A carnival of ducks

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Project & Blog by Ichigo and Lucy!

Our final assignment for the class was to create an interactive food booth for the public to come and try out and interact with our food. Our requirements were to create experimental tapas dishes for around 75 people, to use a 4x8 foot area, and to have the audience interact with the food somehow.

Ideation Process

The final project was upon us. The pressure was on, and out of pressure sprung some great ideas. After the groups were assigned we got together and started spitballing. Forming ideas seemed a lot easier with someone to bounce them off of. Initially we were inspired by the space of the event. It reminded us of a science fair or school carnival. We tossed out tons of weird ideas related to these themes. Some of them were:

  • A mad scientist station with test tubes and beakers with edible contents
  • A "salad toss" where participants could throw together their salad by throwing a ball and making ingredients fall
  • A game of matching game that used different food items to create a dish.
  • A duck pond game where participants draw a duck and depending on the number on the bottom they receive a corresponding ingredient
  • A spin the wheel game that randomly selected the ingredients of a participants dish
  • A dart popping balloon game that spattered different sauces onto a participants dish
  • Edible body paint
  • A dart board that had different ingredients in different sections and the more luxurious items or toppings are the ones that are harder to hit.
  • Participants "get pied" in the face with different types of pies.
  • A fishing game where a string is tossed over the sheet and then the participants are given their "catch" a certain type of fish that is grilled table-side.

With this long list of ideas we had to pick a couple to present to our other classmates and receive feedback in class. We chose to elaborate on the salad toss, duck pond, dart board, and fishing game ideas. We sketched them out, and added more details.

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After workshopping with them, we thought the duck pond idea had the most potential to turn into a cool and creative idea. Now we just needed to figure out what food to serve with the duck pond. We threw out a ton of carnival themed ideas like popcorn with different toppings, caramel apples with different kind of sprinkles, savory cotton candy, funnel cakes with different sauces, even baked potatoes on a stick. The best idea we came up with was to make rice lollipops. One of us made sticky rice balls for a previous project, so we knew we had the skills to effectively present this. We could serve three different sauces that corresponded to the number on the ducks. It also struck us that the sauces should all be somehow duck related to play into the theme even further. We ordered some duck fat on Amazon. Yum.

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Trial Process

On testing day, we got together to try out recipes. We realized that the white rice ball lollipops looked pretty boring. We tried adding food coloring to the rice, but then it looked to artificial. We thought about boiling different vegetables and then cooking the rice in the colored veggie water, but then we found a way to simply mix grated vegetables into the warm rice before it cooled. This colored the rice without flavoring it too much, and make for a delicious and simple rice treat that served as a great canvas for our three flavorful sauces.

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The next step was to create sauces to go with the lollipops. We played around with recipes we found on the internet. One was for a hot vinaigrette that used duck fat instead of an olive oil.

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The vinegar it used was apple cider vinegar. It also had honey in it. After trying it with the rice we decided that the apple cider vinegar was a bit too sweet and didn't go with the rice very well. We tried it with rice vinegar, and the flavors flowed together a lot better.

We also tried a white southern style gravy with duck fat. This was a great sauce, but we had to reduce the amount of flour in the roux to keep the sauce from getting too thick. The freshly cracked black pepper in this sauce made it really spectacular.

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The last sauce we made was a Chinese style "duck sauce" that usually accompanies roast duck in Chinese restaurants. This sauce used garlic, ginger, apricot jam, lemon juice, and hot chili flakes. This is the only sauce that is served cold. We had to add a little extra acidity to balance out the powerful flavors of this recipe.

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We also realized that although our lollipops looked cool, they were very starchy and sort of bland. We decided to add a flavorful duck liver mousse into the center of our lollipops. This made them have a novel element of surprise and a different texture to break up the starch.

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We also played around with how we should present the ducks and decided that they looked nice in a big orange pot!

