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Here's the Best Thing Our Office and Operations Manager Made This Weekend

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We get asked all the time: What do you cook at home? Here's some inspiration from Olivia Bloom, our Office and Operations Manager:

One of my favorite things to do in Brooklyn on the weekends is stuff my face at Smorgasburg, a food market with endless rows of stands selling everything from fried anchovies to tuna tartare tacos to Filipino spring rolls. A frequent stop of mine is at a booth that sells onigiri, Japanese rice balls, stuffed with a filling of your choice and wrapped in nori. For dinner on Sunday, I, feeling slightly ambitious, decided to try my hand at making my own onigiri, with mixed success.

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Photo by Olivia Bloom

I had my sister make a batch of short-grain brown rice (I'm abysmal at rice-cooking) while I whipped up two different fillings. One was a tuna-mayo filling—two cans of wild-caught tuna, a modest glob of Hellman's, and a splash of sesame oil. For the second, I diced eggplant and shiitake mushrooms, sautéed them in olive oil with an aggressive amount of garlic, and then added 7 Pepper Spice for some heat.

The actual assembly of the onigiri was a comedy of errors, which I attribute to my lack of patience to let the rice cool properly. My technique was: Make semi-circular rice patty in my palm. Drop of a scoop of filling in the center of the patty. Smoosh more rice on top of that, and attempt to form into a ball. Wrap strip of nori around the rice ball. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Place on plate. Watch it collapse. Make "womp womp" sound. But despite a very messy appearance, they still tasted like onigiri! To accompany my beautiful disaster, I roasted discs of sweet potato until puffy and golden, then glazed them in a wide, shallow pan with soy sauce and brown sugar.

Before my next attempt, I'll need your advice on how to make rice stickier!

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Any rice-cooking advice for Olivia? Share your tips in the comments!

Tags: olivia bloom, onigiri, brooklyn, japanese cooking, rice cooking, sticky rice