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Oh my. Would you look at all that vegan sushi?

We had a party a little while back. I have always wanted to learn to make sushi, and found a friend who was willing to teach me, and a few friends who were willing to eat my homework.

We started with a big pot of cooked brown rice (because it’s healthier than brown rice, of course, and gave it a really hearty flavor), as well as some tofu strips fried in a little bit of canola oil:

My teacher brought a fabulous selection of roasted veggies. Those eggplants were the best!

We also had radish sprouts and avocado, as well as some roasted broccoli and sauteed portabella mushrooms to roll with. I would have taken pictures of the rolling procedure so as to teach you too, but after making my first roll, I was absolutely smitten. I loved the challenge of making neat and tidy little concoctions. I love how well contained the sushi roll is. I felt I had a gift for it, and wouldn’t stop to give anybody else a turn. Luckily we had two little rolling stations set up, so others were able to make a few rolls beside me.

Here are a few of my favorites (basically anything with a radish sprout or avocado gets that title): Broccoli with red pepper, tofu, and radish sprouts. WIN!

One of our guests made miso soup! She thought she might have gone overboard with the nori, but I don’t think so. Seaweed is really good for you! And look at those little baby mushrooms.

This was one of the best nights of my life. Learning something new (that I felt I was actually pretty good at right off the bat), eating A TON of food made from scratch that’s really good for you, and making something beautiful; all things I really enjoy. And, with people that I love! It was a pretty small party, but there were no leftovers. That’s just how we roll. AH-HAHAHA!

from The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen

2 tbsp yellow miso paste (I used white, because it’s what I already had)
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp light agave nectar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced (you know I used 2…)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup safflower oil (I used a combo of canola and grapeseed oil)
1 tbsp minced fresh chives
1 1/2 c baby arugula
8 oz fingerling potatoes, boiled for 15 minutes, then sliced into 1/4″ thick rounds
8 oz green beans, blanched in boiling water for 1 minute

Place the miso paste, vinegar, agave nectar, salt, pepper, shallot, garlic, mustard, lemon juice and 1 tbsp water in a food processor and pulse to combine. With the motor running, slowly add the oil in a thin stream until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Fold in the chives.

Place the arugula, potatoes, and beans in a large bowl, drizzle with the vinaigrette, and toss to coat. Makes 4 servings.

Oh my goodness, oh my goodness. I was intimidated by this book, which Shutterbean sent to me for my birthday, because so many of the recipes have so many new ingredients and so many steps. So, I found a simple one that had ingredients that I was familiar with and didn’t have too many steps, and voila! Tastiness abound. I now have the guts to try something else. The dressing was so very delicious and the extra garlic made it a little zingy; I found myself wishing that I’d doubled the recipe to have more leftovers! We both had seconds, and found ourselves completely stuffed. I can’t wait to share this dish with family this summer!

from O Magazine, January 2010

2 tbsp canola or olive oil
2 leeks (white part only), split, rinsed, and sliced
2 cloves garlic (I used 4, as we love garlic around here)
1 medium bunch chard (I used cabbage, as the store didn’t have chard)
4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
4 oz buckwheat (soba) noodles
1 c edamame
1/2 c miso
2 scallions, finely sliced

Set a large pot over medium-low heat. Add oil and heat for 1 minute. Add leeks and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, while preparing chard (or cabbage). Remove stalks and ribs from chard; set leaves aside. Coursely chop stalks and ribs, and add to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add 2 1/2 quarts water to pot. Increase heat, and bring to a boil. Add carrots, then reduce heat to simmer. Continue simmering until carrots are tender, about 10 minutes more. Meanwhile, bring a separate pot of water to a boil. Add buckwheat noodles, and cook until tender, about 3 minutes (do not cook in soup pot because they will soak up too much broth). Drain with a colander and run under cold water; set aside.

Coursely chop reserved chard leaves, and add to soup along with edamame. Cook until just wilted, then quickly increase heat and bring liquid to a boil. Remove 1 cup boiling liquid and swirl into a bowl with miso; set aside.

Add noodles, and whisk miso mixture into soup. Serve immediately: divide soup among bowls, and garnish with scallions. Serves 6-8.

This was pretty tasty! My husband suggested that mushrooms and tofu be added to it. This healthy soup would be a superior alternative to chicken noodle soup when feeling sickie, or just anytime. I might add more noodles next time, as I’m a noodle freak!