Sunday, June 8, 2008
M.kate's Surprise and a great weekend
I have a wonderful blogging friend from Malaysia, her name is M.Kate, and I love to read her blog. It teaches me so much about different parts of the world, and she has a magnificent perspective on everything she discusses. She always sends me postcards from her travels, and they always make my day when they arrive in my mailbox. She had told me she was going to send me a package in the mail recently, but I had no idea that it was going to be on this level. When the package arrived, I was at work, so it had to be picked up at the post office, and I had to wait two days! Finally, Casey picked up the parcel on his way to work, and I had to wait until after 10 pm to get it.
I waited patiently at home, and when he came home I practically ripped his backpack off of him! She wrapped it in the most beautiful wrapping paper I had ever seen before! There is so much going on on the paper it was hard to capture: Ninjas, Sakura blossoms, Festivals, Rainbows, Oh my goodness!
Then when I opened up the package it was wrapped again, and more Japanese elegant wrapping! The package contained a beautiful handmade card, a mystic knot, Cambodian Pashmina, Malaysian Sarong fabric, kawaii cell phone bling, scrapbooking paper, and a wonderful Japanese cookbook, written by Keiko Ishida. I was floored! I loved everything, it meant so very much to me.
UPDATE: I am sorry this photo collage got deleted somehow, to see the whole parcel from M.Kate, please go to my FLickr Page in the gifts from friends folder
So I set out to try a recipe from the cookbook, and I choose Rice Ball Skewers. I love to buy these from Japanese Groceries, they are both sweet and salty, due to the sweet rice flour and the Mitarashi Ann sauce (a thick sweet soy sauce homemade w/ potato starch, soy sauce, sugar, and mirin)
The process starts with making the dough into balls, then flattening them out, then steaming them in a bamboo steamer, then grinding the dough in a mortar and pestle (I dont have one, so I used a ice cream scoop handle and a heavy duty pyrex bowl!)
Rolling the dough into balls (this was the hard part for me, the dough has a life of it's own, I thought sometimes it was going to just roll itself into a live alien, if you can understand that- it seemed to be alive!) and then skewering the balls onto soaked bamboo skewers. Then on a gas grill, you grill the rice balls for about 3 seconds, each side. Then you prepare the mitarashi ann sauce.
Here are some photos of the whole process, and the end result. What a treat! They taste similar to mochi cakes. I have never made anything like this before, and I thank M.kate for helping me accomplish this! We had them with beer and it was a lot of fun.
This weekend was a blast, and the best part was that we never left the neighborhood! I spent a lot of time cooking, and Casey worked on our bicycles, tuning them up.
I have never been much of a bike rider, I got into an accident when I was younger, and lets just say I couldn't pee for over a week! (well, I did, but my mom had to beg me to!) And so, I have always been hesitant to get on a bike because I am clumsy and I don't trust myself. Casey rides his bike to work everyday and he always wants me to go riding with him. After all that hard work on our bikes, I couldn't really make another excuse not to go! So we did, and I had the best time, and I feel so good when I am riding! I cannot believe how free I feel when we are out riding! So I look forward to a summer of riding together, today we went on a ride and stopped and had a picnic along the way. I havent uploaded those photos yet, but I will update them tomorrow.
And lastly, we got our first Sakura Tree! It is a dwarf "Stella" and will stay on our front patio. I am so excited for it to maybe bear fruit soon! I read up on the variety, and it doesn't need pollination. I can't wait to have my very own Sakura blossoms next year!
I also got some yellow begonias as well.
Here is my Malaysian Sarong Fabric in use, I have to learn how to wrap it better before I wear it, but when I do I will take pics!