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Posts Tagged ‘rice paddy’

By Phyllis Odessey

Eunyoung Sebazco and I are getting ready for the Toronto Agriculture Summit beginning Thursday, August 16th.  This two and half day conference is packed with workshops, trades how, green roof tour at Toronto City Hall and a reception at FoodShare.  Friday it’s our turn.  Yes! You Can Grow Rice in NYC is our break-out session.

It’s a little nerve racking being in the same company as Will Allen, CEO of Growing Power Inc., Gaston Remmers, Chair Eco-Effective Entrepreneurship in Urban Areas, the Netherlands and Peter Huff, Urban Agriculture Facilitator from Australia.   We’ve put together an exciting presentation, which includes the chart pictured below.  This graph illustrates the steps in growing rice over the course of a year on Randall’s Island.  It’s a process.  I might even call it the ultimate in “slow food.”   If you would like to receive a copy of this chart, please contact me:  phyllis.odessey@parks.nyc.gov

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By Phyllis Odessey
Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, sushi man.
Cook me some rice as fast as you can;
Pat it and prick it and mark it with S,
Put it in the rice cooker for me and a guest.

Pat-a-cake, patty cake, sushi man.
Cook me a rice ball as fast as you can;
Roll it up, roll it up;
And throw it on a pan!
Patty cake, patty cake, sushi man.

I’ve made a lot of snowballs in my time, but none with rice. In celebration of the planting of rice in The Learning Garden, Yoshihiko Kousaka, master sushi chef of Jewel Bako Restaurant and Mihyun Han, General Manager of Don’s Bogam Restaurant demonstrated how to make rice balls and pickled vegetables to kids from Esperanza Preparatory Academy.

A rice ball called onigiri in Japanese; uses few ingredients, is delicious to eat, and most of all is fun to make. You feel like a sculptor. It’s a tactile experience: using your hands from beginning to end. First creating the ball, second molding the rice into a triangular shape and third adding a secret surprise sour plum to the center and finally wrapping your handiwork in seaweed.

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When you watch someone who is expert at what they do, you think it’s easy, because they are one with their tools and materials. After gathering vegetables from the garden, Yoshi began to slice the carrots, radishes and cucumbers. Like a virtuoso swordsman, Yoshi cut and sliced each vegetable in an artistic way; creating the extraordinary out of the ordinary. (The recipe will appear in a blog to follow).

We want to thank Yoshihiko Kousaka and Mihyun Han for an amazing day in the garden.

If you would like to participate in an event involving the rice paddy, please contact phyllis.odessey@parks.nyc.gov

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By EunYoung Sebazco

Horticulture Manager

My old Japanese friend taught me how to wash and cook rice. She also taught me how to distinguish between good quality of rice. After the excellent training from her, I was able to find the beauty in the shiny surface of cooked rice and the sweetness from its chewy texture. I found the Koshihikari rice ( Oryza sativa ) from Kitazawa Seed Company a few years back and we planted them on our ricepaddy last year. The Koshihikari is a well known the expensive rice in Japan. The firm, short and sticky grains are perfect for traditional Japanese dishes. It uses a popular variety of sushi rice as well. It was first created in 1956 in Japan and has been grown in US since 1991. Also, it was first planted in New York City at Randall’s Island in 2011!

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By Yoshihiko Kousaka

Executive Chef at Jewel Bako, NYC

In 2010, I was featured as one of the best chefs in New York City as a sushi chef on France Chef TV. It was honor to be in with Daniel Boulud, David Bouley, Daniel Humm, Ben Pollinger, Michael Anthony and Ed Brown. I also introduced some of my recipes on the episode. I would like to share one of them as a basic building block in how to make sushi.
Prep time: 4h     Ingredients for 10 persons

20 oz of Japanese (Koshihikari) rice
20 oz of water
1/4 filet of golden eye snapper
1/4 ocean trout
1/4 filet of tuna rim
1/4 filet of tuna toro
1/4 filet of amberjack(yellowtail)
1/4 filet of baby red snapper
1/4 filet of octopus rack
1 wasabi root
Salt
Sushi vinegar: 1 oz sugar, 1/3 of salt, 1 cup of rice vinegar

Wash the rice a few times with a little bit of water with a gentle rubbing motion until the water isn’t white any more. Let it dry in the chinois for 25 minutes. Put the rice in a towel and cook it in a pan with water during 20 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let it rest in the towel for 20 minutes adding sushi vinegar. While it is draped in the towel, the rice will continue to steam. Let the rice and cool for 15 minutes.

