Moon Madness V – Usagi’s Birthday Cake

Happy birthday, Usagi!

That’s right, it’s Sailor Moon’s birthday today! To celebrate–and to cap off our month of Sailor Moon-themed meals–I’ve cooked a chocolate-vanilla birthday cake for the lover of all things sweet.

I dare not attempt to make frosting without my stand mixer, so I went with two pre-made jars of vanilla frosting instead (I recommend buying/making at least 38 ounces).

Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Frosting

Supplies:

  • 12″ x 2″ heart-shaped cake pan
  • 14″ cake board for frosting
  • Round cereal bowl
  • Pizza cutter

Ingredients:

  • Moist Chocolate Cake *
  • 32-38 ounces of vanilla frosting
  • 2 ounces of white fondant
  • 4-5 ounces of black fondant
  • Bright pink food gel

*It will not taste like coffee, I promise.

Directions:

  1. Assemble cake as per directions. Bake between 30-35 minutes.
  2. Let the cake cool completely before adding a thin layer of crumb coating. To make the crumb coating, mix about 2-3 tablespoons of frosting with enough water to form a light glaze. Spread the glaze over the top and sides of the cake and allow to harden.
  3. Once the crumb coating has hardened, apply the frosting.
  4. Add pink food gel to the remaining white frosting and stir. Using a piping bag (or a ziplock bag), ice the perimeter of the cake (I had a 131 and a 21 tip, so I did this step twice. A larger tip will definitely work.)
  5. For the rabbit: knead white fondant until it softens. Mold it into the shape of the ears and head. Have fun with it! It’s like using Play-Doh (only, you know, it’s okay to eat it). Piece the ears and head together, and use your fingertips to rub out any of the crease marks. To make the pink accents, add a drop of pink food gel to some of the remaining white fondant and knead the fondant until the gel is evenly distributed. Mold the inner ear shape and press it to the outer ear. Use the bottom or top of a straw to make symmetrical eyes and press them onto the head.
  6. For the black centerpiece: knead black fondant until malleable. Roll the fondant onto countertop. Using a pizza cutter, cut the fondant into a circle by tracing the rim of a cereal bowl.
  7. For the lettering: Use (up to) a size 3 piping tip to pipe the message onto the fondant. Clearly Makoto wrote the birthday wishes on the original cake because the lettering is perfect. Unless you, too, are gifted with extremely steady hands, I suggest practicing before you pipe the fondant (the lettering on my cake isn’t bad because I can’t write/read hiragana–I can–but because I have terribly unsteady hands. Do better than me!)
  8. Assemble, sing “Happy Birthday to You,” and eat!

And there we have it! The end of a month of delicious Sailor Moon-themed dishes!

In many ways, the 20th anniversary of Sailor Moon’s release couldn’t have come at a better time. I grew up watching the anime and reading the manga and, as my own special brand of twenty-something approaches (25th birthday, that is), I feel an extra-special connection with Sailor Moon. Usagi and the gang have seen me through a lot of milestones, and I’m glad they’ve made it to see me through another.

I remember being so in love with this series as a child. I waited eagerly for the latest manga release (I had Books-A-Million’s shipping schedule memorized. New books were shelved every Thursday, and I could be found among the stacks.) and rushed home from school to see the latest episode of the anime. Now that I’m older and creating young adult and literary stories of my own, I can only hope to one day do for readers what Naoko Takeuchi’s story did for me.

Happy eating!

 

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Usagi celebrates
おめでとううさぎちゃん!そしてどもうありがとうございました!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moon Madness IV – Minako’s Chicken Ramen Noodles

How fitting is it that the guardian of love (and enemy of kitchens everywhere) gave me nothing but trouble this week? Because I’m in Birmingham to visit my family for the upcoming holiday,  I had to push back Sailor V’s meal to the very end of the work week, knocking out my usual sandwich + apple + popcorn lunch.

Ah, well. Minako is worth it :)!

Since Minako has a love for compact comfort foods that pack flavorful punches, I decided to make homemade ramen for the original champion of justice and co-leader of the sailor scouts. This dish should give the idol-in-training just the right amount of energy to do her thing. Enjoy!

Ginger Baked Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 3/4-1 pound chicken breasts, rinsed and halved
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (about)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/4 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a lidded, glass casserole oven. Make sure to coat the chicken well!
  3. Bake for 30-35 minutes or juices run clear when fork is inserted into chicken.

