Americanized no-raw-fish sushi

This is another of those posts that’s based on the fact that I was already typing it up anyway. Because it’s really hard to try to explain how to make sushi over the phone! So here we go.

But first a disclaimer…. this is a totally americanized version and should under no circumstances be considered authentic. LOL So I don’t wanna hear about how off it is.

First off…

Rice

You will need to find sushi rice. This is smaller than the usual run of the mill rice grains, and sticks together right.

At least around here, this isn’t usually by the other types of rice, it will be over by the chow mein noodles and soy sauce. It usually says sushi rice on the bag somewhere, but it may be like this brand and have it over in a corner and not as the main writing. Usually there are 2 or 3 options.

Measure one cup of dry rice. (This will seem like way way too little… but trust me… it’s enough)

Rinse it very well… until the water runs clear and stops looking murky when you stir the rice around. This will take longer than you think it will to happen.

Let the rice soak covered in water for half an hour.

After soaking, drain the water, and move the wet rice to a small saucepan. Add 1 cup of water.

Place the pan over medium heat until it starts to boil, stirring as little as possible so you don’t stir up more of the murky stuff.

When it starts boiling, put a lid on the pan and drop the heat to low for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, without removing the lid, move pan off of heat to sit for another 15 minutes.

While the rice is doing its thing, you can prepare the vinegar mixture.

For this, you need rice vinegar. Depending on which store, some will keep it right next to the soy sauce, but most of them around here will have it over near the salad dressings.

There’s a ton of different measurements people use for this… but I go with 1/4 cup rice vinegar with 2 tablespoons of sugar added. (Some add salt, I don’t… doesn’t really need it)

You want to dissolve the sugar entirely in the vinegar. This is a lot easier if you heat it a little, 15 seconds in the microwave works ok, but you want to be sure to give it time to cool back to room temp before the rice is done. (And if you heat it, it may make your kitchen smell like vinegar.. which always reminds me of coloring easter eggs.. lol)

When the time is up on the rice, dump it out of the pan (it won’t need drained) into a fairly large container so that the rice won’t be very deep across the bottom when spread out. I’m just using a random square plastic container from the cupboard here, but a cake pan works well.

It should already be sticky… as you can see by the pan shape it’s staying in here.

Tap the rice a bit gently with a rice paddle or spatula just enough to get it to spread out a bit, then drizzle it with the vinegar mixture.

This will make it stop being as sticky and feel sort of wet.

You don’t want to stir the rice to mix it in… because it will make them break up and be mushy and messy. Instead, you want to take sections with the paddle or spatula and flip them over onto other areas.. and/or repeatedly draw slow and gentle lines through the rice in one direction then the other.

See my pretty lines? LOL

Once it’s well mixed, you want to let it sit and cool to room temp, and until it feels dry again. But don’t put it in the fridge, just let it sit out to cool. Some recipes say to fan the rice.. more power to you if you feel like going to that effort! LOL

If you need to take a break in the process to break it up into different sections, this is the place to take it.

Meanwhile….

Filling

As I said, this is an americanized version.

I have no problems with raw fish being used in restaurant sushi I eat, but I’m just not about to try that one at home.

In this case, I’m using imitation crab, which is fully cooked fish. Philly rolls usually tend to use smoked salmon. If you like tuna, tuna from a can works better than the stuff from a packet because it tends to be in larger chunks.

The packets of different flavored filets of salmon and other fish (near the canned tuna) usually work pretty well too, but some of the flavors can be a bit different.

And.. well… we’ve actually even used leftover cooked chicken at times. (Yes, I really meant that disclaimer lol) Whatever works!

Veggies can be pretty much whatever, but you want to keep it pretty small and either compact or able to be pressed compact (like sprouts). So I’d probably eliminate things like cauliflower. Pictured above is cucumber, green onion, and avocado.

For most things, you can do a lot of the slicing while the rice is cooking, then put back into the fridge until ready to roll.

For slicing various things for filling, you generally want to make strips smaller than 1/2 an inch wide…. the smaller the better.

Cutting these strips into smaller pieces about 2 or 3 inches long tends to make the rolling process a bit easier, as it lets them move around a bit more.

