Monday, November 28, 2011

A Hem Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is done and over for another year.  Want to know what we had?  Here's the BNB menu for A HEM Family Thanksgiving 2011:

Tom Colicchio's Herb Turkey
Perfect Mashed Potatoes
Herb Stuffing
Pan Gravy with Neck Stock
Spiral Ham
Whole Berry Cranberries
Thyme and Orange Juiced Roasted Carrots
Potato Salad
Green Bean Casserole
Green Salad (which no one ate)
Prawn Cocktail
Veggies and Chips with Dill and Chipotle Dip
Costco Pumpkin & Apple Pies with FRESH whipped cream

What didn't get made was:
Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Balsamic Glazed Pearl Onions

We had enough leftovers for everyone to take home, as this year there was only 7 of us (about 12 people couldn't make it this year).   This was the second thanksgiving that I was the "chef". I broke in a new apron and found out I need cooking shoes.  The ones I wore were not meant to stand around for hours.

Our day was pretty perfect.  The menu was built around tradition and fresh ingredients. The gravy was made with homemade turkey stock (neck + onion, carrot, celery & boiled for 2 hours until rich and hearty), the stuffing with FRESH herbs, and the carrots were roasted with a low acid orange juice.  We had a few smoke-outs in the kitchen (forgot to clean the family oven before the bird went in).  But all in all, it was a GREAT day!!

So the question is, do we stay traditional and do Lasagna for Christmas Eve, or do we spice it up and do a Prime Rib Roast?  I'm not sure.  We spent a few $$ on this holiday.  My birthday comes next.  THEN I will worry about Christmas.

Unfortunately, this year I did not get any images of our meal.  All I have is full bellies and warm smiles.  That's all this home-cook needs!

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 18, 2011

The end of an era. . . and the start of a new Adventure

So it's Official.  I have a new job.  After 12 years of working with Ventura products, I'm moving onto new challenges and adventures!

Many of you who may view this may not know me well.  But those of you that do know me, you understand that this decision was not made lightly.   I started with Ventura products in 1999 under Hoppe & Associates.  Mr. Hoppe gave me a chance and to this day, he still credits me with keeping the product afloat in North America.

It has been an honor to be the customer service person for Ventura products and Avon Tyres.  While it's been two years since I worked with Avon Tyres, they are as much apart of me as Ventura is.  Working with both products, I've traveled around the USA, made lots of friends, and created tons of memories!!  Come on, who remembers my crazy summer campaign of "Show us Your Rack"??  That was a good one!  I still wanted one for Gryyp Products that say "Get Screwed!!"  But no such luck as of yet.

So what's going to happen with me?  I'm getting married next year and I want to live with my soon to be husband, and I'm not willing to commute to Lynnwood daily.  So I've found a new job, and it's not in motorcycles.  I won't say who my new employer is, just that it's in the medical field.  I'm really excited for this new opportunity!

What's going to happen with Ventura MCA?  Max and Jesse have been in "Amy Training" since late August.  While they won't need to don the blonde wig and proclaim "I'm the Amy Now!", I'm fully confident that they will continue to provide the best in customer service, product support, and give awesome technical advice!!

I wanted to say Thank you to my friends and customers.  It's you who have made me into the woman that I am today.   My wonderful motorcycle family, I will always cherish our great memories.  From IMS shows, to the races at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway to hanging out on the porch at Deals Gap to drinking wine at Rally Week in the Gorge and getting kicked off the docks in New York.  We've had great fun!!

Thank you to everyone at Dold Industries, Avon Tyres, Kenma AU, Motohaus, Ventura MCA, IXIL, Sound Rider, Dave Preston, Advanstar, and so many other companies and friends I've made over the years!

Wish me luck on my next adventure!

Happy Trails, and remember my friends, keep the rubber side down!!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Weather's Turned Colder

So today I've worn my sweater for over 5 hours.  We closed the warehouse door to keep the heat inside the office, and I think I may vacuum out my heater at home, so it's ready to kick on at 55 degrees!!

Yikes, here's Fall!! But that also means good news. Pot Roast, Apple Stuffed Pork Loin, Chili, and other hearty cold weather dishes!!

Luckily for me, I bought an elliptical machine yesterday on Amazon.  This should help get me moving so I can enjoy my favorite fall/winter foods!!

