Unexpected – {Tuna and Roasted Red Pepper Sushi Roll}

Since school ended, I’ve been spending a lot of time in my car.

It’s not that I work every day, but my time off from work seems to fly by. I’m happy to fill the off-days with hobbies, families, appointments and obligations, but before I know it, I find myself between lanes on the highway.

Back on the road.

And since school ended, I feel like I’ve been living out of that same car.

Sure, I have places to stay, but having divorced parents has always left me feeling a little… Divided. Between Mom’s, Dad’s, my Grandparent’s place, and overnight stays in various friends’ apartments, I never really know where I’m going to end up when I hit the highway after work.

Most nights I end up at my Grandparent’s house because theirs is 15 minutes closer to work than either of my parent’s. However, I have, since first making that claim, found it to be inconsistent.

I don’t think I have a speeding problem, but I suppose it would all depend on who you asked.

But when I do go to my Grandparent’s, I always know that I’m in for some delicious food (yes, contrary to what I may or may not have lead you to believe, I do not live off of cake and cookies!). It’s rare that I know what I’ll come home to, but it’s always a good surprise and I honestly can’t think of a time when I went to their house and was served anything that was less than awesome. She says she doesn’t like to cook anymore, and she says she’s no good, but she still makes food everyday and is totally wrong about her cooking skills. Plus, she even stocks her pantry with Maple Nut Goodies (my weakness. I don’t know why, but I can’t get enough) for me and packs me a lunch for work the following day.

I am SOOOO spoiled.

But last Tuesday, when my rattling muffler sounded my arrival to their house, Grandma greeted me with a dinner that I never would have expected. As Lulu, their dog, bobbed excitedly between her feet, Grandma informed me that dinner that night would be different. Dinner that night would be…


As in raw fish.

“I tried a piece before you got here. I didn’t think I would like it, but it’s actually really good!”

How awesome is that? My Grandma ate sushi! Of her own accord! And she even liked this sushi – the remains of my packed lunch – that I brought home and was worried about wasting.

She’s great :)

And so is my Grandpa – even though he was afraid of the sushi and ate Grandma’s chili (yum!) instead, he’s not afraid to put himself and his beliefs out there in order to make a difference.

They’re both so strong, so caring and so giving… Maybe it sounds strange of me to say, and I’m sure that it’s evident by how much I talk about them, but I am so proud of my grandparents and I am so fortunate to have people as awesome as them in my life.

Especially because they always appreciate what I make for them!

Tuna and Roasted Red Pepper Roll adapted from Use Real Butter
This makes two rolls and is no where near as difficult to do as you might think! I was able to find sushi grade tuna at an Asian grocer, but I’m going to make some more tomorrow with scallops I purchased at Whole Foods. I had a nice conversation with the woman working the counter about my plans and have no fears!
Printable Recipe

1 c (160 g) sushi rice (uncooked)
1 c (235 ml) water
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 package of sheet nori
1/4 lb (maybe less) (115 g) tuna, cut into thick slices
1/2 red pepper, roasted and cut into matchstick-sized pieces
1/2 cucumber, cut into matchstick-sized pieces
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced thinly

Rinse, drain, and soak the rice in (non-measured) water for at least 30 minutes, then drain. Combine the rinsed rice and measured water in a saucepan and cover, then bring to a boil over medium high heat, reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the rice to steam undisturbed (don’t take off lid!) for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, salt, and sugar in a small bowl, then stir until salt and sugar are dissolved.

When the rice is nearing the end of its steaming period, wet a large mixing bowl that is big enough to hold the rice. Wipe off excess water and wet the tub a second time with vinegared water (1 cup water + 2-3 tablespoons vinegar). Wipe off any excess. Heap the cooked rice in center. Allow rice to cool in the tub for 10 minutes. Pour the dressing over the rice and mix the dressing evenly with a large spoon or rice paddle. While mixing, fan the rice to cool it. The rice is ready to use when it reaches body temperature.

