Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mochi Magic

Mochi is such a magical food. Not the ice cream, but simple pounded sweet rice that you can buy in blocks that have been dried. It's one of those gems from times gone by that has survived. I would guess because it's tasty and fun to use.

I recently met a young woman who is rather addicted to cheese. Instead of taking everything out of her diet, I'm suggesting she add in a whole lot of other things that don't leave much room for those old foods. They are not off limits, just getting edged out a bit. Mochi can melt in hot liquids and become gooey and cheesy. I grate it into my French onion soup or cut blocks of it and create mochi melts. I've done lamb mochi melts, tempeh mochi melts, breakfast mochi melts. I love how fast and easy they are to do while making a hearty complete meal that really satisfies.

On the packages of mochi that you can find usually near the tofu in the refridgerated section of the health food market, (Yes, they have it at Whole Foods.) there are directions for baking mochi in the oven. Cutting the larger block into smaller squares that will puff up to be crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside can be fun for kids to watch. Sort of the opposite of shrink art and you get to eat it.

Got any favorite mochi stories??? Let me know, I'd love to hear them!

Onion Soup
2 Onions sliced in half
1-2 tsp. Toasted Sesame Oil
2-3 Dried Shitake Mushrooms
Shoyu (high quality soy sauce)
Pinch of Basil
Grated Mochi (optional)
Heat oil in saucepan and add the Onion. Stir to coat with oil and turn to heat down to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally over low heat for 45-60 minutes. Meanwhile, soak and slice the Mushrooms. Add to the Onions and add 2-3 cups good Water. Simmer for another 1-15 minutes and add the Shoyu to taste. Simmer 5 more minutes. Add the grated Mochi until it melts and serve.

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