Category Archives: in-depth

In-Depth Post #8: Comfortably Getting Ready for the Big Night

In the time since I have last blogged I have done a lot of things to do with my in-depth. I borrowed my mentor’s special pan, and attempted to make the omelette nigiri, with less success than I hoped for. I boiled that down to rushing my cooking. I also went to a special workshop on commercial drive at the eternal abundance cafe for a lesson for making raw (vegan) sushi. I was the youngest person there by about ten years, but I still had fun. The vegan sushi was quite interesting, with a completely different flavor that rice sushi. The “rice” is made with ground parsnips or rutabaga. It produces quite an interesting bitter flavor that can be quite overpowering without soy sauce. I made sushi for my family and guests at least once a week since my last blog post, and I am feeling very confident in my ability with rolled sushi, so I plan to only serve rolls for my learning center and just show demos of the other kinds of sushi I did over the last six months.  After in-depth night, I will gather all the pictures I have taken and turn them into a photo library of sorts, but a preview will be posted soon.

In terms of the items presented by Ms. Mulder’s blog post #8 (see link below), my mentor has interrupted me on occasion before. In the first session we were together, she told me to make a sushi roll how I would normally do it (I had gained some sushi experience by that point). Part way through my veggie prep stage, she abruptly stopped me telling me I was cutting the cucumber wrong. In traditional Japanese sushi, the cucumber, and other vegetables, have their seeds cut out and are cut much smaller than in the sushi we usually get on this side of the Pacific. She also pointed out other things I could improve on, overall improving the amount of ingredients and their locations in the roll,  how it was rolled and cutting techniques than improved my sushi immensely. Because the rolls were smaller, they did not explode, squish, or fall apart as much when being cut/ eaten. My mentor was rightly justified in interrupting me, and my sushi quality and experience have come out for the better because of it, advancing to the level where you would actually want to eat it, not just to be nice.

Many emotions have been brought into conversations with my mentor, but no more so than agreement with the most powerful. Although she would not admit it, Makiko (my mentor) is vastly knowledgeable in the topic of sushi and Japanese culture, and when we met, I tended to defer to her. This was okay in the beginning, but near the end this emotion stopped me from questioning practices or  doing much on my own. After my time with Makiko, I went to the commercial drive raw sushi, were I used a quite different emotion primarily with my second mentor, The Perky Parsnip (lesson/ company name, real name unknown). With her, my main emotion was innovator. We were doing choose your own ingredient sushi (raw style), and I found myself making interesting combos like mango carrot rolls and mushroom nigiri. I was the most experience sushi maker in the class, so my technique was alright, but i put together sushi combos and flavors that I would have never done on my own. I thought the extra side of sushi making was wonderful, and I encourage people to take similar risks with their in-depths, if you haven’t already.

For my closing statement, I have learned a lot and had a lot of fun with my mentors, and i am feeling very confident going into in-depth night. My plan for my learning center is to have a sushi bar of sorts. I will only sere two kinds of sushi (cucumber and California), but I will have examples of other items I have done over the project. I might put together a PowerPoint on sushi’s part in Japanese culture, and I will put together a slideshow of  all the pictures I have taken over the last six months. If you have any suggestions, please let me know with a comment, I promise I will read them. Also, this is going up early because I will be out of town on the day this is due. As always, thanks for reading and  I hope to post again soon. Goodbye for now,

-Christopher

California

This week on Christopher’s sushi adventures, we have Christopher trying to make a California roll. I had all the ingredients, and I was going to do this with my tutor, but she was sick the day we were going to meet so I did it myself. The result was much better than my earlier attempt at the cucumber roll. The nori was fresher and did not tear, so the rolling process was easier. The sushi did not have too much vinegar so the flavor was not overpowering. I still need to work on rolling structure and keeping the size of the roll down, so that will be the priority during the next meeting with Makiko-san. This is all I have to report for now. See you next time! All the salutations,
-Christopher

Media Inspiration! + Mentors for all!