Ramen Noodles
adapted from here

Ramen dough WP_20140627_003

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1/4 cup bread flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp warm water
  • Flour, for dusting
  • Salt, for boiling water
  • Soy sauce, optional

Directions:

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Make a well in the center of the ingredients and beat in the egg and water until combined.
  2. Flour a clean surface and knead dough until ingredients are well incorporated. Additional water or flour may be needed. Add 1/2 tsp at a time until consistency is right. The dough should feel moist but dry enough to separate from your hand (if the dough can roll from your hand in 1-2 seconds then it’s just right).
  3. Fold a damp towel around the dough and let it sit for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours during the winter.
  4. Flour a clean surface. Using a rolling pin, roll dough onto surface until it is about 1 mm thick. Dust with flour.
  5. Fold the dough vertically. Flour. Fold the dough vertically again (in the same direction).
  6. Cut dough into thin strips using a wide, square knife (I used a santoku knife).
  7. Bring water to boil and sprinkle with additional salt and soy sauce if desired.
  8. Drop noodles into water and cook for 4-6 minutes or until done (trust your stovetop!). The noodles should rise to the top.

Put it together:

Ingredients:

  • Ramen noodles
  • Ginger Baked Chicken
  • Red, green, or yellow peppers (optional)
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Shredded carrots and cabbage, steamed
  • Olive oil, for peppers
  • Soy sauce (soy sauce)

Directions:

  1. Sautee peppers in olive oil and over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes or until softened.
  2. Plate noodles and pile on the rest of the ingredients. Drizzle with soy sauce if desired.

 

 

 

 

Venus Cooking
Video Source

Moon Madness III – Ami’s Bento

This week’s Moon Madness meal is dedicated to Ami Mizuno aka Sailor Mercury. Ami’s always been the practical scout, so it’s no wonder that her favorite food is equally as practical–the sandwich. It’s portable and delectable with a thousand different interchangeable breads, meats, cheeses, and sauces, the perfect meal for someone who likes both order and variety. In the Sailor Moon episode titled “Food Fetish,” Ami can be seen eating not one, but two sandwiches while typing away at Quicksilver-like speed on her keyboard (always hard at work, that Ami, even on her lunch break). So here’s to Amy, the sandwich queen of the universe (and fellow Virgo 🙂 )!

Sandwiches: Some Assembly Required

I chose to make three different sandwich combinations, but feel free to mix and match ingredients or to add ingredients of your own!

Southwest Turkey: 

  • Italian bread, cut into a circle*
  • Southwest-style turkey breast, shaved
  • 1 slice of pepperjack cheese
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper
  • Optional: 1/2 tbsp ranch or Caesar dressing

Breadcrumb Fried Chicken:

  • Italian bread, cut into a circle*
  • 1 fried chicken tender, chopped
  • 1 slice muenster cheese
  • 2-4 wonton crisps
  • 1 tbsp savory cabbage, green cabbage, sliced carrots, green onion, and cilantro, shredded
  • 1/2-1 tbsp of Zesty Italian dressing (or Sesame ginger dressing for the adventurous)

Oven Roasted Turkey Breast:

  • Italian bread, cut into a circle*
  • Oven roasted turkey breast, shaved
  • 1 tomato, tossed in pepper and sea salt
  • 1/2-1 tbsp(s) honey mustard
  • 2 slices of cucumber, thin

* I used a large biscuit cutter to make the bread circular. DON’T throw away excess bread. Use it to make croutons or bread crumbs.

Directions:

  1. Assemble sandwiches (leave off the last ingredient in the breadcrumb fried chicken sandwich) and bake at 350 degrees for 2-3 minutes or until bread is lightly toasted and cheese is melted (yes, we baked the sauces, too!)

Sandwiches beg for crunchy sides. Zucchini chips and Truffle Fries add just the right texture.

Zucchini Chips

WP_20140618_014

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, for eggs
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, for eggs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place cooking rack on top of baking sheet.
  2. Cut zucchini into thin slices, about the width of two knife blades.
  3. Combine eggs, 1/2 tsp sea salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper in a small bowl.
  4. Combine bread crumbs, 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and 1/2 tsp of parsley in a medium-sized bowl.
  5. Dip and coat zucchini slices into egg mixture.
  6. Dip coated zucchini slices into bread crumb mixture. Place slices onto cooking rack.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, flip, and bake for 15 additional minutes or until zucchini chips are golden brown and crunchy.

Truffle Fries

WP_20140618_010

Ingredients:

  • 1 russet potato
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp(s) sea salt
  • 2 tbsps truffle oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Clean potatoes and cut into 1/4 inch strips.
  3. Place potatoes into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Coat with all other ingredients and mix well.
  4. Bake for 15-17 minutes on either side or until crispy and cooked throughout.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATW43c-6ixI
Gif’d from: http://bit.ly/1l4gAdJ

Moon Madness II – Sailor Mars Red Velvet Brownies

This week’s Moon Madness dessert is a little bit Sailor Mars, a little bit Sailor Moon. We’ve got the purple-red motif that Mars wears coupled with the sweet taste that Usagi lives for. Mars and Moon are the best of pairs, so I think it’s a good choice!

Every once in a while, I like to cheat when I bake, especially when I’m baking two desserts back to back (stay tuned for the second posting). Today’s red velvet brownies (cut in the shape of Mar’s brooch) are made easy with red velvet cake mix. Don’t worry; they still taste delicious!

