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sushi art (my second Project Food Blog challenge)

I do not. eat. sushi. Ever. (This doesn’t count.) Partly because of taste. I like hearty meals: mac n’ cheese, spaghetti with pesto, breaded chicken, breaded anything. Partly because of health, oddly enough, as sushi is infinitely more healthy than everything I just listed. I’ve a medical history too long to cover in this blog post, and the components of sushi are a bit too high residue to sit well with me. And as I do not ever eat sushi, I most certainly have never tried to make it.

Why all this talk of sushi on a cookie blog? Because, dear readers, I surpassed the first challenge of the Foodbuzz Project Food Buzz! Remember my cookie pop meal? It got me through to Round Two. A gigantic THANK YOU to those who voted for little old moi. So I’m ready to face my next challenge: To “tackle a classic dish from another culture” that is “outside my comfort zone.” I chose sushi because: 1. It’s not a dessert, so out of my element. 2. My sushi resistance has led to voluntary social exclusion. Sigh. I never went to my friend’s “Sushi Friday.” I politely move “how about sushi?” conversations elsewhere. Sushi sushi sushi. Even my four-year old niece is a fan. And 3. I’m of Irish and English descent and grew up in the Jersey suburbs. Sushi is outside my culture.

 

So sushi it is. But as I must add art to every edible, I give you…
the decorated sushi
how I got here
First, I googled “sushi art” and found this panda bear sushi at the site, toxel.com. OK, my inspiration. Panda bear? Perfect. I live in DC where the Panda Bear is big. Problem was, my “how to make panda bear sushi” search was fruitless. So I’d have to wing it.
Second, I googled “how to make sushi” (see? I really am starting from scratch) and found this site. And I entered this phenomenally huge world of edible art and delicacies. Classic roll, inside out roll, Temaki sushi, Nigiri sushi, Dragon Roll, Rainbow Roll, Pandanni Roll…. I hadn’t the slightest clue what any of this meant. Best stick with classic (maki) sushi. And vegetarian, please. Step one: Feel the nori sheet. What’s a nori sheet? Geez, I’m in trouble.
Third, after some more research, I lined up my basics: a rolling mat, some seaweed (the nori sheet), Japanese rice. Maybe throw in some carrot eyes like the picture. I found almost everything at my local Giant. Rice vinegar, sure, but even the sushi rice and Nori. Then a trip to Whole Foods to find something I could use for the Panda’s mouth resulted in Arame Sea Vegetables. OK, here goes.

 

how I made Panda sushi
step one: make the sushi rice
For the sushi rice, I used this recipe.
step two: make the ears and eyes
After a little more internet search for “how to roll sushi,” I figured I’d start small with the ears and eyes. I tried to tint some rice with soy sauce to make it black. It was brown. So I added a couple drops of food coloring. Cheating? I learned of “black rice” after the fact. So I spread out my own “black” rice on a bit of Nori and folded a small roll. Then I cut the excess Nori with scissors. (Can I do that?) Two small rolls for the ears, which I sliced into pieces, and two slightly larger rolls for the eyes.

step three: the big roll

I spread out my rice as instructed on a full sheet of Nori, wet hands and all, then used logic to determine the placement of the two eye rolls. I was a little off. But the roll went relatively well considering I was applying logic to a total unknown. Then I sliced the pieces.
step four: assembling the Panda
I relied mostly on gravity and the sticky nature of things, but I used tiny pieces of dried spaghetti to keep some of the ears on. I used slices of baby carrots for the eyes (as in the photo), Arame sea vegetable strings for the mouth (tedious and difficult, since they are stiff), and I used a hole puncher on a piece of Nori for the nose (I already used scissors, I figured I could use a hole punch). A few slices of cucumber for “bamboo” (to add more than just rice, which I imagine is the dullest sushi ever) and I was done.
the result
While my sushi recipe was simple for a new adventure (rice and a few veggie sticks? No raw fish?), my challenge was the rolling. I had never eaten sushi, rolled sushi, let alone tried to make art from the roll. Clearly I need a bit more finesse. Not quiiiiite like this one, huh? But I’m pleased that I tried something totally foreign to me and with minimally recognizable–and even pretty tasty–results.
what I would have done differently
I’d have started at an Asian supermarket. Since I was focused on the art of wrapping and my ingredients were simple, I thought I could get away with more conveniently located stores. Had I started at the right supermarket, I’d have learned about black rice. What was I thinking? Although the black food coloring worked, I’m pretty sure it’s not a Japanese delicacy. Mistake. Second, I’d have taken pictures of the mess in my kitchen after trying to make sushi.

 

Feel free to share (nicely)! While my blog's photographs and text are protected by copyright, I do allow (and encourage) you to share ONE photograph with credit to "the decorated cookie" and link to this blog post. PLEASE don't reprint any part of the blog post and PLEASE don't post a photo without credit. Thank you!


42 Comments

  1. Sommer J
    Posted September 24, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations!! I am not a big sushi fan either.
    These Panda Rolls look so cute I could….eat them all up! Bad joke. I love the illustrations as usual! Good luck!

