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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Anime Food Re-creation: Hanasaku Iroha's Omurice

Hey everyone! Happy 12-12-12!

I know I haven't been blogging lately, but please know I haven't forgotten about you all! This past fall, I got into a graduate program and am now pursuing a Master's degree! Life has been hectic and crazy, but now that we're on break, I hope to cook up some new tasty treats.

As a special surprise, I have another Anime Re-creation! Today is omurice from Hanasaku Iroha.
Hanasaku Iroha - Omurice

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Baking Adventure: The Hunger Games - Peeta's Nut and Raisin Bread

With the release of The Hunger Games movie on DVD and Blu-Ray, I couldn't resist posting about Peeta's Nut and Raisin Bread. This was the bread Peeta purposely burnt so he could toss it to Katniss when she was starving and desperate. It was such an iconic scene! The bread served as her lifeline. An eternal debt she could never fully repay.
The Hunger Games - Peeta's Nut and Raisin Bread
I used the Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread recipe from the Brown Eyed Baker. (If you haven't heard about the Brown Eyed Baker, you definitely need to check her out! She makes some of the most decadent treats I've ever seen.) The recipe makes 2 loaves so I created one rustic loaf and another loaf baked in a bread pan with a cinnamon sugar swirl.
Trader Joe's Jumbo Raisin Medley
For the raisins, I used Trader Joe's Jumbo Raisin Medley, which had seedless golden light raisins, flame raisins, and jumbo raisins. It added more color and variety.
Trader Joe's Jumbo Raisin Medley
Katniss described the bread as "good hearty bread, filled with raisins and nuts," which is exactly what the recipe gave me.
The Hunger Games - Peeta's Nut and Raisin Bread
For the rustic loaf, I omitted the cinnamon sugar to make it more true to the book since cinnamon sugar was never mentioned. It came out soft and chewy and very lightly sweetened by the raisins.
The Hunger Games - Peeta's Nut and Raisin Bread (Cinnamon Swirl Version)
For the cinnamon swirl version, I followed Pinch My Salt's directions for forming the loaf. (Pinch My Salt is another amazing blog you should check out!) I really liked the sweetness the cinnamon sugar added so I'd use it again the next time I make this bread.

I couldn't bring myself to burn my loaves so instead of being renditions of the bread Katniss received, they're more like the Nut and Raisin Bread sold inside the Mellark Bakery. :P Essentially, they're hearty, delicious, and food for the soul.

If you're interested in more breads from Panem, you can check out my versions of District 4 Bread and District 11 Bread. I also have a recipe for the Lamb Stew with Dried Plums that Katniss loved from the Capitol. All these recipes would make great viewing party foods! Let me know if you get a taste of Panem as you watch The Hunger Games on DVD or Blu-ray at home! Until the next adventure!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Yogurtland x Hello Kitty 2012 Collaboration

*Fangirl Squeal!* Hello Kitty is back at Yogurtland!! (You can read about last year's collaboration here.)
Yogurtland x Hello Kitty Sign 2012
This year, Yogurtland brought back the limited edition spoons and cups concept.
Yogurtland x Hello Kitty Hollywood Cups 2012
Yogurtland x Hello Kitty Limited Edition Spoons 2012
Yogurtland x Hello Kitty - Hollywood Cup with Hello Kitty Spoon 2012
What's different about this year is that they're releasing a different spoon and cup every 2 weeks. (Last year, they had the same cup throughout the entire promotion and released 2 different spoons every few weeks.)
Yogurtand x Hello Kitty Cup and Spoon Schedule 2012
Each cup will feature a different tourist destination, which goes along with the "Summer Vacation" theme.

According to the sign, the schedule will be:
~Hello Kitty x Hollywood: July 10th
~TuxedoSam x Miami: July 24th
~Little Twin Stars x San Francisco: August 7th
~Badtz-Maru x Honolulu: August 24th

Here are each character's favorite Yogurtland combinations!
Hello Kitty's Favorite Yogurtland Combination 2012
Hello Kitty loves Strawberry Lemonade Sorbet topped with Strawberries.
TuxedoSam's Favorite Yogurtland Combination 2012
TuxedoSam loves Frosty Vanilla topped with Snow Caps. (How cute!)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Exotic Meats: Alligator, Kangaroo, and Ostrich, Oh My!

