gftoastaugustpeach-1-39.jpg

Hi.

Vanessa here. The over-caffeinated cat lady in black behind girlfriendtoast.com. Welcome to my little space on the internet where I post about food, clothes, wellness and the like. <3

fall equinox sushi

fall equinox sushi

gftoastseptember-1-6.jpg

Happy fall equinox! To celebrate the official first day of fall I concocted a handful of recipes that are evocative of this transitional time. These recipes are full of fresh seasonal produce—but with a little end-of-summer twist.

As you’ve probably noticed by now, I try my best to eat local seasonal produce as much as I can. This is because seasonal produce picked at its peak freshness is more flavorful and has higher nutritional value. Beyond that, local produce is better for the environment and supports local economies.

For this fall equinox feast it was important to me that I use as many seasonal ingredients as I could in order to fully celebrate all that this beautiful fall season has to offer. Since we’re still buzzing with a bit of that summer vibe, it felt important to include a little summer send off too.

What’s more ‘end-of-summer’ than sushi?

What about fall produce sushi? Yes, I took it there.

Below you’ll find recipes for two fall inspired vegan sushi rolls and three fresh pickled sides and toppers to compliment. Here’s a little menu teaser:

Beet Apple Daikon Roll with Avocado
Rosemary Miso Mushroom Roll with Purple Tequila Bell Pepper
Sugarless Pickled Ginger
Sesame Pickled Cucumbers
Spicy Pickled Turnips

A note on why I pickle:
As a minimalist, I get super sad when food is wasted. We have a big enough issue with food waste in this country, that I do everything I can to avoid food waste in my own home. Pickling began as a means of food preservation, so it’s a great tool to use when you have a lot of produce in your fridge that you don’t want to waste if it could go bad soon. Pickling is also a great way to use your produce differently. The process I use in these recipes is called quick pickling, which takes as little as an hour to create a totally different flavor profile with your fridge staples that you’d usually roast or sauté. Pickling usually involves sugar, which I try to avoid as much as possible, so you’ll notice that my recipes are sugar free and, in my opinion, still super delicious. I’d love for you to give them a try and let me know what you think!

gftoastseptember-1-36.jpg
gftoastseptember-1-11.jpg

Beet Apple Daikon Roll with Avocado
Serves 2-4

Ingredients: 
1 cup sushi rice
1 beet
1 green apple
1 daikon radish
1 avocado
2-3 sheets of sushi nori

Additional items needed: bamboo sushi mat like this and plastic wrap.

Directions: 
1. Cook sushi rice according to the instructions on the package. Once rice is cooked, leave out to cool it slightly.
2. Prepare your beet: Wash and removing the leafy stem. Place the clean beet on a piece of aluminum foil with 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil. Massage the oil onto the beet so that it’s fully covered and tightly wrap the foil around the beet. Bake in a 450 degree oven for an hour.
3. Prepare your remaining produce by peeling and slicing each ingredient into long narrow strips (approximately 1/8 inch each).
4. Once your beet has roasted completely, remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting into long narrow strips so it’s ready to go into your sushi.
5. Prepare your bamboo sushi mat by wrapping it in a layer of plastic wrap. Make sure the entire mat is covered on both sides so it’s easy to use.
6. Take a piece of nori out of your package and lay it rough side up on the sushi mat.
7. Wet your hands with a little bit of water to prevent sticking and scoop out about a quarter cup of rice. Using your hands, gently press the rice onto your nori sheet so that the nori is covered completely, but not over packed. Be careful not to overfill the nori, as that will make it more difficult to roll.
8. Add the beet, apple, daikon, and avocado onto the bottom quarter of your rice covered nori sheet. Make sure the bottom quarter of the nori sheet is covered with your ingredients and that they are dispersed evenly. Again, be careful not to overfill. I only add about 4-5 pieces of each topping per nori sheet.
9. To roll, push the bamboo mat up and over the filled quarter of your nori sheet so that the portion of the nori that is filled with the sushi ingredients is now rolled into a circular shape. Squeeze your roll to help hold everything together and then continue rolling the rest of the nori into the roll shape, squeezing a few more times to help keep everything compact.
10. Wet the final edge of the nori sheet to help seal the roll, then cut half inch pieces to serve!



