By Quentin H. / February 18th, 2022
When I became single, one of the very first things I did was make a dental appointment for myself. I did this because the rest of the world -including my health obligations- simply did not stop even though my heart felt like it should. With a lack of practical appointment options (because for some reason, it is next to impossible to see a dentist here quickly) and a sneaking suspicion that I was still going to be single, I signed up for a new patient exam and cleaning on Valentine’s Day. I took a half day off of work, drove close to 40 minutes, and saw a new dentist…
Surprisingly, I liked him! I know it seems like a minor thing, but I have had a hard time finding a dentist that I like throughout my life. In fact, it took me nearly four years to find a dentist that I did like in Florida. It is just one of those little things that I’ve managed to do to try to build a life for me here in California…at least, for now. I don’t know what it says about me to be this picky about my dentist, but I am glad that I am seeing someone new instead of stubbornly clinging onto the one that I had finally found in Florida that I liked.
And yes, I’m aware that there is potentially a lesson that I can learn from my Valentine’s Day experience this year.
Even if I do have a pair of conjoined cavities that I have to get filled during a luckily available (because someone had just canceled it) appointment slot next week. There is nothing positive that I find with Love, Eorzean Style about that.
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 is Futo-Maki Roll from the Hingashi region! With a difficultly rating of ‘Hard’, this roll has probably the most ingredients, and the most complicated steps, of anything that I have made so far for Cooking Eorzea. It is also the first time that I had to make a separate dish (tamagoyaki) that I would incorporate into the final product.
Anyway, here is what the Futo-Maki Roll is supposed to look like when sliced up!
Featured Ingredient of the Week
The ingredient of the week for this week’s Cooking Eorzea is tobiko, which is also known as flying fish roe. Flying fish roe is naturally this orange color, and it is fish eggs. I ended up stressing quite a bit of trying to figure out exactly how to get this item for this week’s recipe, as I could not find it in any stores. I ended up finding a shop online that was willing to both sell it to me at a very reasonable price (which was also an issue) and that could get it to me in time for this week’s recipe!
As a side note- the eggs got EVERYWHERE while I was working with them. I honestly did not expect them to be as messy as they were.
My Cooking Attempt
As always, we start off with a picture of all the ingredients used for the weekly Cooking Eorzea column. Yes, there are quite a few that I utilized for this week:
The first thing I did was to measure out the rice, clean it in water until the water turned clear, and then place the rice into the rice cooker to…well…cook.
After the rice was done and I set it aside in a glass bowl, I whisked the rice vinegar, the sugar, and the salt together in a small bowl.
I then poured the wet mixture into the rice, and I kept folding it into the rice until the rice started to cool.
Once that was accomplished, I set the rice aside and started on the tamagoyaki sushi ingredient. First, I cracked the eggs into a large bowl. I’ve clearly gotten better at egg cracking, as I can do it both with only one hand and on a flat surface now. It is honestly the little successes like this that show me that I have gotten better as a cook!
I added the sugar, soy sauce, mirin, and salt in with the eggs. I then whisked it all together afterwards.
I sprayed down the frying pan with non-stick spray and made sure to preheat it.
I poured a portion of the tamagoyaki mixture onto the skillet once it was heated, and I rolled it around to ensure that it was a thin layer on the skillet bottom.
Once the bottom of the tamagoyaki had started to set, I folded it over with a spatula into something KIND of like a square, and I then rolled it over into a corner of the pan as it finished cooking.
I sprayed down more non-stick spray on the pan, and I poured on more tamagoyaki mixture into the pan. I made sure to lift the cooked tamagoyaki in order to have the mixture cook into and link with the prior rolled up cooked egg.
Once that mixture set, I folded and rolled the tamagoyaki up again. It started to look like a mess, honestly…and the next layer, using up the remainder of the tamagoyaki wet mixture, didn’t help make it any less messy.
Here is what the final cooked tamagoyaki looked like. It didn’t look anything like a rectangle, but at least it was cooked through entirely. I then moved the final tamagoyaki onto a bamboo mat so i could roll it up and tighten it up into a compressed tamagoyaki log.
I rolled the tamagoyaki up as lightly in the sushi mat as I could, and I set it aside for a few minutes to set.
While the tamagoyaki set, I heated up a cup of water in the microwave and then soaked the dried shiitake mushrooms in it.
While the shiitake mushrooms soaked, I went back to the tamagoyaki, unrolled it, and then placed it in the refrigerator in an airtight container to cool down for a bit.
Once the mushrooms had time to fully soak, I pulled them out and then drained the water into a saucepan through a fine-mesh sieve so that any debris would be caught by it.
I tried to pull the stems off of the mushrooms by hand, but that simply didn’t work. I had to ultimately get out a knife and cut them off one by one.
