Paper Sushi


HOMARO CANTU'S maki look a lot like the sushi rolls served at other upscale restaurants: pristine, coin-size disks stuffed with lumps of fresh crab and rice and wrapped in shiny nori. They also taste like sushi, deliciously fishy and seaweedy.

But the sushi made by Mr. Cantu, the 28-year-old executive chef at Moto in Chicago, often contains no fish. It is prepared on a Canon i560 inkjet printer rather than a cutting board. He prints images of maki on pieces of edible paper made of soybeans and cornstarch, using organic, food-based inks of his own concoction. He then flavors the back of the paper, which is ordinarily used to put images onto birthday cakes, with powdered soy and seaweed seasonings.

At least two or three food items made of paper are likely to be included in a meal at Moto, which might include 10 or more tasting courses. Even the menu is edible; diners crunch it up into a bowl of gazpacho, creating Mr. Cantu's version of alphabet soup."

"When the Sous Chef is an Inkjet"

by David Bernstein

Cuban style espresso

"The secret," he says as he pours water into the base of the coffee maker and closes the filter on top of it, "is to strain it very, very slowly."

Once he screws on the strainer or filter on top of the water-filled base, Stable whips out Cafe Pilon espresso from his refrigerator. He dumps about four spoonfuls onto the filter, stops for a minute and peers down at the coffee, before saying in Spanish, "a little more."

Drops in another spoonful. Twists the top part of the coffee maker on the filter. Puts the stove on high.

Blue flames shoot up from his gas stove. He waits about a minute for the water to boil before turning the stove to a "low" setting.

Five minutes later, as the coffee begins to escape through the funnel, he immediately grabs it, pours out a spoonful and returns the coffee maker to the stove.

He bathes the cup of sugar with the first bit of coffee and whips it up with a spoon until it's a caramel-colored cream. When the coffee begins to boil he pours it into the cup with the cream, which becomes a sweet foam on the top of the coffee.

The foam or espumita is what makes Cuban coffee authentic."

Cuban style Espresso

Robert Badgett

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