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Final Product

Our final product testing went well for the judges. We talked with them mostly about presentation. They advised that we make every duck liver center even, using a scale, and Steven gave us a technique to make every ball a uniform shape. We talked about standing the lollipops up in some way so participants could easily grab them for themselves.

To do this, we decided to use a foam board and create holes in it for the lollipop sticks. Then we covered it in red tissue paper so that it looked nice and fit our carnival theme! We also bought red and orange streamers to put around our table to add with the theme.

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Now we had our final product/concept. Participants would walk up to our booth and grab one of the following colored lollipops: purple cabbage, orange carrot, or green pea (each of which had a duck liver mousse center). They would then draw a duck labelled 1, 2 or 3. This number would correspond with one of the sauces that were portioned out in individual sauce cups and the participant could dip the lollipop into the sauce and eat it in one big or two small bites.

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Creating a wooden vessel

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For the fourth assignment, we were instructed to create something that could be used for thanksgiving. It would have to be made out of wood and I would have to be able to make it in the wood shop.

Ideation/Trial Process

In class, we went through a brainstorming session. During that, we were supposed to think of as many ideas as I could. While I didn't nearly get to the number of ideas I should have had, the process definitely made me think up a lot of ideas and it was helpful to be in a group, as I learned from what others came up with as well.

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Some of the rough ideas I came up with were (from the initial class brainstorming process and from afterwards at home): Mixing bowl with divider? Deviled egg holder? Utensil holder? Bowl with spoon holder? Cutting board with measuring grooves? Ladle that hooks into bowl? Cutting board with food scrap holder? Mixing bowl with spray preventer? Salad bowl with a fork holder? A glass with two compartments? A cheese board with a detachable serving plate? A cutting board that was shaped into the shape of Minnesota?

After these initial ideas, I decided to elaborate on three ideas and create sketches.

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My next step was to create some very simple prototypes of my ideas. To visualize my cutting board idea, I used the foam core I got from Barry and cut out a part in the dimensions I thought I should make my cutting board as. While I didn't completely cutout the food scrap holder like I envisioned the final product would have, I was still able to see how big it was and if it seemed feasible.

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After making the prototype, I thought that the original cutting board dimensions were too small. Also, while I was going to have a relatively thin part for the actual cutting board, I wasn't sure if it would be sturdy enough to withstand heavy cutting.

Another prototype that I made was a ladle that would hook onto the bowl. This was hard to do because I didn't have much time to go to the wood shop and create a prototype with the foam and hot wire. Instead, I decided to just create a simple outline to see how big it should be to fit onto a bowl.

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One thing that I realized was that it would be really hard to create the ladle so that it would balance on the bowl perfectly. Another was that even if it did balance on the bowl, it would still probably dip in to the sauce and get sauce on the handle, which I wanted to avoid.

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I also tried a cheese plate that could have a detachable serving plate on it. I created a cheese plate out of cardboard and a nook in it where I placed a plate.

Final Product

After I did my brainstorming and testing, I went into the wood shop to ask for advice. The lab assistants were very helpful and gave me great advice! At this point, I decided that I wanted to make some sort of cutting board. When I gave them my first idea for that, they advised me against using a thin board, as it wouldn't last long with the pressure from cutting. Instead, they told me to use a thick board and they even provided me with some extra wood they had that they said would work perfectly! They also told me that the best way I could create a well for the food scraps was to use the CNC router. All I had to do was create a file in illustrator or Auto CAD and they could help me create the overall shapes I wanted.

Encouraged with their help, I then set off to create a file in illustrator of my cutting board. Originally, I was going to design my cutting board as a rectangle because I have limited wood shop skills and I didn't think I could do much more than a rectangle. But since I was now using the router, I decided that an oval would be more interesting. I wanted to also combine a few of my ideas and decided that for my final product, my cutting board would incorporate a juice well around the border, a food scrap holder, and a measurement line.

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These next few photos show how my illustrator file translated into a cutting board!

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After I took it out of the router, it looked great but I still needed to fine tune it. I took off the extra wood with the table saw and the band saw, sanded it down many many times with about four different sanders, and also sanded it with sandpaper to get the details right.

