I heart sushi!

Oddly, whenever the air starts to get crisp, John and I start “jones-ing” for sushi, or actually in John’s case, sashimi. But I wasn’t willing to spring for sashimi grade tuna, so we went for the classic Maki rolls and Temaki. Sushi Faq is a great website with information on safety, and other important things.

I do not recommend eating SUSHI POPPERS. It’s much scarier to eat sushi from a popper than to make this recipe at home.

Below is a recipe for the most perfect rice…I have tried so many and failed, until one day I decided to ignore everything and go with a few recommendations and wing the rest. In a couple of weeks we are going to try and make tempura shrimp rolls, and John is planning on getting different types of fish for sashimi – I’m also afraid he may be pickling conch.

Also, since next weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving, keeping up with our usual tradition we’re having friends over for dinner, and instead of the usual but delicious turkey, I’m going with Duck a L’Orange and I will make sure to document and post everything the following day.

Alright, feel free to use whatever fillings you would like, we stuck to the basics for this post.

Sushi – makes 24 pieces (maybe more)
For the rice: Makes 4 cups cooked rice.
2 cups sushi rice
2 1/2 cups water
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Place sushi rice in a strainer and run under cold water until the water runs clear. Transfer to a medium sized saucepan, add 2 1/2 cups water and cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and reduce heat to low, simmer for 15-18 minutes, or until water is absorbed and rice is transparent. Remove from heat and keep covered. Set aside and work on vinegar mixture.

For the vinegar mixture, combine rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small sauce pan over medium high heat, and stir until sugar and salt have dissolved, remove from heat.

Transfer the rice to a large metal bowl, use a spatula to break up the rice. Pour half the vinegar mixture over the rice, and fold with spatula to combine. Taste rice, and continue to incorporate vinegar mixture until desired flavor is reached.

To prepare the sushi:
1 package nori
1 English cucumber, peeled, cut lengthwise, remove seeds, and cut into 1/4 inch thick sticks (6-8in long)
1 avocado, 1/4 inch thick slices, tossed with a bit of lemon juice
8 ounces crab meat (we used crab legs, imitation…find one made with Alaskan Pollock)
1/4 pound smoked salmon
Brick of cold cream cheese, cut into long strips to desired thickness
Scallions
Mayonnaise
Toasted sesame seeds
To taste: Soy sauce, Wasabi, Pickled Ginger

Special Equipment: Bamboo rolling mat

Crab, Cream Cheese, Avocado, Cucumber and Scallion Mayonnaise Maki Roll
In a small bowl combine 4 tablespoons mayonnaise with 2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions. Set aside.

Place a sheet of Nori, shiny side down, on the bamboo mat and cover it evenly with about 1/4 inch thick rice, or thinner! You should be able to see some of the nori through, or in between the rice. And don’t forget to leave an inch of the nori sheet on one end empty.

About midway of the rice, rub desired amount of mayonnaise mixture on rice, place the crab down in a straight line, top with avocado slices, slightly overlapping. Add cucumber matchsticks, and strips of cream cheese. When all of the ingredients you want are in place, lift the end of the bamboo mat nearest you, and fold it over the ingredients, in a rolling motion, Try to keep your hands steady and don’t push down too hard. When you have rolled one end, continue to slide the mat while rolling the rest of the sushi roll. You’ll create a roundish tube.

Remove the sushi roll and place on a cutting board, using an extremely sharp knife – Trim both ends (chefs pieces), and cut the roll into desired pieces. Place on tray and serve with hot tea.

Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese and Cucumber Maki Roll
Place a sheet of Nori, shiny side down, on the bamboo mat and cover it evenly with about 1/4 inch thick rice, or thinner! You should be able to see some of the nori through, or in between the rice. And don’t forget to leave an inch of the nori sheet on one end empty. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

About midway of the rice, place strips of cream cheese and on one side place cucumber matchsticks, slice smoked salmon into long strips and place desired amount on top of cream cheese and cucumber. When all of the ingredients you want are in place, lift the end of the bamboo mat nearest you, and fold it over the ingredients, in a rolling motion, Try to keep your hands steady and don’t push down too hard. When you have rolled one end, continue to slide the mat while rolling the rest of the sushi roll. You’ll create a roundish tube.

Remove the sushi roll and place on a cutting board, using an extremely sharp knife – Trim both ends (chefs pieces), and cut the roll into desired pieces. Place on tray, garnish with sesame and serve with hot tea.

To make a Temaki roll, which looks really cool filled to the brim with yummy fish and veggies. Cut a sheet of nori in half, and hold it in your hand. Place a small amount of rice on the side of the sheet in your hand, and spread it out but don’t go to the edges. Place your fillings on top, and roll the nori into a cone by taking the bottom of the corner in your hand (where all the ingredients are) – and roll the sheet over into an arc – like your making a cone with paper. If your not eating it right away, dampen your fingers with water and seal the edge.

As you can see it’s the same method no matter what ingredients you use so be playful and try other fillings.
Also, remember that sushi is a finger food, so don’t act like your cool because you can pick up a roll with chopsticks, use your clean hands.

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