Sarah sent out an e-mail planning a big sushi dinner for her birthday, only the party wasn't until next Saturday. Screw that. The Rosetta household got a mad sushi craving and decided to do something about it. After hitting the Asian grocery for nori and miso paste and a few other essentials, we came home and made two courses.

The first was a big pot of miso soup, with dried shitake mushrooms, baked tofu, and hijiki. We pretty much just added the paste to the water until it tasted right, then added the other stuff and let it simmer for a long time. No real science to it.

The rolls were a little more complicated, but no one should be intimidated by making sushi. We sliced up a bunch of kale, shiso, steamed butternut squash, baked tofu, carrots, and scallions (from our own back yard). We made a bunch of jasmine rice in the rice cooker, with extra water to make it a little stickier. If you don't have sushi rice, any short or medium grain rice will work fine. When the rice was done, we mixed it with rice vinegar, salt, and sugar and let it cool off some before making the rolls. Then we sat down at the table and just kind of went for it. Everyone grabbed a sheet of nori, spread it with rice, threw various combinations of the ingredients on it, and rolled it up. I even made one inside out roll and sprinkled it with sesame seeds. We made some wasabi paste (from the powder) and some spicy mayo sauce out of vegenaise and sriracha. We ate sooooo much.

If you've never made sushi before and still think it's scary, let me share two facts. Fact 1: we made about 14 sushi rolls for under $10 total. We fed 4 people with sushi that, at a sushi bar, would have cost close to $100. We had tons of leftovers. Fact 2: The very first episode of Post Punk Kitchen gives a step by step sushi making lesson in great, immaculate detail. No more excuses. You don't even need a mat. Just go for it.


Curried Pumpkin and Kale Soup

Oh, hello there. I'm a curried pumpkin and kale soup. I look delicious and innocent, but I have a dark secret. I started life, as do most pumpkin soups, as a can of pumpkin at the grocery store. Maggie and Jay brought me home and I sat in the cabinet for a few days, awaiting my debut.

Then, one night, among much revelry and perhaps a few drinks, Jay decided to make me into a pumpkin pie. Maggie wrote down the recipe that she likes, and brought it to him in the kitchen before returning to the living room to chat and watch movies with everyone else. I was delighted! A delicious pie! It was about halfway through the process that I got nervous. Jay didn't seem to be looking at the recipe much, and instead was tossing in ingredients without measuring them. Dubious.

Nevertheless, I trusted Jay. I mean, he made that great aioli last week, and delicious guacamole. Surely he wouldn't do me wrong. I was poured into a crust and put in the oven. I baked. And I baked. And then I baked some more until I was getting extremely worried. Everyone had gone into the backyard by the fire and seemed to have totally forgotten me. When Jay finally returned and alarmedly took me out of the oven, it was not a pretty sight. I was dark chocolate brown and, as Maggie quickly concluded, did not taste anything like pie should taste.

I was devastated. They banished me to the refrigerator and decided to think about me later. After waiting so long to satisfy them with my delicious, squashy goodness I knew I'd likely be thrown out into the compost heap. The next night, however, something magical happened.

Maggie, John, and Jay were again spending time in the living room, and John suggested that they might make a soup for dinner. Maggie volunteered to make some crusty french rolls to go with it, and while she was in the kitchen, ended up making the main dish as well. She started with 4 cups of vegetable broth made from bouillon. When the broth was simmering, she did something brilliant and magical. She scooped out most of my mushy, pie interior and dumped me into the broth. Jay whisked me into oblivion while she chopped kale. Once I was entirely incorporated with the broth, she added the kale, some more water, curry, ginger, salt, and sriracha.

I couldn't believe my good fortune. Instead of being tossed heartlessly into the compost heap, I had been reinvented as a delicious fall soup that everyone loved. I was soaked up into bread and eaten ravenously by the multitudes.


Pizza with Teese Cheese

Adieu, VeganMofo. I had a great time and it really kicked my ass into blogging again. I promise that even though October is done, the posting won't stop. It might lighten up a little, but who knows. This week I was out of town for work and then in stupid CLE all day on Wednesday. If a CLE is mandatory for all newly licensed attorneys, it should be equally applicable to all areas of practice and not some kind of civil lititgation love in. That's all I have to say about that.

I finally gave in and ordered some Teese. I was sort of holding out, thinking I'd make it back to Chicago soon and try more, but I heard they finally released the cheddar flavor so I caved. I'm so glad I did, because it's awesome. One of the good things about having a boyfriend who works at a pizza place is that you can bring your own ingredients and make pizza with their dough and their ovens. Actually, most of the pizza places here will let you bring in your own cheese, so it's not that big of a deal except that it's free. For this one, we brought the mozzarella Teese, fresh oregano, vegan pepperoni, and local shitake mushrooms. I ate like five slices last night and then another for breakfast this morning.

It doesn't taste like cheese. I cheat often enough that I remember very clearly what cheese tastes like, and this ain't it. That said, it tastes really, really good. And, of course, it melts. It melts and it browns and it looks just lovely. I mean look at it. While it didn't taste like cheese, it tastes close enough that it didn't make me feel deprived, and I think that's what's important when evaluating an analog. I'll post again when I think of something fabulous to do with the cheddar, but I definitely recommend the Teese.