A Handmade Sushi Dinner Party

My good friend Tracy hosted a handmade sushi dinner party this weekend for one of our Dinner Clubs.  A seafood and sushi lover myself, you can imagine the sheer delight at the thought of making our own sushi.  The sushi rolls were fun and easy to make and they were amazingly fresh and delicious.

Tracy had assembled a beautiful table adorned with cherry blossoms, white carnations and pale pink tealight candles.  At each place setting, there were sushi roll mats, chopsticks and little dishes for wasabi paste and pickled ginger. 
To prepare for the evening, she compiled a list of all the ingredients used to make our sushi rolls and divided it among the group.  Her list included shredded carrots, butter leaf lettuce, bell peppers (red, orange, yellow), sliced mango, cucumber, smoked salmon, cooked crab, cooked shrimp, tuna, teriaki tofu, pickled ginger, wasabi paste, soy sauce, black sesame seeds, lemons, Nori (wrapper made from seaweed), rice noodles, handroll wrappers and Sriracha sauce. 
To accompany our sushi rolls, she also prepared broiled Kalbi beef flank and yaki soba noodles.   The whole evening was a lot of fun, but one of the best ideas she gave me was to buy the sushi rice from a sushi restaurant.  You can do this by ordering a box of rice for each of your dinner guests.  
Crab, Avocado and Mango Roll
Ingredients
1 C. crab meat
1 T mayonaise
2 t lemon juice
1 t brown sugar
thin slices mango
thin slices avocado
Preparation
Mix crab meat, manyonaise, lemon juice and brown sugar together in a small bowl and set aside.
To prepare your sushi roll, lay your sushi mat out flat in front of you.  Take a piece of Nori, shiny side down, and lay it flat on the mat.  Dip your fingertips in lemon water and take some of the sushi rice in your hand and flatten it to the center of your Nori making a flat, hoizontal  strip in the middle from one side to the other.  Gently lay pieces of avocado, crab mixture and mango slices hoizontally across your rice.  Take the side of the Nori and gently fold it over the mixture.  Using your rolling mat, roll the mat over the Nori forcing it to roll together.   Applying pressure, squeeze tightly until your sushi roll is compact.  After you have completed this step, put your sushi roll on a cutting board and using a very sharp knife, carefully cut off the excess on both ends.  Place your knife in the center of the roll and cut through.  Then repeat this step again with each section until you have the desired thickness of sushi roll, a little less than an inch.  Garnish with black sesame seeds.
Upon my arrival, Tracy asked me to put this sauce together.  This is a spicy chili sauce based off a recipe by Giada DeLaurentiis.  Including this sauce inside the roll or as a dip to spring rolls was a spicy delight!  This sauce is so good, I would dip pretty much anything in it!  The next day, I made crab cakes with this on the side.  I will warn you that if you can’t take the heat, then this sauce isn’t for you.  Look at the picture.  Now that is spicy hot!
Chili Mayonaise
Ingredients
1/2 C mayonaise
1 T. chili paste, like Sambal Olek
1 T. lemon juice
1 T. fish sauce (optional)
2 t. brown sugar
Preparation
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and blend thoroughly.  Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with a very this slice of lemon in a twist.  Serve with sushi rolls, spring rolls, crab cakes or at a fish fry.
Tracy’s choice of cocktail was a Green Tea Martini.  This is a refreshing mix of tea and citrus flavors which pairs nicely to sushi rolls.
Green Tea Martini
by Tracy Schaaf
Ingredients
6 oz lemon vodka
3 1/2 oz. Gran Marnier or other orange liqueur
7 C water
4 green tea bags
1 can frozen white grape juice concentrate
2 limes, cut into eighths
1 cup fine white sugar
Preparation
Brew tea in teapot.  Add concentrate to tea.  Set aside to cool completely.  By using four tea bags, you will want the tea to be strong.  In a pitcher, combine vodka, gran marnier, and 12 ounces of the tea/juice mixture.  This will leave extra tea/juice for a second batch.  Stir.
Pour the sugar out on to a saucer.  Line the rim of a martini glass with the lime and turn it upside down onto the saucer to coat with the sugar.  Pour the green tea beverage into the glass and garnish with a wedge of lime.  Serve cold. 
Serves six.
Enjoy!
                                                                                           One Cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. – Virgina Woolf
Special thanks to Tracy for the idea and the thoughtful presentation and to my fellow Dinner Club girls. 
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