One of my newer favorite cold weather foods is Gumbo. While it may not get too cold down in NOLA, I actually like the heat and flavor of Chicken/Sausage Gumbo on a cool day!  Okay, getting hungry now.

Another thing I LOVE to make is anything with Apples!  Do a search for Stuffed Pork Loin with Apples and drool.  Here's a preview of some pictures I found on Google:

I Butterfly my loin, add the chosen stuffing, tie it up, and roast (i use a dutch oven).

Okay, enough already.  I've got to hit up Smallwood Harvest and buy me a box of Apples already.  

Did you know that the Honeycrisp Apple has now become one of the "Famous" Apples?  It's the "In" Apple to have, as it's a perfect a balance of sweet, juicy and firm!  Well when I tried them 5 years ago, I thought so too!!  So I love using them to make Apple Crisp, Apple Muffins, Apple Sauce, Apple Butter.  It's all good!!

Until then,
Enjoy the bounty of the Season!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Klein Cedar Salvage & Timber Falling

New Website is up and running!!  9 Months in the making and we've got the Logging website live on the web!

Klein Cedar Salvage & Timber Falling is ready to work!  We're now available for private Timber Harvest Consultations, be the first to book and you'll get a cool sticker!!

Take a look, let me know what you think!

Concrete, WA

Friday, September 9, 2011

What to do with those Heirlooms

What can you do with Heirloom tomatoes?  EVERYTHING!!  

I eat them with a touch of salt.  Add basil and fresh mozzarella for a great salad, as a sandwich, pan seared and served with eggs and hash browns, and so much more.

I knew that yesterday was the earliest I could pick them and have them taste fantastic.

This year's crop has been stunted.  My Eastern facing deck didn't get hot enough in June, nor was there enough early morning sun.  So they are about a month late.  I've also had a pest problem, so I cannot transplant them anywhere else for fear of spreading insects.  Everything must be washed before eating anything from the deck.  But the tomatoes are looking really yummy!!

So here's what we did with the TWO Black Krim Tomatoes we picked yesterday.

Pizza and Fresh Tomato Slices.  Pardon the not so perfect pictures.  The good camera's battery was dead, so we used the old Kodak, as we were hungry!!

BNB Pizza & Slices!

Pizza A was Heirloom Tomatoes, Fresh Grown Basil and Red Pepper; Light Tomato Sauce with Olive Oil and Mozza cheese
Pizza B was  Pepperoni, Salami, Ham, Onion, Red & Yellow Pepper; Tomato Sauce & Mozza.

Steps to Great Naan Pizzas!!
1. Gather your Fixins and Pans!
Ingredients for Tomato-Basil Pizza
2. Prepare the Oven.  Pre-Heat to 375
3. Get Non-Stick sheet big enough, rub down with little olive oil
4. Place the Naan on the sheet and sauce them
5. Add a layer of Cheese, then toppings of choice.  If you have too many tomatoes, just add a light touch of salt and eat them!!

Light Sauce with Olive Oil on Pizza A.
Pizza B had more sauce!  And more cheese!
6. Add more cheese if desired!
Going into the Oven (375 for about 8 minutes).
7. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until cheese is melted!
8. Watch these carefully so they don't burn!!
9.  Remove from oven, slice with Pizza cutter and serve!

After all was said and done, I realized that I didn't make a huge mess, and these were really easy to throw together.   If I wanted to, I could have made several of them and froze what I didn't want to cook.  I prefer a thinner, less doughy crust, so for me, these are Perfect!!

After Pizza B was done, it was eaten right away, so here is the final result of Pizza A!!

Pizza A, all done!!
Do you have picky kids?  I've found that having kids help when you make things will teach them Fantastic Life Lessons (Knives, heat, measurements, food waste, and so much more).  So why not prep all the ingredients, and for that birthday party, let them make their own!!  I sourced this bread at Top Foods, but Trader Joes has Naan Bread in a 6-pack for under $4.00!!  They're a little thinner, but well worth it!!

This idea was inspired by Pioneer Women's Steak & Onion Pizza, which reminded me I used to make a Chicken Pizza in years past.  Meat and Veggies.  The perfect combination!!

 Until next time. . .

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Cowlitz Prairie Grange Threshing Bee

Reminding Sammy how to drive the tractor

This is not the meat grinder that I want

Tractor seats, hmm. . . I wonder what my fiancee will make. . . 

