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TODAY

Sunday, May 19

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Airbags

If you remember the last time I wrote for One Good Meal, you'll recall that I had a few simple recipes, for single people who didn't have much time to cook. Well, since then, a few things have changed -- one, I'm no longer single and two, I do know how to cook, I just don't do much for myself. Cooking for others though really brings out the wannabe chef in me.

I recently made dinner, a sort of on the fly-ish, which I had in my mind loosely but which after making, surprised both the girl and myself. It's a bit of a long title, and it's slightly pretentious but goddamn when that first bite reaches your mouth... yum.

So here we go.

Honey Teriyaki Glazed Salmon Served Sushi Style On a Bed of Seaweed and Rice Vinegar-Infused Rice with a Side of Wasabi Mashed Potatoes and Ginger Garlic Sautéed Spinach.

For Two.

Ahem.

The ingredients:
2 salmon fillets
Two potatoes
Sushi rice
Spinach
Soy/regular milk
Dried seaweed sheets
Dijon mustard
Teriyaki sauce (thin)
Honey
Minced/fresh/chopped garlic
Chopped ginger
Rice (wine) vinegar
Wasabi powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Butter/margarine
Sugar

Start boiling two potatoes -- about half an hour to an hour, depending on how soft you like your potatoes. You can do this beforehand of course. At the same time, boil two cups of sushi rice on the stove or in a rice cooker. You'll need to add about 3 cups of water to keep the sushi rice moist; don't let the sushi rice dry out. This'll take about 15 minutes.

We'll pre-mix the sauce. Grab a small bowl and add a little butter or margarine, half a teaspoon will do. You can pop it in the microwave to soften it or melt it some. Drop in half a teaspoon of minced or chopped garlic. Pour about one tablespoon of honey into that bowl (I just coat a tablespoon and let it drip in there). Add a good teaspoon of Dijon mustard and three tablespoons of teriyaki (I actually use the excellent Wasabi Teriyaki Sauce from Trader Joe's -- you could add a bit of wasabi powder to spice things up, perhaps a quarter teaspoon). Now mix it well until you get a decent sauce going. If things get too thick or gooey, just add a little bit of teriyaki sauce. The Dijon mustard won't completely dissolve and that's OK.

Back to that rice -- depending on how long you've cooked your potatoes, you can either take those off the stove and drain them or wait till this rice part is done. What we're going to now do with the rice is make sushi rice, as used in restaurants but with a little bit extra vinegar. Pour about 1/3-cup of rice wine vinegar into the rice, then add two non-heaped teaspoons of sugar and two tablespoons of water. Mix it until the sugar more or less dissolves. Granulated (fine) sugar is best.

Now we're going to pour this little concoction into the pot of rice. Add slowly and mix the rice up. Since the rice is still warm, it'll absorb the liquid and cook in it a little almost. Slice up half a sheet of dried seaweed into strips all pseudo-Julienne like and flake that in there slowly, mixing it in. Breathe in that sweet smell. Cover the pot up again.

Now, back to those potatoes. Get a masher or like-minded instrument and mash away. Add a little milk or vanilla soymilk (gives it a little sweetness), about four tablespoons, to the potatoes and keep mashing and mixing. Add a dash of salt, some fresh cracked pepper if you got it. Now, we'll take half a teaspoon of wasabi powder and mix it in there as well. Mash some more, mix some more. Good times. They're done.

On to the salmon. We're going to sear these so let's get a non-stick pan heated up with some olive or other oil. Get it nice and hot so when you sprinkle a few droplets of water in there, they sizzle. Drop your salmon fillets in there skin side down. A good three minutes to let the fillet soak in the flavor from the skin. Flip over and peel that skin off (feed it to a pet if you like). Cook on this side for three minutes then flip back over to sear the now non-skinned side for two minutes or so.

Now for the sauce. Drop the heat on the salmon to low, a good simmering heat. We're going to drop that sauce in the pan -- it should sizzle and start to bubble, attaining a good thick look to it. This is the glaze people, this is the stuff of kings. Once the sauce has settled, you're good.

Real quick like, clear out the pan (or use another one) and throw in a bunch of spinach, some minced ginger, some garlic and some teriyaki and sauté, sauté, sauté. Done.

Now on to presentation and plating.

What we're going to do is make this look like one giant piece of sushi. You're going to take the other half of that dried seaweed sheet you cut up and slice it lengthwise into two pieces.

Run your hands under some water and grab that pot of sushi rice. Take a good chunk of it out, enough to match the size of one of the salmon fillets you just cooked. Shape it like a sushi piece, a thick rectangular brick. Lay it on the plate to one side. Take one of the seaweed strips and tuck one end of it under the bed of rice. Now take a sushi fillet and place it on top of the bed of rice. Add a bit of sauce. Take the other end of the seaweed strip and pull it over the rice and salmon fillet. Looks like a huge piece of sushi, yes? Repeat for the other fillet.

Now to the sides -- take a palm-sized chunk of the wasabi mashed potatoes and place it on the empty side. Just like real mashed potatoes and gravy, you're going to use a spoon to make a little reservoir in the top of the mound. Here you drizzle teriyaki sauce. Not too much. In the other empty spot you place some of that spinach you cooked real quick-like.

And you're done. Eat, eat, eat!

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