Monday, February 6, 2012

Creative in the Kitchen: Literary Lunches
Yoko's California Rolls

One of my son’s favorite books is "Yoko" by Rosemary Wells.  In the story the Japanese cat, Yoko, brings traditional Japanese sushi to school for lunch.  When she gets teased by her American classmates, toting American delicacies like “squeeze cheese on white and franks and beans”, her teacher plans a special international food day.  Each character brings a food from a different country under the expectation that they are to try everything.  This piqued my guy’s interest in sushi so we tried our hand at some simple veggie California rolls (see recipe below). 

available at my etsy store:

At the end of the book Yoko hasn’t changed everyone’s mind about sushi, with the exception of one classmate, Timothy.  They decide to push their desks together and open a restaurant where they share their lunches.  After lunch at our house my son and his brother can open a restaurant just like Timothy and Yoko.  I created their own Japanese style bento (which means box) complete with inarizushi, California rolls, spring rolls, edamame beans in the pod and a cup of sauce all made out of felt.
cooked rice
yellow pepper
toasted seaweed sheets
Cut your veggies into sticks.  Place a sheet of toasted seaweed onto a bamboo mat.  You can also try rolling it without a mat or substituting a piece of waxed paper for the mat.  Spread a layer of cooled rice onto a sheet of toasted seaweed leaving an inch or two on the side furthest away from you.  If the rice is sticking to you dip your finger tips in cool water to keep it from sticking.  Place your sliced veggies across the end closest to you and roll.  Wipe a small amount of water on the wrap as you close it to help seal it.  Trim off the ends and slice into “coins” about an inch or so thick.

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