California rolls are a great introduction to the wonderful world of sushi, especially for people who are a bit squeamish about eating raw fish.
This is the story of my 11 year old daughter’s first attempt to make California Rolls!
I’m a teacher, so Back-to-School, signifies a new beginning…a new year for me. I still love a fresh box of crayons…they’re cheap…it’s a thrill. Crayons are my favorite for coloring…sepia, burnt umber, sienna, grey. I always wonder why there are never enough of the neutral colors, and always too many of the bright colors, which I never really seem to see in real life.
I encourage my students to peel off the paper, break those perfect crayons in half, and use the sides, bottoms, edges and points. Why are we so tied to perfection? The perfection of a crayon? And yet, a 5 year old will gravitate, no, fight, for the “perfect” crayon. Which is why I always grab the nub, the edge, the sliver, knowing that they will mimic my actions, and will grab the imperfect too.
I think we always seek perfection…we strive for it…yearn for it. But it’s not real. Martha made us all feel as though, if we could afford it, we would be living a life of shell encrusted photo frames and exquisite, white sand, torch-lit, Long Island beach parties, with all the guests wearing color coordinated clothes…Yes!
Those are the parties I throw…the food I serve…the life I live…no, not really. Not really ever. I wish more people thought of me as the broken crayon that I am. I am burnt, sepia, umber, and if you would peel away my paper, you would find I am not perfect…just a crayon, trying to color the best that I can.
The kids are making their own lunches this year. If they had their choice, they’d eat sushi every day. This summer Sophie decided she wanted to learn how to make California Rolls . I had some left-over brown rice, an avocado and a cucumber, so we popped out to grocery store to grab a package of nori and some surimi.
If you have an 11 year old, I don’t need to tell you about them. They know everything already. I showed her once, and then she wanted to make them all the time…By herself, thank you very much!
Her 17 year old sister started asking her to make it for her, and then wanted to learn for herself, so Sophie taught Emma. They will trade off lunch duties.
Emma, who does not like to cook, says she’ll make California Rolls, only because it’s “fun”. So I took pictures of Sophie making sushi this weekend.
Will their lunches be “perfect”? No. Do they have to be? No, as long as they’ll eat them! I make a batch of brown rice on Sunday, buy some surimi, nori, avocado and cucumber and let them go.
Sometimes they put wasabi mayo, sometimes wasabi from a tube. Let me preface this by saying I am not a trained sushi chef, so don’t write me and tell me it’s not “authentic”.
I wanted to make something easy, that my kids could make on their own, without my help. They make the rolls themselves, but sometimes fight about the “proper” rolling technique.
I hope you like making these easy California rolls!
- 3 cups cooked brown or white rice
- 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Surimi (imitation crab meat, you can get organic, wild-caught at Whole Foods, either in chunks or in the cylinder form)
- Cucumber peeled and sliced into thin strips
- Wasabi mayonnaise or wasabi paste
- Sliced avocado
Make the brown rice ahead of time. Whisk rice vinegar and sugar together and toss with cooled rice.
Layer rice on top of nori.
Spread a thin layer of wasabi or wasabi mayonnaise.
Add strips of surimi, cucumber and avocado.
Roll tightly and cut into 6 pieces. Serve with soy sauce and pickled ginger.