Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Harvest Meal: Futomaki

We had some respectably hot and muggy days this month, which is nothing out of the ordinary for August, and it did finally make our eggplant and peppers get busy. But temperatures in the high 80s with humidity above 90% make me wilt. Add to that the need to preserve garden bounty, which too often involves heating up the kitchen, and I'm one cranky homesteader sometimes.

So I decided to make sushi rice in my solar cooker and whip up some garden futomaki for lunch. Futomaki means "big roll" in Japanese, and most often includes vegetables. My futomaki is most always entirely vegetarian. I like a cold lunch on a hot day. Being able to get the rice cooked outside without using any gas or electricity is pure bonus. Best of all, the filling ingredients in my futomaki all came out of my own garden this time.

The eggs came from our girls. The tamago, or Japanese egg omelet, was the only part of the dish I had to cook inside, and it takes almost no time. It's just a few beaten eggs seasoned with the barest whiff of sugar and soy sauce, then gently cooked over a medium flame until firmly set, and then allowed to cool.

The carrots and chives also came from our garden. I like to use a lot of chives, but the carrot slices can't be too thick, or they'll overwhelm everything. If I had an avocado tree, you can bet that I'd include some avocado in these rolls. This fall if I'm successful at digging up any volunteer burdock roots, I may pickle them and try them in futomaki. Burdock is commonly pickled and eaten in Japan, where it's called gobo.

Once the rice is cooked, it is splashed with rice wine vinegar and allowed to cool. Then one uses wet hands to pat it onto a sheet of nori, arrange the filling ingredients, and roll it up tightly with the help of a bamboo mat. Assembling futomaki looks and sounds more difficult than it is, and it's something you get better at through practice.

Oh, and that drink in the picture above is flavored with some peach shrub I made with gleaned peaches. It's quite addictive stuff!

More food posts coming this week!

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