Saturday, October 1, 2011

Spam Musubi Revisited

On my way up the hill, I stopped in Vacaville. Going back and forth, I usually stop for gas at's just under a mile off the superslab, and with many of Travis Air Base's airmen deployed abroad, the COSTCO itself never seems that crowded (of course I avoid Fri/Sat/Sun!)

Earlier this summer my favorite Asian market in the Inland Valley closed suddenly. The Landlord doubled their rent and the owners balked. Happily it's still sitting empty! Fortunately there's another store near the Vacaville COSTCO. Saturday I got a tank of gas and hit the Country Square Market.

I wanted some baby bok choi, and Country Square Market has the baby-iest anywhere! As luck would have it, they had the missing ingredients for Spam Musubi, and the little plexiglass musubi mold.

I made some after I watched the replay of the Singapore Grand Prix. Much better this time!

Better is a relative term however...I did everything differently this time:

The rice...this time I made standard sushi rice, washed medium grain rice, flavored with seasoned rice vinegar, and quickly cooled with a fan.
The Spam...this time I used the "Reduced Sodium" flavor.
Furikake...the missing rice seasoning, it's salt, sugar, seaweed and sesame seeds.

The Build...I used the plexiglass musubi form...a little easier than the modified Spam can I used last time out. I built one batch with it, I made the rest as handrolls...cone-style. I found using the form more fussy than helpful, so I went lazy school.

Results...this time the Spam Musubi was much better...just salty enough (I used less of the sugar/soy sauce in the pan with the Spam) I sauteed the spam to a lighter color than last time (I don't like BBQ flavor potato chips either) This batch was well balanced, and the furikake tied everything together on the palette.

I guess it's what you grow up with...for me, growing up near San Francisco, with a native San Franciscan Father, it's dungeness crab...growing up in Hawaii I guess it would be the Kahlua Pig, musubi and pupus...I get it. Will I make it again? Maybe...but spam isn't ahi tuna! Not even close. Is there even a Latin word for Spam?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Winter Nears?

There's a lot of buzz on the Internets about an Early Winter, and I guess you could say the flipside...Late Harvest. We are entering October after eight months for sure (Jan-Aug) of below average temperatures. I've been pestering the members of my Online Fishing Club for the answer to this question: "How far behind normal is the (insert species here)____ bite?

There's no definitive answer yet, but anecdotal intel says we're running behind by a few to several weeks when it come to King Salmon staging off the Marin County Coast. Halibut in San Francisco Bay were late as well.

My friend the Home Winemaker says his Tempranillo came in two weeks behind average.

Today I saw a tweet from @LavaCapWinery that pointed to the Mountain High Wines blog, where the Lava Cap Winemaker says they're starting their latest harvest ever...going back 26 years!

Wednesday evening, I caught a Sacramento Local News tease about snowfall next week for the Sierra. I've managed to miss every newscast since, but I was downtown doing errands and the coming change in the weather was on everyone's lips.

Down at the Auto Parts Store, there was a flatbed truck parked out front loaded with pallets of Tire Chains. The Counterman said: "Yeah, they're forecasting snow down to 7000ft .

Fellow blogger and friend, Chef of the Jungle, posted this on Facebook Wednesday:

"Getting ready for the coming winter/taking advantage of Indian Summer here in Oregon. Evenings are down into the high-40's and it happened awfully fast. The experts (Kathy included) are predicting and early and cold winter"

Folks, that's a lot of Early/Cold Winter Noise for September. It's about time I start keepin' my ear to the rail.

This I do know...La Niña is back, so odds are good that Winter will be cold in Central California. This year, we have a Negative PDO and La Niña together. Typically when these two cycles align in this manner, we have slightly below normal precipitation, and slightly colder temperatures than average.

I don't feel compelled to issue a Winter Prediction just yet...when I've paid a little more attention, I'll come up with this year's model.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

150 Days

I find myself in Unknown Territory. I'm not a big baseball fan. I am however a big San Francisco Giants fan. The Giants played their last game of the 2011 season Wednesday afternoon...of course they lost...

Last season was a glorious one for Giants fans. The scrappy "Band of Misfits" surprised the league by winning it all. Those were heady days in September and on into October, as the Giants found a way to win against all odds. Their style of play became known as Torture! because they played so many nail biter, come from behind games.

On November 1st, the Giants won the last game of the World Series, becoming the World Champions. A few days later, more than a million of the faithful lined Market Street for the Victory Parade. The Giants came to San Francisco in 1958 and this was their first title as the SF Giants.

COMCAST's local sports network showed all four hours of the parade and celebration LIVE. They repeated it for a week at least. I watched it twice, and burned a couple of copies on DVD to share with some friends who don't live in the Bay Area anymore, but still love the Giants.

Last year was a new experience for me. I usually watch playoff baseball and the World Series because the best baseball is played in the post season. Last year is the first year since 2002 that My Team, the Giants were in it in October. They lost a heartbreaker in the World Series to the Anaheim Angles that year. SF Giants' fans have endured a lot of heartache since 1958. We lost the World Series in 1962, 1989, and 2002, before finally getting the title for San Francisco.