For cucumbers, they seem to work best if you cut them in half lengthwise, then each of the halves into 4 slices.

Then run a knife carefully along the edge of the peel to remove it from your finished strip.

Philly rolls usually use cream cheese… but we tend to use it with anything that has imitation crab too, as it works well together.

When slicing cream cheese, first cut through the entire block to make two thinner halves, then proceed with the slicing on each half. It also helps a lot to slice it straight out of the fridge, and put it right back into the fridge until it’s ready to be used.

 

Rolling

Before I start rolling, I usually go ahead and split my piles of each filling type into half, so that then it’s easier to use half of each pile on each roll (This will be making 4 rolls)

You will need a package of nori… which is sometimes labeled nori and sometimes labeled roasted seaweed. It’s usually by the chow mein noodles and soy sauce.

It’s basically dark green sheets that feel almost like a stiff tissue paper. (It doesn’t really have too much taste in the sushi, but if you try and eat it alone it’s not the greatest… so I don’t recommend sampling it before you use it)

You will need 4 pieces, but will want to make sure they are in good condition, as sometimes some will have rips and tear that will make the process harder. Packages usually have about 12 or so in them.

Recommended but maybe not required is a bamboo rolling mat. This supports the nori while you roll so that it doesn’t rip. The one I’m using here came in a set with the rice paddle used above for about $7 at bed bath and beyond. (If you are looking for them there though, they were with the chopsticks, over by the woks in the pan section, not in the small kitchen gadget section where you would expect them).

Other kitchen stuff like silicone mats or even parchment paper or wax paper might work ok too if you don’t want to go for the mat.

Lay one of the sheets of nori on the mat, with the shiny side facing up.

Put the edge of the nori closest to you against the edge of the mat.

Add 1/4 of the rice, and tap the rice with the edge of the paddle to spread around.

You want to keep it about an inch away from the far edge, and about 1/2 an inch or a little less away from the other edges. If you get it too close to the near edge it will be harder to start rolling, too close to the sides and it may spill out when you roll.

Yes, I know… it still looks like I’m crazy and this is way too little… it’ll work out.

When you are done spreading, it will look like this… and still look like there’s a lot of gaps and too little rice. Here is where we fix that.

Wet either your hands or the back of the paddle, and press/tap down on the rice gently to level it and pack it down.

So that now it looks like this. And suddenly looks like maybe it’s enough rice after all!

(If you happen to want a roll that’s more rice heavy, add less filling instead of more rice. More rice makes things harder to work with)

If you want a california style roll that has the rice on the outside, you will spread the rice close to the edges, then before patting down you can sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds. Then place a piece of plastic wrap over the nori, and flip it upside down. The rest of the instructions happen the same, just on the opposite side.

And now we are ready to start adding the filling.

You want to line the filling up along the edge closest to you, largest pieces on the bottom, smaller pieces on top of those.

If you are going for more traditional sushi, you generally want to keep this filling section really small, maybe two inches wide, so that it gets to roll more.

For americanized rolls…. well… as long as you’ve got less than about half of the rice covered, you’ll be ok. The rice just needs to come somewhat close to meeting itself on the other side.

And so now we start rolling.

Lift the edge of the mat nearest you, while holding the filling down against it a bit.

Essentially what you want to do at this point is flip the filling area over while squeezing the filling gently to compress it.

Once you’ve flipped it over, squeeze the roll together a bit more firmly as you continue to roll.

When you get to where the roll is starting to overlap, roll the mat back upwards away from the  nori so that you can continue.

When it’s completely rolled up, give it a firm but gentle squeeze.

Then, unroll it just a bit to expose the area of nori that was left without rice at the end.

Get your finger wet, and run it along this nori to get it a bit wet, then press it back against the roll so that it will seal to the back of the other part of the nori.

You can now unwrap your roll from the mat (and plastic wrap if you went for rice on the outside).

The ends of the fillings will be somewhat uneven and closer to the edge, or even out of the edge if you got too close when placing or squeezed too hard.