Jar Lifters, who knew they could be multi-purpose??

The Supervisors. . . 

A great end to a great day at the Threshing Bee!

After the 47th annual cowlitz prairie grange threshing bee

Working man! Pitch that hay!

Dirty toes. . . 

Mt. Rainier in the Background!

Lots of John Deere's. 

My first Threshing Bee.   So much fun, lots of sun, tractors, family, and good times!!  Next year I'll bring my hat, not just my sunblock!

Until next year. . .

Reading Time in the Woods

One of my all time stress relievers is to sit and read a good book.

Reading also means I should have a cup of tea (hot or iced depending on the time of day) or a cup of coffee.  Well I found a new place to read this past weekend.  A cool morning in Eastern Washington meant I was reading while sipping coffee, wrapped up in a blanket and of course, I had to take a picture or two. . .

Here was my view, looking at the TD-9 while the sun came up through the trees.  Big Red, as I call her, is an old International-Farmall TD-9 Crawler Dozer.  My future husband and I decided to take her for a spin the day before.  Oh, did I mention we're getting married? Yup!!  No more single gal Fridays, it will be Married Woman Mondays!!  Most of my family knows this, so if it's a surprise to you, then SURPRISE!  Don't worry, we're waiting until next June.

We're planning a simple small mountain wedding, and Big Red will be a big part in the preparation.  Now, if only the seat didn't smell like diesel, and there was an Amy handle for the side.  My bruises from sitting and hanging on while we moved stumps and cleared brush are fading. . . the dust is no longer on my glasses, but the old gal sure showed me how "work" can be fun!!

We don't want a big splashy-fancy wedding, something small and simple with those we love the most around us We scouted the location, made some preliminary plans, and we're excited to plan a great party to celebrate our joining as husband and wife.

So, here I sat, a nice crisp morning, and a truck had driven down the dirt road too fast, loosening some dust that filtered over the tractor.  So while I read my book, I snapped some pictures and had a great morning.

International TD-9 Crawler Tractor at Sunrise
I can't wait to get back there and take another ride on Big Red.  Even if it's just to sit on her and read.  Or I'll watch my soon-to-be working while I take pictures!

It's Official!  We're engaged!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


So my sweetie loves pie.  Uhm, I don't make pie.  I make crisp.  So I've decided to learn how to make Pie.

Here is my Pie List:

Pumpkin-Pecan (I already do this one!!)

I'll save the Apples and Strawberry-Rhubarb Mixture for Crisp. For Cobbler we'll do Berries. . . :).  Yummy!!

Hopefully they'll all turn out like this:

Now don't you just want a slice with some Vanilla Bean Ice Cream?

Oh yeah, now I'm hungry!!

In Memory, Peggy Hem (Shugrue)

Who was your inspiration growing up?  Mine was my grandmother, Peggy.  Born Margaret Elizabeth Shugrue, she spent her early years in Uxbridge, MA.  She married Harry W. Hem, a Norwegian (she herself was full Irish).  5 children later they packed up the car and the dog and drove across the country to Seattle, WA.  4 Children were then born here in the Pacific Northwest (My mom being one of them!).

She was known as a great singer, and went by the name Peggy O'Neal.  She worked as a waitress and could always be counted on to give you a smile or a swat!  

Grams was a very special person in my life.  She inspired me to want to help others.  She showed me how to live your life with family and friends at the forefront, not monetary items.  She loved me endlessly and I knew it!  She also encouraged me to follow MY dreams, not anyone else's dream.   

Here's a great photo of the Young Peggy.

Grams moved in with us in 1992.  Living next door to her through my teen years was great!  She let me drive her car, we baked, we laughed, and she was there for me when I got into trouble.  I had even "moved in" with her once!  No matter what she was doing, she always had time for me to come and chat with her.

Grams passed this past December.  The day after my birthday, I was sitting with her reading the paper, and she opened her eyes, fully aware.  She had had another stroke, so she couldn't talk.  I just looked at her and I said, "I know Grams, they shoot old horses!".  She tried to laugh.  She smiled and gripped my hand.  I told her to sleep and rest.  After she closed her eyes, I cried.  This was my Grams.  She had been battling dementia for a few years, pretty bad.  She would look at me and say, What am I doing here?  They shoot old Horses you know?  I would normally tell her that I didn't want to do that, as I'd end up in jail!  She'd laugh it off and I'd tell her about my days.  But this time, when she opened her eyes back up, she was confused.  
Our laugh was the last full lucid moment I had with Grams.  