My family has a tradition where the birthday person gets to choose any restaurant for their birthday dinner. I'm a pretty adventurous eater (hence, my blog name) and I'm willing to try anything at least once - sometimes twice just to make sure. So for my birthday this year, I wanted to live life on the edge and go for something truly exotic. Alligator, kangaroo, and ostrich!

Phong Dinh Restaurant
2643 San Gabriel Blvd
Rosemead, CA 91770

Phong Dinh is a Vietnamese restaurant famous for their large baked whole catfish. You take chunks of the fish and wrap your own spring rolls at the table. I've had this dish at another restaurant in Rosemead before, but decided to forgo the catfish here in favor of the extreme!

ALLIGATOR WITH LEMONGRASS AND CHILI (Ca Sau Xao Xa Ot) - $19.95
Alligator with Lemongrass and Chili
The alligator was my favorite dish of the night. The lemongrass sauce was slightly sweet and garlicky with little bits of Thai basil. The alligator itself tasted a little like chicken, but with... a slight hint of tap water? I know that doesn't sound appetizing, but I'm not sure how to describe the "water" flavor. I really liked the alligator mixed with the sauce though. My family chose this as their favorite dish too.
Alligator with Lemongrass and Chili Close-up
DICED KANGAROO SAUTEED WITH ONIONS ON A BED OF ICEBERG LETTUCE (Kangaroo Luc Lac) - $22.95
Kangaroo Luc Lac
If you've ever had "French Style Filet Mignon" at a Chinese or Vietnamese restaurant, this is basically the same thing, but with kangaroo instead of beef.
Kangaroo Luc Lac Close-up
The kangaroo was very lean and didn't have any of its own flavor, which was really surprising. I was expecting it to have some sort of gamey-ness to it, but I guess kangaroo isn't gamey. It just took on the flavor of the onions, green onions, and sauce it was cooked in.
Kangaroo Luc Lac Cross-section
The texture of the meat is difficult to describe. It was sort of dry because it lacked fat, but it wasn't tough. As you can see, the cubes were still pink on the inside. The texture was really unlike any other meat I've ever had. No cut of beef comes close to it.

FILLET OSTRICH MARINATED IN HOUSE MADE SAUCE (GRILLED-AT-TABLE) (Da Dieu Nuong Vi) - $19.95
Fillet Ostrich Marinated in House Made Sauce
This dish comes out partially cooked (according to our waitress) and we finish it on the grill at our table.
Grilling the Ostrich Fillets
You simply butter the grill and then place the meat on top. You want to cook the fillets for only about 30 seconds (or even less) per side. They're cut so thin that they cook in no time! A few of the pieces that remained on the grill longer ended up being tough so I would err on the side of being underdone. The texture of the meat was very similar to the kangaroo. It was very lean, but for some reason, there was a slight bitterness to it. We're not sure if the bitterness came from the grill or the marinade or the meat itself, but it was there. Out of all the dishes we had, we liked this one the least. To be fair, our inexperience with cooking ostrich may be to blame. I originally wanted to try the "Charbroiled Ground Ostrich in Rolled 'Lot' Leaves (Da Dieu Nuong La Lot)" but apparently, the fillets were the only ostrich dish they had that day. Next time I get a chance to eat ostrich, I'll be sure to choose something that a professional chef cooks in its entirety so I don't contribute my inexperience and human error to the dish.

To say the least, this meal was different! I was actually a little scared that the restaurant might try to pass off beef or chicken as the exotic meats, but judging from the different textures of the meats, the meats were most certainly not something I've had before. This may be one of the most eccentric birthday dinners - or any meal really - that I'll have in my life. How often can you say you got to eat alligator, kangaroo, or ostrich? And how many people can say they had them all in one meal? I, for one, can say I have! And that made me happy on my birthday! :]

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Anime Food Re-creation: Kiki's Delivery Service Cake

It's my birthday weekend! Yay! I'm one year older and wiser! I definitely feel older at least. x] (When did I become a "ma'am" anyway? I don't look that old, do I!? D: Haha!) Regardless of my age, I'll always be a kid-at-heart. That, along with my passion for cooking and baking, motivate me to make anime and fictional foods. Which brings me to today's post! :]

This year, I wanted to bake my own birthday cake and of course, I had to make it an anime cake...
Kiki's Delivery Service Cake

Sunday, April 29, 2012

(Almost) Anime Food Re-creation: K-On!!-inspired Fried Rice

Hey everyone! It's been awhile since I posted an Anime Food Re-creation so I thought I'd make another. On today's menu is fried rice inspired by the anime K-On!!
K-On!! - Yui's okayu (rice porridge) for Ui

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Baking Adventure: Super Mario Mushroom Cupcakes

Happy Easter, everyone!