Repeat the process for the other 3 rolls. If you aren’t going to use some of them immediately, you can wrap them in plastic wrap and keep them unsliced in the fridge if you want at this point.

We usually just slice them all anyway and cover the pieces. The nori does sometimes get a bit of an odd stretchy texture if stored though, so it’s usually better to make them right before eating them.

To slice, you will want the sharpest knife you have around so that it won’t smoosh things and make them fall apart. You will also want to get the knife wet between every slice or two because the rice that gets on it will make it stick a bit.

Place the roll with the seam where the nori ended on the bottom.

If you look at your rolls, it’s usually pretty clear to see where the roll is firmly packed and the nori is smooth, and where the edges start and the nori doesn’t look as stretched. Move just a bit in from this line, and slice off each edge. The edges still taste fine, they just are uneven and not packed as firmly, so they fall apart a lot easier and don’t look as pretty. (Around here, the edges get eaten as a sort of appetizer… lol)

From there, slice the roll into half.

Each half can then be sliced into 2 or 3 pieces. 6 pieces per roll is more of a standard size like you’d likely be used to, but the larger pieces made by 4 stay together easier.

For supporting the nori, you want to keep your fingers as close to the cut as you safely can, or even over the top of the cut once the top of the knife is low enough.

Try to keep the pressure on the knife firm but gentle… and if it hits a rougher patch, use back and forth motion, not just forcing it down harder.

If you are going to stack the sliced pieces on top of each other, try to make sure the entire piece is well supported by the rolls under it. Trying to make a pyramid with spaces under each slice is probably going to make them fall apart.

And there you have americanized sushi rolls. 🙂

(If you aren’t used to sushi, this may not look like a lot… but with the rice and the size of these, these are filling… it doesn’t take much.)

Weekend lists

Boo’s Weekend To-Do List:

  • Pick up laundry in room
  • Pick up toys in room
  • Pick up trash in room

Mommy’s Weekend To-Do List:

  • Mow lawn that’s above ankle deep in the back
  • Call tech support again over mom’s internet
  • Clean Boo’s messes in the living room that was totally clean last weekend
  • Pick up Boo’s messes in the bathroom
  • Clean kitchen, including Boo’s messes on the table and in the fridge
  • Clean litter box for Boo’s cats
  • Clean up messes made by Boo’s cats
  • Do the laundry, part of which is Boo’s, including a ton if she ever gets it out of her room
  • Spend 3 hours taking Boo to 2 different volleyball games
  • Cook meals for Boo, the majority of which Boo won’t even eat
  • Search job ads for job to support Boo

And somehow my mother acts like I’m just the most evil mean awful mom ever for not being overjoyed at the request to do Boo’s list for her too.

Summer of perpetual camp

The bad thing about the timing on the job program is that boo is now out of school. And so needing daycare.

Fortunately the state childcare program recognizes the program as a valid reason… so that takes care of the vast majority of the cost.

But this still means starting a new daycare… And our luck hasn’t been the best in the past.

And so, I decided to try something different.

Since the ymca has a childcare program for little kids, they are authorized for kids on the state program. But, during the summer, in an unrelated program, they have about 6 different camps that they run. After several emails and calls to people, I managed to figure out that basically care is care and payment is payment.

So instead of going to daycare, boo is going to camp this week.

And then the same camp with a different theme next week.

This one is partially indoor at their various gyms and such for all things they are set up for, part outdoor including their water parks and sports fields, and part field trips to other places.

And then their sports training camp, where they work on the sport lead by the coaches and players from one of the local colleges in the mornings then have regular camp activities in the afternoon, for basketball the next week, then volleyball the next. And then soccer the next, because she wanted to even though she has only played in gym class before.

And then back to the other camp again for up to two weeks depending on how things are going on the job/job search at the time.

In theory, this sounds perfect!

Much more exciting and hands-on active things and creative things going on for an ADHD kid to not get anywhere near as bored and drive daycare providers nuts. Lots of kids in her own age group instead of mostly younger kids at daycare. And not as much time driving grandma nuts lol.

Both of the camps start at 8 and end at 4 as far as the official activities go, but both have things going on for them to do all the way from 630am to 6pm to give parents a window of time for pickup and dropoff… so that ought to work with just about any day shift job schedule I get going.