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While I was intending the measurement line in the middle to be a fine line, it ended being thicker than I wanted, making it look kind of like laces. I realized my cutting board looked like a football and decided it was going to be multi-functional. Not only could I use the board as a cutting board, I could use it as a serving platter, which would be perfect for the day after Thanksgiving, when many football games would be on TV. The food scrap holder could be for a dip while cheese and crackers could rest on the board.

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To finish the product, I wiped it with mineral oil once a day for four days. This really made the wood stand out and you could see the grain better, making it have a natural look and feel.

The finished product. The components included: A juice well to catch the juices from cutting to prevent liquids from spilling. A measurement line down the middle for people who wanted to be exact (inch and half-inch markings). And finally, a well that could be used for food scraps, finished cuttings, or dip.

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Using the plate as a canvas

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For the third assignment, my task was to treat the plate as a canvas and compose a perfect plate using 2D and 3D visual design principles. Everyone in the class was given a simple honey spiced cake to use as a base for the plate and we could manipulate the shape of the cake and add any garnishes or sauces to match it.

In class, we learned many design techniques and principles including the nature/savanna principle, golden rectangle/triangle, rule of thirds, symmetry, negative space, and complexity. Overall, I thought about how I could show movement and add contrast to a plate.

Ideation Process

The first thing I did was to think about different ingredients that would go well with honey spiced cake. Then I thought of different sauces and garnishes I could create with those.

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For the next step, I brainstormed various plating ideas and sketched them out on paper. Specifically, I thought about the golden triangle, rule of thirds, and the savanna principle when coming up with these ideas. I also thought of the different colors I could match together.

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Trial Process

After I brainstormed these ideas, I wanted to try out different sauces and garnish techniques. I first made a cranberry sauce. To do this, I boiled cranberries in water and sugar.

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To get a smooth consistency, I tried to drain out the cranberry liquid with a strainer. While this kind of worked, it was hard to completely separate it as I didn't own a fine strainer. After I put it in a squeeze bottle, I tried to use it to draw lines and dots. It wasn't very smooth, however, and ended up clumpy and hard to control.

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During the lab in class, chef Diane taught me how to spin sugar. It was surprisingly simple and I could create a variety of shapes. I brought home a few of the sugar garnishes and tested them out with different cuts of cake and arranged them with the cranberry sauce. The sugar bowl look aesthetically pleasing but I didn't think that it would serve well to actually eat cake on top of it.

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I also covered one of the garnishes in sugar, which made it look interesting and made it sort of look like snow.

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The next thing I tried out was using chocolate garnishes. In the demonstration, Diana showed us how to create these on top of ice water so I decided to try that out.

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These turned out well, were easy to make, and also quick.

I also had another idea in shaping the cake, that I could cut a long strip in wrap it around to form a sort of coil. I dripped white chocolate over it but the appearance make it look too much like a cinnamon roll for me.

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At this point, I was pretty sure that I wanted to use a sugar garnish. But I knew a lot of people were doing this so I wondered if I could change it somehow. I decided that I wanted to try mixing the caramelized sugar with balsamic vinegar to make it have a deeper color and to create an interesting taste.

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This method, however, didn't end up working. While the balsamic and sugar formed a syrup, it was far too sticky and wouldn't harden like the caramelized sugar had. I couldn't lift off any of the shapes that I formed and it couldn't be used.

I also experimented with a few other ways of cutting the cake.

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At this point, my cake was getting old and sticky and I was ready to bake a new one, especially since I would need it for class. I decided that I would try out a mini bundt pan that I recently got in addition to a normal square pan.

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Since my cranberry sauce wasn't smooth and creamy enough, I decided to make a sauce out of coconut milk instead. I started boiling down my milk with sugar when I started thinking of ways I could make it more interesting.

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I decided to infuse the milk with an earl grey tea bag, both to add flavor and to add color. The result was a tasty cream with a tan color, which I thought went well with the brown cake.

