By Quentin H. / May 5th, 2023
I love video games. I really, truly do. But with all of the time I have invested in real life between this cooking column (that I write with Love, Eorzean Style!), my hobbies, work, seeing movies, and everything else in life…I have not really had time to invest in video games. When I became lucky enough to be able to attend the FINAL FANTASY XIV FANFEST 2023-2024 in Las Vegas, I realized that I needed to catch up in FINAL FANTASY XIV Online and finally play through the Endwalker expansion. However, before I could start that, there was one last bit of major side story content that I had to finish: Eureka, from the Stormblood expansion.
Eureka is a grueling, sometimes punishing, level-up grind that ends up taking many, many hours to get from level one to the 60 level cap across four different areas. At first, you can grind out enemies through killing them and by completing the challenge log. Eventually, though, the EXP to next level starts to get into the millions and you will find yourself forced to party up with other players to complete FATEs in order to snag anywhere from 3-8 million EXP at a time.
It’s a very brutal slog, especially when you can easily lose a level and millions of EXP if you die and no one else in the instanced Eureka area is able to raise you.
I ended up getting up around 4:30 a.m. for the past three weeks to make time to do the Eureka content. Along the way, I met several amazing Eureka players who were working on their Relic weapon, were trying to level their way through the content just like me, or who were there because they honestly love the content. And along the way…I started to fall in love with Eureka, too. That grindfest became a lot more friendly to me, and it absolutely required a higher skill to play and survive in than a lot of other content in FINAL FANTASY XIV Online.
My time in Eureka finally culminated on Tuesday afternoon when I achieved level 60…and was able to earn this amazing image on my screen as I wrapped up the side story, save for a few closing cutscenes:
I didn’t have the ability to add time to my day on the backend, and so I had to ‘burn both ends of the candle’ slightly in order to fit in a dedicated timeslot every day to play through Eureka. And honestly? It was what I needed to be able to dive into Endwalker. I am excited to see how this story ends…and so I guess that means more early morning risings in order to see it all too!
If you’ve missed an installment of Cooking Eorzea, you can check out all the prior recipes here.
Recipe of the Week
This week’s Cooking Eorzea dish, which comes with an ‘Easy’ difficulty rating to make, is the 32nd recipe from the cookbook. Hailing from the Hingashi region, Miso Soup with Tofu is a dish that looked fairly easy to make, but the low difficulty level was made up for by the fact that I had to let the kombu soak for three hours at the very start of the dish.
Anyway, here is what the Miso Soup with Tofu is supposed to look like!
Featured Ingredient of the Week
Bonito flakes were an easy choice for this week’s Cooking Eorzea Featured Ingredient. Bonito flakes come from skipjack tuna fillets that has been boiled, smoked for up to a month over multiple cycles to draw out all the moisture, and then sun-dried with the assistance of mold that helps to ferment the fillet and dry it out as much as possible. The final rock-hard fillet are then shaved down into thin flakes for use in dishes.
All of these steps are a LOT of work to make one ingredient, and it reminded me a lot of my efforts in Eureka. Therefore, I had to pick bonito flakes as my featured ingredient of the week.
My Cooking Attempt
This week’s Cooking Eorzea dish involved a lot of ingredients that I have never used before. It turned out the majority of the time making this week’s dish was to go into making the dashi stock.
First, I filled a pot with water.
I pulled out a sheet of kombu – an edible form of kelp – and I tried to put it inside the small pot. However, it would not fit inside. I then had to move the water into a larger pot and then put the kombu into that new pot. I then left it to soak in the water for the next four hours.
Right before my timer went off, I removed the ends of the leek, and split it in half.
After the kombu soaked for a few hours, I placed it onto the stovetop, turned up the heat, and I removed the softened kombu right before the water started to boil.
I then added the leek halves and let it simmer for a half hour.
I then added the bonito flakes, and I let the pot simmer for 15 minutes.
I removed the pot from the heat, let it sit for five more minutes, and then I strained the dashi stock through a fine-mesh strainer. After I strained the dashi stock into the larger pot, I wiped down the smaller pot and then added the dashi stock back into it.
This is what the dashi stock ended up looking like.
As soon as I finished draining out the dashi stock, I heated up a cup of water in the microwave. I poured some of the hot water into a small dish and added dried wakame – another type of kelp – to the small bowl to hydrate it up.
As I put the dashi stock back on the stovetop to warm up again at a low simmer, I sliced half of the firm tofu up into small cubes.
I then added the rehydrated wakame and the cubed tofu into the dashi stock. While I let it all warmup for another three minutes, I sliced up the scallions.
After the three minutes, I lowered the heat again.
I added a tablespoon of shiro miso to a ladle, and then added some dashi stock to it to try to dissolve the shiro miso into it. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. I ended up introducing three tablespoons of shiro miso directly into the pot and then swirling it around inside to blend it in.
The shiro miso started to cloud up the miso soup as I kept adding it to the mixture, but the miso soup started to smell absolutely amazing. I finally added in the sliced scallions, and it was ready to eat!
And here is the final photo of this week’s Cooking Eorzea dish!
If last week’s Chestnuts and Lentils dish was one of my least favorite dishes that I’ve made so far, this week’s dish was one of the high points. The miso soup smelled extremely fragrant, and I loved how I could taste the dashi stock, the tofu, and the scallions both separately and all together. I could also tell that the miso soup that I am used to getting in restaurants definitely is loaded up with umami to enhance the flavor, as this week’s Cooking Eorzea dish had a much more subtle – but no less delicious – flavor to it. I ended up unexpectedly eating two bowls of it, in fact!
I am making this dish again for next week’s Cooking Eorzea dish, actually. When I make it again, I think the only thing that I would do differently might be to slice up the scallions sooner. Waiting until the last three minutes of the dish to slice up the scallions definitely put the pressure on me to make sure that I got it right, and I didn’t care for that feeling. Next week will be better though!
I want to thank Victoria Rosenthal for writing The Ultimate FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Cookbook, and I also want to thank the staff over at Insight Editions for giving me permission to use the photos from their book to show how these recipes are actually supposed to look. Furthermore, I owe Brandon Rose a special thanks for creating the logo for this series and you should check him and his works out over on Twitter.
Finally, I want to thank both Hiromichi Tanaka and Naoki Yoshida for producing FINAL FANTASY XIV Online in both iterations of the game. I definitely fell a bit more in love with Eorzea over the past three weeks because of Eureka, and that wouldn’t be possible without the two of them.
For next week’s Cooking Eorzea dish, I will be making Miso Soup with Tofu again…as part of the final breakfast dish in The Ultimate FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Cookbook: Oriental Breakfast!
I am extremely excited to finally knockout that dish, so please tune in next Friday to see how it all turns out!
Have you made Miso Soup before? How do you like to prepare it?
Let us know in the comments below!
CookingCooking EorzeaFFXIVFinal FantasyFinal Fantasy XIVFINAL FANTASY XIV OnlineHiromichi TanakaInsight EditionsMMORPGNaoki YoshidaPCPlaystationPlayStation 4PlayStation 5Square EnixVictoria Rosenthal