May 27, 2010

Serious Catching Up

Right.  An oil spill, sushi making, Jane Goodall, the Rocket Rocker, houseguests and derelict blogging.  Where was I?

So my Sis came in April, and her visit timed with not only her birthday but also the fifth month of her pregnancy.  Fifth month?  I think.  Pregnant ladies make it hard because they speak in weeks, not months.  Week 14, Week 28, Week 36 - milestones that mean nothing to me and require endless dividing by four.  It cracks me up that this carries over into the way people talk about their kid's age.  After the baby is born, they start speaking in months, not years.

Me: He's so cute! How old is he?

Random Grocery Shopper: Thanks, twenty-two months.

Really?  Cause I mean, technically you're not a liar if you just round up to TWO.  Right? 

Aaaaannyway.  Sis and I took Trail for walks by the lake, picked up rocks on the beach, envisioned ourselves in everything Anthropologie was offering but bought nothing, and then she taught me how to make sushi.  You know I always say, give a man a sushi roll and he eats lunch.  Teach him to make his own sushi and .... you take all the mystery out.  But that's okay, because I know I've been paying way too much for my all-time favorite food for way too long.  So now I can go whip it up any ol' time I want.

I love this picture because this pregnancy was a last-minute decision and yet came right on time.  Sis has a big belly and turns down good coffee, but otherwise it just feels like a very normal progression for her.  I'm so happy for her and Mike!


Have you guys done this before?  I'm behind the curve on everything in the kitchen - except homemade ice cream cakes - and now I feel straight up cocky about how cool it is to make your own sushi.  Observe:

This is the rice part, and for me it was definitely the most complicated.  Since this visit, I made a load of sushi for Brian and Lindsay's birthday on my own, and the rice was almost a disaster.  What started as a soup in the rice cooker ended up in the garbage, and I used the old-fashioned pot-on-the-stove method instead.  Whether you do your rice successfully in a rice cooker (which is what Sis used when she came, pictured above) or on the stove, after it's the perfect consistency make sure to air it out.  We used casserole dishes but the sushi rice bag recommends a 'big wooden bowl.'  Then you add some rice wine vinegar and a smidge of sugar.  It makes the rice sticky enough to handle and gives it that awesome sushi sheen.

Sorry such dim fuzzy pics.  These are the only ones I got of this shot, and it's an important part.  You lay out your nori (sheet of dry seaweed, found in the ethnic aisle of any grocery store) and sprinkle with a tiny bit of saltwater, to liven it up.  Then you pat down the rice on one side.  This, aside from the meticulous slicing of veggies, is the most time-consuming part.  Get the rice even to the edge of each side of the nori.

Then flip the rice side of the nori down (unless you want the seaweed on the outside - I think that's a maki roll) and line up what you want on the inside.  Above was Sis's pina roll - red pepper, pineapple and avocado.  The finished product is drizzled with coconut milk.

I should mention that in order to roll sushi you need a bamboo mat.  We covered ours with plastic wrap.  I'm sure sushi chefs everywhere just lost their balance.  But we didn't want rice getting stuck in the cracks.  My coworker told me she rolls her sushi without a roll, so I guess you can do it however it works!  That's pretty cool.  Hey, you could take your avocado and your nori and roll up some sushi on an airplane.  Or while driving.  Or while texting AND driving.  And rolling.

Here's one of the birthday sushi rolls with shrimp, mango, cucumber, red pepper and more...

And one with cream cheese, crab and asaparagus

One last thing, before I end my sushi fanfare - because you can't have sushi without it!


From good eats to good drinks...I've said before that I work for Rishi Tea - it's pretty much the coolest company ever.  So cool, in fact, that a few weeks ago I spent an evening in Chicago with Jane Goodall. We were celebrating the partnership of the Jane Goodall Institute with Rishi's Masala Chai.  It seems pretty blog worthy, so I thought I'd share.

Rishi joined up with Roots & Shoots, Jane Goodall's program designed like a grassroots movement of young people encouraged to think about 3 things they can do to help 1) the community 2) the environment and 3)....I forgot the third one.  Animals maybe?  Yeah, animals!  Of course.  Anyway Jane was awesome, she showed up with her famous now-grey ponytail and spoke with such articulation and poise that I deem her the Mother Teresa of the Animal Kingdom.  Woman after my own heart.  After hearing her talk about chimps, I came home and gave my Baba Gurl an extra long hug.  Only Baba Gurl ain't got no thumbs.

The connection between Roots & Shoots and Rishi Tea are endless.  The origin of the tea in Rishi's Masala Chai blend is an impoverished area in China.  Because Rishi is a fair trade company, we've done lots to help on that end, obviously by buying the product they're selling at fair prices, but also by building a school that is now up and running and educating a lot of kids.  If you want to geek out and learn more about Rishi and fair trade, here's the Rishi blog with some awesome videos of Joshua - owner and tea enthusiast - in Hubei.

Enough of the uneducated kids and expensive tea.  The real, most important, most pressing thing is that our Williamsburg peeps will be here in like...9 hours.  And I have to get OFF my computer and run around the house, pick up all the dog hair, stuff it into a little bag and then hide it in the closet like it doesn't exist (a.k.a. vacuuming).  I also have to throw another coat of red paint on the Rocket Rocker, Dustan's latest hand-built kid's toy.  He is debuting it this weekend at the grand opening of an organic baby store down the street!  So basically Tee and Christoph are gonna get here and have to go meet the mayor of Racine while I buzz around a small red wooden rocket with my camera, not unlike a mom at a high school graduation.

I will definitely be back with pictures.  Maybe even some pricing...

May 26, 2010

One more of the small people in my life

I stole this off Lindsay's Facebook because it's so excruciating.  This is Eve, and she is a star. 
And she totally knows it.

Not-One-But-Two (of everything in this picture)


 This is Addy, she's my neighbor. I love this picture!