Easy Sushi

Sushi is not hard to make. If I can do it, anyone can. I make the easy sushi, not so fancy, but very tasty. You can make it too, but feel free to experiment with ingredients. There is no wrong way.

Here are the ingredients I use. You can see them on the island, ready to be put together. The rice is Arborio, a short grain (sticky) rice named after the town in Italy where it is grown. It’s usually used for risotto, but it works well in sushi, too. There are several other brands of sticky rice (look for short grain). I add a tablespoon of rice vinegar and stir it around after the rice is cooked. The rice should be made ahead and then chilled. One generous cup of raw rice grains, once cooked, will yield about five rolls of sushi.

The blue dish next to the rice has cold water for dipping very clean or gloved hands in so the (sticky) rice won’t stick to the hands.

I have a dish of mayo on hand and a spatula for spreading it on the Sushi Nori (seaweed sheets).

You’ll see some asparagus and carrot strips that I heated in a tiny bit of water in the microwave for about 2 minutes. They are now drained and chilled.

And most importantly, we have cold-smoked salmon (coho in this case) which will give the ultimate flavour thrill to the sushi. The salmon needs to be sliced into strips before putting into the sushi, of course.

So here we go.

Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on the sheet of dried seaweed. I have it sitting on a bamboo mat for rolling it up later.

Put a generous (HUGE) tablespoonful of rice onto the seaweed and with wetted hands, pat it into a thin layer.

My layer of rice is not yet evenly spread. I don’t go right to the top end, wanting some seaweed for sealing the roll. Make the rice layer as thin as possible.

At the end closest to you, make a little ditch in the rice and place the carrot sticks, asparagus, and salmon strips in it. Then, using the end of the mat to help start a firm roll, fold over the seaweed, press it down gently and roll it up. You can drape the mat over it loosely and then press the roll together evenly if you like.

Put the finished roll aside on a small cutting board and get the next sheet of seaweed ready for loading up.

 With a VERY sharp knife, cut the roll in the middle, as shown below. Then place the two halves side by side and cut each in half again.

 

You should have eight pieces when you’re finished.

Eating the sushi…. There are as many ways as there are mouths in the world. I like to put a tiny dab of wasabi (Japanese horseradish) on a piece of sushi, spoon over some soya sauce, and top it with a thin slice of pickled ginger. Not shown in the photo is my favourite “condiment,” which I remembered to put on the table later, black roasted sesame seeds. Sprinkle these on and it adds a nutty crunch to the already fabulous variety of textures and flavours.

You can vary the foods you put in the sushi rolls. I’ve heard of cantaloupe being used, as well as mushrooms,  avocado, and lettuce. I just googled sushi ingredients and was bowled over by the huge list of possibilities. Just pick some of your favourite foods and give it a try.

Going Nuts!

The hazelnuts are ripe.Some are still on the tree.

I hurry to collect them from the ground as the wind knocks them down, before the  dogs pick them up and crack their teeth trying to get into them. Hazelnuts are so tasty.

But it looks like there is even more competition for the nuts. The Steller’s jay has figured out that this is the time the hazelnuts are ripe. He scolds me as I pick up his lunch.

Another one gets wind of the news. “Did I hear you say the nuts are ripe? Forget the birdseed in this feeder then.”

“Now I just have to get down from here. Ooooh! It looks like a long way down.”

“Might as well go for it. Nothing for it but to jump. Sheesh! I hope I don’t break a leg!”

“Well, you could fly down,” I say.

“Hmpf! I knew that!”

 

 

Bathtub Banter

Even birds need a bath now and then, but  Mrs. Golden Crowned Sparrow is astounded that her privacy is being invaded.“Go away, you junkie from Oregon,” says Mrs. Golden Crown, “and stop staring while I have my bath.”

“Such rudeness!” says the Oregon Junco. “Calling me a junkie!”