There last couple week have been delayed because I broke my leg in a skiing accident, so I am combining the two posts that should have been done in this time. First, my passion for sushi has been renewed by watching a movie: Jiro Dreams of Sushi. It is a lovely movie about a man trying to get into the sushi business in Tokyo. The drive and passion inspired me to reach the same heights with my sushi skills. Nothing special on the making front. Second, I have found a mentor! She is a friend of a friend and is in a lull of work, so she has the time to apply her knowledge to my developing skills. I went shopping to find the best seaweed for rolls (harder than you think). The problem with my last batch was that it was too old, making it soft and easy to tear. Not a good look. Well, professional, good looking sushi should be on its way in the near future. Leave a comment for anything you need, and I hope to see you soon.
-Christopher

Combating (and Conquering) the Cucumber!

This week, I wanted to try a roll, so I started with the basic cucumber roll. The cucumber or Kappa Maki roll, as it is called in Japan, is the simplest roll around in the world of sushi with the only filling of, you guessed it, cucumber. The cucumber roll is great for finicky eaters and people afraid of catching something from rolls that contain fish, as well as vegans. Kappa Maki can be served with any East Asian meal, but back to my experience. The one thing you need to know about the first time rolling sushi is that it is HARD! Even with a bamboo mat, it is tough to keep the roll tight and together. Cutting can also easily become a disaster, as I found out with my attempt. Luckily, the mistakes can be eaten. The general opinion about them was that they were okay, but I think my salmon was more successful in taste and satisfaction. I plan to try harder on my next roll, whichever that is, and I will take any suggestions in the comments. I have yet to lock down a mentor at this point in time. Just a short post this time, but as always say what you want in the comments, and I hope to blog soon. By the way, all the pictures will be posted together in May in an online photo album/ library. Until next time,
Christopher

The Frustrating Search for A Mentor+ Fun With Salmon

Week two and three have gone bye already! What! These last couple weeks have been very hectic for me. I had many extracurricular and social events, but I managed to ask many times for potential mentors. So far none have succeeded. I have asked from experienced kitchen chefs to professionals with their own restaurants, but all have had things that conflicted with helping me. One is renovating his restaurant; others are too busy with the rest of their lives. And still there are others, who don’t trust their knowledge but know many people. I have employed said people as agents, keeping their ears to the ground and telling me if they know of anyone who can help. In the meantime, bored of waiting and anxious to start, I got out a book from my local library, bought some ingredients, and cooked a Japanese meal with my mom. She made all the side dishes and such and I made the main course: salmon “hat” style sushi. The result was a surprising success, for a first time. The rice and sashimi were half decent, and the thing was not overpowered by vinegar. I was very proud of the result, considering I had no formal experience and limited knowledge. Pictures will follow, as soon as I upload them. Keep in mind; I made what is essentially the easiest sushi there is to make. The skill and difficulty will increase, I promise you. That’s all for now, I’m sorry this was late; I will make it up in the future. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section, along with any suggestions for what I should try to make next. See you next time,
Christopher Adams

RELEASE THE IN-DEPTH!!!!!!!

It has begun. The thing I have been told about so much. The in-depth project. Good thing I still have some insparation left over from eminent. I have tons of ideas and my skill is….(insert drumroll here)…. Sushi making! It is something thata I have always wanted to learn, but have never tried to.  The basics are aparently easy enough, but i want to get, well, more in- depth. There is a lot to learn and combonations to master and, of course, presentation is everything. Just saying now, it won’t be the best. It takes years to become good at making sushi, and the sushi masters never stop. Once I gather all the equipment and matireals, I will try and find a mentor. I have two  karate sensei who might know someone, I even have contacts in Japan if I need skype lessons. Even after the event, I will continue to learn and make sushi because it can really help later down the road for a high school level job and adds another thing to my cooking roster. I can’t wait to hit the gas and get going. As always if you have any questions, comments,  things you want me to add, or things you don’t understand, please leave your inquiry in the comments and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Good luck out there,

Christopher Adams