Expand your world with a taste of Japan -- with a twist. Shape nori (dried pressed seaweed) into a kid-friendly cone and stuff it with sushi rice and your favorite fillings -- last night's leftovers perhaps -- and you'll have temaki sushi. It's a healthy hand-held snack or a quick supper.
Your kids will have fun making and eating their own sushi cone.
Just ask Japanese-born Rieko Haggerty, mom of two active boys, 10 and 12 years old.
"I like to share my culture through cooking," she told me as her boys were doing homework in their Japanese-language workbooks. They Skype weekly from their home in Piedmont, Calif., with a language tutor in Japan.
"We enjoy making temaki sushi together," she told me as the boys came to the kitchen counter, grabbed chopsticks and surveyed an array of platters filled with sliced veggies, strips of a soy-sauce-flavored omelet, lettuce and leftover barbecued chicken.
"You don't need fancy ingredients or to spend a lot of money to make temaki sushi," she said. "Use what you have on hand. If you have bacon, for example, make a BLT sushi cone. Soy sauce is quick and easy for dipping," she added.
If you've never made sushi, now is the time to try it. Write a grocery list with your kids and then shop together in the produce and Asian sections of your market. Look for a package of sushi rice and a package of nori containing sheets of the dried, pressed seaweed. Then follow these easy directions.
11/2 cups sushi rice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (unseasoned)
Filling options: lettuce; julienned 4-inch spears of seeded cucumbers, carrots, thinly sliced avocado; omelet cut into slices; cooked chicken, pork, beef and bacon
To prepare rice: Cook rice according to package directions. While still warm, place rice in bowl. Stir in sugar, salt and rice vinegar.
To stuff cone: Hold 1 quarter sheet of nori in 1 hand. Using other hand, spread spoonful of cooled rice on center portion of nori. Stack fillings on rice. Twist nori tightly into a cone. Dip fingers in water. Using damp fingers, seal lower, narrow portion closed.
To eat: Dip temaki in soy sauce or other Japanese dipping sauce.
Extra idea: Make it a party. Put out cut nori, prepared rice and tasty fillings for a DIY buffet.
Donna Erickson's award-winning series "Donna's Day" is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna's Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families."