Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Next Big Thing!

My friend Sarah tagged me in this meme where you talk about a project you’ve been working on. I decided to answer questions about my newest book - Mochi: recipes form savory to sweet! It's fitting that I am posting this today since mochi is a huge New Year's Day food and 2013 is just hours away!

The Next Big Thing: Mochi: recipes from savory to sweet!

Where did the idea come from for the book?
The idea for the book came from years and years of loving mochi. Like so many others I have tried those same old recipes over and over and I'm always looking to create something new. I knew that mochi was incredibly versatile and with foodie palettes being so adventurous these days I felt like it was time to put my own spin on a traditional Japanese ingredient.

What genre does your book fall under?
Definitely a cookbook. I'd done a comic cookbook before and while I drew some things for this book, I knew i wanted to focus more on the inventiveness of the recipes themselves this time around.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie 
rendition?
Well, there'd be no movie of my cookbook but of my comic cookbook, O.G.'s favorite recipes you can bet that O.G. would play herself. Though she is often used to be mistaken for an asian Betty White...

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
'Mochi: recipes from savory to sweet!' is full of recipes highlighting the distinctly chewy Japanese rice cake including traditional mochi favorites like chi chi dango and custard mochi to brand new modern recipes such as Mochi pizza, mochi donuts, even a mochi root beer bundt cake recipe! 


Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I self published my book  because even though mochi is more well known than it used to be, there are still some people who don't know what it is and to get a book published by an agency highlighting an ingredient that is unfamiliar, well - it's not easy. Self publishing is always fun though because you definitely have more control. The book is currently available on amazon.com.


How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I'd been writing down ideas for mochi recipes for years and then when I started refining it I really tested out the recipes to make sure they worked. Overall it took about two years, on and off.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I would compare my book to those old school church cookbooks you'd get from your grandma, or even those old Hawaiian airlines cookbooks. It's full of fun recipes that you'd love to bookmark and try out when you have the time.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I think I was inspired to write the book because I'm always creating and testing recipes. I have over 450+ on my website and A few hundred more that I'm still refining and haven't posted. Hopefully people will enjoy a modern take on one of my favorite ingredients.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?    
Cooking doesn't have to be difficult or time consuming. I'm always busy too and feeding my kids delicious food from scratch is a priority for me. I hope people will appreciate how easy I try to make my recipes so that anyone can make them.

Here are the other super talented people that Sarah tagged: Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Karen Healey, Mariah McCourt, Michael Reisman.

As for who I'm tagging to go next, I wanted to highlight some fantastic female writers/creators/artists that I adore and also call friends. Check out these talented women!

Genevieve Tsai 
Genevieve is a talented artist and was my table neighbor at last year's San Diego Comic Con. Her whimsical art is so enchanting, she has a unique way of capturing beauty and geekiness together with grace. If the world looked like Genevieve's art it would be a beautiful and magical place!

Kristin Weber
Kristin started Shelf Pleasure as "a destination spot for women who love reading." The name alone makes me crack up but her years of being an editor shows that she knows her stuff and the website highlights some great books and introduces authors you may not have known about before.

Cecil Castellucci
I'm proud to call Cecil Castellucci a friend, she's a well known YA author with an impressive number of books to her name.From The Plain Janes, to Boy Proof, to her newest book The Year of Beasts, Cecil's writing captures the reader's imagination and garners numerous awards for her work.

Leslie Levings
Leslie is another con buddy, my good neighbor for years and years at Comic Con. Even though we live close by I enjoy seeing her once a year for a few days straight. She is an amazingly talented artist who creates these wonderful little Beastlies among other things.  I've been luckily to have watched her artistry grow over the years and now the world will find out how great she is since JJ Abrams has bought the rights to the Beastlies for a film and animated series!

Bonnie Burton
Bonnie is a talented author who has written many books but her love of Star Wars and crafts is why I love her the most. Her Star Wars Crafts book is a must for all Star Wars fans who want to make their own Jabba the Hutt body pillow or Admiral Ackbar sack puppet. She also hosted a fun craft program called Geek DIY on Stan Lee's youtube channel with a bunch of fun special guest stars! You can find Bonnie online and as the Social Media director for Revision3!

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Is it bigger than a bread box?

Christmas is in two days and all my gifts are wrapped and ready to go! My brother was my Secret Santa person so I wanted to do something unique for his gift. Considering how many King's Hawaiian cakes and breads we eat, of course I always have an extra bakery box on hand, which makes a perfect surprise gift box!

My brother will think he's getting a box of bread but it's really something else! What could it be?? Though a box of bread IS a pretty awesome gift too...


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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Disney Movies for 2013

Is this year really almost over?! As I prepare for the new year I can't wait to see what 2013 brings - all good things we can only hope.

As a Premium Passholder at Disneyland I spend a lot of time there and movies are always a big part of the Disney experience. Just a few months ago I went to the park and happened upon Tom Hanks filming Mr. Banks! I'm a big fan of Walt Disney the man and of the movie Mary Poppins, so I'm really looking forward to this movie!

Check out this impressive list of Disney movies are coming out next year:

March 8: Oz the Great and Powerful
May 3: Iron Man 3 (Marvel Studios)
June 21: Monsters Universiey (Disney/Pixar)
July 3: The Lone Ranger
September 13: The Little Mermaid 3D (Walt Disney Animation Studios)
October 4: Delivery Man (Dreamworks)
November 8: Thor: The Dark World (Marvel Studios)
November 27: Frozen (Walt Disney Animation Studios)
December 20: Saving Mr. Banks

I love comics, so I'm definitely anticipating seeing my fave Marvel characters in upcoming movies. Thor is high on my list but the Baby - he's ALLLL about Iron Man. He's got the gear from the suit to the helmets (2 of them) to working repulsors (not really) and I'm sure he'll be eating Iron Man hand pies in anticipation. He won't have to wait long, May 3 will be here before we know it!

