Last time I told you that one of the best things about living about living abroad is having people come to visit.  It’s probably one of the best because one of the worst things about living abroad is missing your family.

My family is pretty awesome.  They are the most generous and loving people I know.  I wish I could tell them more often how much I love them, especially my mom.  Look at her.  Pretty cute right?  Don’t forget to tell your mom happy mother’s day!

If I was at home right now (in Seattle) you can bet my mom and I would be out for a little sushi this afternoon.  But since I am stuck here in Macedonia…I mean, lucky to be here in Macedonia, I made some sushi in honor of mom.  (Thanks mom for the sushi mat you sent me!)  Make sushi?  At home?  In Macedonia?  Do you even have the ingredients?  Yes and no.  If you are looking for sashimi-forget it.  This is a land locked country…you don’t want to be eating a lot of raw fish.  However, you can find the basics, like (admittedly low quality) nori, rice, wasabi, soy sauce… After all, sushi is all about the rice, right?  When I told Aleks that I was planning on making some vegetarian sushi using some of the ingredients I found at Vero, he thought I was crazy.  Can you make sushi without fish? Or without crab or shrimp?  Well, I can sure try! (By the way, just to prove to you that I am not crazy and vegetarian sushi at home is totally legit, check out this article Aleks recently found in the New York Times.)

Although I was a bit intimidated and Aleks was more than doubtful about my sushi attempt, it turned out to be easy to make and more than delicious to eat.

The first step is to prepare the rice.  I found some detailed instructions here.  Basically, you need to wash and soak your rice before steaming it. While your rice is steaming, stir together 1/3 c rice vinegar, 3 TBS sugar, and 1 tsp salt in a small sauce pan.  Place the pan over low heat until the sugar dissolves–stir occasionally.  Let the mixture cool.  When the rice is done, gently stir in the vinegar mixture.

Now, prepare your toppings.  I like avocados, cucumbers, an occasional carrot and some spicy sauce (chili paste mixed with a little mayo).  The NYT article suggested a variety of other ingredients I never would have thought to add.  Some of my favorites were cooked chopped spinach, olives, poached asparagus, roasted eggplant, roasted pepper, sautéed mushrooms, scallions, scrambled eggs, prosciutto, thinly sliced cooked meat and arugula.

The next part is what I thought would be the hardest but actually turned out to be pretty easy.  I didn’t try to go very fancy, I left my rice on the inside of my roll. Also, I chose to only make rolls.  So here you go…

First, lay a sheet of nori on your sushi mat.  Scoop a little rice onto the nori and spread it across the sheet.  Then add your filling.  I tried to keep mine simple, not too many flavors in one roll.  Add a little sauce if you wish.  Roll up the sushi and seal it with a little wasabi and voila.  I clearly have no expertise in sushi making what-so-ever, so if you need detailed instructions check out some of the fine directions available on the web.