California (Sushi Roll) Adventures

sushi california rolls

Living in Southern Minnesota, finding good sushi isn’t easy.  Luckily, finding the ingredients to make good sushi isn’t that hard.  Lately, I’ve recently been teaching myself to roll my own.  My first attempt was not bad, but not great.  Thanks to my friends at Mommysavers and their advice on how to make sushi rolls at home I quickly determined that my main mistake was layering on too much rice.  My second go-round (pictured here) was much more successful.  This time, I only added ONE cup of the sushi rice (instead of one and a half) to the Nori paper, which made all the difference.  You can make sushi at home too, with minimal practice.  All you need is a sushi kit (which are pretty  cheap on Amazon), good sushi rice, and a little patience.

Easy Sushi Rice
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Serves: 4-6
 

Sushi rice is easy, but it requires short-grain sushi rice (found in ethnic grocery aisles) in order for it to work.
Ingredients
  • 1½ C. sushi rice (don’t use long grain rice)
  • 1½ C. water
  • 1½ Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1½ Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
Instructions
  1. Rinse the rice thoroughy first, until the water runs clear. Heat a saucepan with 1½ C. water and rice over medium-high heat. Once it begins to boil, reduce heat and cover. Cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl combine the rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Pour over sushi rice and toss so that all the grains are coated. Refrigerate rice at least two hours before making sushi.

 

How to Make Sushi Rolls

After the sushi rice has cooled and is ready to go, tear off a piece of plastic wrap and place it on your sushi mat as shown below.  Next, place the sheet of Nori on the plastic wrap.  Spread one cup sushi rice on top of the Nori, using your sushi paddle or your wet fingers to press it down evenly.  You’ll want an even, thin layer of rice.  If it’s too thick, it will be hard to roll tightly without the ingredients squirting out all over the place.

At this point, you can either flip the nori over so that the rice side is down (and on the outside of the roll) or leave it the way it is.  I flipped it over so the rice would be on the outside of my California rolls.  If desired, shake a little sesame seed or poppy seed on the rice.

For Califormia rolls, place your avocado, cucumber, and imitation crab inside.  For a Philadelphia roll, substitute the crab for smoked salmon and include a strip of cream cheese.  Experimenting with ingredients is the fun part!   Let your own taste be your guide; there are no right or wrong ingredients.  Starting on one end, use your mat to roll your sushi, pressing down as you go to create a compact roll.  With a sharp knife (it helps to wet it slightly) cut in six pieces.  Enjoy!

Frugal Tips:  Supplies to make sushi rolls can often be found at ethnic grocery stores for much less than at specialty stores.  Also, check Amazon for the best prices on your sushi mat and paddle and other tools.

california rolls

 

Quick Shrimp Tacos

quick shrimp taco recipe

This has been our go-to recipe for shrimp tacos after tasting them in San Diego for the first time in 2007.  For me, it’s the dressing that makes it delicious (I’m a huge cumin fan).  You could easily substitute the shrimp for fish if that’s more to your liking.   For even more flavor, brush the shrimp with butter and garlic cloves, skewer them, and throw on the grill (if you have the time).  The “rainy day” method for me is just a quick toss in butter in a skillet.  Plus, it takes much less time.

Frugal Tips:   Frozen shrimp is often found on buy one, get one free sales at the supermarket.  When you see those sales, stock up!  It keeps for months in the freezer and is great for recipes like this.    To save even more money on this recipe, load your tortilla up with more slaw and fewer shrimp.  A little bit goes a long way!

Note:  If you’re going for an even healthier recipe, swap the sour cream for Greek yogurt.  You’ll hardly be able to tell the difference!

Quick Shrimp Tacos
Recipe type: Main
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Serves: 4
 
These shrimp tacos are quick, easy and taste great!
Ingredients
  • ½ C. sour cream
  • 3 Tbsp. mayo
  • 4 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • Medium shrimp, peeled and cooked (or use leftovers)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Corn tortillas
  • Cole slaw salad mix
  • Queso fresco
  • Green salsa (tomatillo)
  • Cilantro for garnish
Instructions
  1. Mix the sour cream, mayo, milk and cumin for the dressing on the cole slaw mix. Set aside. Toss your shrimp in butter in a skillet with two cloves minced garlic. Assemble all ingredients in a corn tortilla. You can either dress the slaw mix ahead of time, or have each person add as much or as little dressing as they choose. Add crumbled queso fresco, salsa and cilantro to taste.