Take Your NYE Gathering from Forgettable to Gourmet

Break out the “Auld Lang Syne,” folks! New Year’s Eve have finally arrived.

In just a few hours, we’ll gather together with loved ones and ring in 2015, while stuffing our faces with a smorgasbord of delightful — albeit predictable — hors d’oeuvres. 

But, this time around, why not surprise your NYE guests with a munchable party favor they weren’t expecting, for a change?! Uh huh. Because boring old finger foods are soooo 2014.

Here’s a question to ponder: How many buffet stations have you seen that feature homemade sushi???

Well…ahem, yours could!

And it’s much easier than you might think. Follow these straightforward, step-by-step instructions, and you’ll be a sushi-rolling pro before Ryan Seacrest can chant, “3…2…1…HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!”

So, end 2014 on a culinary high note. Serve up a unique, creative and oh-so-tasty appetizer, which will keep everyone doing the yes-this-is-my-third-helping-don’t-judge-me walk of shame right up until midnight.

  •  Required Cooking Utensils:
  1. Bamboo Sushi Mat
  2. Rice Paddle
  3. Sashimi Knife

sushi kit tools

  • Ingredients:
  1. 4 Nori sheets
  2. 1 cup Sushi Rice
  3. 1 cup low-fat Cream Cheese
  4. 1/2 Avocado
  5. 1/2 Cucumber
  6. 4 slices Smoked Salmon
  7. 1/2 cup cooked & peeled Shrimp
  8. 2 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  9. 1/2 tbsp Sesame Oil
  10. 1 tsp dried Dill Weed
  11. 1 tsp Chives
  • Preparation:

1. Rinse the sushi rice thoroughly in cool water, then transfer the rice to a medium-sized saucepan.

2. Pour 1 1/4 cup water into the saucepan, then place it on a stove-top burner and turn the heat up to high.

3. When the water has reached a boiling point, reduce the heat to low, then cover the saucepan.

4. Allow the rice to simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until the water has absorbed completely (during this process, DO NOT lift the lid off the saucepan).

5. Remove the saucepan from the stove-top burner and allow it to cool for approximately 10 minutes.

6. Stir in the the rice wine vinegar and sesame oil, then set the rice aside temporarily.

sushi ingredients 1

7. While the rice has been cooking, whisk together the cream cheese, dill weed and chives in a small mixing bowl.

8. Peel the avocado and cut it in half (wrap 1/2 in cellophane and place it in the fridge, so it won’t get overly ripe).

9. Slice the remaining avocado half into thin julienne-cut “matchsticks,” then repeat steps 8-9 with the cucumber.

10. Remove the tails from the shrimp, then thinly slice them in half lengthwise.

11. Slice the smoked salmon into 8 small (approximately 2″ all around) square pieces.

sushi ingredients 2

12. Place 1 Nori sheet flat on the bamboo sushi mat, then spread a thin later of cream cheese over it.

sushi before 1

13. Using the rice paddle, spread a layer of sushi rice on top of the cream cheese.

sushi before 2

sushi before 3

14. Arrange the “filler” ingredients, vertically, in 2 rows on top of the rice (I paired cucumber/salmon and avocado/shrimp, but feel free to get creative here!).

sushi before 4

sushi before 5

15. Using the bamboo mat as a guide, tightly roll the sushi into a long tube-like shape, then set this roll aside temporarily.

sushi before 6

16. Repeat steps 12-15 with the other 3 Nori sheets, alternating ingredient combinations to suite your individual tastes.

17. Place these 4 sushi rolls in the fridge between 5-10 minutes, or until they have firmed up slightly.

sushi before 7

18. Take the sushi rolls out of the fridge, then slice them horizontally into disk-shaped pieces, with the Sashimi knife.

sushi before 8

sushi after

(Okay, so my finished product might not earn Brownie Points for presentation, but I can sure vouch for its deliciousness!)

  • Serving Suggestion:

For a wholesome and uber amazing side dish, throw together this easy-peasy “seaweed” saute (I say “seaweed” in quotes because the main ingredient is actually spinach). In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp Sesame Oil on a medium stove-top setting. Add 2 cups Spinach Leaves and cook them, stirring occasionally, until the leaves have thoroughly wilted. Reduce the heat to low, then pour in 2 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar (feel free to add more to-taste) and 1 tbsp White Cooking Wine. Allow the spinach to simmer for approximately 5 minutes, continuing to stir occasionally. Remove from the stove-top burner, then sprinkle a generous handful of Sesame Seeds over the spinach before serving.

spinach seaweed