With that done, I whisked the sugar, brown sugar, mirin, and soy sauce with the mushroom water in the saucepan and then added in the mushrooms.
I brought the pot to a boil, and then I let the mixture simmer for a while.
While the seasoned shiitake mushrooms were simmering, I turned my attention to the cucumber. I peeled it down, sliced it thinly, and then peeled out the seeds inside.
At this point, the seasoned shiitake mushrooms were done. I gently poured the saucepan through the fine-mesh sieve so that it could catch the mushrooms before squeezing out the excess water from each mushroom with paper towels. The mushrooms were SO HOT at that point, and I was worried that I was going to burn myself on them.
I then thinly sliced up the mushrooms.
I pulled the tamagoyaki out of the refrigerator and then sliced it up. While the layers were not perfectly even, I think I did a pretty darn good job making it for the first time in my life!
I then cut the cooked unagi (eel) into six pieces and the imitation crab into multiple thinner slices too.
I then assembled all of the ingredients together, and then lined them up in (approximately) the order that I intended to layer the sushi with. I ended up moving all of the plates to the top of the nearby stove so I could use this area for the sushi layering itself.
I grabbed a sheet of nori (dried seaweed), laid it out on top of my bamboo sushi mat, and then wetted my hands with water before grabbing a couple scoops of the cooled rice and pressing it down onto the nori. I kept smashing it out into a thin layer with the edges of my palms, and I made sure to leave some spare space at the top so the finished roll could close. I kept having to wet my hands and get more sushi out of the bowl in order to cover the nori as best as I could.
Here is my first attempt at layering a sushi roll. Just as a note- the tobiko started to get EVERYWHERE as I tried to layer it into the sushi rolls, and it never got less messy to work with.
I then tried to roll it up with the sushi mat…and I succeeded. I then squeezed the completed roll tightly to try to close the nori around itself and make it stick so that it would all hold together.
After I squeezed it all together, the sushi roll almost immediately started to come apart. It turns out that I had overstuffed that first roll. What I ended up doing that I slapped a SECOND sheet of nori around the roll, threw it back onto the mat to roll it up and squeeze it all together, and then watch it somehow hold together the second time around. This is the final side shot of my first roll, and you can see that the tobiko is getting everywhere in the process.
As I went along, I figured out how much space to leave bare at the top of the nori, and that I should not be overstuffing the sushi roll with ingredients. Here a shot of the assembly my fourth roll that I made, and you can see it looks a fair bit different that my first roll.
This photograph is a shot of all six futo-maki rolls that I assembled for this week’s Cooking Eorzea. You can see that they gradually get smaller and better-fitting as I figure out how to make the rolls themselves. You can see that the first roll I made, on the far left, is already starting to come apart again.
Next, I sliced the sushi rolls up. I was supposed to slice them in half and then slice each half up, but I instead just sliced them up from right to left. Oops!
And here is the final Cooking Eorzea dish shot!
I ultimately went with a Valentione’s Day coaster for this shot due to the holiday. I also ended up pulling out my sushi dish and sauce tray that I bought at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo back in 2015 for this photograph. As a side note- if you can ever attend the tuna fish auction at the new Toyosu fish market, please do so as it is definitely a unique experience!
After I snapped this photo, I swiftly popped several pieces into my mouth. And it was really good. I mean, unbelievably tasty and I was shocked at how well it all turned out. The eel and tobiko and imitation crab all worked well together, and I was impressed with how crispy the cucumber was! I ate that full roll, cut up a second roll and ate it, and then shared two more rolls with my friends. It also was really pretty, and the aesthetic look cannot be ignored.
This Cooking Eorzea dish was more difficult to make than I expected, and I have a whole new appreciate for people who make sushi for a living. It isn’t as easy to make as you think from just looking at it! I would love to try my hand at making sushi again with something a BIT easier than this. Especially with how (and I know I keep saying this) the tobiko kept getting everywhere while I was making it.
As I crest almost one-sixth of Cooing Eorzea being complete, I want to thank Victoria Rosenthal for writing The Ultimate FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Cookbook. 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 on short notice. 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.
Surprisingly, I have never cooked lamb before in my life! Yet for next week’s Cooking Eorzea recipe, I will be working with lamb to make Jerked Jhammel.
Please come back next Friday to see how it turns out!
Have you worked with tobiko before? Any advice on how to keep it from getting everywhere?
Let us know in the comments below!
CookingCooking EorzeaEorzeaFFXIVFinal FantasyFinal Fantasy XIVFINAL FANTASY XIV OnlineInsight EditionsNaoki YoshidaPlaystationPlayStation 4PlayStation 5recipeSESquare Enixsushisushi rollVictoria Rosenthal