Spicy “No Tuna” Roll (vegetarian/vegan)

The other day I purchased sushi from my local grocer’s sushi bar. It was a spring roll wrap filled with shredded carrot, seasoned with sriracha mayonnaise, and included other fresh wholesome fresh veggie fillings like cucumber. But what stood out on my palate when eating this most delightful dish was the lemony citrus notes that made a subtle “ta-da” appearance on my tongue. Although I didn’t re-create this recipe exactly for its citrus presentation, what I did discover was a serendipity recreation of a “Spicy “No Tuna” Roll. If you’re anything like me, you hate raw tuna and cooked tuna for that matter except unless of course its presentation is made in a tuna fish sandwich. Perhaps, with a light sprinkling of lemon juice on this sushi roll, one might rediscover those citrusy undertones.

Ingredients:

1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and shredded

1/2 teaspoon of ginger zested/grated from one fresh/frozen knob of peeled ginger

1/4 of a whole cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut into 2″ matchsticks

1/5 of fresh avocado, peeled, cut into 2″ matchsticks

Sushi rice (recipe follows)

2 sheets of Nori

Sriracha Mayonnaise Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of Hellman’s mayonnaise, I prefer egg mayonnaise (* See Cook’s Note)

1/4 teaspoon garlic chili sauce or your favorite sriracha sauce

1/2 teaspoon unseasoned rice wine vinegar, plus more for thinning

Additional Optional Accompaniments:

Sesame Seeds

Pickled Ginger

Wasabi

Soy Sauce

Lemon Wedges

Directions:

In a small bowl combine shredded carrot and fresh ginger zest.

In another small bowl mix together sriracha mayonnaise ingredients. If necessary, add a little additional rice wine vinegar to thin out the dressing. Add the shredded carrot mixture to the sriracha mayonnaise and stir to combine well.

Place a sheet of nori (roasted seaweed sheet) on a flat surface and spread your prepared sushi rice completely over the sheet with the back of a spoon. Make sure your sushi rice is warm/hot to ensure proper adhesion of the seaweed seam when rolling.

At the one end of the sheet closest to you, spread the carrot mixture along the length of the sheet in a 1″ wide row on top of the warm rice. Then, place cucumber slices on top of the 1″ wide row of the carrot mixture, making sure cucumber sticks are touching end to end. Next, place avocado slices on top of the carrot mixture in the same manner, touching end to end.

Now, carefully roll your Spicy “No Tuna” Roll, carefully and gently folding the filling ingredients over onto the rice-lined sheet of seaweed and using the “tuck and roll” method to secure a tight roll. Make sure when you reach the end of rolling the log, the final end (seam-side) is pressing down along the countertop. Now, press gently, but firmly, to ensure proper adhesion to the seam.

Allow sushi roll to rest a few minutes to allow for proper adhesion from the moisture of the rice to the seaweed in order to secure the seam before cutting.

Cut roll into 1″ round increments and place on a plate or sushi plate. If desired, sprinkle with lemon juice, and/or sesame seeds. Add a serving of pickled ginger, and wasabi to your sushi plate (optional). Make sure soy sauce is available for seasoning as well. If you have additional cucumber sticks and avocado slices leftover, serve as additional accompaniments to the Spicy “No Tuna” Sushi Roll.

(*) COOK’S NOTE: To make this dish vegan, swap out the egg mayonnaise for your favorite vegan mayonnaise. People’s preference for mayonnaise becomes their “peculiarity” and is not only culturally specific but also references regional tastes. Hellman’s was our family’s favorite choice of mayonnaise here in the American northeast.

SUSHI RICE

Ingredients:

1 cup medium-grain rice

2 cups of water

Sushi Rice Seasoning:

2 tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar

2 teaspoons of sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt, optional

Directions:

In a small saucepan place water and sushi rice and stir well. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover with a lid. Simmer the rice for 20 minutes.

In a small bowl combine rice wine vinegar, sugar, and salt is optional. Stir well. Place in microwave and heat until hot. Remove vinegar mixture from microwave and stir well with a spoon to dissolve sugar.

When rice is done cooking, pour the sushi rice seasoning over the rice and stir well.