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I also got another idea for a garnish! I wanted something that would be crunchy to add to my cake that would add texture and I liked the look of dehydrated chips. So I sliced a pear thinly and placed it in the oven on low temperature for about an hour.

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Success! While they weren't as crunchy as I hoped, they looked visually appealing and after I sprinkled them with cinnamon brown sugar, they turned a nice color and flavor.

Final Product

After trying a variety of things, I started to visualize a final product. I wanted it to have a fall/winter feel cozy feel, like drinking hot chocolate next to a fireplace. To do this, I wanted to use mainly analogous colors that matched well with the cake. The brown cake, the caramelized sugar garnish, dehydrated pear, and earl grey coconut milk sauce all worked for this. Then, I also wanted a color that would pop out. I decided to use a pomegranate.

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The seeds were a perfect bright red color that would pop out against the brown colors and they also tasted great as well. While the seeds brought out the color, I also considering adding that color in another garnish. To do this, I squeezed out the juice from a few pomegranate seeds and attempted to color white chocolate and make red white chocolate garnishes.

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I forgot that the white would lighten the red, however, and the chocolate ended up looking light purple. While this color looked cool, it also didn't harden well at all and the garnish ended up failing.

In the end, I decided to use a dark chocolate garnish instead of the sugar one. I thought the deeper brown worked better for the cake and stood out more. I used the red pomegranate seeds to add a contrasting color to the creation and added a swirl with the cream to guide the eye around the cake. Originally, I placed the pear slice flat across the cake but realized that it looked better and added height to the cake if I let it extend upwards instead. The middle of the bundt cake was filled with seeds and sauce and it was topped with chopped pecans to add texture.

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Overall, I thought the plating looked well! While my ideal plate for the dish would have been a rectangular wooden board, I thought that the dish was balanced well on a white plate.

A perfect amuse bouche

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For the second assignment, my task was to create the perfect amuse-bouche, or the perfect bite. We had several requirements such as to use a in-season, Minnesota-grown fruit or vegetable, to fit the final product on spoons, to create a novel flavor pairing using 2-5 flavors, and to create an interesting texture pairing.

For the texture flavoring, we learned about different ways of gelling and thickening liquids and other food products. I have never gelled anything before, besides making jello out of a box, so it was really interesting to learn about the different ways I could change the texture of food.

Ideation Process

In the beginning of the unit, we also went to Cooks of Crocus Hill, where we tested out many different kinds of oils and sauces. There, I was exposed to so many interesting flavors and my brainstorming for the project began. I've always enjoyed balsamic vinegar and two of the my favorite flavors during the tasting were white vinegar and the dessert balsamic. They were both milder than I expected and had a pleasing taste that would go great with dessert dishes. Some of the other interesting flavors included the oregano infused olive oil, citrus vinegar, citrus salt flakes, and vanilla bean paste.

My next step in my brainstorming was to think through the SCAMPER process from the last assignment.

Firstly, I created a mind map.

Doc - Oct 16, 2013, 9-17 PM.jpg My purpose for this map was to just think of a variety of flavors and ways that potatoes can be cooked with. I chose the potato as the basis of my first map as I thought potatoes were a very versatile vegetable that worked with many flavors from sweet to bitter.

This map was helpful and I thought of several different ideas.

Should I make... a sweet potato puree with cream? A green tea potato mousse with strawberry balsamic? Roasted potatoes with tomato puree gels? Potato mousse with chocolate gels? Balsamic gels paired with deep fried potato chips with cheese? Potato puree gels with pineapple juice and peppers?

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Trial Process

I was intrigued by the idea of a potato puree so that was the first thing I set to try out.

To make the puree, I boiled the potatoes for about 20m so that they were very soft.

















For a cream, I mixed together milk, brown sugar, and balsamic vinegar. I then hand mixed the potatoes and the cream together.



