Sailor Mars Red Velvet Brownies

Ingredients:

  • Red velvet cake mix
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Butter, for pan

Frosting

  • Plain vanilla frosting
  • Red and blue food coloring gel

Tools

  • Frosting tips
  • Frosting bag
  • Heart-shaped cookie cutters
  • Aluminum foil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8×8 light metal pan with aluminum foil. Grease the inside of the pan with butter and set aside.
  2. Combine melted butter, water, vanilla extract, and egg in a large mixing bowl and mix for 2-3 minutes on low speed.
  3. Add red velvet cake mix to wet ingredients. Combine using baking spatula. DO NOT OVERMIX.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.
  5. Let the brownies cool for at least 1 hour. Watch the “Food Fetish” episode of Sailor Moon while you wait.
  6. Add red and blue food coloring to frosting. Spoon frosting into frosting bag and set aside.
  7. Use the ends of the aluminum foil to lift the brownies from the pan. Cut brownies into heart shapes using heart-shaped cookie cutters. Save the scraps! We’ll use them for something else.
  8. Frost, serve, and enjoy!

 Question: Who’s your favorite sailor scout?

Mars eating

Save the scraps! Usagi will eat them. Or we’ll make cake pops.

 

 

 

 

 

Moon Madness – A Month of Sailor Moon Dishes

I grew up shouting “Moon Prism Power!” into the bathroom mirror and waiting to turn into Sailor Moon (never mind that Sailor Pluto was my favorite; Sailor Moon came with perks). I dreamed of being a champion of justice, of righting wrongs and triumphing over evil. While I never did manage to transform into a sailor scout, I did make plenty of Sailor Moon memories that I keep with me even now.

If you’re a Moon fan, you’ve probably heard the shoujo classic is being rebooted to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the anime series. Sailor Moon Crystal will follow Naoko Takeuchi’s manga more closely than the original anime version did, which should make for a grittier, tougher Sailor Moon.

Usagi Tsukino was a foodie if I ever saw one and, in honor of the anime’s 20th anniversary, I’ve decided to make one (or two) Sailor Moon-themed dishes a week from now until July 5th, the date the new anime airs.

First Up:  Makoto’s Rice Balls (Onigiri) and Croquettes (Korokke)

Jupiter Sailor Moon bento

Kind of Korokke

croquette

Ingredients:

Yields 6-7 korokke

  • 3 medium-sized russet or white potatoes
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying
  • 1 cup of bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup chopped onions
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of AP flour

Directions:

  1. Boil potatoes over high heat for 10-15 minutes or until tender (breaks apart with fork). Drain.
  2. Using a fork, mash potatoes in a small bowl. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
  3. Bring olive oil to medium-high heat on stovetop. Add in chopped onions and cook for 3-5 minutes or until tender.
  4. Add onions to potatoes and mix well. Shape into 6 or 7 oval disks. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Heat frying oil (vegetable or canola) to 350 degrees (around medium, medium-high heat).
  6. Place eggs, flour, and bread crumbs in three different bowls.
  7. Dip potato/onion mixture in the eggs, flour, and bread crumbs in that order. Shake off excess.
  8. Fry in frying oil for 2-3 minutes on both sides or until golden brown on both sides.

 Onigiri (Rice Balls)

Yields 2 rice balls

For Rice:

  • 1/2 cup sticky rice
  • 2 and 1/4 cups of water

For Stuffing:

  • 1 package of chicken tenders or chicken breasts
  • 1/3-2/3 cup(s) low sodium soy sauce
  • ½ red bell pepper, sliced
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • ½ green bell pepper, sliced
  • ½ cup frozen or fresh mixed vegetables (I used broccoli, baby corn, carrots, and squash)
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

For assembly:

  • ½ tsp sesame seeds
  • 2 nori strips
  • Plastic wrap
  • Small bowl (or round 1 cup measuring cup)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Rinse chicken in cold water and add to a glass casserole dish. Combine with all other stuffing ingredients, mixing well. Cover with lid and bake for 35-40 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked.
  3. Bring water to a boil in saucepan.
  4. Add rice and stir. Cover with lid and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes on very low heat.

Directions for assembly:

  1. Drape plastic wrap over small bowl, making sure plastic rests against the inside of the bowl. Sprinkle with half of the sesame seeds.
  2. Add half of the rice to the plastic wrap, making a small indenture in the center of the rice.
  3. Shred chicken using a fork. Add chicken and vegetables to the rice indenture.
  4. Fold plastic wrap ends together and tighten to make a ball, kneading the plastic until ball is correct shape. Remove plastic wrap. Add nori strip along the bottom of the onigiri. Repeat steps 1-4.

So that’s our first dish! But here’s a question: what’s your favorite Sailor Moon memory? For me, it’s a tie between buying volume one of the manga and meeting the cast of the English dub :).

P.S. The trailer’s out!