Monday Meal Review: Japan

THE SCENE:

Not only does Ava have no interest in tasting sushi, she won’t even touch the stuff. She takes one look at it and just shakes her head, content to nibble edamame.

In the past, I’ve tried various techniques to get Ava interested in sushi. I order rolls with nothing but asparagus, cucumber, and avocado – her most favorite veggies. I “oooh” and “ahhh” over how wonderful my roll tastes. I have even taken her to dinner with her little friend Sanya who gobbles sushi down faster than most adults. To be honest, while Ava was transfixed and fascinated at such sushi enthusiasm in a fellow two year-old, at the end of the day peer pressure held no sway over Miss Ava.

I was stumped.

And nervous. You see, the moment I began this Adventure, I knew that I would be making sushi for Japan. How could I not? Sushi is fun, healthy, beautiful, and authentic.

There had to be a way to get Ava interested.

“Dip your hand in the water, and pat the rice flat!” I sang to Ava, after I’d scooped some of the sticky sushi rice onto a piece of nori.

Water splashed as she enthusiastically dunked her little hand into the water bowl and then went pat pat pat.

I smiled, despite myself.

“Ok, now what veggies should we put?” I had hardly said the words when she began digging around for peppers, cucumbers and more.

She was into it.

“Let’s roll it together,” I added, smiling again as her little hands quickly pressed along with mine, making a tight roll.

I had hardly cut it before her fingers reached in and snagged one.

She popped it in her mouth quicker than I could blink.

Hurrah! Success! Joy!

For the rest of the night she could be heard babbling “sushi.”

Thank. Goodness.

A Bento for Miss Ava [Recipe]

What I liked most about this dish:

Seeing Ava’s face light up when I presented her with this bento made all sorts of motherly pride swell up inside me. She picked and pecked at every little thing, ooing and ahhing in her little two year-old way about the beauty of it all. It makes me want to bento every day, not just for school lunches!

What I liked least about this dish:

I’m still not entirely sure how to pack things tightly enough to get the food to stay put on the way to school. That’s my next challenge.

Sushi Rice [Recipe]

What I liked most about this dish:

The slightly tart, sweet rice is one of my favorites – and not just for sushi. I could eat it straight out of the bowl. There’s also not a lot of active time in this dish – just setting it aside for little chunks of time. This means I can get my sushi veggies cut and clean up the kitchen as it soaks, cooks, and rests.

What I liked least about this dish:

Nothing. Just be sure you dip your hands in a little water before handling it, or it will stick like crazy.

Vegetarian Sushi [Recipe]

What I liked most about this dish:

Everything. This is the ultimate party dish – perfect for 2 couples (much more than that and it could get chaotic) – just double the rice recipe.

What I liked least about this dish:

Practice makes perfect, so definitely keep at it! You’ll get better every time. Also, be sure to wash your knife between cuttings, or the rice will start to stick to your knife.

Espresso Jello with Evaporated Milk [Recipe]

What I liked most about this dish:

I loved the jiggly blobs in my drink. It was like dessert and caffination-city all at once.

What I liked least about this dish:

Nothing – I’d like to try it in a milk shake next. Also, be sure to drink it with an extra wide straw, available at Asian markets (I’m not sure the jello would slurp up a small straw as well).

Ava’s Corner

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Comments

  1. Jessica Bennett says:

    I’m putting the coffee jello on my must-make list. It didn’t intrigue me at first, but now that you included the details, it definitely sounds like something worth trying! And that bento box is very impressive. I’m sure she is the envy of her preschool class. And with only going 2 days a week for now, I’m sure you can keep up the creativity for a while. I’m sure she’ll remember her school lunches fondly. I know I do. My mother was not a plain Jane lunch packer (in the early years- our life got more complicated later on and my lunches got less complicated because of it, but that’s okay).

  2. Wow, Sasha, this is sooo cool to see. I love that Ava eats sushi! Congrats!

  3. Sasha Martin says:

    Jessica: You won’t regret it… although I am glad I did espresso as the flavor was quite “punched up” and very indulgent. I also think this would be grand with regular milk.

    Kelly: I know! It’s so exciting. I almost couldn’t believe it when she tried it! Making food with kids is definitely the way to go – especially from this young age when cooking is such a magical adventure.

  4. That was awesome. I liked the Bento plate. where did you find the shape cutters? i smile picturing Cliff eating little veggie bears, lol

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