And where we already had the membership for this year for her basketball and volleyball teams, the fees are actually about $10 cheaper than I was paying previously for daycare for her in the summer at the childcare place where she was always bored and hated going.

Had I been more on top of things, they also have a pure outdoor classic style camp thats at a lake property outside of town with canoeing and zip lines and stuff, and an arts camp, but both of those were filled on the weeks we looked at (the non-sports camp weeks).

So I’m really hoping this works out as great of an idea as it’s sounding at the moment. A summer of constant camp fun instead of a summer of bored open-play time and activities aimed at younger kids.

Hurry, a phone posting test

The priests who were carrying the Ark stood in the middle of the river until all of the Lord ‘s commands that Moses had given to Joshua were carried out. Meanwhile, the people hurried across the riverbed. http://bible.us/Josh4.10.NLT

How often do if forget to still hurry?

” oh nice the water stopped doesn’t that look cool? ”

Instead of rushing anyway.. EVEN when this time they weren’t being chased. 

(testing posting from my phone with youversion and wordpress apps with this post if things look weird… )

City1 possibilities

So there’s been a lot said here about city2 and possibilities there. But not much about city1, of city3 for that matter.

Of the many places that were on my list of interest, these cities were my top 3 choices… but only the second highest ever really got much of a response.

Until now.

I have an interview in 2 weeks in City1… about 3 hour drive from here.

Almost identical job to the one I was doing way back when, before the first layoff back in 2006.

Except it’s first shift, no weekends, and pays $4 an hour more.

I have several certifications needed from the other job, which should give an advantage. Plus how close this job is to the other one.

But it will mean figuring out how in the world to pull off moving at this point… long after I’d pretty much written off moving as being a financial impossibility.

So my feelings are a bit mixed.

Though it will be nice to get out of town for the day to go for the interview. 🙂

Questions and real learning

I’m actually missing one of my classes from last semester.

I wasn’t too sure about the old testament class at first… I actually only took it because I would need it at the catholic college and new testament didn’t fit my class schedule.

And the instructor from the start gave a feel of having a not particularly supernatural interpretation of things.

But, the class ended up being one of my favorite classes, maybe ever.

It skipped the law books, and focused more on the history books and prophets, and included some of the apocrypha… which made it much less intimidating than it could have been.

And the instructor really knew his stuff… actually being on the translation committee for some random translation that I’d never heard of, and google pulls up many many places where he’s cited in various scholarly things. The main copy he was teaching from was in hebrew, not english.

And nobody stumped him…. no matter what they asked, if not the exact verse he at least knew the chapter and what part of the chapter it was found in. But, he stuck really close to the material, point blank admitting places where there wasn’t a clear answer because the text just didn’t give us that information, though usually offering the primary theories that have been offered while clearly stating they were just that.

But what made me so impressed even more than the instructor was the format.

He assigned certain chapters to be read by a particular class period, generally keeping the reading a bit ahead of where discussion was.

And then, on thursdays, we had to turn in three questions from the reading. Any questions at all… not graded on content, just marked as completed or not.

He would collect them as we came in the door, and sit there and read through them before the class started, and then, the entire class period was spend holding that stack of papers and going through and answering each question.

The ones that were connected with the plot of the story he would set into another stack as he worked through them, and tuesday’s class would be more explaining along the plot of whatever we’d read before the thursday before and working the answers to those questions in as they came up.

And then thursday repeated the process.

So the first week or two, the questions were obviously just written to be putting something down to show they’d at least halfway done the reading.

But after everyone figured out that they really mattered and would be answered by someone who really knew what he was talking about… the questions got really good! We were actually learning things we didn’t know or didn’t understand well, instead of just going through the plotline of the wandering through the desert for what for many of us was probably the dozenth time.

And I think it even changed how I was reading, from glossing over random mentions of things as just being some weird old testament ritual or whatever to really wondering what that was all about.