I have a super sweet treat for you today. Super Mario Mushroom Cupcakes!

To make these cupcakes, I just used boxed yellow cake mix and canned vanilla frosting that was tinted with different gel food coloring. Super easy! Be sure to overfill your cupcake cups a little (almost to the top) so you get a nice domed shape. One tub of frosting was more than enough for my cupcakes. I just spooned the frosting into separate bowls and added enough food coloring to get the right shade of color. You want to make more frosting than you think you'll need because it's really hard to make a new batch with the exact same color shade. For the spots, I just used different colored candy melts. It really can't get much simpler than this!
Super Mario - Super Mushroom
Super Mario - Super Mushroom Cupcake
To make the Super Mushroom and the Triple Mushrooms, I used frosting tinted with Wilton's gel food coloring in Red Red. The spots were made with Wilton's White Candy Melts.
Mario Kart - Triple Mushrooms
Mario Kart - Triple Mushrooms Cupcakes

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fool's Day: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip/Raisin (or Craisin) Cookies

I don't know about you guys, but I hate biting into a chocolate chip cookie only to find it's made with raisins! It makes me angry. Like the cookie lied to me! Grrrr...

But then I thought to myself: You know... this would make a great April Fool's prank! Since I'm always baking, no one would think twice if I make cookies and if I don't like deceitful "chocolate chip" cookies, I'm sure others won't either
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip/Raisin (or Craisin) Cookies for April Fool's
To pull off this diabolical plan, I made a batch of Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from the recipe under the Quaker Oatmeal lid. I divided the batter in half and mixed in chocolate chips for one half and craisins for the other half. (I didn't have raisins on hand.) After the cookies were baked and cooled, I mixed them up in the cookie jar and waited for my first victim.

In short, my prank was a success! After his first oatmeal craisin cookie, my brother became really paranoid - examining each cookie carefully before deeming it safe to eat. Ironically, I found that I liked the oatmeal craisin cookies more than the chocolate chip version. What a surprise! I was trying to get the craisin ones! I really like craisins (but not so much raisins) so I guess that explains my enthusiasm for oatmeal craisin cookies but dislike of oatmeal raisin cookies.

All in all, this was a fun culinary adventure! A bit of baking with a pinch whimsy = innocent fun on April Fool's Day! What pranks will you be pulling on unsuspecting people? >:]

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Travel Adventure: San Francisco Sights

I've been to SF several times so I've gone to the big touristy places - Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, Lombard Street, etc... This post is not going to be about them. The internet is already full of information about these destinations so I thought I'd focus on a few of my favorite lesser known shops.

DAISO
(Japantown)
22 Peace Plz
San Francisco, CA 94115

(Financial District)
570 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94104

(UC Berkeley Area)
2369 Telegraph Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704
Daiso in Japantown
Daiso was one of the stores on the top of my must-see list. In Japan, Daiso is famous for being a 100 yen shop. They carry everything from kitchen knick-knacks, bento accessories, and ceramics to school supplies and home decorations. In the U.S., they are mainly located in NorCal so I knew I had to check it out while I was in SF.

I absolutely, positively love love LOVE bento and kitchen gear and Daiso did not disappoint! I was so obessesed with Daiso that I went to all 3 of the closest Daisos to me. Although they all carried similar inventory, there were slight differences between the stores. Japantown's Daiso was by far the largest. They had the widest selection and a huge area for ceramics (bowls, dishes, plates, etc...).The Daiso in the Financial District was smaller, but they had the tall flan/pudding cups I've been searching everywhere for. (All 3 stores carried the shorter, wider flan/pudding cups though.) Berkeley's Daiso was the smallest out of the 3 and had a smaller inventory, but I did find some paper embossers that I didn't see (or maybe missed) in the other 2 stores. After going to so many Daisos, my suitcase was packed with bento boxes and soy sauce bottles and other random accessories. If making bentos is something you're interested in, be sure to check out Daiso! Their prices really can't be beat when it comes to items like these.