Any unused portion should be placed in an air-tight container and kept refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Bolthouse Wunderoot Carrot Hot Dog (A copy kat recipe? Not exactly)

Anyone who is a vegetarian, practicing vegan, or vegan cook knows that the secret to a flavorful carrot dog is in its well-seasoned briny flavor. Yup! That’s Right! The “peculiar secret” of amazement and the befuddlement found in the exclamation of “A CARROT HOT DOG!?” is in the transformational process of turning a lowly cheap root vegetable into a decadent pleasure through a carefully seasoned brine. The “peculiar secret” can be found in marinating the carrots in a brine that includes a meat or vegetable broth. Although most vegans and/or vegetarians will use vegetable broth, let’s not discount the importance of flavor and umami in other broths such as chicken, pork, or even beef. And let’s face it, a carrot dog could never be a hot dog much more than a dachshund (a.k.a “the wiener dog”) could ever be fully human. Here, in this recipe, I incorporate a large dose of ground cardamom to transform the ordinary flavor of a simple brine to one possessing distinctively citrus undernotes. Something many may find appealing. 

Ingredients: 

1 cup chicken broth (if you’re a home cook and have access to pork broth this will work as well) 

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 

2 tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar 

2 tablespoons of soy sauce 

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika 

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika 

2 teaspoons mustard powder 

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 

1 teaspoon ground cardamom (* See Cook’s Note) 

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 

8 carrots, peeled, trimmed, cut to fit your jar, and par boiled for 20 minutes 

Hot dog buns 

Favorite toppings: mustard, ketchup, relish, diced onion, fresh avocado slices, pickled jalapenos, etc. whatever you like! 

Equipment: 

1 tall mason jar (I re-use an old 24 oz. Kirkland Jar of Sliced Peaches that is 6.5″ tall – roughly the same size as a hot dog) 

Directions: 

In a tall glass mason jar shaped to accommodate your 8 par boiled carrots, mix the first 10 ingredients. Carefully place hot, par boiled carrots directly from the boiling water to the vinegar brine. Seal jar tightly and let it come to rest on its side until jar cools and is easy to handle.  

When jar has cooled to room temperature, place jar right side-up in the refrigerator, shaking well first. Let carrots marinate in jar for 24 hours, then take jar out of the refrigerator, shake jar briskly again, and turn it upside down. Keep in refrigerator until ready to eat (in another day or so). I will make a point to repeat shaking the jar briskly and turning it upside down in intervals while it’s in the refrigerator marinating to help ensure carrots are evenly seasoned. 

(*) COOK’S NOTE: If you cannot find ground cardamom, you can substitute ground coriander in its place. Additionally, the combination of chicken broth, pork broth, and beef broth in the right ratios may prove to be the distinct “peculiar secret” to transforming a carrot dog into the best impostor. Although, I have no ratio to supply you with in this regard.

Additionally, you do not have to grill, fry, or heat the carrot hot dog. You can place a carrot hot dog right from its brine into a bun making it one of the fastest, cheapest meals you can eat.

What’s The Proper Way To Grill Chicken Legs?

ANSWER: Maintain a consistent internal grill temperature between 375F – 400F and clean your grill.

Need to make a quick, fast, easy and delicious meal with simple ingredients? Here’s how. 

Grilled Chicken Legs w/ Baked Potato, Corn on the Cob & Applesauce 

Yields 6 servings 

Ingredients List: 

3 chicken leg quarters, drumsticks and thighs attached 

6 russet medium sized potatoes 

6 ears of corn 

Marinade: 

1 – 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise (emulsifying agent) 

1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil 

3 tablespoons lemon juice 

3 tablespoons soy sauce 

2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar 

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 

1 tablespoon of minced garlic 

1/4 cup light brown sugar 

1 teaspoon onion powder 

1-1/2 teaspoon salt 

1 teaspoon black pepper 

Additional condiments: 

Applesauce 

Lemon wedges 

Sour Cream 

Butter 

Salt & Pepper 

Directions: 

Allow meat to marinate in the marinade for at least 4 – 12 hours. Five to six hours is a nice goal to aim for as there is adequate time to give the meat savory flavor. I added the mayonnaise to this marinade recipe because it helps emulsify all the ingredients in order to achieve a more uniform marinade.  

