kimchi grilled cheese bento

9 06 2010

late last week i received an awesome housewarming gift from one of my sweet bento pals:  a small, detailed, mouse-shaped cutter.  thanks a million, you-know-who, i love it!  and what better way to use a mouse cutter than in a cheese-filled bento?

inside this box is a yummy kimchi grilled cheese sandwich (inspired by the sandwiches we saw being sold by one of the vendors at last weekend’s renegade craft fair!) cut into thirds, topped by beet mice.  in the top section is a piece of panko-fried chicken, some pencil-thin asparagus wrapped in thinly-sliced turkey, a few tomatoes, a piece of steamed broccoli, and the wedge of cheese those mice are looking for!  i made the cheese by cutting a small wedge of parmesan off the block in my fridge, and then topping it with a piece of american out of which i cut holes with a round cutter and a drinking straw.

kimchi grilled cheese

for each sandwich:

  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 slices american cheese (or another yellow cheese of your choice; cheddar would be great)
  • 2 slices monterey jack cheese (or another white cheese of your choice)
  • 2 tbsp. diced kimchi
  • 1 tbsp. each butter and canola oil
  1. cover your cutting board or work surface with saran wrap or tin foil.  butter one slice of bread and place it on your work surface, butter side down (this is why we covered!).
  2. place a slice of yellow cheese and a slice of white cheese on the bread.  spread your diced kimchi evenly over the surface of the cheese.  place another slice of white and then another slice of yellow.
  3. butter your other slice of bread and place it on top of the stack, butter side up.
  4. in a frying pan, heat your oil and then turn the heat to medium-low.  place the sandwich in the pan, and then cover the top of the pan loosely with tin foil.
  5. place another heavy pan (or whatever comes in handy — i used my teapot) over the tinfoil, thereby weighing the sandwich down.  this encourages even heating and compresses the sandwich so that everything melts together more smoothly and the crust gets crustier.
  6. after 2-3 min. (or however it takes on your stovetop for the bottom side to get crusty golden brown), lift up the weight and the foil, flip your sandwich, and replace the weight and foil.  continue cooking for another 2 min. or until the other side is golden brown too.
  7. rest the sandwich on your cutting board for a few minutes — if you cut right away, all the cheese will ooze out.  but maybe you like it that way!