This past Friday I was honored to be Max Restaurant Group’s guest chef for their final chef to farm dinner of the season at Rosedale Farms in Simsbury, CT. This was the first vegan dinner they have ever done, and it was sold out!
In collaboration with Max’s Oyster Bar’s executive chef & culinary genius Scott Miller, we created a delicious five course gourmet seasonal vegan menu. Everything was local- from the gorgeous produce and wine from Rosedale Farms, to the kettle baked tofu from The Bridge, aged cashew cheese from Dr. Cow, and gluten free breads from Dee’s One Smart Cookie. It was a celebration of farmers, foodies, veggies and nutmeggers! Below are some of the photos from the evening. A big heartfelt thank you to all who attended and supported this amazing event!
So I’m not really a fan of seaweed. Translation: I think it tastes and smells like a dead fish. But it’s annoyingly good for you and whenever I tell people that I don’t like it they look at me with shock as if because I’m vegan and advocate for a whole foods plant based diet without refined flours and sweeteners…blah blah blah…that I must be a seaweed lover. Nope, not a chance. And generally speaking, if something doesn’t taste good, I don’t care how amazing it is for you, I’m not going to eat it. I believe that if a food tastes unappetizing, your body is trying to tell you something…and you should always listen to your body.
However, that being said, I don’t mind a little seaweed if it’s really fresh, like I-just-rolled-this-sushi-in-the-last-60-seconds fresh. And believe me, you don’t have to be from Japan to roll sushi. I am far from gifted at food artistry and let me tell you, I can roll me some good looking sushi. Note to the ignorant: sushi doesn’t = raw fish, in the same way that gluten free doesn’t = vegan. Just sayin’…
On a side note, there is a spectacular vegan restaurant called The Ravens in Mendocino California (residing within the walls of the awe-inspiring eco-lodge Stanford Inn By The Sea) that harvests its own sea palm. With this strange looking palm tree wannabe seaweed, the masterful chefs at Ravens make the most amazing entree called sea palm strudel. And I love it. It’s stuffed full of seaweed and I love it. I can’t explain why, but perhaps it’s due to the freshness of this locally harvested gem. So I suppose I should amend my first statement: I kind of like seaweed (a little), but it has to be farm-to-table style seaweed…or more appropriately, ocean-to-table.
4 sheets nori seaweed
1 cup short grain brown rice + 2 cups water + 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
1 avocado, pitted and sliced
1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 mango, hedgehogged
2 scallions, sliced thin
1/2 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
for the dipping sauce, mix together the following:
1/4 cup tamari
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
Splash of mirin
Optional toppings: wasabi (you can buy horseradish powder and add water to make wasabi) & pickled ginger
In a small saucepan, add rice and water and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce flame to a simmer, and cook for 40 minutes, or until rice is fully cooked. Pour cooked rice into a bowl or half sheet pan and toss with the brown rice vinegar. Set aside while you prep the veggies and fruit. To roll, place a nori sheet, shiny side down, on a clean table. Lay brown rice over top 1/3 of sheet (dip your fingers in warm water to keep rice from sticking to your fingers). Now add the filling ingredients over the rice in a tight pile. Roll the sheet away from you, taking time to tighten the roll as you continue. When you’ve reached the end of the sheet, dab it with a little warm water and seal by gently rolling back and forth. Use a sharp serrated knife to cut sushi into six to eight rolls per sheet. Repeat until you’ve run out of ingredients. To serve, pour tamari dipping sauce into a shallow dish and use chopsticks (or your fingers!) to dip rolls. Top with wasabi and pickled ginger, if desired. Makes enough for 2-4 Japanese-wannabe unicorns.