half a small cucumber, peeled if the skin is tough or bitter, trimmed and thinly sliced
1large avocado, ripe but firm, halved, pitted, removed from the peel and sliced
toasted sesame seeds
toasted, seasoned nori strips
tamari, shoyu, or soy sauce
Pickle the carrot:
Use a vegetable peeler to peel the carrot into long, wide ribbons. Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a mason jar or bowl, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the carrot, toss to coat, and let sit while you get on with the rest.
Cook the rice:
Place the rice in a bowl, cover with cool water, and swish it around to release the starches. Carefully pour off the water, then repeat 2-3 more times. Drain well. Place the rice in a small saucepan and add the 1 1/3 cups water, the sugar, and the salt. Place the pot over a medium flame and bring to a simmer. Immediately reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the rice steam until the water is absorbed, 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand 10 minutes. Test the rice - if it is too firm, sprinkle in a few tablespoons more water and repeat the steaming/standing process until the rice is tender, but still chewy. Fluff the rice with a fork, sprinkle the vinegar over the rice, and gently toss with a spoon to incorporate the vinegar. (Try to handle the rice minimally and gently to prevent if from become mushy.) Let the rice cool to warm or room temperature, 30-60 minutes.
Meanwhile, roast the asparagus:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375ºSpread the snapped and sliced asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet. In a small bowl, stir together the miso, sesame oil, lemon juice, grated ginger, and salt. Drizzle this mixture over the asparagus, toss to coat, and roast in the oven until crisp-tender, 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Finish the bowls:
Divide the rice between 2 wide bowls (you may or may not want to use all of it). Top with the asparagus, pickled carrots, radish, cucumber, avocado, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Serve the bowls with nori strips, pickled ginger, lemon wedges, wasabi, and tamari or soy sauce. I like to mix together about a teaspoon of wasabi with a couple tablespoons of tamari, and pour it all over my bowl along with the juice from a lemon wedge or two.
Inspired by one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Cooking.Sushi rice is adapted from Alton Brown.I like this dish best when served at room temperature, so I recommend letting the rice cool for 30-60 minutes before making the bowls and diving in. I used an heirloom variety called Kokuho Rose from a local California farm, which I found in bulk at our co-op. And while I like this dish best when freshly made, you can definitely keep extras in the fridge for up to a day or two. (If I had a real job, I would delight in making myself a little bento box to take to work.)If you have extra carrot pickles left over, they'll keep well for at least a week, though they are crispest when freshly made. I bet they'd be killer on a sandwich or burger, too. Feel free to get creative with the toppings here – I list some ideas up above.Nutritional values are based on one of two servings.