Friday, May 28, 2010

Date Night With Sushi

Life in a rural area with two small girls has inspired resourcefulness when planning date nights with my honey. Over our last 12 years together I have come to realize and honor the importance of taking time out for each other.  About three years ago I discovered my love of making sushi and hence our date night with sushi tradition was born. I like to make preparations throughout the day, tidying the space we  hang out in, buying a bottle of  organic red wine and creating a quiet space in my heart and mind to bring to our evening together. Our sushi nights are a gift that has become nourishment in our busy and full lives. I enjoy the reminder and opportunity to slow down, look at one another, share where we are at and savor our connection in the glow of candle light.

Sushi Recipe with a Shanti Flare

Basic supplies to find

Any well-stocked Korean, Japanese or Chinese grocery( or now even our local grocery store, metro) should have all the utensils and specialty ingredients on hand.
· Wasabi powder or   prepared wasabi
· small  bowls for dipping
· Pickled sliced ginger
· Bamboo sushi rolling mat
· Chop sticks
  Sushi  rice
  Rice vinegar

sushi rice

The key to all types of sushi is the sushi rice. There are a lot of ways to make sushi rice, and most of them will end up pretty much the same. Here's the method I use
Begin by rinsing the rice. You used to have to rinse rice to remove talc that used to be used to coat rice. Now rice is coated with a cereal starch instead, so this isn't strictly necessary, but I find I get better results when I rinse my rice. If I don't, the rice doesn't end up as sticky as it should be. The method I use to rinse my rice is simple, I measure out how much rice I'll be using, usually 2 cups, into the bowl, then I fill it halfway with water, swish it around, and slowly let the water drain out. I repeat this until the water is fairly clear.
The ratio of rice to water I use is 1:1. When I make rice at home, I usually cook 2 cups of rice with 2 cups of water. If you can, let your rice and water sit for about 20-30 minutes before you cook it (after rinsing it). Once again, this is not necessary, but I find I get better results this way. I follow these steps:
  • Bring rice and water to a boil
  • Reduce heat to a simmer
  • Cover rice and water, allow to cook for 10 minutes
  • Turn off heat and allow rice to steam for 20 minute
While your rice is cooking you can make up your sushi vinegar. The ingredients and ratios I use per 2 cups of uncooked rice
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • combine these ingredients in a small saucepan and heat them until the salt and sugar are dissolved. The idea behind the sugar is to cause the tartness of the vinegar to be lessened, while the salt is to bring out the flavor of the vinegar while cutting the sweetness a bit.  Once your rice is cooked, place your rice in a large flat bowl or rice cooling bowl. I use a large pyrex casserole dish. Evenly sprinkle your sushi vinegar mix over your rice, and using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix the rice and vinegar well.Try to avoid using metal, as it will change the flavor of the rice. Be careful not to break the kernels of the rice or to flatten the rice or it won't have the same look and feel to it. Once it's well mixed, using a fan or a plate, fan the rice down to room temperature. By doing this, the rice will have the right glossy look while still being nice and sticky. If you don't fan it, the rice's hull won't remain intact as well and kernels will break when you use it. At this point, your rice is ready to use.  

While the rice is cooking i also assemble my filling

avocado sliced
carrots sliced in thin fine strips
red pepper in fine thin strips
thinly sliced strips of cucumber
thinly sliced strips of scallions
toasted sesame seeds

(my new favorite)
smoked salmon
very lightly steamed asparagus (cooled right away under cold water)

  • Once the rice is ready to go, you can place your Nori on a bamboo mat. Make sure the rough side of the Nori is facing up.
  • Before handling the rice, pour a little water and rice vinegar into a small bowl or measuring cup. Dip your fingers in this mixture and it will keep the rice from from sticking to your fingers.

  • Lay your filling horizontally on top of one another on the very bottom portion of the Nori.
  • If using Sesame Seeds, now's the time to lightly sprinkle the seeds over the entire bed of rice. The black ones are very tasty
  • Now to roll I start by taking the very bottom portion of the Nori sheet and tightly begin wrapping it around the filling. Then slowly continue rolling it, keeping it very tight the entire time. To seal the roll, dip fingers in the water solution and dampen the end of the Nori, similar to sealing a stamp.
  • The roll is complete. If not serving right away, simply through this in the fridge. Once ready to serve, grab a knife, get it wet and slice the roll into 1 inch bites.

For the dipping sauce I like to change things up from plain tamari (soy sauce) into my own creation

I like to mix these ingredients to taste
grated ginger
maple syrup
fresh squeezed orange, mandarin or grapefruit
toasted sesame oil

Arrange your beautiful creation, light some candles, decant your wine and surrender to decadence divine.

"To keep the fire burning brightly there's one easy rule: Keep the two logs together, near enough to keep each other warm and far enough apart-about a finger's breadth-for breathing room. Good fire, good marriage, same rule." - Unknown



  1. My husband and I usually have ice cream dates! Ice cream is good, but this amazing sushi would be a much better idea. Looks so delicious. You're my kind of lady Ms. Twig and Toadstool!

  2. My husband and I need to take the time and do things like this. What a wonderful night!

  3. We need to start having date nights soon...time to train a babysitter!

  4. I love this idea.. and Sushi...yum!

  5. Oh yum! Are you vego? I see no raw fish here.... What a wonderful thing to do. What a great reminder for us all. I love the quote about the fire too. I may just write it up and put it near our fire. Haveca lovely creative day.

  6. No, we're not vegetarian, but do like to make veggie sushi!
    Happy date night everyone!


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