Thursday, June 01, 2006

Sushi means RICE people!

The pot luck was a success. We brought 104 tortilla pinwheels. My original aim was 160, but the second package of tortillas was all stuck together and I could only peel three off (grrr...last time I shop at a discount chain for tortillas!). But it worked out fine because there were fewer people there than expected. We came home with.....one. What is it about the very last piece of something that suggests "hands off"? You can have a line up of starving people, but that last piece of food on the dish goes untouched. So they went over well, better in fact than I expected. The only thing was...well.....nobody knew what they were. We kept hearing exclamations of "Yum! Sushi!" as they were piled onto plates. I was worried there would be alot of pieces in the garbage with one bite out of them, since they were certainly not sushi and it would be quite a disappointment if that is what you are expecting. Nope, people were pleasantly surprised and a LOT got back in line to get more. "What ARE these?" gobble gobble gulp! I shared the recipe (which is embarassingly simple LOL) with many people. After all, they are relatively easy to make, transport well, and don't have to be heated. I also like to think my presentation helped a bit as well. That bowl in the center is for salsa. I poured two jars in when we got there to make it look nice, but really a single container would have been way more than enough. I want to mention that while there were a few carrots and tomatoes left, somebody ate the green onion/olive garnish ROFL! Tortilla Pinwheels 15 (more or less) large flour tortillas I used white flour because I was worried the kids would be picky. For just adults I would have mixed in some whole wheat and coloured wraps like sundried tomato or pesto 2 packages cream cheese, room temp 2 packages light cream cheese, room temp Next time I will use all light 1 package shredded cheese - 2 to 3 cups I used half mild cheddar and half nacho mix but I've used all of one or the other before with good results. Just didn't want it spicy for the kids. 1 can pitted ripe olives, chopped The sliced ones in the can always taste funny to me so I prefer to slice and chop my own. If they taste fine to you, start with those. 1 bunch green onions, cleaned and trimmed and finely chopped 1/2 cup light sour cream Mix the cream cheeses and sour cream with a hand or stand mixer until well blended and not too stiff. It has to be spreadable. Fold in the chopped olives, green onions, and shredded cheese. Spread the mixture a couple of milimeters thick on a tortilla. Too little filling and your rolls will be too small and not hold together. Too much filling and your rolls will be messy and squishy so hard to cut. It takes me about two rolls to find a nice balance. Starting from any edge, roll the tortilla relatively tightly, using your hands to press the roll as you go to make sure the filling is sticking nicely. Cut off the very ends (which never fill out very nice but still taste good, so save them for yourself). Stack the rolls on a plate as you go, then chill for at least 1 hour. Slice each roll in half, then those two pieces in half, then those four pieces in half again to make 8 pinwheels per roll. You can get more or less from a roll as you like, but eight is about perfect in my opinion. Arrange on a platter and chill until serving time. Serve with salsa to dip or drizzle. Although I am not exactly a food snob per se, there are some things that sort of bother me. Like when people say that sushi is raw fish. WRONG. Sushi refers to the seasoned rice, not the toppings. Sashimi means raw fish. The preparation also helps determine the name. Sushi (seasoned rice) pressed with a topping (raw or cooked) is called Nigiri Sushi. Maki sushi is rice and fish or other items (california roll, anyone?) pressed or rolled with nori - dried seaweed sheets. Temaki is the same idea, but the seaweed is shaped into a cone and filled rather than rolling it all up and slicing into pieces. So to look at my pinwheels and think they are sushi....HUH? There ain't no rice in there, people! Notice that I know a lot about sushi. I know that thickly sliced sashimi is often dipped in shoyu - soy sauce - and thinly sliced items are dipped in ponzu (sort of a citrus flavoured soy I guess). I know that it is appropriate to dip your Nigiri sushi and then eat it in one bite, but etiquette calls for dipping the TOPPING, and not the rice side. I KNOW all these things. I am fascinated by each and every type, each and every topping. Yet, I don't eat it. Go figure! I can't find it in myself to appreciate the taste or "snap" of the seaweed sheets - maki and temaki are out. I don't like the sweet-sour flavour of the rice, nor it's texture - there goes anything else called "sushi". And don't get me started on the texture of the raw items! So, sashimi is clearly not my thing. I am that nerd in the japanese restaurant sitting far from the raw bar and eating tempura vegetables. We won't discuss soups that start with fish flakes, either. It is all charming, but in my opinion, inedible LOLOL. I make maki rolls for DH sometimes. He says they are good. I'll take his word for it. Now, back to the pot luck. I was surprised this time, there was a good variety of different things. There were a few repeats, but they were different enough from each other to be considered in their own right. Being as I love pasta salad but I rarely make it, pot lucks are a good thing. I get to taste dibs and dabs of several kinds of pasta salad without having to eat an entire batch myself, since my family does not eat it. There were four different lasagnas, and they were DIFFERENT. One had a layer of ricotta, one was all cheese and no meat. There was a traditional meat and cheese and the last was a creamy veggie version. Meatballs in many configurations. More taco salads than you could shake a stick at. And though the base ingredients were the same, each had it's subtle personality that set it apart. The only one I did not like was so sweet, it was like eating doritos covered in pancake syrup. If I had to guess, the original recipe called for french or catalina dressing and the cook used a fat free version. Catalina is sweet enough, the diet versions are downright filling busters. There were a few "what were they thinking?" dishes of course. Like the store bought cole slaw with added mini-marshmallows and graham crackers. "S'more" is not a good theme for cabbage salad, in case you were wondering. And the baked beans with broccoli florettes. My daughter actually looked OFFENDED by that one. The box of unfrozen freezies was another head scratcher. Not MELTED freezies. These had never been frozen. I was taken by surprise with a mouthful of what I thought was hash-brown-casserole only to discover it was some kind of chicken/crabmeat/mayonaise/cheeze whiz mixture. Which DH promptly scooped up with a piece of bread and ate greedily. Which was fine with me, because it gave me more room to try that 8th pasta salad.......

1 comment:

The Cookbook Junkie said...

Cream cheese. Shredded cheese. Sour cream. How could these not be good?