The Retro Mom

Bringing your grandmother's comfort food out of her recipe box and into your gluten-free kitchen

Granny’s 1960’s Sushi

The Retro Mom loves sushi and sashimi with a capital LOVE. I love the whole taste experience. But, sometimes, I just want some little bit of something rolled and ready. Bigger than a Tootsie Roll and smaller than a Chipotle burrito. It’s great fun to eat something with your hands, picked up right off of the plate – how uncivilized and how wonderful! Well, throw those etiquette lessons right out the window and get ready for some finger food.

Before the craze of putting-raw-fish-into-rice-and-seaweed-and-making-a-roll-that-is-too-big-for-a-normal-humans-mouth-yet-to-take-a-bite-is-considered-rude-and-socially-unacceptable came to be, there were cute little bite-sized, dainty rolls of ham and cream cheese. It was a simpler time.I never really put much stock in these little ham rolls, they just kind of existed. And then one day I served them at a party, and someone said they had seen them at Costco rolled up in a tortilla with bell pepper inside. That got me thinking…….

Recipes are funny little things. Everyone always thinks they have reinvented the wheel, foodwise, when they come up with a new recipe. Take apple pie for example. Simple, easy and totally American. And unless you are into molecular gastronomy, there are only so many ways to make an apple pie – the little additions are what make each pie unique, not the apples themselves. The point, if any, is that my Granny made these, and they were probly based off of some other recipe that was based off of some other recipe. And the person who told me that these rolls were now made with peppers in them probly thought I messed up the recipe and needed to remind me that they are made with peppers and tortillas. Or was it pickles? Do what feels right to you.

Just little rolls of pure love. Simple, easy, non-contrived food. Perfect for when company pops in without calling first………which is never, because my friends would never do that.

Here’s what I did:

1. I bought these things: Daiya dairy-free cream cheese, slices of uncured ham. and green onions. If you are having the deli slice your ham, ask them for a medium to thick slice. Keep your ham cold and your cheese slightly softened for best results. Wash and dry  the onions.

2. Daiya cream cheese spreads easier than dairy-filled cream cheese, and won’t tear your meat. But if you use regular cream cheese (yum!), let it soften up quite a bit before attempting to make these. Lay your slices of ham out individually on a cutting board and pat dry. You read that right.

3. Cut off the bulbous end of the onions, and use in another dish. Slice your green onions, lengthwise like a vanilla bean or hot dog, through the middle to get them to lay flat in the middle of your rolls. Otherwise it just looks like you were trying to make a meat necklace. I don’t know if “meat necklace” was a term that existed before this post, but it does now and I’m running with it. Spread each piece of ham with a generous tablespoon, or more depending on the size of your slices, of cream cheese getting it right up to the edge- that will be the glue that holds this whole operation together. Literally. Place a green onion strip or two right at the edge of the ham slice.

4. Now roll up tightly and slice to desired thickness.

5. Done. Seriously, it doesn’t get much easier than that. Enjoy!

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