Starting about three months ago - 83 days ago to be exact - I began a fun little series on my social media accounts which I tagged with the hashtag #Totoro100Days. My goal was to post a Totoro a day, sort of a photojournalistic record of all the Totoro things that I have amassed or made over the years.
I've always been a bit spontaneous in nature and I enjoy taking risks. I had no idea whether I really owned a hundred Totoro items or not. I'm not sure what compelled me to choose "100 days" as my target, but for some reason, I began the series.
As time started going by, I started to realize that I most likely *didn't* own 100 Totoro things.
I briefly considered including my sister's Totoro things into my series (she, like I, also loves Totoro things and we've both been collecting stuff for years). However, Bryan told me that that wasn't allowed, and reminded me of my original Instagram post.
"You can't count your sister's stuff if you don't own it. Remember, you said "#totoro stuff I own" emphasis added.
"What if I had given it to her as a gift?"
"Nope, that doesn't count either."
I started feeling a bit desperate when I started reaching day seventy or so. I could look ahead and see that I didn't have 30 Totoros left. Bryan alleviated my "problem" temporarily by giving me a bunch of Totoro movie themed Christmas ornaments for my birthday. I loved decorating the tree with them (my first very own Christmas tree!), and they carried me through at least another week.
However, at some point I knew I had to start getting creative.
I knew I had made a commitment, so I vowed to finish off the series, even if it meant I had to start creating lots of Totoro cookies, cakes, and other types of creative Totoro-shaped food.
The series is still continuing (I'm on Day 85 now!). If you want to follow the final days of this self-imposed challenge, you can follow along on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook to get the latest update. Meanwhile, I'd like to share with you my methodology for making these adorable Totoro soy sauce eggs, which not only tasted great, but also turned out really well. I think it's one of my favorite creations thus far.
I have a feeling there might be several Totoro creations on the final days leading up to Day 100!
The first step is to make hard boiled eggs. I found a plethora of methods online for the best ways to make these and I honesty wasn't sure which one was the best, though the one I used turned out great. Place eggs in cold water and then bring the pot to a boil. Once the water is a rolling boil, turn off the heat and let it sit there, covered, for about 10-12 minutes before shock cooling the eggs in an ice bath.
I had a mixture of older eggs (2-3 weeks old) and market fresh eggs. Let me tell you that the older eggs are MUCH easier to peel. I was able to facilitate peeling of the newer eggs by cracking the shells a bit and running them under water. The water could get inside and help separate the shells from the egg.
Soy sauce can color hard boiled eggs relatively quickly. In order to get the Totoro belly, I first soaked the egg in a bowl of soy sauce up to the height at which I wanted the belly. The shell on top is just for reference. It didn't actually protect the egg from soy sauce. I let this sit for about 30 minutes. It was nice and brown at this point.
The shape of the belly wasn't quite right yet, so I nestled the egg pointy-side down in a small Weck jar. It fit perfectly and I was able to fill the soy sauce right up to the point that would round out the belly nicely.
I considered putting ears on top, but I soon realized that Totoro's head isn't that long, and cutting ears out would actually look more realistic. Using a simple small paring knife, I cut out a trapezoidal wedge from the top of the egg to form Totoro's ears.
I happened to have some black forbidden rice around, so I used those as his eyes and his nose. for the whites of his eyes, I just used scissors to cut out tiny circles from whatever white root vegetable I had in the refrigerator. I used kohlrabi, but you could easily use turnip, radish, or daikon. You could even use fish cake, or even firm pressed white tofu. Seriously, it's whatever you might have around that works.
I jabbed the white circles with the black rice into the egg. This helped keep the eyes in place.
Finally, I used scissors to cut out little V-shaped pieces from purple kohlrabi skin for his belly. I would have used dried Japanese seaweed (nori) if I'd had some. It would have been much easier.
Thankfully, the kohlrabi skin still worked out OK, and I think overall my Totoro turned out great!
I definitely wouldn't mind making more of these, though I would need to figure out how to dye the belly of those Totoro eggs in bulk. Some ideas I had include:
1. Use the same method and buy a large amount of small Weck jars
2. Try using the shell to cover the belly part, thus protecting it from the soy sauce
3. Find a way to soak one time only by tipping the eggs at the right angle to properly expose the belly
I would love to hear suggestions if you have any!
Happy Totoro Day! Here's to 15 more Totoros, several of which will likely turn out to be homemade. 🙂