kruizing with kikukat

Monday, December 10, 2012

Somen Inari Sushi

Its the last week of school/work before winter break, and I have food obligations for at least 2 food-centered events this office luncheon (me) and a class activity (D1).  I'm sure D2 has something but I just haven't been notified yet, so make that 3 food-centered events this week.  D1 hasn't voiced an opinion for what she wants to bring (I'm thinking brownies), and I'm thinking about bringing somen inari sushi to the office luncheon. 

People often ask me where I find my recipes.  Although I have a huge collection of cookbooks, which I continually pore through, there are many times when I sample a dish at a party or a meeting then feel compelled to ask for the recipe.  Somen inari sushi happens to be a product of the latter.

 At our family Thanksgiving luncheon at Aunty Janice's house a few weeks ago, Cousin Vinny brought a platter of these fancy pockets.  I took one and persuaded D2 to try it.  Thinking she'd balk at being asked to take a bite of the aburage (she is a sworn tofu enemy), I let her taste a kamaboko sliver first, followed by a noodle, and then by something from the ocean salad.  At that point, she grabbed the aburage and just took a huge bite.  By the time we left Aunty Janice's house, she had consumed at least 5 of the somen inari sushi and was looking forward to diving into the ones we were taking home. There was no way I could've brought home enough, and she was disappointed when she had polished them all off.  After I showered, I texted Cousin Vinny and asked him for the recipe.  The recipe, "Stuffed Aburage", is on page 13 of the newsletter. 

My friend Colleen's mom made something like this for a party nearly 2 decades ago, so I know the recipe has been around a while.  I think I didn't attempt it sooner because I was daunted by having to prepare the aburage.  I didn't realize it came already pre-cooked and pre-seasoned.

Cousin Vinny gave me unsolicited advice on where to find frozen pre-seasoned aburage rectangles (KTA, of course), and he even gave me advice on how to deal with the liquid that gets squeezed out from the aburage.  All his knowledge lead me to question who actually made the dish. . .Cousin Vinny or his wife/boss Aunty Mia.  Cousin Vinny gave credit to Aunty Mia for making the dish, as he was busy making the baked beans, which we also enjoyed.

The One and Only Cousin Vinny and a Copycat
The baked beans was a whole conversation on its own, and The Help and I agreed it was one of the best baked beans we had ever eaten.  Unfortunately, Cousin Vinny was unable to provide a recipe. . .he just "threw in this and that" as a result of a telephone kokua call to Sweetie (his sister-in-law).

I was under the impression that the best cooks worked in my area, but after Thanksgiving, I'm pretty certain that the best cooks are masquerading as employees at Hilo High (Cousin Vinny and Sweetie both work there).

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