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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, 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.


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  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! :)

    – TONS!



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


  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


  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


  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

    I voted you (see my post here:

  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 :

  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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