Prepare meat by TRIMMING THE FAT. Remove excess skin that’s hanging over the edges of the cut as well as pieces of visible fat to reduce the possibility of flare ups on the grill from fat being rendered from the heating process. It’s a step well worth taking not only to reduce the fat content of the meat but to help prevent your meat and grill from catching fire. 

Simply mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl, whisking together to form an emulsion and pour over pre-pared meat in a Ziploc baggie. Seal and rub marinade into the meat with your fingers. Check on marinating meat periodically while it is in the refrigerator; turn over and rub the meat with your fingers. This marinade recipe goes well with chicken and pork. 

Preheat grill with all the burners on HIGH for about 10-15 minutes. After the grill is hot, scrape grill removing all burnt on pieces from your last grill session. Oil grates with vegetable oil using a paper towel folded several times and thongs to dip the folded paper towel into a dish of oil. TURN OFF TWO BURNERS. Preferably, two burners that are side-by-side with the farthest burner remaining on HIGH. 

ARRANGE 4 RUSSET POTATOES (DO NOT WRAP IN ALUMINUM FOIL) OVER THE TWO BURNERS THAT ARE OFF. 

YOU’LL NEED TO BOIL THE CORN (IF SERVING) ON THE STOVE TOP THE LAST 15 MINUTES BEFORE CHICKEN IS DONE. 

NOTE:  You’ll want to get the grill temperature to 375F – 400F, maintaining a consistent and even temperature to ensure uniform grilling. Because your grill will most likely be located outdoors, things like wind and day-time temperature will effect the grill heat. 

On the side of the grill where the two burners are off, place your chicken thighs and drumsticks SKIN SIDE DOWN. Close the lid. Maintain an internal grill temperature between 375F to 400F by carefully watching the temperature gauge and grill thighs for 60 minutes, turning over every 20 minutes. 

After the first 20 minutes, rearrange your whole legs to ensure even cooking by turning over and re-positioning them in different locations on the grill. DO THE SAME FOR THE POTATOES. Turn potatoes over and re-arrange their location on the grill. Close the lid and continue cooking for another 20 minutes. We are going to repeat this process, cooking with indirect heat, until an internal temperature in the chicken reaches 185-190F.  

AT THIS POINT YOU MAY WANT TO START A POT OF BOILING WATER FOR YOUR CORN. 

After the second 20 mintues, re-arranging chicken and potatoes one final time, to ensure even cooking. Chicken should always be cooked thoroughly to at least 180F. Cooking between 375F to 400F for one hour should give you an internal temperature anywhere between 195 – 200F. This is optimum for bone-in chicken parts. Additionally, the outer skin of your potatoes should become like paper, cracking just a little bit when picked up with thongs. This allows one to peel the skin right off before eating or to easily pierce it with a fork to eat. 

FIVE MINUTES PRIOR TO CHICKEN BEING DONE, PLACE CORN ON THE COB IN BOILING WATER. BOIL FOR 5 MINUTES.  

CAREFUL ATTENTION REQUIRED AT THIS POINT! 

After the chicken has reached an internal temperature of at least 185-190F, transfer chicken to the HOT SIDE of the grill for direct heat cooking. Re-arrange your potatoes again too, but do not place them on the hot side of the grill. You may want to reduce the burner to medium at this point because chicken legs tend to flare, BUT IF YOUR ATTENTIVE COOK YOU SHOULD BE FINE. Grill for about 3 minutes skin side down, watching carefully for flare-ups as thighs render a lot of fat and could catch fire. Flip chicken parts over and grill for another 3-5 minutes. Check internal temperature has reached at least 185F. 

Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

REMOVE THE CORN FROM THE BOILING WATER AND SERVE WITH CHICKEN LEGS, POTATOES & LEMON WEDGES. 

WHY WE COOK CHICKEN LEGS LOW AND SLOW 

Chicken legs contain a lot of fat and as the chicken is heated the fat is rendered as a liquid and this liquid fat can easily flare and catch fire. 

WHAT MEATS THAT CAN BE SEARED AT A HIGH HEAT TEMPERATURES FOR LONGER PERIODS OF TIME WITHOUT CATCHING FIRE? 