JAPAN VIDEO AND MEDIA, INC.
(Japan Center Kintetsu Mall)
1737 Post St
San Francisco, CA 94115
Japan Video and Media, Inc. - Giant Totoro
While shopping around Japan Center, I stumbled across this anime/Asian drama shop. What caught my eye was the GIANT Totoro at the entrance! I've never seen a Totoro this big! It made me want to just run up to it and hug it! Inside, they had other anime plushies, but I didn't really browse around. There were a few other shops in Japan Center I wanted to visit and time was running out so I didn't even look at their selection of anime, but if you're a My Neighbor Totoro fan like me, you'd get a kick out of seeing a giant Totoro!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Travel Adventure: San Francisco Sweets

In San Francisco, I indulged in many sweet treats.
So many ice creams and cakes and pastries, I did eat.
Here I present some tasty morsels I loved.
So you, too, may experience what I think the world of.

With The Lorax opening, I couldn't resist
Rhyming some rhymes as I reminisced. :)

ANDERSEN BAKERY
1737 Post St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(Inside the Nihonmachi Mall Shopping Center)
Andersen Bakery - Japantown
There are several Andersen Bakeries located throughout San Francisco, but I stopped by this location to grab a breakfast snack while shopping in Japantown. 
Andersen bakery - Morning Bun
I opted for the Morning Bun because it looked small and would tide me over until I met up with N to have lunch at Ike's Place. It was lightly sweet and cinnamony. I've never had a morning bun before, but this one seemed alright.

PHILZ COFFEE
4023 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94114
Philz Coffee - Mint Mojito Iced Coffee
After N and I finished our Ike's sandwiches, we met up with my Lil B at Philz Coffee. I'm not a big coffee drinker, but N recommended the Mint Mojito Iced Coffee saying it was pretty famous. I usually don't like fresh mint (except in a cocktail or with Vietnamese food), but the mint wasn't overpowering in the coffee. I liked how this coffee was really light, not like other places that can drown their coffees in sugar and flavored syrup. If you are a coffee aficionado, you should definitely check this place out. 

BI-RITE CREAMERY
3692 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
Bi-Rite Creamery
After Philz, we went to Bi-Rite to grab some ice cream. This place is famous for its gourmet ice cream flavors that rotate daily.
Bi-Rite Creamery Flavors
Honey Lavender... Basil... Peach Ginger... You'd never see your local Baskin Robbins with these flavors!
Bi-Rite Creamery Prices
Bi-Rite Creamery - Salted Caramel (Kid Size) $2.25
I sampled the Honey Lavender and found it too floral so I ended up choosing the Salted Caramel, which is one of their most popular flavors. It was rich and creamy, but I didn't like the burnt caramel taste. I'd still go back to try some of their other exotic flavors though.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Travel Adventure: San Francisco Eats

Happy Leap Day, everyone!

For today's special post, I wanted to recap some of the places I went to when I visited my friends J and V up in San Fran over the summer. The summer!? Yes, the summer! I know, I know... this post is long overdue, but I really wanted to set time aside to truly dedicate my posts to the wonderful city and all the fun (and tasty!) times I had. I'm going to be breaking down my visit into a series of posts. Be sure to check out my Travel Adventure: San Francisco Sights and Travel Adventure: San Francisco Sweets too!

So on with SF Adventure Eats recap!

BLONDIE'S PIZZA
63 Powell St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
Blondie's Pizza
This place was recommended to me by my lab partner E. When I first walked in, there were a few customers ahead of me, but after I got my order, the place was packed! It didn't really make sense to me because it was 4pm! Maybe it was the late afternoon snack/pre-dinner rush?
Blondie's Pizza - BBQ Chicken Pizza
I had a slice of the BBQ Chicken, which was their Daily Special, for $3.75. It had mushrooms, onions, green and red bell peppers, chicken and BBQ sauce. Honestly, I thought it was just okay. I've had better BBQ chicken pizza before. I think maybe there was just too much going on for my taste so the flavors didn't meld as well as I had hoped.