  2. Marisa
    Posted September 24, 2010 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Wow! I think you did a really great job. I wouldn't try anything beyond a plain circle for my first time.

    I love sushi, but I prefer someone else to make it for me. :)

  3. Sue
    Posted September 24, 2010 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    I don't care for sushi(except the California roll), but I LOVE your panda bears…just to look at and marvel:) They're beyond cute!

  4. Sue
    Posted September 24, 2010 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    P.S. Congrats on your advancement:)

  5. bridget {bake at 350}
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    Well, you are DEFINITELY going to round 3! :) Just darling!

    I can eat a California roll, but still haven't advanced to the "raw fish" part. :)

  6. Caroline
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    Congrats on making round 2, no doubt you'll make it to round 3. These are adorable!

  7. Laci
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    I recently had sushi for the first time! and I have been CRAVING it for the past few weeks. I have followed your blog for awhile and it is funny to me that you post this the very day I announced on facebook that I was craving it so much! Thank you for posting. It makes me brave enough to try it on my own!

  8. sugarswings
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 2:28 am | Permalink

    great job!!! and good luck!

  9. Lilimonster
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    The sushi looks great! I've tried making sushi before and it was a disaster, but after reading this I think it's totally doable

  10. Angela Brian
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 4:19 am | Permalink

    all i can say is you are lucky not to like sushi.

    it is a very expensive addiction.

    i wish i never tried the stuff.

    then i wouldn't have spent so much money eating it! :)

    I LOVE YOUR PANDA BEARS!
    - TONS!

    ONLY TWO MORE DAYS TILL WE CAN START VOTING FOR YOU AGAIN!

    GOOD LUCK. YOU HAVE MY VOTE!

  11. ♥peachkins♥
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    cute!

  12. Ryan @ Ryan's Baking Blog
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    these are so cute!

  13. SprinkleBakes
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Adorable!

  14. SweetThingsTO
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    oh – how cute! I can't wait to make these

  15. Chic Cookies
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Oh, you are all the best! Thank you! Angela, some of the ingredients were crazy expensive, too! yikes. I think the sea vegetables were about 7 bucks!

  16. Anonymous
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    SO talented. I LOVE it!!! Very cute! :)

  17. Jane Ko
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    So cutee!

    And I love the illustrations!

  18. lynne
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 3:08 am | Permalink

    I love sushi!!! These are so cute! I wish I had the patience to make cute designs in my sushi…:)

  19. naomi
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    These are so darn adorable and creative! I love them.

  20. RhodeyGirl
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    This was so incredibly creative.

    Just voted for you!

  21. Fun and Fearless in Beantown
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    These pandas are so adorable! Good luck and I hope we can both advance to the next round of #PFB2010!

  22. Food, she thought.
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Very cute! LOVE the drawings, they add such a personal element.

  23. Marija
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Too cute to eat :)

    I voted for you.

  24. Gabrielle @ i.gourmet
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Wow, this was an awesome post and I voted! I have a daughter who is panda obsessed, she will love to look at these! Great job!

  25. Nadia
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    I love sushi but I could never eat something this cute!

  26. Kate @ Savour Fare
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    This is super cute! What a creative way to approach the challenge.

  27. Heather
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    CUTE!!!

  28. Foo
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    I'm new to your blog, found you through the FB Challenge. I love this! Absolutely adorable, awesome job. I <3 pandas and also <3'd your entry. Good luck.

  29. FOODalogue
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    Really clever post. Good luck!

  30. Home Cooking Memories
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Oh so cute!! I love all the photos and images.

  31. CrystalsCozyKitchen
    Posted September 28, 2010 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    I never thought I'd say sushi looked cute! But it does… Good luck – I cast a vote for you.

  32. catty
    Posted September 28, 2010 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    These are soooo super cute! Good luck with Project Food Blog :)

  33. Lisa Orgler
    Posted September 28, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    I LOVE this entry and your blog!! So much fun and creative! Great job and I'm passing a vote onto you!

  34. Amelia PS
    Posted September 29, 2010 at 4:01 am | Permalink

    adorable!!!
    I voted you (see my post here: http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/2/view/869)

  35. Gali
    Posted September 29, 2010 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    These are so cute!

  36. jacobskitchen
    Posted September 29, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    SO CUTE. I voted for you!

    Good luck! =)

    You can check out my PFB post at : http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/2/view/864

  37. Gina MarySol Ruiz
    Posted September 30, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Wow. Those panda bears look adorable. I'll have to try that with my granddaughter. Good luck in the competition. I voted for you.

  38. Libby
    Posted October 1, 2010 at 12:41 am | Permalink

    I think you had my first vote, but I realized I hadn't left a comment: Wow! I have trouble making sushi look like sushi, let alone look like art!

  39. Carolyn
    Posted October 12, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    These are adorable! I'm not a big sushi fan myself but I might have to eat them if they were this cute =)

  40. Danny
    Posted October 25, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Coolest Sushi ever! this post rock big time

  41. Mommy-moto
    Posted October 7, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    Super Cute onigiri! I will be making these for my sons bento soon!

  42. Anonymous
    Posted October 8, 2011 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Looks amazing…check out Cre8tive Eats for my fun sweet sushi rolls!

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