Mad over Mochi

What did I say? Odd shaped or what?

I’m sure I’ve got some of you stumped.

Nope, mochi is NOT a cartoon character.

Even though I honestly thought about Peekachoo (ya know, that cute yellow cartoon character) when I first heard of it, surprise, it’s a fun little food to play around with.

How did I even find it? As usual, I was scoping out this one little randomly placed refrigerated section in Whole Foods which contains some items I”ll refer to as “not so popular, but give it a try” section. Think tempeh, the un-noodles made from tofu and today’s special->mochi, are all found there.

I’ve pondered picking up the oddly heavy and dense brick of packaged mochi in the past, but this time I grabbed it with enthusiasm (imagine that). After actually reading the package, I had found  that all you need to do is bake it or pan-fry it, even boil it or make mochi waffles! (next time). The plain mochi tends to be bland, but it grasps onto whatever flavor you want since it’s made from brown rice. So go for savory or sweet!

P.S. It’s Gluten Free.

So….What the heck is Mochi?

According to my Food Lover’s Companion, mochi, pronounced (moh-chee) is: “A sweet, short-grained, very glutinous rice with a high starch content. It’s commonly used to make rice cakes, for which it is pounded in large tubs until it becomes extremely sticky, where it’s then formed into balls or squares, which can be found in Japanese markets (or apparently whole foods).

Other Mochi Tidbits:

  • According to The whole foods encyclopedia, by Rebecca Woods, Mochi is beneficial for pregnant and lactating women and for children, in fact it is a favorite Japanese food that New Year’s Day feasting often includes.
  • It’s also referred to an “instant” natural food.
  • Comes in different flavors (I only saw a cinnamon raisin flavor, but bought plain).
  • Once cooked it puffs up, think of pirates booty odd-shaped puffs or like those carnival fried dough balls, but these aren’t fried and 900 calories.
  • Slice into 1/4 inch pieces and squish into a waffle iron, it puffs into an airy and moist waffle! Can we say, yes please!
Buying: 
Keep it refrigerated until use. Once the package is open it’s good for 10 days. But who’s gonna have left overs? Also, buy the brown rice version. 

Cut cute little cube like chunks

RECIPE

Serves: I dunno, how hungry are you? One brick likely makes at least 16 mochi puffs.

Time:

10 minutes cooking, and around 5 minutes for the dip.

Ingredients:

For the PB & banana Dip

  • 1-2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 1/4-1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons maple sugar, more for dusting if you wish (alternatively use honey or maple syrup)
  • cinnamon for dusting
  • 1/2 a small banana, cut into quarters (optional)

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place cubed mochi on a cookie sheet and bake for approximately ten minutes.

Baked and oddly shaped mochi puffs!

Meanwhile:

  • Make the dip by mixing all ingredients (except the mochi and cinnamon) in a small bowl. Set aside.

I love maple sugar, it smells exactly like the syrup. Mmmm.

  • Pull the newly formed mochi puffs (they’re so cute, I can’t handle it) out of the oven and sprinkle or dust with cinnamon and/or maple sugar.

Mochi Puff close-up. Definitely NOT enough dip on that one.

Dip, and enjoy! 

Cooks Tips:

  • The puffs are actually hallow inside, feel free to smush some of the dip in them!
  • I know, I’m a dietitian, but a little nutella, anyone?
  • Also try other dips, instead of sweet, try something like a BBQ type dip, or I was thinking of a salsa/vegan refried black bean guacamole dip? I dunno, why not right?
  • Also, the yogurt PB & banana dip I made, yeah, that’s pretty darn good on it’s own as a snack, just increase the portion.
SO, HAVE YOU TRIED MOCHI? IF SO,
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE WHAT YOU’RE DOIN WITH THIS GOOD STUFF!
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What to do with day old oatmeal and give rhubarb a chance.

Simple and fruity.

