A friend recently asked me where I find all of the recipes for my blog. Well, her question got me thinking about how my little blog and I have been evolving. When I first started blogging, I planned this to be a place where I could gather all of my favourite, tried and true recipes to share with family and friends. Then I found myself being exposed to all sorts of new and exciting recipes, techniques and cuisines. Blogging has been like opening up a treasure box, and has really inspired me to develop as a cook. It has ignited my excitement about cooking again, and now I find myself exploring reams of cookbooks and magazines, picking up tidbits, ideas and images that influence what I do in my kitchen, and what I blog about. About 6 months ago, my sister-in-law, introduced me to a sumptuous magazine from New Zealand, called “Cuisine”. Well, I have been cooking up a storm from these magazines, and discovering all sorts of new flavours and aromas. This experience has also brought home, the strong regional culinary differences in the English speaking world. Maybe I have been a bit naïve, but it is so much fun to pick up a magazine from another country and learn how they put together ingredients; how they interpret them, and to see how food trends may vary there. I am thoroughly smitten with this magazine.
Today’s recipe is from the September 2014 issue of Cuisine magazine from New Zealand. I was so thrilled with the flavours in this dish; every bite was a surprise. I had never made miso butter before, but both my husband and I were yumming (don’t think this is a word yet) over this condiment. I hope you like this recipe as much as we did.
One note about the recipe: I had a hard time keeping the rice balls together while I was frying them. I remade the rice twice. The first time, I let it dry out too much and the rice balls insisted on bursting while I was frying them. The second time, I made sure that the rice was good and sticky, but they still wanted to open up either during the frying process or quickly afterwards. If you try the recipe and find a trick to keeping them together, please let me know.
I am bringing a lovely big platter of these rice balls over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday. The blogosphere’s best virtual blog party is still hopping after 35 weeks thanks to Angie and all of the dedicated co-hosts. If you haven’t checked out her blog, The Novice Gardener, you really must, and be sure to join us at Fiesta Friday!
Crispy Rice Beef Balls with Avocado Salad
3 cups sushi rice, rinsed and drained
3 ¾ cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sesame oil plus extra to drizzle
¾ pound ground beef
5 tablespoons melted butter
1 ½ tablespoons white miso paste
1 teaspoon sugar
2 green onions , white part finely chopped and green part thinly sliced
1 sheet toasted nori, thinly sliced
1 ½ tablespoons mirin
2 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2 small avocados, halved and thinly sliced
2 cups mixed salad greens
Soak rice in water and salt for 30 minutes. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat.
Heat one tablespoon of sesame oil in a medium skillet and fry the ground beef over medium heat for 5 minutes or until browned.
Meanwhile, whisk the butter, miso paste and sugar in a bowl until combined. Stir ¼ cup of the miso butter and white part of green onion into the beef. Reserve the remaining miso butter.
Divide the rice into 8 portions, rolling them into balls. Make an indent in the centre. Place 1 – 2 tablespoons of the beef mixture in the centre and then enclose with the rice. Press the balls firmly back into shape.
To make the salad dressing, whisk the remaining sesame oil, with the mirin, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar until the sugar has dissolved.
Heat the frying pan over medium heat. Drizzle the rice cakes with sesame oil on both sides. Fry for 10 minutes on each side until golden and crisp.
Toss the avocado and salad leaves with the dressing and serve with the rice cakes, with the remaining miso butter. Top the rice cakes with the sliced green onion and nori.