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Mochitsuki

With my mochi book out and the New Year around the corner, it's that time of year again...for mochitsuki!

Every year I go to the FoodLibrarian's house for mochitsuki.and like most mochi making it's usually closer to Japanese New Year's Day, the traditional day for eating mochi. But just recently O.G.'s church started to have their own mochitsuki earlier in December - probably to avoid the rush of the holidays. It's a good way for kids to learn about their heritage and experience the old tradition of mochi making.

The church had the 'usu' set up outside which is basically a giant mortar.
Steamed sweet rice is placed in an 'usu' and slightly softened.
Then they really go for it and hit with mallets called 'kine.' There are some hilarious videos of professionals pounding mochi in Japan, but out here we do it with less flair but still all of the fun!

Even the little kids got a turning at the pounding but it's not easy and why mochi machines are more popular today.

After the mochi was pounded it was taken inside to be formed.
Time to eat! There was a station with a bunch of mochi toppings: nori, daikon, natto, kinako, soy sauce and more. I am NO fan of natto or daikon for the matter, nope I stuck to my fave sato jyoyu - soy sauce and sugar and the Kid went for the salty seaweed wrapped around the warm mochi.
There was even special chocolate peanut butter filled mochi! I think these were for the kids but even the adults couldn't resist them (um, me). They were DELICIOUS and similar to my own peanut butter and jelly filled mochi and nutella mochi.
So much mochi, and I still want more! I can't wait til the New Year!

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Good things come in small packages

Our family loves See's Candy...to a sickeningly almost diabolical degree. I mean, O.G. got SIX POUNDS for her birthday last year.
So when I was looking for Secret Santa stocking stuffers that's right where I headed and I found the most adorable gift card ever - I love tiny things!

This tiny fold up box holds a See's gift card. I know O.G. will peer inside and be like, "WHERE'S THE CHOCOLATE" - but don't worry, I've got that covered too.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

geek holiday gift guide

Geeks have gone mainstream and while you could argue whether it's good or bad there is now an amazingly AWESOME array of products available. So many cool geeky gifts that I had trouble narrowing it down, but here are a few of my faves. Buy them for the geek in your life!

Ghost Lightning $20 - Genevieve Tsai on etsy
Genevieve Tsai is an amazing artist and her mashups find humor and fun in beloved characters. I LOVE Ghostbusters so this 'Ghost Lighting' Ghostbusters/Grease mashup cracked me up. Also her Diablo / Adventure Time print is a favorite of mine.
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Goonies pint glass $16.49 - Perpetual Kid
I think I can recite every scene of this movie that's how much I love it. Get your drink on while you do the Truffle Shuffle with these Chunk and Sloth pint glasses. Goonies never say die!
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Star Wars Lightsaber Umbrella $19.50 - JBox
You can't find these outside of Japan! These umbrellas have lightsaber handles and come in Darth Vader red, Luke Skywalker green and Obi-Wan Kenobi blue.
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Back to the Future tote $12.95 - etsy
'Nobody calls me chicken' - I nearly died laughing when I saw this bag. This is my favorite movie of all time and while this quote is integral to the movie it might be lost on the casual fan. In other words this is the hipster of geek bags.
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Star Trek TNG LCARS mousepad $10.00 - etsy
Now you can pretend to command a Federation starship...from your mousepad.
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Doctor Who Tardis phone case $16.95 - etsy
Take a look inside my iPhone...it's bigger on the inside. I love how realistic this looks. Now the Tardis is right at your fingertips. Allons-y!

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Sunday, December 02, 2012

The Humble Potato

The Humble Potato sounds ever so pleasant doesn't it? American comfort food with a Japanese kick, the Humble Potato is located in Westchester, right between Marina del Rey and the airport.

The menu consists of burgers with uniquely Japanese ingredients full of flavor. Toppings include things like Japanese curry sauce, fried egg and Yuzu Jalapeño Slaw.

The Battle Royale is a monster of a burger topped with a “fried egg-splosive”, avocado, romaine, thick cut tomato, onion, Applewood smoked bacon, HP spicy sauce. Warning, these things are definitely messy and you'll require more than a few napkins.

The chicken sandwiches are great burger alternatives, from a katsu style chicken sandwich to a traditional Japanese ground chicken.

There are also hot dogs and salads, but the fries - oh the fries. I dream about the Shichimi & Garlic Parmesan Fries. They look simple but they're salty, crunchy and slightly spicy and I can't get enough of them. Those potatoes are anything but humble.

While the interior is minimal, the standout is the art wall. An homage to American and Japanese pop culture from toys to games to food. I felt like I was right at home with all my favorite childhood things.

Japanese drinks and fountain drinks are available as well as beer and tea, but they also offer an ice blended chocolate avocado shake.

The Humble Potato is a great quick meal, a delicious alternative to your average burgers and fries. They are open til 11 so it's a perfect place to stop on your way to your late night LAX flight.

Humble Potato
8321 Lincoln Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90045

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Saturday, December 01, 2012

The lovers, the dreamers and me

On a gloomy day, this is my favorite kind of rainbow.
A mochi rainbow!

(chi chi dango from Mikawaya in Little Tokyo)


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