Dear Glenda The Good Foodie and Followers:
Do you ever just love eating with your hands?
I do, and I especially enjoy getting to eat something a little fancy without silverware!
But I’m not big on fancy foods that are difficult or time consuming to make.
That’s why, of the many recipes I’ve created, one of my favorites is my version of California Rolls…which I’m about to share with you.
They’re really tasty, fun to make, and just fancy enough that if you serve them to friends or bring them to a party, they generate some of that “wow” factor. (Of course, they’re also a great lunch or dinner just for yourself.)
Legend has it that California Rolls were invented in the late 60s in Los Angeles when a sushi chef came up with the idea of substituting avocado for tuna in the off season. I love avocado, but I think I’ve come up with an even better substitute for tuna.
In my version, the rolls are made from nori seaweed wrapped around Not Tuna Pâté and other vegetables. (You can buy nori seaweed at many health food stores as thin, dried sheets.) These rolls are delicious plain, or you can dip them in tamari, a traditional Japanese soy sauce.
Making California Rolls might sound a bit intimidating, but once you get the hang of it, it’s very easy. With a little practice, you’ll be rolling sushi like a pro!
Here’s the recipe.
(Note: A bamboo sushi mat is a woven mat that’s essential for making tight, professional-quality nori rolls. You can purchase one here.)
Yield: 2 rolls, 1 serving
2 nori sheets
2 teaspoons mellow white miso
2 cups alfalfa or clover sprouts (optional)
1/2 ripe avocado, thinly sliced
1/4 cucumber, seeded and cut lengthwise into thin strips
1/4 cup Not Tuna Pâté (See recipe below)
1/4 cup grated carrot or carrot ribbons
1/4 red bell pepper, cut lengthwise into thin strips
Tamari for dipping (optional)
Lay one sheet of nori, shiny side down, on a bamboo sushi mat. Using the back of a teaspoon, spread 1 teaspoon of the miso in a single horizontal strip anywhere along the bottom third of the nori. Along the edge of the nori closest to you, layer half of the optional sprouts, avocado, cucumber, Not Tuna Pâté, carrot, and bell pepper.
To roll, grip the edges of the nori sheet and the sushi mat together with your thumbs and forefingers, and press the filling back toward you with your other fingers. Using the mat to help you, roll the front edge of the nori over the filling. Squeeze it with the mat; then lift the mat and continue rolling. Just before completing the roll, dip your index finger in water and run it along the far edge of the nori sheet. This will seal the seam of the roll.
Cut the roll into six pieces with a serrated knife. Fill, roll, and slice the other sheet of nori the same way. Arrange on a plate and serve immediately, with a small bowl of tamari for dipping, if desired.
Not Tuna Pâté
Yield: 3/4 cup, 2 servings
1/2 cup soaked raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup soaked raw almonds
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons minced celery
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
Put the sunflower seeds, almonds, water, lemon juice and salt in a food processor fitted with the S blade, and process the mixture into a paste. Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Transfer to a small mixing bowl and stir in the celery, onion, and parsley. Mix well. Stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator, Not Tuna Pâté will keep for 5 days.
Note about the recipe:
Don’t forget to soak the sunflower seeds and almonds ahead of time for at least eight hours!
To make Not Salmon Pâté, add 1/4 cup grated carrot to the food processor along with the almonds, sunflower seeds, water, lemon juice, and salt. Replace the parsley with 1 tablespoon of minced fresh dill weed, or 1 teaspoon dried.
Let me know if you have any questions about making these—and if you enjoy eating them as much as I do!
Yours in Healthy Eating,
472 41st St. #B
Oakland CA 94609