Cora’s 90th

Mom and Dad with her birthday banner

It was Mom’s 90th birthday yesterday. I think she had a good one. I surprised her by asking a couple of aunties, uncles, and cousins if they could stop by to wish her a “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”. It worked out great because everyone showed up at different times and kept her busy all day. She also go calls from my sister, niece, nephew, uncle from the mainland, good family friend, and video from my cousin and girls in NYC.

I say her day was filled with happy birthday surprises. Here a few pictures from the day.

You only turn 90 once so I decide to make her two birthday desserts–Mixed Berry pie and Chocolate cake. Share with all her visitors.

Recipe Testing: Iris’ Hijiki Rice

yum!

Our collective agreement for Christmas dinner would be Iris’ hijiki rice and crispy roast pork belly. Iris is my mom’s cousin who is has a lot great recipes that I’m so happy she shares with me. She’s the lead cook at her church’s ladies group which makes delicous food items and hand crafted pieces for their annual bazaar in October.

Hijiki rice was one of the items from the bazaar that was so delicious that I asked her for the recipe and asked if she could show me how to do it. It is a seasoned rice dish with sushi rice with hiijiki (seaweed), vegetables, konnyaku (a jelly-like item made out of the Konnyaku potato) and kamaboko (fishcake)

Prepping Ingredients

chopping the ginger

I got Mom and Dad involved with the prep and the taste testing. At first I thought there was a lot of chopping but I remember Iris telling to use the food processor to do all the chopping.

Our Dinner

It was a very tasty meal and glad we made it. We will be making few adjustments–less soaking of the rice, maybe add mushroom or string beans for our next try.

The Recipe

Iris’s Hijiki Bara Sushi
serves: 12

4 cups (rice cooker cups) of rice-cooked

Filling for rice
3/4 cup hijiki, washed and soaked
1 gobo, chopped fine, soak in water so it doesn’t brown until ready to cook, drain well
1 carrot, chopped fine
1 konnyaku, chopped fine
1/2 Kamaboko (uzumaki, without the board), chopped fine
2 aburage, chopped fine
1 Tbsp oil (should be a neutral oil, like canola)

Sauce for filling
3 Tbsp Sugar
1/4 cup Shoyu (soy sauce)
1 teaspoon Hondashi (instant dashi)
-Mix together well.

Vinegar sauce for rice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Japanese rice vinegar
1 tsp salt
ginger, 1″ piece, minced finely
-Mix everything together except ginger in sauce pan, bring to boil and cool. Add ginger and mixed well.

  1. Cut all ingredients for filling [Iris suggest to use the food processor]
  2. Make vinegar sauce, set aside to cool
  3. Cook rice
  4. While rice is cooking, start cooking the filling
  5. Add oil to frying pan on med-high, add aburage until crispy
  6. Add carrots and gobo, cook about 2 minutes
  7. Add hijiki, konnyaku, and kamaboko, cook for couple more minutes
  8. Add filling sauce, turn down heat to medium
  9. Mix well and cook until carrots are tender
  10. Rice should be cooked by then, add vinegar sauce to hot rice, mix well
  11. Then add filling to the rice, mix well

Additional add-in for filling: shiitake mushroom, string bean



The Nakamura Sisters

Top row left to right: Auntie Judy, Auntie Jinx, Auntie Maxine, Auntie Sue (sister-in-law); Bottom row left to right: Auntie Joan, Mom+me and Auntie Sharon+Corinne

There were six girls among the ten Nakamura siblings. This past month we lost my Auntie Sharon. She was the baby of the family. The one that left Hawaii to call California home.

I have memories of her as playful auntie, running around at Grandma’s house just like one of the kids. She put me in a headlock on one of those occasions, just for fun. She also told me the beauty spots are where flies pooped on you. And yes, I became obsessed about them on me. I wanted them off of me.

She trained as a hair dresser. When she went to beauty school, I was her personal model. Can you imagine getting your hair cut in front all of those people. I loved it. I guess I was a big ham.

Uncle Mel and my cousins asked if the family to find old pictures with her with the family. They wanted to show her pictures to make happy. My mom started looking throught old albums for pictures and this was the inspiration for this post.

I love old pictures and I can spend hours just looking at them. These are few of what my mom found. She was the oldest girl in the family so she spent a lot of time with Auntie Sharon when she was a baby. The duty of the being the oldest. Here’s two of Auntie Sharon in diapers.

I had hope to get her famous apricot jam recipe. Her apricot jam was the best because the apricots came from her tree–homegrown and organic. What could be better. And I wish should could have tasted my jam to tell me what she thought. Guess that the job of my Uncle Mel and the kids to tell how it compares.

A lot of memories have filled me as a wrote this post. It’s so sad that they come back to you when you love one is gone. But I’m hope she’s in a better place without pain, doing all of her rascal things to someone. Maybe she’s hanging out with Oat laughing about that Pennsylvania shopping trip and what made us all scatter (family joke). Auntie Sharon you are missed by all.

Many Views of Aiea Loop Trail

I’ve hiked Aiea Loop Trail 4 times since the beginning of June. It’s become my training hike for my to Japan. It’s a beautiful hike with gradual ups and downs under the cover of the forest from the morning sun. It’s well traveled trail with trail runners, solo, pairs, groups, familes and very well behaved dogs. There’s strawberry guava and lilikoi to be found (not really hiding). I think a couple more times and then I’ll up my distance on a longer hillier hike. Anyone want to come?

Hike with T

With E uphill

On my own

With the Waipahu Crew