Three days later, with most of the family around her, she passed away while my aunts sang Goodnight Irene. 

I was missing my Grams today.  I have news to tell her.  She'd be so excited!  She's been there for every important event in my life.  Even when my Dad passed, she was there to hug me. 

Grammy with the family at cousin Andy's Wedding.

We miss you Grammy.  We know you're watching out for us!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Picture Gallery Friday

So I've promised pictures for a while.  How about we do a little photo gallery this Friday??  Here are some pictures that I've taken the last month or so. . . 


My Favorite Mountain

A different look at the North Cascades!

I love corners!

No houses in sight, I'm in Heaven!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

This That and the Other Ones.

I consider myself well read.  Since I am an avid reader, I've found that my vocabulary, growing up through high school anyway, was far beyond my years.  Today it continues and I still challenge myself to find new meanings to words that I don’t know.  I also edit another blog for readability, accuracy, and content. 

Recently I decided to get into the debate of the usage of the word “One”.  My Goodness!  This debate of whether or not the word “One” can be used as a plural has been a debate for many of years. 

Many grew up with the old adage that “One” is singular, ALWAYS.  Not always.  There are exceptions to this rule, and it all depends on context. I won’t explain it fully; I just found it amusing that people will argue about this like it was Sex, Religion, or Politics!! 

Recently I said the phrase “these ones” and was informed that talking of such shows that I’m more common and basically grammatically incorrect.  Since I’m very proud of my literature background, I decided to see if I was indeed wrong and needed to work on my lazy common speech. 

I wasn’t wrong.  In the modern world, ONE is acceptable as a plural word in certain circumstances. 
Context.  Here is a list of sentences, removed from full context.  See which ones you think are correct!!
  1. I really like these ones
  2. Do you prefer the chocolate ones or the strawberry ones?
  3. Can you bring me the ones that are the most fresh?
  4. Are these ones to your liking?
  5. I would like to buy the ones that grow the quickest.
  6. Which ones do you prefer?
  7. He went home after work to his loved ones.
  8. These books are mine.  Where are the ones you bought?
  9. I’ll take these ones.

Many of these are in response to something that has been said, or in question.  The point being that One can be plural.  Actually, it’s my opinion that all are grammatically correct.  But perhaps 1, 4, and 9 are the most “lazy” or “common”.  If you are with your friends in an informal setting, I see no reason why any of these should get you brandished. 

Now, if you were at a more Formal setting, none of these should be used.  You would then say:

  1. I really like these.
  2. Do you prefer the Chocolate {insert whatever “they” are} or the strawberry?
  3. Can you bring me the {insert whatever “they” are} that are the most fresh?
  4. Are these to your liking? Or Are these {insert whatever “they” are} to your liking?
  5. I would like to buy the {insert whatever “they” are} that grow the quickest
  6. Which do you prefer? Or which {insert whatever “they” are} do you prefer?
  7. He went home after work to the people he loves.
  8. These books are mine. Where are the books you bought?
  9. I’ll take these or I’ll take these {insert whatever “they” are}.

While I may not be perfect in my speech, I was taught very well.  The fact that this has been a debate amongst many only proves there is not a right or wrong answer as to which is the most correct. 

Some may look down at me, but when I want you to know that I am specifically pointing to a certain object (ones), and then I may lapse and say “these ones” or “those ones”.  If that’s the worst of my speech, then just get used to it.  At least I’m not adding “s” or “ar” to everything like other regions of the Americas!! I live in Washington.  Not Warshingtin.

Context is so important.  Have you ever seen a phrase that states:  “Best Movie” When you know they may have actually written “Best Movie to excuse yourself after the opening credits and go to the bar”.  When we only focus on one aspect of speech, you miss the whole point.

I will write differently depending on my audience.  Technical writing, journaling, blogging, brochures, anecdotes and so on.

Okay, last thing then I’m off my soap box. 

Do you say Paella like the Spanish?  Or how it’s spelled out in English?  Do you take the origin of the word into thought when you use it in a sentence?  In Spanish, the two ll’s make a “Y” sound.  Do you say Pollo (chicken) or Polo (sport)?  Both are correct!  Or how about Burritos.  Do you roll your r’s??  Not everything is as consistent as it should be. 