The result was a sugary potato mash. The mixture wasn't very silky though and if I had done it again, I probably would of used a blender or put it through a ricer. The taste of balsamic was also hard to taste and the overall puree tasted a little bland.













The next thing I wanted to try was to make a chocolate gel.

DSC_6981.JPG To do this, I microwaved chocolate. To thicken it, I added some potato starch to the mixture and also added some of the calcium chloride to it to help with the gel. I rolled it up into a ball and put it into the sodium alginate solution. It worked! The chocolate formed a gel covering and even after I rinsed it off in water, it held its shape. I also tried a version that had balsamic vinegar added to it but the chocolate, like the potato puree, masked the taste too much.







I added the chocolate gel blob into the potato puree onto a spoon. The textures were interesting together but the flavors were kind of bland and I didn't think the potato puree effectively used the balsamic vinegar flavor. DSC_6983.JPG

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For another idea of a topping, I tried to make a balsamic vinegar reduction with sugar. I let it simmer on the stove for ~20m and it turned into a sort of syrup. But when I left it alone for awhile to cool down and looked at it again, the syrup had hardened completely and had turned into a candy like food. While it was interesting and actually tasted pretty good, it wasn't what I had hoped for. I tried it on the potato puree but it didn't really work together or fix the blandness of the potato.

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As my potato idea wasn't working great, I started thinking of more ideas. What about apple cider gels? I wanted to try using the calcium chloride and the sodium alginate again to make a gel and making liquids into gels was a fun idea. First, I made sample alginate/chloride gels just to make sure that my chemicals weren't ruined.













Then, I tried to create gels with the apple cider. After I first pipetted the liquid out, I realized that I needed to add the alginate into the cider in order to have it gel. But I wasn't sure how much alginate was needed or if I should have directly used the alginate powder. I mixed in the sodium alginate water into the apple cider but it didn't mix very well and when I tried to put it in the calcium, it didn't hold form and instantly just fell into the mixture. photo (8) copy.JPG

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I remembered that yogurt worked well with geling so I also did that. Yogurt, even with some blueberries mixed in, worked well and held its shape. For a test spoon, I tried it with some lightly whipped cream. It tasted good but wasn't interesting enough and didn't actually focus on an in-season vegetable or fruit.















While I could add yogurt into something and have that gel, I decided that I wanted to gel my main fruit/component pure and not mixed in with something. Therefore, the next idea I tried was to mix apple juice, sliced apples, gelatin, and water. I wanted to mix the apple bits into the juice in order to add some texture into the gel product so I mixed them in a blender. When I did this, however, it made the mixture foamy and it didn't look quite right. Nonetheless, I added the gelatin and the boiling water to it and set it in the freezer. photo (7) copy.JPG















It came out like jello when I took it out of the freezer about 30m later. It was a little foamy on the top but held its foam. It still slightly smelled of unflavored gelatin, however, and also tasted slightly like the powder.



What could I pair with the gel to make it an interesting texture? How could I make the flavor pairing interesting? One way I brainstormed for more ideas at this point was look at the foodpairing.com website and looked up apples. While many of the ideas were things I could of though of, it was still interesting and helped me think of more flavor pairings.

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My first trial was to try gel, whipped cream, and chili powder together. While it didn't taste bad, it didn't also quite taste good and the chili powder was too dry and didn't go down well.

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Instead of pairing it with chili powder this time, I decided to try the apple gel and whipped cream with balsamic vinegar. This tasted a lot more interesting than with the chili powder but the balsamic tasted too strong and left a strange aftertaste.











I also wanted to add more of a crunchy texture to the product.

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Paired with the previous mixture, the roasted apple definitely added a unique texture but still the balsamic overpowered the flavors. Yet, I was still intrigued by how the balsamic also brought out the flavors of the apple and I wanted to try it again, which led me to create my final product.












Final Product

My final product was an apple juice gelatin with finely chopped apple served with balsamic vinegar whipped cream and a butter roasted apple slice.

