Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Another month, another joust. A Royal Foodie Joust ,that is! Preparing my entry for this Joust was an exquisite and joyful experience. Many thanks to the loverly Leftover Queen for hosting this fun event.

This month's ingredients were lemon or lime, coconut, and "from the sea." A challenge to be sure. My first thought was of an amazing coconut tuna stir fry I ate at the Denver restaurant where my family and I celebrated my grandmother's ninetieth birthday this past June. A delicious and surprising meal, especially as I tend to avoid all things seafood as a rule, I wondered if I should attempt a similar dish for the Joust. However, cooking meat is not my strong suit, and that goes doubly for fish steaks. I feared ruining an expensive piece of fish through my ineptitude. So I considered using canned and shredded tuna or salmon, but that just sounded unappetizing.

Then it occurred to me -- why feel so pressed to use fish at all? This month's Joust only stipulated an ingredient that is "from the sea." Not necessarily fish, right? So I decided that my oceanic ingredient would be seaweed. I'm sure I'm stretching the meaning of the ingredients rather thin with this, but as I don't enjoy seafood much to begin with, I don't mind much. And so, without further ado, I give you riceless sushi!

Scrumptious Riceless Sushi

Vegetables of your choice
Lemon juice
Soy sauce
Canola oil cooking spray
Fat free cream cheese
Dried shredded coconut
2 Nori seaweed sheets

Slicing up my veggies -- including broccoli, mushrooms, bell pepper, cucumber, carrots, and sunflower sprouts -- I browned it all on my skillet, first just with cooking spray and then with soy sauce and lemon juice. While the vegetables cooked, I tore two Nori seaweed sheets in half, spreading a little fat free cream cheese on two of the halves and adding a little more lemon juice. (That ended up making the seaweed soggy, though, so I don't recommend repeating that step in the future.) Then I lay the cooked vegetables over the cream cheese, sprinkled on the coconut, and rolled up the bundle, using the cream cheese along the edge of the seaweed as a sealant. I wrapped the bundles a second time in the extra seaweed sheets, although that didn't really seem necessary in the end.

My final thoughts on this culinary escapade? Success -- I turned out a tasty and healthy light meal. The combination of the salty soy sauce, tangy lemon, and sweet coconut rocked my taste buds. In the future I might skip the cream cheese because I couldn't really taste it, but I do like the nutrition it adds. I might also try adding some fruit, such as pear or banana, or using pieces of seaweed instead of sheets and serving the innards of each bundle over lettuce as a salad. These would also taste great with raw, uncooked vegetables.

But the very best part of this adventure was the process. I haven't cooked in quite some time, or at least cooked something new or different. It felt like balm to my heart. The act of cooking, of creating something delicious and healthy, felt so satisfying and, strange to say, artistic. Plus, I got to take photos as I cooked, which heightened the sense of creation and art. I loved it all!


  1. Cutting the CheeseApril 30, 2008 at 10:12 AM

    This is wonderful! I simply must forward this page to my cousin, who loves sushi but isn't terrible fond of rice, which is a bit ironic being that we're Vietnamese and about half of our diet is comprised of rice.

  2. It ain't sushi if it doesn't have rice, by definition. Please call it a nori roll instead.


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