Recipe: plum blossom sushi roll
I walked up to the register and placed a pair of sunglasses and a Camelbak pack on the counter. I mustered the friendliest smile I could, as it had been a long and hot day. That counter felt so nice and cool on my hands that I was tempted to stretch my upper body across the surface and roll around on it, I was so flush from the sun and heat. The REI employee asked me what I was going to do this weekend, it was Memorial Day weekend after all. I was caught off guard. Holiday weekend? I knew it was a holiday weekend, but I didn’t actually have anything planned other than work. “I need to work this weekend,” I offered with another smile – this one more from embarrassment than trying to mask my exhaustion. Apparently, that was the wrong answer. He was mortified. “You can’t work! It’s going to be beautiful! It’s a long weekend – you should be drinking cold beers and kicking back!” I neither drink cold beers nor do I kick back. I opened my mouth to start explaining how I a) love what I do and b) live where people go on vacation, but he cut me off insisting that I promise I would have some fun this weekend. Yes, yes of course.
Friday was brutal for this mountain girl as I had an afternoon bridal shoot in Denver… and the high was 93°F. It didn’t even get to 90°F when I was shooting in Death Valley – this was the hottest I’ve experienced so far this year *gah*. It wasn’t a heat wave, it was a heat smackdown. As Erin deftly negotiated Denver’s Memorial Day weekend traffic and Manisha navigated the way to the botanical gardens, I was jerry-rigging a bouquet in the backseat. Flowers don’t lie. Those suckers wilted before I could fire off the first set of photos. Bummer.
oh, that’s sad
Luckily, Kitt had a nice bunch of peonies that Erin wrapped into a pretty bouquet while the hydrangeas were dying before our lenses. We lucked out: a giant cap of clouds hovered above us and our bride remained cool as a cucumber. At the end of the shoot, Manisha grinned and said, “You suffer for your work, girl!” I was sweating like a pig. 93°F is why I live in the Rockies and not on the Great Plains.
kitt with living flowers
a laughing erin walks kitt to the next bridge
wearing her mother’s wedding gown – very special
You can see more photos from the shoot on my photoblog. After three hours, we hugged Kitt good-bye and piled into Erin’s car to go roast in more Friday-afternoon-of-a-long-holiday-weekend-Denver-rush-hour-compounded-by-poorly-timed-construction traffic. I was hot, tired, dehydrated, sticky, smelly… I had goose poop and tree sap stuck between my sandals and my feet. Jeremy took me to happy hour so I could rehydrate with water in one hand and lemonade in the other. Boulder’s Pearl Street was hopping Friday evening.
another beautiful day in
And here we are at the end of May. I’m looking around wondering where the heck THAT month went. Our weather is finally stabilizing up here in the mountains such that it’s safe to put the deck furniture out without worry that another 4 inches of snow (or 12 for that matter) will blanket everything. I did not lie to the man at REI – we’ve been working all weekend. You know how some people winterize their house? We summerize ours. That entails putting ultraviolet-reflecting stickers on our windows to prevent bird crashes (especially the cute little hummingbirds), house maintenance, sanding and oiling our deck furniture, designing a system to keep us from incinerating on the deck during daylight hours, making multiple trips to the hardware store, and so on and so forth. Did I mention that I love my power sander? Well, I do.
while jeremy put the stickers up, three hummingbirds flew right up to him
kaweah supervises the progress
However you spent your weekend, I hope it involved some good food, great people, and happy memories. Boulder County Public Schools are out for summer and the neighbor’s trampoline has been getting non-stop use since Thursday afternoon. Instead of hearing children squealing and laughing in the evenings, we hear it all day. It’s awesome. Now that Nature has rubbed my face in summer, I’m over the initial shock. I am loathe to turn on the stove or the oven if I can avoid it on those hot days (however, it’s a dry heat), which is why sushi is so delightfully perfect.
start with masago (flying fish roe) scallops, avocado, and maguro (tuna)
mix up the scallops and masago with a little mayo
The last time I was at Sushi O Sushi in San Jose, California, the table next to us ordered a plum blossom sushi roll. I was taught long ago by my friend and dear sushi chef, Fumito, that rolls like rainbow roll or plum blossom roll are overrated and overpriced. I read the description on the menu and made a note to myself – it looked easy enough to make at home.
let’s make that scallop a little spicy
The restaurant version uses crab in the center, but we opted for spicy scallop because we are scallop whores. The plum blossom roll is essentially an inverted sushi roll (rice on the outside) wrapped in slices of tuna. You can make that filling anything you want – just make it pretty.
rice on the other side, set the filling down
rolled in tuna
The tricky part is making sure you have enough tuna to completely wrap around the inverted roll or else it sort of ruins the effect. Don’t be afraid to patch up a few spaces here and there with extra pieces of tuna. It mostly sticks together, assuming you have fresh, good quality fish. I highly recommend 1) cutting the roll with a sharp knife dipped in water 2) keeping a sheet of plastic wrapped around the roll as you cut it and 3) trying to avoid crushing the roll as you cut it (you’ll see what I mean when you do it – let the blade do the work).
carefully slice the roll with a very sharp knife
arrange in a flower pattern
The roll was lovely. And yet… as we sat there eating it, we agreed that this was not something we felt we would necessarily make for ourselves again. It’s a beautiful appetizer for a small party and I’d definitely consider serving it to guests. For the two of us at home? I’ll stick with my Not So Special Roll.
plum blossom sushi
Plum Blossom Sushi Roll
1 medium scallop (the non-water injected kind – those water-injected are gross anyway…)
1 tsp masago, flying fish roe (or tobiko if you can get it)
1/2 tsp mayonnaise
Sriracha hot sauce (optional)
1/4 lb. maguro (sashimi grade tuna)
1 sheet of nori (toasted seaweed)
1 cup sushi rice
1/4 avocado, sliced lengthwise into thirds
Prep the stuff! Place the scallop in a small bowl and coarsely chop it up with a spoon or a knife. Mix in the masago, mayonnaise, and if you are using it – a dash of Sriracha sauce. Mix well and set aside. Slice the maguro about 1/4 inch thick lengthwise (along the longest axis – you want the pieces to be as long as the circumference of the roll). The goal here is to achieve maximum coverage of the outside of the roll. Follow the linked recipe for sushi rice and make sure it is ready before you assemble.
Make the flower Lay a sheet of plastic wrap down on your work surface. Set the nori down and with wet hands, spread the rice across the top 3/5 of the sheet, gently pressing the rice down so it sticks. Turn the nori over so that the rice is touching the plastic. On the non-rice end of the nori, place the scallop mixture across in a thin line with about a half-inch of margin from the edge of the seaweed sheet. Lay the avocado slices alongside the scallop mixture. Roll the fillings up from the non-rice end and continue rolling all the way up. You can lay the plastic across the roll and use a bamboo mat to shape the roll and tighten it up. Remove the bamboo mat and plastic wrap. Set the plastic wrap on the work surface and arrange the tuna in a single layer across the plastic (about the length of the roll) making sure that it is large enough to cover the roll. Set the roll on top of the tuna. Using the plastic wrap, wrap the tuna around the roll completely. Use the bamboo mat to help you round it out. Remove the bamboo mat and (with the plastic still on) move the roll to a cutting board. Dip a very sharp knife in water and cut the roll in half, then into quarters, then into eighths. Remove the plastic. Arrange the pieces on a plate to resemble a flower blossom. Makes 1 roll.