Recipe: California rolls


Marisa Harczuk

California rolls

Marisa Harczuk

Every Tuesday last season, my softball team and I went to Ginza, a restaurant in Ocean, to eat sushi.

We wanted to get to know each other better. It was a cheap way to spend time together eating sushi, spring rolls, shumai and miso soup. And the best thing of all – it was all you can eat for $22 a head.

We learned what makes each other tick and what makes each other happy to create the most success on the field. I learned things about them that I would have never learned before, like how Courtney has two step-siblings, or how Camille is allergic to tomatoes.

The way that this particular restaurant works is that if you leave any food on your plate, you have to pay an additional price. One time, my friend Grace left half of a roll on her plate, so to avoid the additional charge we squished up the pieces of sushi and put the pieces under the edamame peels.

The more that we met up for our weekly tradition, we knew it was just an excuse for getting to see each other outside of softball. The food simply became a benefit as we began to enjoy each other’s company. Now, whenever I have sushi, I think of my softball teammates.  


  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 medium avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced into 1/4-inch thick pieces
  • 4 sheets nori
  • 1/2 batch sushi rice, recipe follows
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into matchstick-size pieces
  • 4 crabsticks, torn into pieces
  • Pickled ginger, for serving
  • Wasabi, for serving
  • Soy sauce, for serving

For the sushi rice:

  • 2 cups sushi or short grain rice
  • 2 cups water, plus extra for rinsing rice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt


  1. Squeeze the lemon juice over the avocado to prevent browning.
  2. Cover a bamboo rolling mat with plastic wrap. Cut nori sheets in half crosswise. Lay 1 sheet of nori, shiny side down, on the plastic covered mat. Wet your fingers with water and spread about 1/2 cup of the rice evenly onto the nori. Sprinkle the rice with sesame seeds. Turn the sheet of nori over so that the rice side is down. Place 1/8 of the cucumber, avocado and crab sticks in the center of the sheet. Grab the edge of the mat closest to you, keeping the fillings in place with your fingers, and roll it into a tight cylinder, using the mat to shape the cylinder. Pull away the mat and set aside. Cover with a damp cloth. Repeat until all of the rice has been used. Cut each roll into 6 pieces. Serve with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.

For the sushi rice:

  1. Place the rice into a mixing bowl and cover with cool water. Swirl the rice in the water, pour off and repeat 2 to 3 times or until the water is clear.
  2. Place the rice and 2 cups of water into a medium saucepan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
  3. Combine the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl and heat in the microwave on high for 30 to 45 seconds. Transfer the rice into a large wooden or glass mixing bowl and add the vinegar mixture. Fold thoroughly to combine and coat each grain of rice with the mixture. Allow to cool to room temperature before using to make sushi or sashimi.