Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What's for dinner?

(An allergy friendly sushi swap)

I remember my sisters and brother and myself always asking mom that question as a child. "Food" or "I don't know" were the typical responses she always gave to us kids. As I got older and learned my way around the kitchen, that answer often changed to "Why don't you figure it out?"

I had always loved to help in the kitchen, but my dad died when I was 12, that's one of the responsibilities I seemed to help my mom with the most in the years that followed. As as adult, I read cookbooks for fun and before we cancelled our cable, my DVR was filled with cooking shows. Last weekend I was staying where there was Direct TV and spent HOURS watching the Food Network and the Cooking Channel. Food porn. It's my weakness. Watching a TV chef make a gooey mac n cheese or a Egg Benedict with crab salad...be still my beating heart.

Now that I'm on such a limited diet, my entire cooking world has been turned upside down. It has been such a challenge to learn to cook within my limitations. I'm used to flavorful foods full of spices and layers and TASTE. Salt, pepper, and garlic just aren't my idea of a flavorful meal. I miss my cumin, cilantro, coriander, and chilies. I miss food that makes me sweat when I'm eating it. Food that makes me swoon when I breathe it in out of the skillet. Although I'm adhering to my elimination diet 100% of the time with no deviations, not a day goes by where I don't spend some time lusting over pictures and recipes of Mac n Cheese, Kalua Pig Nachos, Vietnamese Shaking Beef, or an antipasti platter with a nice glass of wine.

One of my favorite foods to eat is sushi. But sushi is pretty much off limits to me now. Sushi rice has vinegar, many of my favorite rolls are spicy, contain shellfish, or have sauces that contain soy or wheat. Thankfully, I have a wonderful local sushi restaurant and Chef Tyson will help me out and make "safe" sushi with plain rice, no shellfish, and no sauces.

Since I can't afford to go there all the time, I have started making my version of sushi at home. It may not be as beautiful as your favorite sushi bar, but it tastes amazing, and will help with your sushi craving. I have found that Costco sells some Wild Smoked Salmon that doesn't have any of my allergens. My friend Lauren and I made these and man did it hit the spot! Thanks for taking this yummy picture!

Allergy-Friendly Sushi Rolls

Nori Sheets, cut in half
Cooked sushi rice, cooled to room temperature
Sliced sashimi grade fish, or smoked salmon
Cucumber, seeded and sliced into matchsticks about 4"
Avocado, thinly sliced
Carrot, cut into matchsticks about 4"
Green onions, sliced into 4" pieces
Coconut aminos

Take a nori sheet and put about 1/4 cup of rice on the left third of the sheet. Spread the rice so it's even. In the middle of the rice, place a piece of fish, a couple pieces of the vegetables and then sprinkle with green onions. Then roll it up like a taquito. Repeat until you have made desired amount of rolls. Usually 2-4 rolls are enough for the average person. Dip in coconut aminos.

The beauty of this is that you can customize it to your taste. Don't like fish or Avocados? Leave them out! Want to add sprouts or lettuce? Do it! Don't have my food allergies? Use soy sauce, spicy mayo, wasabi, add some seasoned rice vinegar to your rice. Use crab or shrimp tempura or tempura veggies. It's like a sandwich, your imagination is the limit.

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