Ten years ago, I walked into a Japanese restaurant. I had less than a year of Open Table experience and a referral from someone I never met. I learned quickly that if you want a job at Nobu, the phrase "fake it till you make it" are words to live by. I walked out with an audition on the books - a weeklong stint as a reservationist. I made it out alive and soon, I became a hostess.
A hostess gig meant more human interaction and the chance that someone might ask me about the yellowtail sashimi or the difference between wagyu or washu beef. This terrified me. I was the girl who pounded a bag of Cheetos and a Pepsi on my 10-minute break. I was not a foodie by any means. But in true New York City fashion, I was peer pressured into changing my eating habits. After all, who in their right mind eats Cheetos while walking the streets of Tribeca...besides me. So there I was, giving sushi a try, consuming sashimi with the tiniest jalapeño slice I've ever seen. My ten-minute break now consisted of string cheese, a Naked juice and some tic-tacs. My appreciation for food (when I wasn't forced to eat like a model) and the people who are skilled enough to prepare food grew tenfold.
Today, I'm dairy-free and gluten-free - a decision I made only one month ago, but one I would have never even considered if it weren't for five years at Nobu. I'm now open to trying all sorts of foods, understanding how they break down in my body and respecting the origin of ingredients.
Sushi is something I've always wanted to learn how to prepare since my Nobu days, and recently I made baby steps in this department. Like any gluten-free newbie, I was fooled by white rice and started to experiment with cauliflower rice. Avocado, cucumber and carrots made this roll vegan - even cooler.
Keep scrolling for the recipe!
- 1 half head of cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 3-4 sheets nori
- assorted veggies (carrots, cucumbers avocado)
- bamboo sushi rolling mat
Start by preparing the cauliflower rice. Cut the cauliflower in half and remove the thick center stem. Cut or break each half into smaller pieces and throw in the food processor. A few pulses is all you need.
Transfer the cauliflower rice to a microwave-safe bowl, add olive oil and cover with plastic wrap. Cook on high for three minutes. Remove from microwave, uncover and set aside.
Slide veggies into thin strips and it's time to make some sushI!
Lay a sheet of nori on the sushi rolling mat and spread the cauliflower rice onto the nori. You want to cover the nori from edge to edge, but leave a one-inch space at one end of the nori without rice. Add your filling, placing them close to the end of the nori where the rice comes all the way to the edge.
Time to roll, but make sure to have a small bowl or glass of water on hand. Place the sushi mat so that the side of the nori with the filling is facing you. Start to roll by pulling up the mat slightly and tucking the row of filling into the first complete roll. Press down with the mat around this to help make a nice tight roll. Continue rolling with the help of the mat and pressing/tucking as you go to keep the roll tight until you get to the end of the nori sheet with the one-inch section without rice. Dab a bit of water on the end of the nori to help it stick to itself and then complete your final roll.
Using a sharp knife, cut the sushi into pieces and serve with tamari!
Enjoy, my friends!