Filet and remove the bones from the fish. Remove the skin/scales by slicing length-way. Cut the slices against the grain of the fish.

Peel and grate the wasabi root on shark skin rasp. Make a paste with the root.

Use the rice at the temperature of your hands. Make the rice balls in your right hand. Take the fish in the left hand and dip into the wasabi paste to smear a little onto the fish. Place the fish and rice together.

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By Yoshihiko Kousaka

Executive Chef at Jewel Bako, NYC

I was born and raised in Japan. After high school, I worked at Azuma Sushi in Aichi, Japan. In 1985, I moved to New York and I started to work at Kuruma Sushi. A short time later, I owned Daimatu restaurant in New Jersey. After almost 6 years, I was hired by Megu 2003. I got hired by Jewel Bako, which is a beautifully designed hidden treasure in the East Village of Manhattan. I have been working as an executive chef since 2004. I also served The James Beard Foundation Dinner in 2009 introducing modern sushi Japanese cuisine. I always believe that the fish and rice balance as the most important components in my sushi work which is of the Japanese traditional Edomae style.  As you may imagine, I can’t separate myself from rice in my 27 years sushi career. It seems as though my life rotates around rice. When my friend EunYoung was growing rice and offered me to participate the rice event at Randall’s Island, I could not believe that they were growing rice in New York City. I am really excited and honored that I will be a part of the program. I can’t wait to be at the garden and to meet the children. Let’s make rice balls and have some fun!

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By EunYoung Sebazco

Horticulture Manager

The rice paddy taught me the wisdom of ancient sustainable agriculture.  I have discovered that a winnowing basket has been one of the tools that is used in a  variety of our households for centuries.


Korean Winnowing Basket: KEY
(in Korean = winnowing basket) is a thin, flat wicker and bamboo woven basket. It is flat and wide with a narrow back to create a wind tunnel effect that causes the back of the basket to hold the grain. Using a sweeping motion upward, the grain falls and sits in the back of the basket and the lighter debris, called husks escape into wind. This effect is called ‘winnowing’. This useful basket design is multipurpose: gathering, carrying, and pouring.

What the elders believe in Korea:  During periods of severe drought, a village would have a ceremony for rain. One of female residents from the village would go to a stream with the key and scoop water from the stream; water then drains  from the key simulating rain dropping from the sky.  Historically, people believed reproducing  water falling from the sky would have an effect and make rain.

Traditionally, parents place a key on the head of a child,who is a bed wetter.  The child is then told to go to a neighbors and ask for salt. The neighbors will hit the child  on the top of the basket with a stick and say “Don’t do this again!” This is used to shame a child as punishment so they wont repeat their mistakes.
Key
is one of the important tools that separate the rice grain from husk. People wish that children grow like a  grain of rice and not wheat, because the wheat doesn’t contain any interior grain.


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By Wayken Shaw

Wayken Shaw is an equal opportunity plant admirer.  was part of the Horticulture crew for two years.  He oversaw the rice paddy from beginning to end.  He is currently on staff at the New York Botanical Garden.

I was skeptical from the start.  I didn’t think it was going to work – any part of it, really.  The paddy structure itself I doubted.  Could dry laid pavers really withstand the volume of water and soil?  Well, it did, so I won’t talk anymore about that.

We sowed the rice seeds in mid-April, dropping them in plastic cups, half filled with compost soil, a quarter filled with water.  The temperatures were in the 60’s, high 40’s at night.  I had read 4-6 months of 70 degree weather for rice to grow.  It was way too cold, so we built little makeshift ‘greenhouses’ and tried to protect them as well we could.  Pessimism once again took over, but lo and behold, germination 2 weeks later!

Transitioning into summer, conditions became more ideal, and the rice got bigger and bigger.  I couldn’t believe it.  After a succession of transplants into larger containers, we finally planted directly into the paddy in late June.  We ended up with enough rice grass clumps to almost fill the entire paddy – 90 sq ft.

At this point, I was content.  It hadn’t even flowered yet (and I truly didn’t expect it to) but the fact that it grew as much as it did was success enough for me.  Pessimism through lowered standards.
Well, the rice did flower.  We drained the paddy for a month after it did, then harvested in mid-October.  By November, we had threshed the rice flowers, collected the grains, cleaned them (as best we could), and cooked a batch that, despite a few crunchy hulls left behind, was wondrously good.  Ok, so maybe it’s a bit of pride talking, but I’d like to think it’s a newfound optimism.  I mean, heck, our mosquito management techniques worked like a charm, and I didn’t get malaria……

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