I am just saying that with the globalization of our cultures, we are starting to mix languages and rules of grammar.  While these one rules may be more correct that the previous ones, I don’t think you should put someone down if they use a slightly informal or common speech.  I’ve heard it said that English is one of the hardest languages to learn.  It may very well be true.  We do not speak in structured sentences anymore.  Formal language has been replaced by more common usage. 

Okay, done off my soapbox.  It’s Wednesday and it’s Produce Box Day.  Hmm. . . . maybe I’ll take some pictures and tell you all about Full Circle Farms’ CSA box.

Until Next Time!!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

My Food Adventures

So here I sit.  Thinking about all my food adventures.  Going places and experincing different foods. All in this country of course!  New Orleans will always be one of my favorites.  Recently I went to Las Vegas.  I had the BEST EVER meal at Lupo.  I had no idea I'd fall in love with Pork Belly.  It was so good I wanted to lick my plate.  I refrained, but just barely!!

But this is the part of me that craves adventures.  I love trying new things, visiting new places, learning some of it's history, and just appreciating where I am today.  That meal at Lupo- Pork Chop with Apple-Fennel Marmalade and rasher of Pork Belly. The pork was brined and smoked.  This was a more rustic, yet elegant dish.  It was something that you could have made many years ago, but with today's technology, it's simple and elegant.  Perfection.

My own creations are not that simple.  Since I love to try new things, I have an abundance of stuff in my cupboards.  I like to get out of my Food Comfort Zone every once in a while.  That's why I have Beignet Mix, Sushi Rice, Dried Beans, Curry Paste, four kinds of Vinegar, and a Spice Collection that would Wow just about any other Home Chef!!

Over the years my experiments have improved.  When my old friend Mo and I used to use Grape Nuts, Honey, Green Food Coloring, and whatever else I could combine, we'd laugh about the horrible stench (still can't stand Grape Nuts).  But these days my applesauce wins them over!

It's also great that I'm dating a guy who is open minded about food.  Well sort of.  He won't try my sushi.  Not that I blame him.  He's my Meat & Potatoes man.  He'll eat the rice, and yes he's had some soy burgers (not that I told him it was soy!), and he'll embrace a good vegetable covered plate. We don't live together, but we spend weekends (and there was the month that he lived with me while he worked close by) and whatever else time together. He can cook, but I love to cook.  Hit or Miss.  Pass or Fail.  I'm telling you, I need a rice cooker at his house (or at least a good pan with a lid that seals well!!).

My creations, or Food Adventures as I like to call them, recently have taken a turn.  While reading my two favorite magazines, Bon Appetit and Sunset, I keep finding inspiration!  Take Crisp.  I always do an Apple Crisp.  I can make an apple crisp without a recipe, and I know it'll be good. I have YEARS of doing so.

So, because B's family are rhubarb nuts (I only started eating it a few years ago), and I'm a strawberry baby, and the fact that I recently made a straw-rhub compote for yogurt, I decided to make a Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp!  Now I thought it was delicious, coming from a fresh fruit crisp perspective.  But B and family love just Rhubarb.  It's a family thing.  It was good, but Crisp should be apple, and Pie should be Rhubarb.  Well I suck at pie.  I can never get it just right.  That's why I like Crisps.  I can adjust them halfway if I need to.  But with Pie, there are no changes, just Pass or Fail.

Other Fail recipes are Lemon Chicken, Undercooked Fried Rice Stir Fry, Jerk Sauced Pork.

But the Great Pass ideas outnumber the Fails.  Just last night I made Potato Salad.  But not your normal potato salad.  Again, with B's parents, we were looking at a BBQ guide.  Where would we be without the desire to try something new?  I would not have ever made my Blackberry Chicken, Shrimp Wraps, or even the BNB Spice Mixes.  Where would you be without your Dilly or Chipotle Dips??

So in honor of my adventurous nature, this weekend I'll be attempting the Mediterranean Menu from this current Bon Appetit Magazine!  Grilled Steak Salad on Friday Night and Yogurt Marinaded Grilled Leg of Lamb with Cucumber Salad and Mint Tea for Saturday Night!

Then Sunday I'll strike and it's B cook night.  I wonder what he's got in store for me!!

Do you have a favorite Food Adventure?  Something completely fail, or was it surprisingly good?

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, 

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!