“Oh good. He’s gone. Now to wash behind my ears….”“Oh, for heaven’s sake! How can I blend into the tub when you come along and attract attention with your black soldier’s helmet?”“I can see that I’ll have to ask Mr. Golden Crown to come over to stand guard.”

“Come on, Mrs. G.C. Will ya hurry up and get out of the tub? Can’t you see this guy needs a bath? His face is quite black. You come on down here with me. I’m sure you already  smell as pretty as these flowers.”

Pane Pain

The birds know that summer is over and it is time to go south. They don’t like to be too cold anymore than I do, and it’s hard to find food  if there is snow on the ground. Even cold rain doesn’t make it a hospitable environment for providing seeds and/or insects for birds to eat.

The air is fairly vibrating with birdsong, as the birds gather in ever growing flock numbers to eat like crazy and do little practice flights in preparation for the big trip  south.

Unfortunately, with so much activity many of the birds try to fly through my windows, thinking there is a flight path to the other side of the house. It breaks my heart and sometimes their necks or wings, when they hit. The guilt I feel is huge.

After hearing three thumps on my windows in a short space of time, I found a bar of soap and drew lines over the panes so the birds could see that there is a barrier in their flight path.

One little warbler type had hit a corner window just before I soaped it. He had a soft landing on a deck chair cushion. He stayed there for several hours. I worried and felt so bad for him as I watched his tiny traumatized wings quiver.

Then, apparently the time was right. He pooped and flew away. I hope he doesn’t have a bad headache. I’m so glad he survived.

Special Delivery

Recently I listened to some of the UN speeches on TV. I like to have the closed captioning feature turned on in case I miss anything they said. I found out that some countries like Cuba, Venezuela, and a couple of others have their food brought in from very far away. Now, I must stress that only a few countries are doing this.

Apparently they have a UFO bringing potatoes in from some other planet, or maybe even from another galaxy. But why just them? Well, the closed captioning said it’s because they have …

a dics tater ship. Honestly! That’s what the closed captioning said: “These countries pretend to have a democracy when in fact they have a disc tater ship.”

I always KNEW there was life beyond our Earth!

A Sunny Cloud

Early in the morning, the sun’s first rays hit the top of the hills and one lonely leftover cloud. I’ve learned keep the camera handy and to drop everything when the light is right. Sure enough, less than a minute later, the light changed and the magic was gone.

Cloud Talk

 

I didn’t have the heart to add

Another drop of rain

With all the cloudbursts you have had

It could become a pain.

 

I’d rather brighten up your day

With promises of joy

For drought relief, a price you pay

Too much rain can annoy.

 

Beach Fishing, Anyone?

I would feel safe enough fishing from a little skiff. I wouldn’t mind the mystic, misty fog that will burn off later in the day.

But going ashore to fish from the beach has given me pause. All sorts of dangers lurk there, right next to those horse clams that squirt water through their siphons like a mini fire brigade.

Remember them, squirting water into the air? Well, just look what is going on behind their backs.What if I’d been standing on the beach fishing, and it turned out to be the bruin’s favourite fishing spot? I think I’d stay in the skiff, thank you.

But worse yet, what if you heard wolves howling the night before, you go to the beach to fish in the morning and a friend calls over to tell you he just saw a wolf running away. You go to explore, and find that wolves have taken down a good-sized deer.

A pack of wolves would tear at the hide, pulling it right off the hind quarters to get at the meat under it. I apologize to the squeamish readers, but this is real life and death–the kind of thing we Disney fans deny ever happens, when in fact it is going on all the time. It must go on. Wolves have to eat too. But you’ll excuse me if I’m not overly in love with wolves or want to transplant them to every part of the country.

Next time I’ll post something sweet and not too real. I know that for many of you this is hard to look at. I didn’t like it myself, but it’s real, it’s true, and it’s happening out there in the real world.

No, I wasn’t there that day, but the Captain was. He took these pictures.