ANSWER:  SLAB CUTS OF MEAT AND BONELESS MEAT ROASTS 

London Broil (marinated or not marinated, boneless, skinless meat) 

Pork Loin (marinated or not marinated, boneless, skinless meat) 

Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast (marinated or not marinated) 

Pork Chops (marinated or not marinated, boneless) 

Roast Beef (marinated or not marinated, boneless) 

These types of meats are the types of meats used for shish-kebabs and large roasts that require a nice sear on the outside and are BONELESS, will cook quickly, and are less likely to flare and catch fire. While the roasts or cuts may flare, the flame will dissipate and not catch fire. Also, cleaning the grill prior to grilling helps prevent fires. If you grill catches fire, proper cleaning may be an issue. 

Karen’s Shashlik-Style Pork Kebabs with Onion-Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

This shashlik-style pork has a distinct flavor seasoning reminiscent of Greek, India, or Middle Eastern warm spices. If entertaining a crowd, my recommendation is to buy 4 lbs. of pork chops and double the marinade and double the yogurt sauce ingredients. Additionally, you can place chopped vegetables intermittenly on the skewers. But in true shashlik-style, these kebabs are served only with meat.

Recipe Yields: 6 Kebabs

Ingredients: 

2 to 2-1/2 lbs. boneless pork chops   

Chopped fresh parsley as a garnish, optional

Marinade Ingredients: 

1/2 cup onion, roughly chopped 1/2″ chunks 

1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil 

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar  

4 large garlic cloves, minced 

1 tablespoon soy sauce  

1 teaspoons salt,* (see Cook’s Note)  

1 tablespoon sugar 

1 teaspoon ground cumin 

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom  

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon  

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger  

1 bay leaf 

Sauce Ingredients: 

1 onion, finely chopped to 1/4″ dice 

1/3 cup of spring water 

1 tablespoon of vegetable or canola oil 

2 tablespoons of reserved marinade 

1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt (not Greek) 

1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro  

2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 

Salt, to taste 

Special Equipment:

Wooden or metal skewers

Gas grill

To make the marinade: 

Place all you marinade ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend all ingredients for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Reserve 2 tablespoons of marinade for yogurt sauce that follows below.

Wash and pat dry pork chops. On a cutting board cut each pork chop down the middle lengthwise and cut into 1″ cubes crosswise. Place the pork in a Ziploc baggie and pour in the marinade (except for the 2 reserved tablespoons) and massage the meat in the marinade with your fingers. Refrigerate for 2 hours to 4 hours.  

Caramelize the onions: 

Place the onion, water, vegetable oil, and 2 tablespoons of reserved marinade in a cold skillet. Cover and cook the onion mixture on medium-high for about 5 – 7 minutes. 

Then, turn heat to medium and continue cooking the onion mixture to caramelize; about 8 to 10 minutes.  

To make the sauce: 

Turn caramelized onion into a bowl and add 1/2 cup yogurt, 1/3 cup chopped cilantro, and 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice. Mix the ingredients well. TASTE. Add more salt if needed. 

Skewer the meat tightly on wooden water-soaked skewers and heat grill with all burners on HIGH for 15 minutes. Scrape the grill and oil it to prepare for the grilling session. Place kebabs on the grill with the lid closed turning every 2 to 3 minutes or until you reach an internal temperature of 145F. You will turn them about 3 times (using pork maybe 4 to 5). Let rest 5 minutes before serving with a few tablespoons of sauce.  

COOK’S NOTE:  The original recipe called for 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, but I think 1 teaspoon of Morton’s salt is more than enough. Honestly, I used 1 teaspoon salt in this marinade and it was delicious but if you feel that it will leave your consumers/customers a little parched since I do not use reduced sodium soy sauce. Go ahead and reduce the salt to 1/2 teaspoon. 

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:  Grilled meat kebabs are a street food in many regions of the world. To serve as a portable hand-held food item, simply serve on a warmed, hand rolled, homemade flour tortillas topped with the yogurt sauce and some fresh iceberg lettuce. As a wrapped sandwich this dish will not disappoint. 

Recipe has been tweaked from America’s Test Kitchen Video ——> “How to Make Shashlik-Style Grilled Beef Kebabs” —–> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69qIyRayF5M