I made several changes to the final product to make it taste better than previously. First, I chopped up the apples finely. But instead of blending it with the apple juice, I simply added it on top of it. I also used 100% apple juice in the gelatin mixture instead of using half water ad half apple juice. This change got rid of the unpleasant gelatin flavor and smell. photo (7).JPG photo (13).JPG

















































The next change I made was with the balsamic vinegar. Instead of adding it to the product at the end which made it overpower the other flavors, I decided to mix it in with the whipped cream. This made the taste much smoother and the balsamic perfectly blended with the sweet whipped cream. While the cream made the balsamic smoother, it also still retained the flavor and you could clearly tell that the balsamic was there. photo (9).JPG photo (11).JPG

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Lastly, I roasted the apple slices in butter instead of butter, which made it taste better and work well with the other ingredients.














































The final product! The end result turned out great and much better than I expected. I was surprised at how well the whipped cream and balsamic vinegar flavors paired well with eachother. Another surprise was how far a simple roasted apple on top could increase the textures and make it more unique. photo (17).JPG

Innovating Rice

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My first assignment for my food and design class was to either innovate rice or orzo. Since I am Japanese-American, my family eats white short-grain rice daily but most of the time it is just cooked in the rice cooker. I love rice and chose it because I thought it would be really interesting to try to innovate such a staple product that has existed for thousands of years.


Ideation Process
To begin my ideation process, I thought about the design process, SCAMPER, that we learned in class. Substitute, combine, adapt, modify, put to other use, eliminate, and rearrange were some of the ways I could innovate rice with. Before thinking through each of those ways, the first thing I did was think about how I've ate, seen, or heard of ways rice can be cooked. 

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Although not covering everything rice is used for, thinking of the ways rice is used really made me think through how I could innovate it. The next thing I did was list some of the common ways that rice is made and what kind of ingredients they have in common. Meat, veggies, and cheese were present in most of the dishes I thought about. 

One of the first ideas I came up with was combining Chinese sticky rice with more european flavors. My favorite dish at Chinese dim-sum is sticky rice steamed in a lotus leaf and I thought it would be interesting if instead of the ginger and soy sauce flavoring of the Chinese dish, I used a chicken broth and tomato flavor instead. This way, I could combine these cultural flavors and create a unique dish. A problem with this idea, however, was that it would take too long to create and I lacked the ingredients and cooking utensils it required. I was disappointed, but I also realized that I should think of more ideas before getting too in depth with an idea as well. 

My next steps in my ideation process was to create a mind map. 
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Although it was fun to think of the many things that complement each other, I also felt like the assortment was kind of random and that it didn't necessary all come together in a dish. I did, however, notice the ingredients and how they were kind of similar to the ingredients that would be used for frittata. Could I make a rice frittata? Could I combine this Italian dish with thai flavors by adding lime leaves and cumin? What about a rice quiche? While I have combined eggs and rice before, I don't think I've ever baked rice into a pie/quiche/frittata-esque dish. 


Instead of settling strictly on ingredients that would work with each other, my next step was to create a general brain storming map. 
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This method was helpful because it made me think of a wide variety of ingredients and how they interact with each other without being limited on which ones go with which. From this map, I thought of many other flavor pairings. Could red beans and rice create a pancake like product? Could I make rice truffles dipped in chocolate? Would an ingredient such as chile work with a sweet ingredient such as ice cream? 

With many ideas swirling around, I decided to trial some of the sample rice concoctions. 








Trial Process
My first trial idea was inspired by thinking about curry. Curry is almost always served with rice but the rice is usually to the side and is not part of the curry making process. Could I make rice a more central focus since it is an important part of curry? While thinking about this idea, I also had to make sure I was thinking about how to innovate rice, not how to innovate curry. What if I could use the rice as sort of a hamburger patty? Instead of having rice on the side of curry, I could infuse a rice patty with curry and serve it along with meat and vegetables. Therefore, for my first trial product, I set forth on trying to see if rice could be made into a patty sort of food. 