Rosemary Miso Mushroom Roll with Purple Tequila Bell Pepper
Serves 2-4

Ingredients: 
1 cup sushi rice
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chickpea miso paste
2 teaspoons lemon
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon tamari
1 purple tequila bell pepper*

Directions: 
1. Cook sushi rice according to the instructions on the package. Once rice is cooked, leave out to cool it slightly.
2. To prepare your mushrooms, remove their stems and make thin slices. Chop garlic and rosemary as well and set aside.
3. In a large pan over medium heat, add olive oil and garlic and sauté for a few minutes. Add mushrooms, chickpea miso, lemon, rosemary, and tamari. Stir to combine. Stir over medium heat for 5 minutes, then reduce heat and simmer on low for 5 minutes more or until the mushrooms become smaller and tender. Remove from heat and let cool.
4. Prepare bell pepper by slicing it into long narrow strips (approximately 1/8 inch each).
5. Prepare your bamboo sushi mat by wrapping it in a layer of plastic wrap. Make sure the entire mat is covered on both sides so it’s easy to use.
6. Take a piece of nori out of your package and lay it rough side up on the sushi mat.
7. Wet your hands with a little bit of water to prevent sticking and scoop out about a quarter cup of rice. Using your hands, gently press the rice onto your nori sheet so that the nori is covered completely, but not over packed. Be careful not to overfill the nori, as that will make it more difficult to roll.
8. Add the cooked mushrooms and bell pepper onto the bottom quarter of your rice covered nori sheet. Make sure the bottom quarter of the nori sheet is covered with your ingredients and that they are dispersed evenly. Be careful not to overfill.
9. To roll, push the bamboo mat up and over the filled quarter of your nori sheet so that the portion of the nori that is filled with the sushi ingredients is now rolled into a circular shape. Squeeze your roll to help hold everything together and then continue rolling the rest of the nori into the roll shape, squeezing a few more times to help keep everything compact.
10. Wet the final edge of the nori sheet to help seal the roll, then cut half inch pieces to serve!

*If you can find a purple tequila bell pepper, they’re so pretty and add a nice pop of color to the roll, but feel free to use any bell pepper if not. They taste just like your regular bell peppers.

Sugarless Pickled Ginger

Ingredients: 
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup water
1/2 cup ginger


Directions: 
1. Prepare ginger by peeling and slicing thinly—I suggest using a mandolin.
2. In a small saucepan on medium heat, combine white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, honey, and water. Bring to a boil. Once boiled, remove from heat.
3. Place ginger slices in a medium mason jar and pour boiled vinegar mixture onto the sliced ginger. Seal with the lid and refrigerate for at least one hour (preferably overnight for more flavor) before serving.

Sesame Pickled Cucumbers

Ingredients: 
2 cups sliced persian cucumbers
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1 cup water
4 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions: 
1. Prepare cucumbers by slicing, then place into a medium mason jar.
2. In a small saucepan on medium heat, combine the sesame oil, salt, rice vinegar, and water. Bring to a boil. Once boiled, remove from heat.
3. Pour the boiled vinegar mixture over the sliced cucumbers and push the cucumbers down so they are fully covered in the mixture before sealing with a lid. Refrigerate for at least one hour (preferably overnight for more flavor) before serving.

Spicy Pickled Turnips

Ingredients: 
1 large turnip
1 small (1 inch) piece of kombu rinsed
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons red pepper flakes

Directions: 
1. Prepare the turnip by rinsing, peeling, and slicing into small cubes or rounds. Place chopped turnips in a medium mason jar.
2. In a small saucepan on medium heat, combine the rinsed kombu piece with your rice vinegar, water, salt, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat once boiled.
3. Pour boiled vinegar mixture over the chopped turnips and push the turnips down so they are fully covered in the mixture. Seal with a lid and refrigerate for at least one hour (preferably overnight for more flavor) before serving.



I’m listening to Aegina Airlines by The Dead Texan.

tuning in

tuning in