And so I find myself reading sometimes, and wishing I just had this as an ongoing permanent class. I suppose this is supposed to be what bible studies are supposed to be about… but then, I don’t think I’ve ever been in one with someone who was really good with the information we were going over, usually it’s more of a fellow student and we’ll all figure it out together approach.

I’m wishing he taught new testament too… but he doesn’t. I actually suspect he’s probably jewish just from inklings in the class, so maybe that’s a better thing as far as being a wider difference.

But he also had an interesting grading system. More traditional, based on essay tests for all except the 15% that the questions counted for. And sticking closely to the average work earns a c system thats usually stated, but not often practiced.

But how the tests worked was that he would give the questions a week ahead of time, then during the class period before he would review… aka give you the base details of the answers he wanted, pretty much setting the baseline guaranteeing you a c. But then, every little extra detail you added in from the discussion in class or just from reading that hadn’t been mentioned in the review session would give you extra points above the c level.

I was rather proud of the A I got on one of the tests… but also thrilled that he took the time to email me when he graded it to let me know I’d gotten an a rather than my waiting to see when we got the tests back.

The only thing that kept me from a 4.0 on the second semester in a row was a B+ in that class. And I’m totally ok with that.

Calling it out

So much drama…. so many pity parties… so many seeming alliances changing directions…such a crazy family.

At the moment, a family member who has lived rent free and bill free for more than 12 years, including 2 years in a house alone with bills paid by my grandma in the name of “helping them get back on their feet”, is well into pity-me mode… declaring that they are going to go live in their van.

Because the house where they were living will have electricity in grandma’s name turned off in the next two weeks from not having been paid the month before she died, and the house will be sold in the next six months or so at which point they actually would have to move.

And so decided to add a ton of the facebook friends of the other family members even if they didn’t actually know them, and then start posting status messages about poor them being forced to live in their van. And how they are the one who “got screwed over”, playing the victim as if everyone else got huge inheritances, instead of having jobs and such to have provided for their own lives and their own homes rather than living off their elderly relatives.

As if this public shaming will be enough to make a family member become silly enough to believe that letting them move in without them even attempting to look for a job will have any better outcome than my grandma’s attempt over 12 years ago that she never got back out of.

Help is one thing… stupidly jumping into a situation that you know will not actually help but rather just continue a “meal ticket” mentality is quite another.

And yes, even unknown facebook friends can sense a poor-me pity party a mile away.

So… we’re calling it out. Nobody is jumping to provide then the next new free ride. We’ve helped share possible job leads related to their past jobs that they haven’t even followed up on, provided information on other housing options, offered help with helping them get qualified with government programs…. and none of it has been anything but scorned and the comments about living in the van.

Somehow I’m betting that van still won’t have an occupant. Well, at least until other family members catch them trashing to house or otherwise trying to block its ability to sell. But it’s getting really annoying waiting it out to see how long till they realize that they are going to have to take some active action and not just be handed life out of pity of the poor victim left to actually fend for themselves essentially for the first time in their lengthy adult life.

Meanwhile, the other family members that were depending on grandma rather than working are actively looking at their resources and options, and making arrangements, and doing what they need to do to move on with their lives. Can’t say I have much hope towards it being productively, but at least its independently.

Ironically, they are the ones who have been the most underhanded in the past that we thought we had to worry about. But no, they have been well behaved, no battles at all.

Meanwhile, the future van resident has been pulling stunts like taking the big screen tv that was supposed to go to a great-grandson, claiming her tv at their house didnt work right. Then pawning it within 24 hours of having it. Then when a relative told them they would pay off the pawn loan for it if they wanted to sell it, they told the person they planned to get it out and needed it. Then didn’t pay off the pay loan so that a large two year old tv was sold for $150 to a pawn shop rather than to the person who’d offered to pay them. And then the child it was supposed to go to was told that it was sold to get money to visit grandma in the hospital, even though the child knew the tv was in the house the day before the funeral.

Stuff like this is making acting out of long term best interest instead of out of family obligation emotions sooo much easier than it usually is.

But sadly enough… given the past before grandma became the meal ticket, i’m betting the end result will be a new interest in dating with a sudden rush to move in with the person. Fresh meat that isn’t used to the game yet.