The first thing I made was a curry sauce to put on the rice. Since I wanted to spread it on the rice and soak it, I made a thai curry inspired sauce that was light. While I wanted to use coconut milk, I didn't have any with me so I made it with milk, ketchup, cumin, red pepper flakes, curry powder, and chili powder. 

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Then, I created a rice patty with my hands, put oil in the frying pan and when it was hot, put the rice patty in. 
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After a few minutes, I tried to flip the patty over but it hadn't gotten hard at all and ended up crumbling into pieces. 
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After my first attempt was unsuccessful, I thought about how I could change my process to work better. First of all, when I created the patty, I wrapped it in saran wrap and made sure to pack it tighter so it would be harder to fall apart. This was similar to the method of how I make rice balls (onigiri) at home. 
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Since grilling it and flipping it over in the pan didn't work last time, this time I decided to try making it by baking. Since I was only making one, I decided to use the toaster oven. 
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While the baking option worked better, the rice stuck to the foil and still didn't turn out very crunchy after baking it for 20m at 400 degrees. When I baked it for longer, it was crunchier on the outsides but still didn't hold very well when I picked it up. During my brainstorming process, I had thought about using rice patties as bread in a sandwich, but through my trials, I saw that it was difficult to create crispy patties. Furthermore, even if I could pick them up, it wasn't suitable for hand eating as the curry made it sticky to hold. While I couldn't quite count this as a success, there was a part about the food that I did like. By grilling and baking it, the outer shell of the rice turned out crispy while the inner shell of the rice turned out soft. This contrast was interesting and added texture to when I was eating it and I thought about how I could use this contrast in other ways. 

For the next trial, I decided to think about rice pudding. While I have heard of rice pudding, I had never made it before so my first step was to create a simple rice pudding. 
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The rice pudding, while it wasn't a short process, turned out quite well. It was sweet but not too sweet and was a simple flavor. While I use rice in my many Japanese dishes, I didn't think rice pudding was quite like anything common in Japan. I thought about how I could possibly combine rice pudding with something traditional from Japan. I also wanted to add more texture, like how the rice patty was crispy on the sides. 

One thing I did was to create a patty out of the rice pudding, like I had done before with the plain rice. This, while it turned out similar to the other product, was nothing special. The rice pudding took longer to crisp with all the moisture inside and did not seem to enhance anything. 

Another idea was to freeze it and create a sort of ice cream and serve it with sweet red beans. But I quickly realized that in the allowed time period, this would be difficult. 

How could I add more texture in quick manner? This is when I thought of my next process, deep-frying the rice pudding. Deep-frying could add a crispy outside while having a mushy inside and what could taste bad deep-fried? 

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In order to deep-fry the rice pudding balls, I coated them in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs. My first try at deep-frying was a little overdone, to say the least. I put it in for too long and the rice ball quickly burned. The next few times I tried, I was sure to take them out quickly and they turned a nice golden brown. 

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When I used normal bread crumbs, the texture was a little crisper on the outside but it didn't make much of a contrast with the rice pudding. For the second test, I used panko (Japanese bread crumbs) instead, which make it much more crispier and added more contrast with the mushy pudding. To add even more texture, I tried adding crispy bacon in with the pudding. 
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While I really liked the texture of the product, the flavor wasn't that strong. even with the bacon. I also wanted to merge together cultures more, with an european rice pudding with a Japanese twist. I thought about what goes with rice and looked back at the mind maps and saw that soy sauce could come into play. I thought of one of my favorite Japanese desserts, mitarashi dango, that has a soy sauce-sugar glaze. 

Final Product
Deep-fried rice pudding with bacon and a soy sauce sugar glaze

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The glaze perfectly complemented the fried pudding balls and added a unique taste to the rice. By deep-frying the rice pudding, I was able to modify the pudding and was able to add more texture to the final product. The soy sauce glaze and the panko also combined Japanese traditional elements to the European rice pudding and mixed cultures. 

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Yum!