I'm probably just emotionally tired. We Giants fans have endured a season of Death by a Thousand Cuts. That the Giants weren't eliminated until the last week of the season is really an accomplishment, considering the season-long string of injuries.

In Wednesday's game relief pitcher Dan Runzler strained his left lat muscle -- near the top of the back of his shoulder delivering a pitch, and left the game with his throwing arm dangling uncomfortably...I felt nothing...those nerves are callused over after this year's bloodbath.

I'm sure I'll watch the playoffs and the Series...I do love the Game. Then Winter will come...and the painful memories of the Giants travails will fade away into memoryland.

In 150 days the first game of the Cactus League will be played. The first game of Spring Training down in Arizona.

Until Opening Day in early April, every baseball fan's team is going to the 2012 World Series.

Baseball begins in earnest just when grooming turns from fun into a chore. That Springtime Hope for my team buoys me enough to finish the season when Hero Snow is only a memory.

At the risk of sounding like a Chicago Cubs fan ...I can't "Wait 'till next year"!

The Cubs last played in the World Series in 1945. They last won it in 1908.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Holy guacamole, what did Reno do to deserve the karma that's come their way this Summer?

Reno's Summer of Tragedy started in June, when an AMTRAK train and a semi truck tangled killing five and injuring 30. It's gotten even worse in the last three weeks. Tuesday after Labor Day, a quiet schizophrenic opened fire in Carson City's International House of Pancakes killing five including himself. Three of the dead were Nevada National Guardsmen.

I've spent a fair amount of time here on the Reno Air Races crash that killed eleven and injured 70.

This weekend Street Vibrations was the Reno/Sparks event. Sparks is the next door neighbor to Reno. Thousands of Harley-Davidson riders come to town to party with their brethren...except not this year. Rival motorcycle gangs came to Reno/Sparks to settle some score and it was settled inside John Ascuaga's Nugget Casino.

The conflict between the Hells Angels and rival M/C club, the Vagos began as a fist fight and soon shots were fired inside the crowded casino. When the smoke cleared, two Vagos were wounded and Jethro Pettygrew 51, head of the San Jose Chapter of the Hell's Angels was dead.

A few hours later, a drive-by shooting down the street wounded another biker and the Mayor of Sparks declared a State of Emergency, and cancelled the remainder of Street Vibrations (Though the Reno events would continue Sunday) The investigations continue...

I've gotta believe that this is it for Reno/Sparks/Carson City's run of Bad Karma. I spent most of a week hitting the Reno Media's websites in my hunt for data to help me understand Jimmy Leeward's crash, and the news is, the Reno locals acquitted themselves admirably.

You couldn't get near the Reno Blood Bank until mid-week for the crowds of donors lining up around the block. In the moments after the crash, a hundred medical professionals who were attending the Air Races as spectators rushed forward to help the stricken. Despite the trauma, most Race Fans wish to see the National Championship Air Races continue. In 48 years, these are the first spectator casualties. A better safety record than motorsports, football, and yes even baseball.

That's an awful lot of pain and trauma in three weeks for a small town...and yes, "The Biggest Little City in the World" is still a small town, as is Sparks. That small town "Can Do" spirit on display at these grizzly tragedies, made huge deposits into the Karma Bank Account. Surely the Devil's Ledger is balanced again.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Without a Trace

Well, it's been more than 24 hours and NASA still doesn't know where UARS fell to Earth.

I hope they're sandbagging for National Security reasons...I'd like to believe Strategic Command when they say they're tracking 22,000 pieces of Space Junk from four inches across to the football field sized International Space Station.

NASA and USSTRATCOM, please don't turn out to be another Department of Motor Vehicles or Post Office!

Tonight everything is coming down, except yours truly who's up at the DaveCave for a short stopover.

UARS is probably at the bottom of the North Pacific a few hundred miles off the Washington/Oregon coast. The satellite was not observed by a soul when it should have been transiting between Portland and Seattle. Good deal, I didn't wanna do the math on those odds again.

The San Francisco Giants came back to Earth in Arizona Saturday night. Their big 15-2 loss in a weird game where Mike Fontenot ran into the 2nd base umpire  fielding a hit in the first inning, and the lights in Chase Field went out for about a half an hour in the 7th inning! There's your dark metaphor...mercifully the Giants' announcers didn't break into a rendition of Dandy Don Meredith's "Turn Out the Lights, The Party's Over"! Just a little over six months until Opening Day 2012!

Upside news from the DaveCave...I have a DVR up and running, and the TV is still tuning all the stations, too. Good on me for hooking up the newer DVR, my alarm is set for the 0430 start of the Singapore Grand Prix coverage...but it's almost 1AM now and staying awake for much after the green flag is looking problematical...

The mercury seems to be falling, too...time to get under the covers...