Tbsp at a time until you have tempered the eggs with half the milk. Then pour all the egg mixture back into the double boiler, whisk with the milk, and bring back to high heat. Cook, whisking, five minutes, to pasteurize the eggs and fully dissolve the sugar. Then cool in the refrigerator a few hours.

When the milk-and-egg mixture is cool, add 1 cup cream and process in the ice cream maker. It will still be a bit runny; allow the ice cream to set in the freezer a few hours or overnight. Best the next day — homemade ice cream does not keep more than a few days.

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