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Sushi in a salad

By By Judy Grigoraci
For the Gazette

Danielle and Larry Snidow offered a repeat of a beginner’s sushi class last week at their Uncork and Create art studio on Quarrier Street in Charleston.

Cooking is a culinary art, so it doesn’t seem a far stretch to be learning kitchen techniques in an art gallery.

Daughter Gina and I were there to roll with the best of them in the food and fun mix.

True to the studio’s name, there may have been some uncorking of the fruit of the vine to add to the enjoyment of creating our evening meal. There weren’t any disasters, none of the rolls exploded and everyone came away informed and well fed. I think a few grains of the perfectly sticky rice are still clinging to my sweater.

Chef Joe Reckard from The Greenhouse in Teays Valley restaurant conducted the entertaining course.

The classmates want a return visit by the chef (are you listening Snidows?), this time outside for one of his grill shows, similar to his summer classes at the restaurant.

His assistant described them as “a lineup of hot grills, nine pounds of assorted meat, and a fork — all you do while you learn is cook and eat.” That sounds like a plan.

If you are squeamish when you hear sushi, don’t fear today’s rice recipe, whose ingredients mimic the California roll sushi.

It contains all tasty components without anything “funny,” as in, perhaps, seaweed (nori), the dark green, paper-thin wrapper for sushi rolls.

By the way, for those who would rather discover seaweed while strolling along the beach instead of it sitting on your plate, there is an alternative sushi wrapper. Chef Reckard told us the Asian Market in South Charleston carries one made of soy.

The salad takes a helping hand from a convenience product, so there’s no guessing about how your rice will turn out. It’s easy to assemble and even easier to enjoy.

Crab is traditional, but pick the protein you like. Or eliminate the thought of poultry, meat and fish and toss in a few more vegetables for a meatless serving.

I vote for adding halved grape tomatoes, green onions, sweet or snow peas and briefly cooked fresh corn cut from the cob. The dressing can be doubled if necessary to cover the bases.

The light no-mayo dressing is very welcome, especially going into the upcoming outdoor picnic and party months.

Reach Judy Grigoraci at

California Roll Salad

Makes 8 servings.

2 8-ounce packages Uncle Ben’s Microwave Ready Rice (a plain flavor)

2/3 cup rice vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 avocados

1 medium-small cucumber (you will use about half a 6 or 7-inch cucumber) or one whole small fresh pickling cucumber

8-ounce package imitation crab, chopped or 8 ounces fresh lump crabmeat

MICROWAVE rice as package directs (90 seconds on high). Whisk vinegar, sugar and salt to dissolve sugar and salt; stir in rice. Let stand at least 10 minutes at room temperature.

CUT avocado in half; discard seed and scoop avocado from peel; dice or slice avocado and add to rice. Cut cucumber into julienne strips or chopped; add to bowl along with the crab. Mix gently but well.

COVER and refrigerate for flavors to mellow. Stir once gently before serving

Nutrition information: (1/8 recipe – fresh crab) 190 calories; 70 calories from fat; 8 grams fat; 1.5 grams saturated fat; 20 milligrams cholesterol; 400 milligrams sodium; 21 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 9 grams protein.

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