IKE'S PLACE
3489 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94114
Ike's Place
Ike's Place is this crazy sandwich place with a menu that can make some laugh and others blush! Check it out for yourself!
Ike's Place Menu
It was packed with Berkeley students when my Big N and I went, but the cashier was super friendly and patient. She asked if it was our first time and offered helpful recommendations. If you actually check out their menu on their website (http://www.ilikeikesplace.com/menu), you can order off-the-menu items. They all sound so delicious!
Ike's Place - Menage A Trios $11.11
I ordered the "Menage a Trois" on Dutch Crunch bread, one of their most popular sandwiches. It had halal chicken, real honey, honey mustard, BBQ sauce, pepper jack, swiss, and cheddar. Delicious! It was a little too sweet and very messy (juices were dripping everywhere!), but it was so good. I really loved the Dutch Crunch bread. It had a crunchy crust but was soft and chewy inside. If you know of any places that have it in LA, please let me know!
Ike's Place - We're Just Friends $9.99
N got the "We're Just Friends" also on Dutch Crunch. It had halal chicken, orange glaze, avocado, and pepper jack. It tasted really similar to mine, but with avocado. It was sweet, but not as sweet as the Menage and it definitely wasn't as messy. Both sandwiches were really good. I slightly prefer the We're Just Friends just cause it didn't leave my hands covered in BBQ juices.

Ike's Place has been added to my list of favorite sandwich places! I wish we had one closer to home! Just a word to the wise, Ike's doesn't have tables inside - just an area for waiting - so N and I went to a nearby park and had ourselves a picnic.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cooking Adventure: Home Improvement - Chipped Beef on Toast (aka S.O.S.)

Let's take a trip down memory lane, shall we? I'm a 90's kid. Full House, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Tamagotchis, Tag, Sailor Moon, Captain Planet, Beanie Babies, Duck Tales, Steve Urkel, Bobby's World, Nintendo 64, Animaniacs, Pogs, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, only 150 Pokemon.. I could go on and on!

So why exactly are we stepping down this road of nostalgia? Well, before the show Last Man Standing, Tim Allen played the father figure in another popular TV sitcom, Home Improvement. It was a show about a tool-loving, hot rod-building, accident-prone manly man and his family and friends. One of my favorite episodes was when Tim and Jill (his wife) visited a Marine Corps base and had a tank driving competition. Jill, who grew up in an Army family, creamed Tim's erratic, golf cart-crushing butt. Rather than owning up to his terrible tank driving skills, Tim blamed Jill for humiliating him on the course. Of course, after speaking to Wilson (their wise, eccentric neighbor), Tim realized he was being a jerk and in the end, congratulated Jill for driving her tank so well.
Home Improvement - Tim and Jill eating Chipped Beef on Toast
I distinctly remember in this episode that Jill and Tim eat Chipped Beef on Toast while on the base. As a kid, I had no idea what it was or how to find a recipe for it, but the way Jill fondly referred to it and the comment Tim made about its unappealing appearance had me intrigued.
Home Improvement - Jill looking fondly at her Chipped Beef on Toast
Today (over a decade after the episodes originally aired!), I have the internet and Google at my disposal so after a bit of searching, I found that Chipped Beef on Toast was a traditional Army dish. It also goes by the name "S.O.S." or "Sh*t on a Shingle." The dish seemed simple enough - a bechamel sauce with chipped beef served on top of toast - so I decided to have a nostalgic culinary adventure that would satiate my 90's self.
Armour Dried Beef
First, I had to find myself some dried beef. I found Armour brand dried beef at my local Walmart so I settled for that. I thought it was a twist top like normal jars, but you actually have to pop the top with bottle opener.
Chopped Chipped Beef
The dried beef comes in thin slices so I chopped it up into diamond "chips." It's very salty right out of the jar so you need to soak or rinse the beef to re-hydrate it and get rid of some of the excess salt. It's always easier to add salt to a dish, but nearly impossible to save it if it's too salty.

So, without further ado, here's the recipe so you, too, can go down memory lane (assuming you were a 90's kid like me or grew up with a military background like Jill)!
Chipped Beef on Toast (S.O.S.)
CHIPPED BEEF ON TOAST (S.O.S.)
Yield: about 3-4 servings

Ingredients
  • 1 jar dried beef, diced or sliced
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, cold
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 3-4 slices of bread, toasted
Directions
  1. Cut dried beef into slices or "chips" and soak or rinse with cold water to remove excess salt.
  2. Melt butter over medium-low heat.
  3. Whisk in flour to form a roux. Cook flour until it smells fragrant and nutty (almost like fresh baked pastry dough).
  4. Gradually whisk in cold milk. Turn heat to medium-high and stir sauce until thickened.
  5. Drain the dried beef and stir into sauce.
  6. Salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Spoon and serve on top of toast.
This Chipped Beef on Toast was fairly simple and straight forward. The sauce was buttery and rich, but seemed a little one-noted. I tried it both on honey wheat bread and rye bread and prefer it on rye. To spice it up, I would add some cayenne or paprika next time. I would also add some sauteed onion to add another dimension and more complexity to the sauce. But overall, this was a fun trip down memory lane. I can see how chipped beef would be comfort food for Jill. My inner 90's kid self would probably agree.

