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Rethinking life as a master chef

Rethinking life as a master chef Rethinking life as a master chef

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I took the initiative to learn something new last week. It was exciting, in that pathetic sort of way.

My boyfriend, Brett, bought me a sushimaking kit for Christmas, and I decided I should probably open that up and use it once. He even got me sushi rice (yes, it is different than white rice) and the seaweed wrappers, called nori, to go with it. Brett says I mentioned making sushi sounded like something fun to try. I have no memory of this, but I had to admit, once I got the sushi kit, that it did sound fun.

It turns out, I was still missing a few key ingredients to make the sushi. Rice wine vinegar, wasabi paste and sesame seeds were at the top of the list, as was ginger.

The grocery shopping could have gone slightly better. The first grocery store didn’t have rice wine vinegar, but did have white wine vinegar. After a quick Google search, I confirmed they are close enough to the same thing. I bought the white wine vinegar.

Of course, when I went to the next store to see if I could find sesame seeds, wasabi and ginger, there was rice wine vinegar. So, I bought that, too. I now own five different kinds of vinegar. RIP cupboard space.

The wasabi (with some real wasabi in it, not just green horseradish) and fresh ginger were surprisingly easy to find. It just built up the false hope that I would be able to find the sesame seeds without issue. No such luck.

The aisle with Asian food items had black sesame seeds, but not a mixture of black and white seeds like the recipe called for. There was a space on the (top) shelf that made it look like a mixture may have been available at one time, but was sold out. I jumped to see if there were any stray containers pushed toward the back of the shelf. There were not. Other customers seemed amused. I’m glad I could entertain them, I guess?

Also, the seeds were not toasted, which meant I would have to do that myself. There were white sesame seeds in another aisle. I did buy both to mix them together. Again, the world is against me having even a speck of available space in my cupboards. I did have all the ingredients at that point though. Victory.

Then, came the actual making of the sushi. First, I couldn’t find the recipe for sushi rice in my book about sushi. Yes, Brett also got me a book about sushi.

I can tell you are wondering, how much can someone possibly write about sushi? I’m not sure how the author did it, but there are a full 306 pages about everything you could ever want to know about sushi in that book, along with a good portion of information you didn’t want, or need, to know.

Somewhere in that 306 pages, the recipe I needed was hidden. I gave up and found a recipe for sushi rice online. Then, I cut up the cucumber for my cucumber rolls.

All that was left was assembly. Or so I thought. I had forgotten to toast the sesame seeds, but that was an easy fix.

Now, I thought, I’m set. I have everything ready.

Except the ginger. I didn’t have that ready. That, I was able to find the recipe for in my giant book. I had already ensured I owned all the ingredients to make the sushi ginger. All was well, until I caught the little detail where the ginger sits in a brine for a minimum of three days before it is ready to use. THREE DAYS!? I skipped the ginger.

So, assembly began. Nori, rice, wasabi, cucumber, sesame seeds and roll it all up. Yep, the nori didn’t fully reach around the filling, leaving me with a horseshoe-shaped roll. My knife didn’t want to cut the nori either, so the pieces were a little crooked. Oh well. It tastes the same either way.

I did take a picture of the sushi before I ate it, both to prove to Brett that I did use the stuff he gave me, and to document where my sorely-lacking sushi skills began. Then, I took a bite. The wasabi was hot. So hot. I didn’t even use much. My sinuses went into overdrive, and I normally eat hot and spicy food without an issue. I used significantly less wasabi on the next rolls.

And there were a lot more rolls. Sushi for days, literally. I never got the shape perfect, but I did get it to kind of look like sushi, so I called it good. It tasted good, just like real sushi, and not like the three and a half hour struggle I expected it to taste like.

After the time-consuming learning experience, I feel I have enough experience to offer some advice for those of you who would like to try your hand at making sushi.

Go to a restaurant and buy it.