goodbye sweet summer: cali roll sushi salad

Summer took it’s sweet time to get here and then just steam rolled right on by. In it’s path, it left a sense of panic to ensure all outdoor, warm weather activities took place before the chill of fall set in. The late onset of summer sun and temperatures seemed to evoke a disdain for anything indoors, including eating. Between work picnics, family get-togethers, backyard bbqs, tailgating parties, or just a Saturday night at a friend’s new place, it was the summer of the cookout craze (or maybe I’m just getting older and this is the alternative to beers at the beach?….nah).

If you’re like my group of friends and myself, it usually follows the same routine: host provides the meat, guests bring something to share. I’ve made (and sampled) side dish a plenty to actually have a stack of go to recipes for outdoor dining that are easy and tasty even if you’re like me, someone fashionably late and the last in line.

So, as a cheers to the end of summer and with Labor Day right around the corner, I bring to you the best of my picnic-ing experiences. First up: California Roll Sushi Salad! It’s easy peasy and ohhh sooo tasty (if you’re a sushi fan obvi), but it won’t last the whole afternoon. And DO NOT make with raw fish. I mean you could if you’re eating immediately, but for picnic style, I’d stick with cooked shrimp or imitation crab.


Continue on towards the recipe and how to!

I didn’t really follow a recipe (except for the dressing) to come up with the Cali Roll Sushi Salad. To be honest, I was too lazy to get take out and wayyy too lazy to make rolls, but my stomach gets what my stomach wants and that particular day it wanted sushi. Since I frequently do make sushi, I had all the ingredients and came up with ta da! The Cali Roll Sushi Salad: pleasing crowds since May 2013.

You can’t really even call the below a recipe. It all depends on your sushi style. Follow the way the rice is prepared, but when it comes to the dressing and extras, go wild; you can do no wrong.

Cali Roll Sushi Salad > serves approx. 4

-1 cup jasmine rice (this held up a bit better than sushi rice)
-1/8 cup plus 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
-1/8 cup sugar
-toasted sesame seeds
-2 tablespoons green onion
-1/2 tablespoon pickled ginger (chop up)
-1/2-1 seedless cucumber (depending on size, chop up)
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1 package Trader Joe’s Seaweed Snacks (note regular 
toasted nori will work juussst fine)
-1 avocado (I used 2 because I’m an avocado freak)
-a little lime juice
-shrimp or imitation crab
-sirracha sauce
-a little lemon juice
Dressing (adapted from Gourmet 2004 recipe)
-1/2 teaspoon wasabi paste
-1 tablespoon hot water
-1 tablespoon cold water
-1 tablespoon soy sauce
-1 teaspoon ginger juice from the jar of pickled ginger
Start with preparing the rice:
-Rinse rice to get rid of most of the starch. 
-Continue rinsing until the water runs clear.
-Cook rice however you prefer.
-While rice is cooking, put the 1/8 cup rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to boil and cook until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
-When rice is done, put in large bowl, stir in vinegar/sugar/salt mixture. Allow to cool.
-Gently stir the sesame seeds, olive oil, ginger, green onions, cucumber, and remaining tablespoon of rice vinegar into salad.
*Note — if adding more veggies, add them to this mixture with some additional oil if needed.Next prepare your shrimp and/or crab:
-Thaw out your cooked shrimp and chop into small pieces.
-Tear apart the imitation crab
-Toss the meat along with your preferred amount of mayo, sirracha sauce, and squirt of lemon juice (remember, you can do no wrong).
-Set asideDressing time:
-Easy: combine all the ingredients in a small bowl (taste test based on your preference).

Finishing touches:
-Cut nori in thin strips using a scissors
-Add 2/3 of them to rice mixture
-Cut avocado and squirt with lime juice to prevent browning

-I kept the rice mixture,  seafood, dressing, and avocados in different bowls. It keeps a little better and people can pick and choose what they want on it.

-Set out some soy sauce,  toasted sesame seeds, and extra strips of nori




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