Gourmet Night

Thanks Jill for posting the photos!  
We have a rather fun tradition that started quite a few years ago, that James' family and my family both like to do.  We call it Gourmet Night, and it all started with a desire to learn more about Thailand's food.  Years ago we had our first Gourmet Night at Jimmy's brother's home.  He had served an LDS Mission to Thailand, and was going to teach some of us how to cook Thai food.  That's how it all started.  For a while there we would meet monthly with a new theme and have dinner.  We've had Thai night, Japanese Night, White Trash night, and Garden Night to name a few.  Every Feb. my family has their own Gourmet Night to celebrate the Chinese New Year.  Since I have two brothers who served missions in Taiwan, a sister-in-law, and a husband we never miss this Gourmet Night.

It's been a while since we've had a regular Gourmet Night, but last Sat. we had a Sushi and Tempura night at my house.  I won't proclaim to be a professional sushi maker, but I can roll some rice up.  We don't live too close to the ocean, so we keep it safe with a spicy chicken salad inside the rolls.  The best part of the sushi rolls though is the thinly sliced lemon that I wrapped inside.  It was sooo stinking good!!  I think you could wrap about anything in rice and seaweed, and then dip it in soy and wasabi.  It would still be fabulous!

My children are huge sushi lovers as well.  That is actually what fueled my need to learn how to make a sushi roll.  I was going broke with all the nights at Happy Sushi.  It costs a lot to feed 6 people enough sushi to make their little tummies full.  I try all sorts of ingredients and usually the rolls are made with what I have in the fridge.  My favorite though is the spicy chicken, cream cheese, cukes, avocado, and thin lemon.  Delish!!

Don't be shy with sushi.  Give it a try.  All you really need to get started is a sushi mat, and they're pretty cheap.  I figure I can make about 10 times the amount of sushi for the cost of 6 rolls at my favorite joint.  Pretty dang worth learning!

Sushi Rice

3 cups Calrose rice
3 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt

Put the rice in a large bowl and wash it with cold water. Repeat washing until the water becomes almost clear. Drain the rice in a colander and set aside for 30 minutes. Place the rice in rice cooker and add water. Let the rice soak in the water at least 30 minutes. Start the cooker. When rice is cooked, let it steam for about 15 minutes.
Prepare sushi vinegar by mixing rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a sauce pan. Put the pan on low heat and heat until the sugar dissolves. Cool the vinegar mixture.

Spread the hot steamed rice into a large plate or a large bowl. Please use a non-metallic bowl to prevent any interaction with rice vinegar. I Sprinkle the vinegar mixture over the rice and fold the rice by shamoji (rice spatula) quickly. Be careful not to smash the rice. To cool and remove the moisture of the rice well, use a fan as you mix sushi rice. This will give sushi rice a shiny look. It's best to use sushi rice right away.

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