Mark's SUSHI page !

Click here for pictures of New Years Eve Sushi 2007!

So what's the big deal about sushi?
I discovered sushi several years ago when I was seeking a healthier alternative to greasy Chinese food.  I promptly fell in love with it!  Then it occurred to me; how hard could it be to make the stuff myself?  That following Christmas and New Years, I made my first sushi for friends and relatives...all by myself.  I now realize that the one thing I love more than eating sushi is making it for my friends.  Every time I make sushi, it is a learning opportunity for me; I have a roomful of hungry "guinea pigs" to experiment on, so I can make better sushi the next time!

All the goodies set out for New Year's Eve 2003 - and this was just the first wave!
Cutting "maki" rolls for Japanese exchange students - the ultimate Sushi Party!

Aaaak!  I heard that stuff is fish-bait!
Not necessarily.  Many people think that sushi is, by definition, raw (uncooked) fish.  That is incorrect.  Sushi might include raw fish (sashimi), but often it does not.  The real definition of sushi refers to the way the rice is seasoned (using rice vinegar).  Raw fish is just one of many toppings and fillings used in sushi, along with cooked seafood and some great vegetarian items!  Do you like veggies?  Cooked shrimp?  Cooked crab?  If so, there are many sushi items that you would love.

"Kappa maki" rolls are made with cucumber on the inside.  The best selection is English "Hot House" cucumbers.
"California rolls" contain shredded crab and avocado.  They are not an authentic Japanese invention but they are a favorite in the US.

But isn't that raw fish bad for you?
Only if the wrong items are used.  Typical fish caught locally or sold in stores would have parasites that can only be killed by cooking the fish.  Sushi-quality raw fish (sashimi) is gotten from carefully-controlled sources, where the condition of the fish is very well known.  This why millions of Japanese can eat raw fish and still be healthy.  I get my sashimi from the same place the restaurants do: a distributor in San Diego that specializes in sushi products.  They are very good, and have always sent me top-notch stuff in refrigerated overnight shipments.  You can check them out at - I wholeheartedly endorse them.

Still not sure about eating raw fish?  Sushi includes many cooked or veggie items too, just go for those!

Here are "nigiri" pieces, topped with crab sticks, shrimps draped on top "ebi"-style, and "tamago" (sweetened egg).
More "nigiri" pieces with "sake" (raw salmon), "hamachi" (raw yellowtail), and "unagi" (cooked eel in a sweet sauce).

So what's involved in making your own sushi?
I usually collect ingredients the day before, and possibly do some of the cutting and slicing of things like cucumber and "tamago" (sweet egg) ahead of time.  Certain items I will only cut up at the last minute, though, to keep them fresh.  I'll usually start rinsing my rice around 4pm and be ready to serve my first round of sushi around 7pm (three hours later).

While folks are scarfing that down, I am continuing to make more sushi items, including cone-shaped "hand rolls" and deluxe "maki rolls" (round cut pieces) with tempura shrimp and sweet cooked eel...yum!  Makes me want to go out for a "dragon roll" right now!

I also make "futo maki" rolls, which are wide slender sliced pieces filled with cucumber, avocado, and various tangy, tart, and sweet pickled veggies - even the strictest vegan can eat these!  And, though the slices are a little fragile, they are killer!

"Inari" is a small pouch of fried tofu, soaked in a sweet sauce and filled with seasoned sushi rice.  Their sweetness is subtle and delicious.  They are like dessert to me!
Our friend Jimmy, who loves sushi.  As a joke, our Japanese exchange student made a piece of sushi with nothing but "wasabe" (extremely hot stuff) on top, and Jimmy gulped it!

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