By Quentin H. / May 19th, 2023
I tend to never slow down, and I certainly don’t ever take care of myself. It is a common theme with me that I try to do too much in too little time, and things have to give. I am trying to fit sports, Cooking Eorzea, Endwalker, my pet, my friends, my work, movies, and everything else in at once, and there simply isn’t enough time in the day for it all. I sacrifice sleep and I sacrifice cooking healthy meals for myself in order to do everything else that I want to do.
This week, I went to my doctor for my annual physical and I found that I have high cholesterol. It is high enough that I am at a serious risk for heart problems.
It’s hard to accept my mortality. I want to do everything, be everywhere, see everything and everyone, and not slow down. And tonight, right before I wrote this column, I panicked. I can’t die quite yet, I have too much I want to do. And so, it is 9 p.m., just a few hours before my writing deadline if I am to make my publication time as I write this, and I have been spending my time researching how to prepare ground turkey and what kind of fish is fine to eat and what I should not be eating anymore.
I’m trying to figure out how to eat healthier and exercise more and prioritize my own health because I know that my bad decisions will catch up to me quickly if I don’t do better. I have to find the time to eat better and to cook better outside of Cooking Eorzea.
I have to take care of myself and figure out how to care for myself with Love, Eorzean Style. No one else will do that for me.
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 recipe attempt is taken from the 33rd recipe from The Official FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Cookbook. Hailing from the Orthard region, the Namazu make this recipe and it has a ‘Medium’ difficulty rating. My main concern in making this dish was both the timing of it (I actually wouldn’t finish making this dish until 3:30-ish a.m.), and the fact that this seemed to be a lot of ingredients to put in a single pot.
Anyway, here is what Oden is supposed to look like:
Featured Ingredient of the Week
Konnyaku is made from the konjac plant, which is grown in east and southeast Asia. It is fairly bland and firmer than gelatin. The reason that this ingredient is my featured ingredient of the week is because it was nearly impossible for me to find. I ended up having to visit a grocery store over a half-hour away from my home in order to find a single piece of it to use for this week’s recipe. This and tobiko (Week 10: Futo-Maki Roll) are the two ingredients that I’ve had the hardest time finding so far for Cooking Eorzea.
My Cooking Attempt
Ingredients! Ingredients, ingredients, ingredients. Without them, Cooking Eorzea wouldn’t be possible. This week, more than any other, showed me that. Here is a full photograph of all that I used:
If having to clean and fillet frozen, raw, red snapper for Week 26’s Bouillabaisse recipe was the worst ingredient prep so far, then beheading and gutting each tiny niboshi for this week’s Cooking Eorzea dish was definitely the most tedious. I easily spent over an hour just preparing each niboshi to make sure that I had enough for my cooking attempt. It was awful.
I then poured nine cups of water a large pot, added in two pieces of kombu, a bunch of dried shiitake mushrooms, and the prepared niboshi. I then let it all soak together for three hours to help flavor the stock water.
When there was roughly a half hour left, I prepared the hardboiled eggs in my replacement egg cooker. I then dunked them in cold water in an airtight container, and left them there for a good while to cool down. The sudden cold water shock also helps to make the shell easier to remove.
While the hardboiled eggs were cooking, I also chopped in half, peeled, and then sliced the daikon radish into semi-large chunks.
After preparing the daikon radish, I peeled the hardboiled eggs and then I put them back into the refrigerator to chill until I was ready to use them.
I placed three strips of nishime kombu into a bowl filled with water to let them rehydrate.
I then took two cups of water and washed rice with it repeatedly until the water was cloudy. I set the cleaned rice aside to use later on.
After the three hours were up, I brought the pot to a boil. Right before the pot did boil, I removed the kombu and then added in the bonito flakes.
I then let it all simmer for 10 minutes.
While the pot was simmering, I sliced the konnyaku into triangle pieces.
After 10 minutes, I pulled the pot off of the heat and I let it rest for five minutes. I then strained the stock through a mesh strainer into a second smaller pot before pouring it back into the large pot again after I wiped it down.
I added in soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar, and a pinch of salt and stirred until they were all blended into the stock.
I got out my smaller pot, added in the daikon radish chunks and the cloudy rice water, and then brought the pot to a boil.
While the second pot was then simmering for about 15 minutes, I knotted up the nishime kombu and placed it back into the bowl of water.
Once the smaller pot was ready, I pulled out the individual daikon radish pieces and then patted each piece dry before setting them aside.
I then added the daikon radish chunks, the konnyaku, and the nishime kombu to the seasoned broth. I then brought the entire pot to a boil, reduced the heat, and then let it simmer for an hour.
While the pot was simmering, I quartered two pieces of kirimochi.
I then sliced open each of the aburaage squares and inserted a piece of kirimochi into each one. I then slid a toothpick through the open end to help secure the kirimochi into the aburaage.
Finally, I took the rice that I previously cleaned and placed it into the rice cooker and turned it on.
As the hour was nearing an end, I heated up another pot of water, and added the fish cakes and fish balls to it after the water began to boil. I let them cook for roughly 30 seconds each and then pulled them out before drying each one of them off.
I then added the hardboiled eggs, fish balls, and fish cake to the pot. I then let it all cook for 15 minutes.
After the 15 minutes, I added in the prepared aburaage to the pot and I let it simmer for another 15 minutes.
At the end of the 15 minutes, the rice was ready!
Finally, I removed the toothpicks from the aburaage.
And here is the final dish for this week’s Cooking Eorzea column!
The Oden dish is another one of those meals that I can both recognize as being delicious while absolutely not caring for it at all. It tasted great, the broth was amazing, and the fish balls and fish cake were great. However, the fish flavor permeated through everything and I found myself not caring for it too much. The shirimiso turned into almost a gelatin inside of the aburaage, but I honestly didn’t care for the texture of how it felt in my mouth. Finally, the konnyaku tasted a lot like the broth that it was soaked in – and hence, too much fish flavor to it.
Undoubtedly, there are people who will love this dish, but it just wasn’t for me.
If I was to make Oden again, I would definitely use a lot less fish balls and fish cakes to try to lessen the fishy flavor as much as possible. It was not hard to make, thankfully. I just didn’t care for the dish as it was.
As always, let’s talk about the weekly ‘thank yous’. Victoria Rosenthal was the author behind The Ultimate FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Cookbook, and I’ve been cooking from her recipes each week. I 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. I additionally owe Brandon Rose a special thanks for creating the Cooking Eorzea logo on short notice, 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 the Legacy 1.0 and A Realm Reborn 2.0 versions of this game.
Next week’s dish for Cooking Eorzea is Orobon Stew. I am working with the dutch oven again to make this dish, so please do tune in next time to see how it turns out!
Have you ever made Oden before? What do you think of fishy-flavored stew?
Let us know in the comments below!
CookingCooking EorzeaEndwalkerFFXIVFinal FantasyFinal Fantasy XIVFINAL FANTASY XIV OnlineHingashiHiromichi TanakaInsight EditionsMMORPGNaoki YoshidaOdenPCPlaystationPlayStation 4PlayStation 5Square EnixVictoria Rosenthal