Thursday, April 14, 2011

The long road to Sushi Rolls.

There is no doubt about it.  I love to cook.  I love to entertain.  I love to learn! 

Growing up I had two Grandparents. My Paternal Grandfather, Papa Bill, and my Maternal Grandmother Peggy.   The other Grandmother and Grandmother passed before I was a year old.  

Papa was a Chef, all the way back to his Army days, and my Grams was a waitress.  A few times they'd work together, but most times they didn't.  They both worked the diner / cafes in the North Seattle neighborhoods.  On weekends, we'd go to breakfast as a family.  Saturday we'd see Grams, and Sunday we'd see Papa.  Both of these two taught me the value of customer service!  It's no wonder that I was in the kitchen with my aunts helping to prepare the family meals (there was about 30 of us!)

After Papa died, I looked at food as a comfort.  I like to prepare good tasting food (at 12) and experiment with different ingredients that we had on hand. Some were edible, but most weren't!  By this time we'd moved out of the city, and Grams was living right next to us.  Thus she was served some of these creations. She always told me that I should go to culinary school.  I could become a personal/private chef and make lots of money.  Then I'd never go hungry or have to work for pennies.  She encouraged me to follow my passions (Reading, Cooking, Poetry, Horses, Fishing) and never relented on the Culinary School.  She even sent for paperwork about Grants! 

About a year ago, I got to thinking about it.  Then last September, I sent away for information. It costs a lot of money to go away to school.  I just cannot afford it and work at the same time.  So it's always been on the back burner.  I even told Grams this back in September after my first date with my now boyfriend. She'd been in the care center for the past two years, progressively getting worse from Alzheimer's.  When I'd visit her she ask me, "Are you going to school yet?"  Then she'd look at me and say, "They shoot old horses you know!"  When I told her about my Date AND Culinary school, she got all excited!  I could then afford a place with round the clock care for her.  She could be the hostess!

Then December came.  The day before my Birthday, my Mom called.  Grams had suffered a serious downturn.  It was either another stroke or even a heart attack.  She thought this was going to be the final one.  

I rushed to the care center, where I stayed the rest of the day.  The next day (my birthday), in the morning while reading the paper aloud, she grabbed my hand.  No one else was there at that time (I spelled mom so she could run home and shower). I said "Hi Grams.   Just reading you the paper. . . You in pain?" and as she couldn't talk, she blinked instead.  I told her then, "I know Grammy, they shoot old horses.  Sorry I didn't bring my gun today".  She smiled, a real grinny smile and then closed her eyes to rest. I think she would have laughed if she could have.  I knew in that moment she loved me, whole-heartedly and unconditionally.  That was our last lucid moment together.  She would later struggle, wake, and not know who I was.  

I'm glad to say that I had that one real lucid moment with her; it was the best birthday present I could ever ask for.  I couldn't stay and sing her across the great divide like the rest of my family, for I wanted to savor that one memory.  We made our peace, and the following Tuesday, she was at rest, finally.    

The following weekend after she passed, several family members gathered to sort through some pictures.  Since I was with her on my birthday, as well as with the rest of my family, we kinda celebrated then.  We had cake, whiskey, more cake, and more whiskey.  Good Irish folk know how to celebrate!

My cousin James brought me a combined Birthday/Christmas/Thank you gift.  It was a Chinook book and a Gift Card.  But it was more than just a gift card..  It was a PCC Gift Card and with it was the PCC Cooks Class schedule.  You see, James did what Grams always wanted to do. Send me to cooking school.  I cried.  Then we toasted the old bird.  Then I cried again that night.  Grams was always there for me. She inspired all of us through the years.  And I knew that wherever she was, she was laughing - she always got her way!

It's not that I never wanted to go to culinary school.  It's just that I wanted to be a teacher, not a chef.  I love to cook, create, inspire, read, write, and do things.  But I didn't want to end up resenting it later.  I didn't want a full fledged career out of it.  I started throwing larger dinner parties a few years back.  Catering appealed to me.  But I knew I needed to become accredited somewhere.  Even it was just some destination classes in far off lands (okay, so New Orleans isn't that far away), I knew I should get serious about school.  

So with the PCC Cooks Calender in hand, I knew that I could do this!  I could take a class and then throw a party afterward!  Cooking, Creating, Inspiring, and Teaching!  All rolled into one!  The Gift card was worth TWO classes.  Of course, me procrastinating meant that the classes I wanted filled up.  So I wait listed for "Sushi Rolls Made Easy" by Seppo Farrey.   The week before I got the call.  I was in!!   

Sappo Farrey
All I can say is what a GREAT class!  It was a 90 minute Demo and Roll.  He demoed, you rolled it after.  They provided all the pretty chopped veggies, and you did the work and ate it yourself.    I think I was the only one that took full fledged notes.  I wanted to be able to learn from this master!

Okay, enough said.  Here is my first two rolls of sushi!



I know, the plate's not clean.  But I was one of the ONLY ones to NOT eat all of my first roll, the Nori outside roll.  So that way I could take a picture of BOTH of them - Inside out and Nori out Rolls.  Yum, 
Yum!  

Of course, most people think RAW fish when they think Sushi.  But that is just an incorrect stereotype.   Sushi means "With Rice".   So, what can you put with rice and a Nori (seaweed) wrapper?  Just about anything.  Pair it with a Tamori sauce (or a Soy Sauce) and you've got heaven.  I knew I'd have to try this at home. 

Turns out, I have the Sushi Rollers (mine are actually place mats), I have Sushi Rice and even some nori.  I have a great Asian market by my house and I had bought the items over a year ago; telling myself that I'd have to try to make my own one day.  

Thus for my home trial, I thought I'd stick with the traditional California style roll ingredients, plus a little extra veggies!
 
Here's what I made last night (and just ate a second ago):  


Sushi Rolls, BNB Style!
Stuffing = Shrimp, Cucumber, Avocado, Carrot, Cilantro, Asparagus, Imitation Crab & Green Onions
The Inside out roll is my favorite so far.  Mine just don't have the Black sesame seeds.  My rice was not cooked as perfect as the class rice, and my Nori wasn't as fresh.  But I'm so doing this again.  1 cup of uncooked rice makes about 3 rolls.  

So thanks James.  Thank you for making one of Grams' dreams come true.  I took a cooking class.  This certainly won't be my last!

Anyone want to do a Roll your Own party?  I'll provide the stuff and steps, you roll it!






2 comments:

  1. You are welcome! Glad you used the gift card for a class! Did grandma ever teach you how to make her famous 'spaghetti'? ;)

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  2. The class was GREAT! Grams never taught me her "special" recipes - only the ones that were passed down, like fatigman!

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