love bears bento and contest winner

8 02 2010

tomorrow’s bento features kong bap (frozen several weeks ago for my bento stash and then thawed tonight), sesame tofu, cheese-and-vegetarian-ham bears, cheese-and-nori hearts, a tamagoyaki heart, broccoli, carrot sticks, tomatoes, pea pods, and a strawberry mochi with a strawberry heart (in a valentine’s food cup you can’t really see from this angle).  the background paper is from a sweet bento pal, and the cool see-through fork is from a recyclable kids’ set!

[as seen on carnet diaphane: the japanese tradition of bento]

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since the sesame tofu — leftover from dinner — is buried under the kong bap, i thought i’d include a picture of that as well…

here’s my quick and easy recipe:

super simple, not-too-sweet sesame tofu

  • 1 package extra firm tofu, cubed (i like 1/2″ cubes)
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • canola oil to coat a frying pan
  • 4 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. gochu garu (korean red pepper flakes)
  • 2 scallion stems, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
  1. in a seal-able container, mix the cornstarch, garlic powder, ginger and cayenne.  once those ingredients are evenly combined, add the tofu and press the lid onto the container to seal it tightly.  shake the container vigorously until the cubes are evenly coated with the spice-and-cornstarch mixture.
  2. add the canola oil to your frying pan and heat it up.  you don’t need to deep fry this tofu, but once the oil is hot add the coated cubes in one even layer.  (if your frying pan is too small to fit all the tofu, fry in batches.)  when the bottom side of the cube layer has browned, use a spatula to turn multiple cubes at a time.  fry for about 1 minute on each side until the cubes are crispy and evenly browned.  move the cubes onto paper towels so that some of the surface oil can be absorbed.
  3. in the frying pan you used for the tofu cubes (no need to clean), add the soy sauce, honey, fresh garlic, sesame oil and pepper flakes.  once the honey warms up it will thin out, and then you will be able to stir these ingredients together.  once they’re mixed, add the tofu cubes back in and jiggle them around to coat with the glaze.
  4. once the cubes are glazed, add the sesame seeds (the cubes will now be sticky enough to hold them).  the sesame tofu is now ready to serve — garnish with chopped scallions, and serve with rice and veggies of your choosing!

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thanks to everyone who participated in the vacation contest!  you all shared such beautiful bentos and wonderful recipes and bento ideas in the comments, i have really enjoyed reading them (and will definitely be referring back to this list when i need inspiration)!  we had 74 entries (not counting incorrect destination guesses), and the winner proved that playing the odds can really pay off.  she had the most correct entries of all the participants, and so i wasn’t that surprised when the random integer generator picked one of her numbers!  (i had already used the list randomizer to assign numbers to all the correct entries; a portion of the list is visible below.)

congratulations to angelene t.!!  please get in touch with your address information so that i can ship out your prize package.  and to all the other participants, sorry you didn’t win this time, but i hope you enjoyed the links everyone shared… and stay tuned, there will be more bento zen contests in the future!

cat and birdies bento

12 01 2010

first of all, a big WELCOME to any new readers who clicked over from bento central — thanks for stopping by, and i hope you like what you see… as my dad would say, take off your coat and stay a while!

tonight i made garlic-ginger salmon filets and sesame-sauteed broccoli for dinner. i flaked the leftover salmon, mixed it with wasabi and mayo, and made a MONSTER-sized onigiri (i swear it’s mostly salmon, not that much rice!)…

the kitty onigiri’s ears and nose are made of fish sausage, and her eyes and mouth are made of nori. because i had some quail eggs, i wanted to do a whole cat-and-bird theme. i dyed the eggs in a little bit of turmeric, cut beaks from carrots, and stuck on some nori eyes. the birdies are sitting in an orange silicone food cup on top of some leftover orange bits from the “twist cut” carrots towards the lower left corner. i also had a birdie baran, so i stuck that in.

filling up the rest of the box are some cherry tomatoes and enoki mushrooms, some slices of peach, three ripe raspberries, a sesame mochi, and a piece of broccoli that didn’t make it into the sautee pan for dinner.  two fish sausage flowers and a cheddar flower accent the broccoli.  if i had to make up a story about this bento, it would be about a kitty taking a nap in a garden, dreaming about the birdies she wants to catch.

here’s a shot of the sleepy kitty from a different angle:

happy hump day (wednesday) — hope your week is going well!

[as seen on dannykitty]