Friendship, Wine, and Sushi

It’s hard to believe that it has been a year since I spent this amazing weekend with such a special friend of mine.  Last May 2009, Mandy made the trip to Iowa City from Minneapolis to spend a weekend with me.  We had decided that it was time for girl talk…and vino…and our beloved cook-athons.  We weren’t sure just what exactly we would attempt to create…but we knew it would be good…and a heck of a lot of fun in the process!  We even managed to get in a “bathroom pic”…for old times sake.  I often wonder why we took so many headshots in the bathroom while we were in college….even more so, I wonder where the time has gone.

We started our weekend with a Friday afternoon trip to Wallace Winery, a wonderful winery just outside of Iowa City in West Branch, IA.  If you haven’t been there…it’s a must-visit!   (www.wallacewine.com)

 

The next day we did some shopping and worked up an appetite for our evening cook-athon.   On the menu….SUSHI!  Neither of us had ever made sushi before but we figured it couldn’t be THAT difficult….

In this post, I will share with you some insights for getting started, our experience, and of course, the sushi roll recipes that we tried.    Before you get started, here are a few things you will need:

  • Cutting Board & Sharp Knife
  • A wooden spoon to spread rice
  • Plastic Wrap
  • A large wooden or glass bowl
  • Makisu – A bamboo rolling mat
  • Kokuho Rose Rice
  • Marukan Rice Vinegar
  • Roasted Black Sesame
  • Nori Seaweed Paper
  • Wasabi (Japanese horseradish mustard)
  • Gari (Pickled Ginger
  • Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • Fish, Seafood, and/or Vegetables (see recipes below)

As we headed out to pick up our supplies, our first stop was:  East West Oriental Foods.  Sounded appropriate…And what we didn’t find at this Oriental Mart…we found at our local HyVee.  I’m telling ya, HyVee is a one stop shop.  They have it ALL!

 With our ingredients and supplies in hand, we whipped up Spicy Tuna Rolls, Mango Tango Rolls, and Avacado Crab Rolls.  

SPICY TUNA ROLL

  • 2 cups Freshly Prepared Sushi Rice (Kokuho Rose Rice)
  • 2.5 cups water
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • Nori Seaweed, roasted sheets
  • 1 tablespoon Sesame Seeds
  • 1 cucumber, cut into slivers
  • 1/2 pound Fresh Raw Tuna
  • 2 tablespoons Mayonnaise, divided
  • 2 teaspoons Rooster Sauce, divided

Chop tuna and mix with mayonnaise and rooster sauce. 

Combine the water and rice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is tender and water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar and a pinch of salt. Set aside to cool.

Tear a piece of plastic wrap and lay it on top of the bamboo mat.  Dampen your fingers in water.  Spread a thin layer of sushi rice over the plastic wrap (approx the same size as the half sheet of nori paper).  Leave a 1-inch margin (nori should be 1-inch larger than the rice).  Cut nori sheet in half and place it on top of the rice, shiny side up.    (Remember, you can roll sushi with rice on the outside or seaweed on the outside.  We did it both ways.  Whichever you choose, start with that ingredient first.)

Spread tuna mixture lengthwise. Position tuna about 1 inch away from the bottom edge of the seaweed.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Lay cucumbers slivers on top.

To roll; slowly fold the end of the mat closest to you over the filling and tuck it in. (This is precisely where we started to have trouble!  LOL)

Use medium pressure to create compact tube. Remove the mat from around the roll, press in the loose ends and place it on a cutting board, seam side down.

Using a wet, sharp knife, slice the roll in half then in 6 equal pieces.

Combine mayonnaise and rooster sauce.   Spoon the mixture into a sandwich bag.  After cutting one of the bottom corners of the bag open, squeeze the sauce onto the top of the sushi rolls.

Serve with wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger.

Once we had all of the ingredients prepped…learning how to roll was a challenge!  So…naturally, I let Mandy take the first stab at it.  LOL.  So far…so good….

