Last weekend my sister, Kristen and I decided to push our culinary skills further than they had ever gone before.
Further than the time I assumed using stiff egg whites in an angel food cake was a suggestion.Further than the time we tried to make Turkish Delight and then convince our brother that it was supposed to taste that way and in our generosity, he could have all of it.Further than Orange Zest Mashed Potatoes, an epic failure from my pre-teen days.
Since those early days, both of us have grown in our kitchen skills but Minnesota girls at heart, we seldom venture too far beyond the culinary boarders of our state, let alone those of our country.
On Saturday night we decided to push our horizons and challenged ourselves to take on a food that some chefs spend years mastering — sushi
My one experience with local sushi was highly disappointing and with a little bit of research and some creative thinking, I was sure we would be able to do better.
Our courage did not extend to attempting the more traditional raw fish filled sushi.
It doesn’t take too much imagination to see that ending very poorly, not to mention the near impossibility of finding fresh seafood in Worthington, where the seas are metaphorical and made of corn and soybeans.
Our evening started with a run to the grocery store. Unfortunately, in our excitement, we broke a very basic cooking rule by forgetting our grocery list.
Thank heavens “phone a friend” is still an option in real life and I happen to have a sushi expert on speed dial.
After some debating we settled on avocado, cucumber and shallots and then on our way to the register, we grabbed a mango for a bit of variety.
The Asian market downtown had the last two items we needed – dried seaweed and a bamboo rolling mat — because for $2.50, we decided we needed a bamboo rolling mat.
Regardless of the edibility of the sushi we produced, the trip to the Asian market would have made the whole evening worth it.
The air was heavy with foreign spices and the selection of whole, dehydrated fish alone created the illusion that the streets of Bejing lay outside the front door.
Once we got home, the sushi process was a bit of a hodge-podge —we realized we didn’t have the right kind of vinegar (or any vinegar for that matter).
Then we underestimated the amount of rice needed and ended up making two batches. We also learned that shallots’ size has no correlation to their flavor.
When it was all said and done, we were pretty impressed with ourselves.
Each role we made was edible, and our fourth and last one was even enjoyable.
As we ate the last bits of rice and surveyed the mess awaiting us in the kitchen, we talked about future sushi ideas.
“Maybe corn next time?”
“Or maybe a little bacon?”
Turns out it’s harder to leave those Minnesota roots behind than I thought.