Until the next adventure...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Baking Adventure: How to Make Fish-shaped Rolls

I recently made District 4 Bread, which is fish-shaped bread from The Hunger Games. Here is how I formed my fish-shaped rolls.
Fish-shaped Rolls from The Hunger Games (District 4 Bread)
How to Make Fish-shaped Rolls
  1. Prepare bread dough according to recipe.
  2. Divide dough into equal pieces.
  3. Form dough piece into an oval.
  4. Visually divide the oval into thirds.
  5. Using your thumb and index finger, pinch the dough so that the oval is divided into a 1/3 section and a 2/3 section. 
  6. Use kitchen shears to cut the 1/3 section in half to create the tail.
  7. Place onto parchment-lined baking sheet and adjust dough to desired shape.
  8. Bake according to recipe directions.
It's pretty simple once you get the hang of it. Good luck!

Baking Adventure: The Hunger Games - District 4 Bread

With The Hunger Games movie coming out next month, I just couldn't resist getting my Hunger Games fix by baking another district bread from the world of Panem! (You can also check out my rendition of District 11 Bread!) District 4's bread is described as salty, tinged green with seaweed, and fish-shaped.
The Hunger Games - District 4 Bread
For this bread, I debated over which type of seaweed to use. Nori... aonori... wakame... kombu... I didn't even realize how many different types of seaweed there were until I made this bread! If only Finnick were here to help me... But anyway! I ultimately settled on wakame, bought from my local Asian supermarket.
Cut Wakame Seaweed
I measured out about 1/3 cup of dried wakame and re-hydrated it for 20 minutes.
Dried Wakame Seaweed
Look how it expanded!
Re-hydrated Wakame Seaweed
I squeezed out some of the excess water and diced it into more manageable pieces.
Diced Wakame Seaweed
In the end, 1/3 cup of dried wakame was waaay too much for my recipe. I only used about 3/4 cup of the re-hydrated, diced wakame and still had about 1/2 a cup left over! (In case you were wondering, I used the leftover for soup.)

But enough about the seaweed! On to the bread!
The Hunger Games - District 4 Bread
THE HUNGER GAMES: DISTRICT 4 BREAD
Yield: approx. 8 fish-shaped rolls

Ingredients
  • 1 cup water (heated to 110 degrees F)
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for kneading)
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup diced, re-hydrated wakame seaweed
  • 1 egg (beaten for egg wash)
  • sea salt (for garnish)
 Directions
  1. Proof the yeast by mixing 1/4 cup of warmed water, white sugar, and yeast. If it foams and doubles in volume in 10 minutes, you know your yeast is active.
  2. Mix flour, salt, remaining water, and proofed yeast.
  3. Knead the dough until soft and elastic, adding oil one Tablespoon at a time. Add additional flour as needed.
  4. Knead in the wakame until evenly incorporated in the dough.
  5. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in volume (about 1 hour).
  6. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  7. Punch down the dough.
  8. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces.
  9. Shape each dough piece into a fish shape. (See How to Make Fish-shaped Rolls for detailed instructions.)
  10. Cover the fish rolls with plastic wrap and let rise for 20 minutes.
  11. Coat each fish with egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt.
  12. Bake for 18 minutes or until golden brown, rotating baking trays half way through.
The Hunger Games - District 4 Bread (inside)
The sea salt on the outside, chewy inside, and the crunchy crust reminded me of a pretzel, which was what I was going for! The wakame added a hint of "ocean-y-ness" to it, but wasn't overpowering. Also, my yeast was old (but still active!) so there was a hint of sourness to the dough. I considered using the water from reconstituting the wakame (since it was green and would have added a more noticeable green tinge), but decided against it because I was scared it would cause the bread taste too fishy. If you try it though, let me know how it tastes! I imagine that Finnick and the rest of District 4 would eat bread that's more fishy, but for people not accustomed to the taste of seaweed, my rendition would be a good introduction to seaweed. I also considered using some wheat flour in the bread, but since District 4 has Career tributes, I figured they could afford to use all white flour in their district bread. Overall, I am quite happy with my District 4 Bread! I can't wait for the Games to begin!
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