Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sushi Class

For my birthday, Theresa bought me a couple of classes at Cook's Street School of Fine Cooking.

I decided to take the Sushi and Sake Class. It fit perfectly with the whole sushi section of project Dashi.

First, I should note that this was more of a sushi with a side of sake class because not much time was spent on the sake portion. Some information about sake was presented, but it was washed away with the third glass. I'll have to do a sake tasting for the blog sometime.

The majority of the class focused on sushi, but with a healthy base of Japanese cuisine. We made dashi as a base of miso soup. We made rice to be turned into sushi rice. I was actually impressed by how much about Japanese cuisine I already know. I'm not nearly half way through the book and I felt like I could have taught the first quarter of the class.

And then, the new stuff. We spent about half an hour learning how to break down a fish. Starting with how to buy fresh fish and ending with "cut out the blood line from the butchered fish". It was interesting, but I'm not sure I'm ready to be a fish butcher since Costco and H-mart both provide good quality pre-cut up fish at reasonable prices.

The fun part was making the different sushi pieces: maki, nigiri, battera. They had a whole spread of several types of fish along with vegetables sliced perfectly for all types of rolls.

My biggest struggle was in making the rolls small enough to be bite sized. A few of the pieces were so big, I couldn't eat them in three bites, much less one.

I was most excited by the fact that I can fine shiso leaves and yuzu juice. The instructor said he had found both at Pacific Mercantile, downtown. I have looked all over H-mart with no luck, so I'm glad to know that I have a source for some obscure ingredients.

The other interesting thing was watching the other students.

One was a psychology student who was taking cooking classes for all of his electives. He was telling me he had made mozzarella at the house the day before. I should really draw this out to give you a full image: Imagine John Belushi, in his "College" sweater and an apron, in the kitchen at the Delta Tau Chi house, making mozzarella from scratch. Yeah.... that was this guy.

Another was this super nice couple. They were so friendly and eager to learn. They were very precise in their sushi making and they spent a lot of time tasting the sake. I think they were wine connoisseurs and may have been disappointed that there wasn't more about the sake during the class.

In the end, I made so much sushi, I couldn't even bring it all home. It was ridiculous how much good sushi went to waste that night. Next time I'll bring my own doggie bag!

I'm excited for my next class, but I think I'm going to bring Theresa along and do one of their "Culinary Date Nights".

Monday, March 29, 2010

Japanese Commercial

This is from Serious Eats, one of the blogs I've been watching since starting project Dashi. The comment below is perfect.


It's the same old story: One moment you're just sitting in the forest under a light snowfall while enjoying a cup of Milk Seafood Cup Noodles, then Cheese and Pepper aliens suddenly jump out from behind the trees and shoot cheese and pepper out of their fingertips and into your cup. Soon your screams of horror turn into gushes of gastronomic delight. Thus is the magic of Cheese and Pepper aliens. And instant noodles. Watch the video after the jump.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Sorry I've been away for a week or two. We went out of town last weekend, and I was a little sidetracked from project Dashi.

I was able to get out Tsuji's recipe for Gyudon before we left.

Gyudon is really a beef rice bowl, much like oyako donburi. This is another staple at Tokyo Joes and Kokoro, a local favorite of mine.

Of course, the first step is to make Japanese rice. Thank you pressure cooker.

Second step, cook thin sliced beef. Fortunately, this is the same thin sliced beef we needed for the beef burdock rolls and we discovered our Asian grocery carries presliced beef, which makes this a little easier. The beef is cooked in water, soy, mirin and onions. Poor this on top of a bowl of rice and you have the lunch of winners. (Breakfast of champions was already taken.)

I still prefer the oyako donburi, but Theresa really enjoyed this dish. She went back for seconds, which is a rarity.