When planning for a romantic meal with my love, I’m an advocate of finger foods. The sensual quality of feeding your lover a sweet bite of deliciousness, really lends itself to the romance factor of the moment.
Main Course: Finger Sandwich Sushi, with Hoisin roasted Portabella mushrooms, is a lighter low calorie appetizer, the perfect recipe to alleviate any quilt associated with the over indulgence of too many Valentine sweets, and the perfect balance to this romantic meal.
Dessert: Chocolate Candy Éclairs made with tender Pate A` Chou, are filled with French pastry cream, and can be made to resemble heart shapes, traditional Éclair shape, or made into mini bite sized Éclairs. The dough is very easy to work with, and can be formed into just about any shape.
I use pre- cut and packaged, Roasted Nori Seaweed, that is readily available in most supermarkets. The roasted brand has a crisp nutty flavor, and a touch of sea salt; a nice alternative to traditional Nori, but a little harder to work with given their small square size. However, they are easily layered into a sandwich style sushi, which maintain all the sushi flavors without the fuss of all the gadgetry needed for making sushi. With a little more care it’s also possible to make a sushi roll by using three or four overlapping squares, and a bit of clear wrap to hold the roll together.
Hoisin Roasted Portabella Sushi
- 1 cup sushi rice, prepared to manufactures instruction
- 1 portabella mushroom
- 2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
- 1 package roasted, square cut Nori
- 1 carrot
- 1 cucumber, seeded
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons dry Wasabi powder made into paste
- Steam sushi rice, keep covered and warm
- Clean and slice portabella lengthwise into 1/4 inch pieces
- Brush each slice with Hoisin sauce, toast under broiler for 3 minutes, turn and brush other side with sauce, broil additional 3 minutes, set aside
- Using a mandolin thinly slice carrot and cucumber lengthwise, julienne half of the sliced vegetables, reserving the remainder
- Assemble Sandwich: wet finger with cool water, pinch about 2 tablespoons cooked sushi rice into log shape, place rice on Nori, layer carrot, wasabi, cucumber and portabella on rice and top with a pinch of sesame seeds and another Nori sheet
- Assemble Roll: cut a 6×6 piece of plastic wrap and place on counter, overlap three or four Nori sheets onto wrap, wet fingers with cool water, pinch about 2 tablespoons sushi rice into a log shape and place on Nori, layer with vegetables and wasabi, pull one side of Nori sheet over the rice using the plastic wrap, tuck the end under the rice and continue to roll, cut into pieces with a very sharp knife, remove wrap, serve.
Candy Frosted Éclairs filled with Crème Patisserie (French pastry cream) Pate A` Chou:
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2/3 cup heavy cream, whipped
- Beat eggs and sugar, in a heavy bottom saucepan cook mixture over medium heat till thick (about 20 minutes), add flour, cook additional 8 minutes stirring constantly
- Add milk, cook until thick and smooth
- Cool, add vanilla, and fold in whipped cream, refrigerate until ready to use
Ingredients: Pate A` Chou
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
Bring water, butter and salt to a bowl, add flour all at once, and stir vigorously until mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl
Remove from heat and add eggs 1 at a time till well blended
Fill a large pastry bag with dough, using a large tip, pipe dough into heart shapes or mini éclairs
- Place in preheated, 400 degree oven and bake for 30 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and bake additional 5 minutes.