Ummm….oops!  That didn’t turn out exactly as we had hoped.  With Mandy’s recommendation (brilliant, by the way), we decided to YouTube some instructions. 

“How to Make Sushi”….exactly the tutorial we were looking for!  And with that brief video clip…Mandy whipped up another one.  This time…PERFECT! 

 

I wish I could say that I did as well on my first roll (even having watched the YouTube clip first)…but I wasn’t as talented.   But…after a try or two…we were sushi-makin-machines!

After putting togther our Spicy Tuna Rolls…we were onto the Avacado Crab Rolls and the Mango Tango Rolls!

AVACADO CRAB ROLL w/Smoked Salmon

  • 2 cups Freshly Prepared Sushi Rice (Kokuho Rose Rice)
  • 2.5 cups water
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • Nori Seaweed, roasted sheets
  • 1 Avacado, sliced
  • 1 Cucumber, cut into slivers
  • 1 pkg Smoked Salmon
  • 1/2 pound Imitation Crab Stick (fresh if you can find it)

Combine the water and rice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is tender and water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar and a pinch of salt. Set aside to cool.

Tear a piece of plastic wrap and lay it on top of the bamboo mat.  Lay smoked salmon fillets on top of the plastic wrap.  Dampen your fingers in water.  Spread a thin layer of sushi rice over the salmon/plastic wrap (approx the same size as the the half sheet of nori paper).  Leave a 1-inch margin (nori should be 1-inch larger than the rice).  Cut nori sheet in half and place it on top of the rice, shiny side up. Leave a 1-inch margin at the ends uncovered to seal the roll.

Lay crab, avacado, and cucumber lengthwise. Position them about 1 inch away from the bottom edge of the seaweed. 

To roll; slowly fold the end of the mat closest to you over the filling and tuck it in.

Use medium pressure to create compact tube. Remove the mat from around the roll, press in the loose ends and place it on a cutting board, seam side down.

Using a wet, sharp knife, slice the roll in half then in 6 equal pieces.

Serve with wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger.

MANGO TANGO ROLL

  • 2 cups Freshly Prepared Sushi Rice (Kokuho Rose Rice)
  • 2.5 cups water
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • Nori Seaweed, roasted sheets
  • 1 Avacado, sliced
  • 1 Red Pepper, cut into slivers
  • 1 Mango, sliced
  • 1 Crab stick, shredded

Combine the water and rice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is tender and water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar and a pinch of salt. Set aside to cool.

Tear a piece of plastic wrap and lay it on top of the bamboo mat.  Dampen your fingers in water.  Spread a thin layer of sushi rice over the plastic wrap (approx the same size as the half sheet of nori paper).  Leave a 1-inch margin (nori should be 1-inch larger than the rice).  Cut nori sheet in half and place it on rice/bamboo mat, shiny side down.  Leave a 1-inch margin at the ends uncovered to seal the roll.

Spread shredded crab on nori sheet.  Position crab about 1 inch away from the bottom edge of the seaweed.  Top with red pepper, avacado, and mango.

To roll; slowly fold the end of the mat closest to you over the filling and tuck it in.

Use medium pressure to create compact tube. Remove the mat from around the roll, press in the loose ends and place it on a cutting board, seam side down.

Using a wet, sharp knife, slice the roll in half then in 6 equal pieces.

Serve with wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger.

I’m not gonna lie…this little cook-athon took several hours!  We started our shopping for groceries at 6pm…and were eating our dinner at 10pm.  But those 4 hours were full of laughter, love, and learning.  Mandy…we need to do it again soon.  Thank you for visiting me…cooking with me…and always being there for me.  Love you!

 

“The road to a friend’s house is never long.”  ~Unknown

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.

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3 thoughts on “Friendship, Wine, and Sushi

  1. Aww, such good memories. Once we got the hang of it, our rolls looked pretty impressive, and were quite delicious! The first one not so much, haha:) I love you, Robin.

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