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]

kong bap bento

10 01 2010

this is my second entry into hapa bento’s b.o.m.b. contest, so i’ll discuss my theme-requisite roasted veggies first.  i roasted sweet potato slices and brussels sprouts in the toaster (great for saving energy on a small batch), with olive oil, salt, pepper, and gochugaru (korean red pepper flakes) – yum!  the roasted veggies are propped up on some lemon-pepper tofu.  in the top left we have nashi and peach fans with a few strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries.  in the top right is a small green salad (just a few slices of cucumber and carrot, with two takuwan flowers and three grape tomatoes).  in the center hole i have a bottle of citrus-yuzu dressing for the salad.

what, you may be thinking, is that weird brown-ish rice-and-beans mixture in the bottom left compartment?  drumroll, please… it’s kong bap (공밮), and my boyfriend’s mom is pretty confident that it’s the key to a long and healthy life!

i finally took the plunge and invested in a new cuckoo rice cooker… it’s a korean brand that uses “fuzzy logic” technology (like the zojirushis, which i also looked at but passed up because the cuckoo seemed more versatile, allowing me to cook soups and stews as well as all kinds of rice… more on my plans for jigae and kalbi-jjim in the future!).

although kong bap is historically associated with prison food, it’s still a staple in many korean homes, and it’s SUPER healthy.  there are many variants on this extremely basic recipe, but the all-korean “cooking guide” that came with my rice maker (causing me to spend more than an hour on google translate to figure out just three recipes, grrr) is as follows:

  • 2 cups white rice
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1/3 cup dried red beans
  • 3.5 cups water

i substituted black beans and mung beans for the red beans, and used closer to a 1/2 cup than a 1/3 cup of beans in total, and it still came out fine.  i used the “turbo” (pressure) setting on my cooker, and it took about 40 minutes, which is a dramatic time saver compared to soaking the beans overnight.

if you don’t have a fancy-schmancy rice cooker, don’t worry!  you can make brown rice on the stovetop, using between 2 and 2.5 cups of water for every 1 cup of uncooked brown rice (i like to add a tbsp. of olive oil as well), and simmering in a 2-quart or larger saucepan for 45-50 minutes until tender.  fluff with a fork once all the liquid has been absorbed.  you will want to make the beans in a separate pot (if you are using dried beans, cooking them is a much longer process that you should start the day before; however, you could also used canned beans), and mix with the rice when both components are fully cooked.

i love the nutty flavor and wettish, sticky texture of kong bap… plus, when i feel like i’m eating something good for my body, that often makes it taste better.  at least that’s what i’ve convinced myself!