Dear IHOP,

“Take your 1000 calorie all you can eat breakfast and shove it.”

Okay, yes or no, that sounds like a future country song title?

Inspired by one of the greats, Mark Bittman, I realized that there is a use for leftover oatmeal aside from tossing it in the garbage (naughty food waster) or reconstituting it with liquid til the lumpy coagulated (oh big word there) stuff is made into a desired consistency that might just be edible.

Pancakes, people, yes, pancakes!

Now I’m not a frequent flapjack maker. I often think of pancakes as sphere shaped sponges for my favorite sweetener maple syrup. They give you an excuse to keep adding more syrup as it gets soaked up. Today I needed a vehicle for a few ingredients such as oat flour I always have on hand and the random veggie lingering behind starting to look a bit abused and dried up in the fridge.

Enter rhubarb round two! In case you missed the rhubarberry muffin cakes I made for Myrecipes, click here.

The only flop (I know, I said hopefully no flops, but you know that chicken surprise recipe you tried wasn’t a winner either). Anyway, I’d change the ratio of dry to wet ingredients next time (as you should) because for some reason the center of these fluffy little delights didn’t cook so perfectly (okay, a wee bit soggy in the middle if I’m being honest, but I didn’t mind it).

The addition of more dry ingredients such as 1/4-1/2 a cup of dry raw oats (vs. 1 tablespoon) should do some pancake patchwork. Also taking out the ricotta cheese won’t hurt. Play around if you must.

RECIPE

Makes: 8-9 pancakes

Equipment:

  • Lemon zester or grater

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup oatmeal, cooked (use whole oats)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened, vanilla almond milk (or alternative)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup oat flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup raw oats
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon zest (be greedy, use 2)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries (or other dried fruit)
  • 1 handful raspberries (optional, but why not, oh blueberries would also work-it’d be like a berry barb bonanza)

For the compote:

  • 1/4 cup water + 1 tablespoon
  • 1/2 cup diced rhubarb (1/2″ thick slices)
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon maple sugar (or alternative)

Methods:

rhubarb and raspberry love each other.

For the compote:

  1. Heat a small skillet on medium heat.
  2. Add water and fruit. Bring to a boil and cook for approximately 5-6 minutes or until you can easily poke the rhubarb and pierce through it.
  3. Remove from heat, drain in a strainer reserving 1 tablespoon of the liquid (yes, this is a little messy).
  4. Place the tablespoon of liquid back in the skillet and add 1 tablespoon maple sugar, bring to a boil and cook a few minutes until a syrupy consistency forms.
  5. Add the fruit back and mix to combine. Set aside.

raspberries and lemon = bliss!

For the pancakes:

1. Combine all wet ingredients in a bowl. Stir to combine. Add dry ingredients, stir to combine and add the dried cherries and raspberries and stir.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Coat the pan with either cooking spray or butter (yes, I use butter, it’s the good stuff and a little goes a long way).

3. Scoop about 1/4 cup of pancake batter and make your pancakes (not too big, but not too small (I feel like little red riding hood), think flat hockey puck size.

4. Cook on each side for about 4 minutes (just don’t burn them). If it’s still squishy in the middle, use your head, cook a little longer.

5. Serve with a rather large dollop of berry rhubarby compote on top and drizzle with maple syrup.

Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm.

that's some good stuff in the morning.

Cooks Tips:

  • No maple sugar? You can use plain sugar or maple syrup.
  • No oat flour? Make your own! Yes, you can do this. Take 1 cup raw whole oats, stick them in your food processor and grind them til they turn into a nice fluffy flour, tada!) or substitute with half whole wheat flour and half white flour.
  • You can really play around a bit with this, try different dried fruits and adding nuts to the pancake batter (I think pecans would add a nice crunchy touch).
  • Also add spices, I think cinnamon is always a nice touch but I was aiming for a lemony berry flavor here.

SO, what’s your favorite springtime fruit and how do you use it?