If you don't believe in magic, you've never cooked in the Ninecooks kitchen. In under two hours, presto change-o, the Wednesday Lunch Group turned chaos (above) into order (below), and into the perfect lunch for our final cooking session before the summer.
This month all four Ninecooks groups have been going to the mat — the bamboo sushi mat called a sudare. Each group starts from scratch, making the rice, mixing it with seasoned rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a traditional wooden tub or wooden salad bowl, toasting the sheets of nori, and prepping a variety of fillings including colorful vegetables, fruits, roast beef, seafood salad, peanut butter, and, today, shredded rotisserie chicken from the supermarket. (Actually we were pleased to discover that every ingredient we needed for making sushi could be found in our local grocery store. Given that we live in rural northwest Rhode Island, this means our markets have come a long way.)
For condiments we sampled hoisin sauce and a praline mustard, plus hot chili paste with garlic. We all fell in love with Gold's Wasabi Sauce, a prepared, somewhat mild alternative to kick-it-up wasabi powder, that we found in our market's seafood department; it turned out to be the perfect accompaniment to everything — chicken, turkey, veggies, smoked salmon. Finding the Gold's a bit tame, Pete decided to kick up his wasabi sauce (in the blue rice bowl in the photo below) with...yes...super-hot wasabi paste (on the little cow plate). Wowie zowie.
By the time we were on our second and third maki rolls, we were experts!
A few fearless flyers tried their hand at inside-out rolls, with a sprinkling of toasted black sesame seeds adding dramatic effect...
...abracadabra! Success! The inside-out mango-strawberry variation was a bit gooey, but we figured out how to stop the fruit from sliding out, and the rolls provided a sweet counterpoint to the spicy veggie rolls.
While Bev regaled us with stories of her recent travels in Peru, everyone — including a five-year-old guest cook — mastered the art of making maki.
We did pretty well on the eating part, too, but we'd made far more than we could eat. Practice certainly made perfect, but it also made way too much sushi for our lunch! My lucky husband Ted will find a bit of leftover tucked away in the fridge for tomorrow's dinner.