Assembly: On a sheet of plastic wrap, set down one sheet of nori. With wet hands, grab a handful of sushi rice and evenly spread across the top 3/5 of the nori sheet, pressing the rice down to ensure it sticks to the seaweed. Arrange sliced avocado on plastic wrap and carefully flip the nori over so that the rice faces down onto the plastic wrap and avocado. Place a line of tuna at the non-rice end of the nori, leaving a little room on either end. On top of that, repeat with lines of red pepper and cucumber. Roll the fillings up from the non-rice end of the nori (like a carpet) and continue to roll tightly, but not too tightly until the rice encompasses the entire outer part of the roll. Use the plastic wrap to help maintain shape without letting the roll stick to you. Use a bamboo mat to firm up the shape and compact the roll. Remove the bamboo mat and the plastic wrap from the roll. Dip a very sharp knife in water and cut the roll in half. Repeat until you have 8 pieces. Serve with wasabi, gari (pickled ginger), and soy sauce, if desired.

*Just as a note, I rolled mine in a different way. This makes much more sense than what I did, but the battery on my laptop died and I improvised.


  1. says

    So cool! I have tried lots of &quot;new&quot; cuisines with my G-ma and we both love enjoying the foods together. <br /><br />Having a bond with you grandparent(s) is fantastic, and something I try very hard to never take for granted.

  2. says

    None of my older family members would touch sushi. They usually gag whenever I ordered it. Yours looks delicious! Especially with the ruby red tuna in the middle.

  3. says

    Wow, getting the grandparents to eat sushi, that&#39;s awesome! Both sets of my grandparents are dead now, but even though I think sushi is sorta &quot;meh&quot;, I&#39;d like to think that one of them would still be able to try something new if they were still alive. Thanks!

  4. says

    Wow the sushi simply looks amazing! I love how the colors and textures really speak for themselves. The rolls look so fresh and mouthwatering. Good job!

  5. says

    My grandmother was actually the one to introduce me to sushi. When she tried to get me to eat I absolutely hated the idea but now it&#39;s my favorite food! That&#39;s your first time making it?? It looks professional! Good job!

  6. says

    It&#39;s always awesome when grandparents or parents do something like this and totally surprise the younger generation. :) Nice post, as always!

  7. says

    my girls wanted to learn to make sushi, I opted for califonia rolls…yours do look very very good!! I think you should make what ever makes you happy, so sweet or savory, we will all still follow your wonderful posts!<br />cheers<br />Dennis

  8. Shatinn says

    It seems the creativity with food and sweet runs in the family. Very exciting picture, only could wish I like sushi but some unseen force doesn&#39;t let me. :)

  9. says

    mmmm sushii!!! I&#39;ve recently become an addict of this stuff! I think i should learn how to make it too since it can dig a deep hole in your pocket. especially when you are a student 😉

  10. says

    Just voted that I&#39;d like to see more recipes here – what I would really, really like to see is pictures near the top of the article that would show up in an RSS feed – I really like reading about you and your food – but a picture would make me more likely to click through to the full article.

  11. says

    I hate that my time off work speeds by, but the time I spend at work crawls and goes so slowly. <br /><br />I&#39;ve tried sushi once and haven&#39;t had any since. Great pictures. I voted &#39;yes&#39; in your poll. I&#39;m curious to see how you would do with &quot;regular&quot; food.

  12. says

    Hi Kaitlin!<br />I’m Maria, an italian girl who is a big disaster in the kitchen,I’m trying to redeem myself from this status and I want to tell you that I learn a lot from your blog, thank you for sharing your talent with us(and sorry for the bad english!)!<br />Maria

  13. says

    I have never made sushi before…and I can&#39;t wait to try now! I hope its as easy as you say. :) And I&#39;ve never had grandparents…you are so lucky, but you already know that! 😉

  14. Grams in Gresham says

    Wow – there really IS someone else out there that has a weakness for maple nut goodies !! I thought I was the only one…………..

  15. says

    Your grandma didn&#39;t make the sushi, did she?<br /><br />And because you can&#39;t hear it enough, you are so lucky to have a relationship with grandparents.

  16. says

    Your grandmother is adorable – now I know where you get your spunk…hee hee… and yes please, bring on the savoury food. I do love visiting your blog for the dose of sugar but would love to see what you have up your sleeve on the savoury front.

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