Konnyaku and Carrot Tossed in Creamy Tofu Sauce (こんにゃくと人参の白和え)


This was part two of this month’s Washoku Warrior challenge. The first part was Saikyou Yaki (Miso-Marinated Broiled Fish). Oh so many things went wrong with this recipe.

I made the sauce (shira ae) first. I think I squeezed too much water out of the tofu, and I used firm tofu. For this sauce I should have used a silkier tofu and I should have used a food processor. I thought that this yet another time that I could get away with using a blender instead, but it didn’t work. I tried adding in more liquid and the sauce was still very dry, like a dough.

I also chose to use instant dashi granules instead of homemade dashi stock, but for some reason the container does not have any instructions on how to create the stock using the granules. I used about a teaspoon for a 1/2 cup, which is double the amount I was supposed to use (apparently?).

Even though there were a lot of components to the dish that made it take much longer to make than I thought it would, I loved the complexity the final dish’s flavor had. It was sweet, salty; light and rich. All at the same time. It’s not pretty to look at, but now that I’ve made it I’ll be including it in every bento for this week and eating it whenever I can.

Faralle Arcobaleno & Anpanman Quiz

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My boyfriend made dinner last night and I convinced him to make some extra so I could pack it for lunch (see my sneakiness?). He packed it in the bento box I originally got him. Later in the night I took it out of the fridge and smushed the pasta over some to make room for half of a custard bun, some raisins and an Anpanman chocolate! The Anpanman character is actually Baikinman (ばいきんまん) which means “bacteria man”. The chocolate came with a trivia question too:

Anpanman Quiz

ジャムおじさんがつくった メロンパンで できてるこだあれ?
Who is the girl Uncle Jam created out of the melon bread he made?


Melon Panna-chan

The pasta is rainbow bowties that I picked up on sale from World Market. The Italian word for it is faralle arcobaleno. The sauce is just jarred tomato sauce from Whole Foods with added basil and some jalapeno chicken sausage. The basil is homegrown by the way~ (not my house–my boyfriend’s mom’s). I wrapped everything up in a Totoro handkerchief that I bought from the loveghibli store. Surprisingly, the handkerchief is two centimeters larger than my furoshiki that I also ordered from there.



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Sept 10th – My boyfriend made me a ham and baby spinach sandwich and I paired it with a hefty parfait. I sliced a whole banana and then poured vanilla yogurt on top and packed cornflakes, graham crackers, and some locally-made granola to pair with it.

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Sept 11th – Once again, I’ve been relying on my boyfriend to make sandwiches for me. Swiss, Ham, and baby spinach. I got to use my new Totoro container and put in two slices of chocolate roll, some un-frosted shredded wheat, a pumpkin candy, and some yogurt. This was actually too much, so the yogurt went uneaten. The yogurt is actually the recommended serving on the blueberry marshmallow bag! (recipe here.


Sept 14th – I literally grabbed random scraps of food around the house today. I think this is far too much food, but I wanted to make sure I didn’t go hungry through the day. Blue container has rice and some matzah crumbs with an ochazuke packet. Char siu bao (nikuman) in the plastic below and an adzuki layer cake to the right. The cake, which I had as a mid-morning snack with my coffee, was dry and very filling so I don’t think I’ll be able to eat all this lunch. Unfortunately, I bought too many things at my local patisserie and am now being forced to eat through them quickly before they go bad.

Kora Restaurant


Food Decor Service Cost
18 18 16 $22

August 15th, 2009
Visiting kora was required. It was like paying homage to the recently fallen Farrah Olivia. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Farrah Olivia. I saw Chef Morou when we walked in and got some butterflies in my stomach (Did he know that I was not-so-secretly in love with his Farrah? I think my face betrayed me).

The decor looked nice at first glance (hi tree branch wall!), but while sitting and looking around, it started to loose its charm. The purple wall paper with silver decals went from looking minimalistic to cheap. We saw chunks of wall that had been left unpainted and some dirty parts of the floor. The exposed warehouse-like ceilings were somehow a step down from Bebo Trattoria, which lived in this space before. Metal meshed boxes acted as dividers in one part of the restaurant and had purple lanterns in them. A nice idea, but I felt like I needed to hang some earrings on the boxes and the lanterns were quite obviously from Ikea, so lost their charm. I really like the tree branch decals on the wall near the pizza oven up front, but unfortunately this wall was out of sight for most people dining and almost completely covered by the oven. Can’t we just give you our lacy chandeliers and you can give our half of the restaurant tree branches? Maybe I’m just being stubborn because Farrah Olivia had similar tree branches in their dining room.

The service was a big miss at our table. Our waitress was trying to sell us really hard on wine and other things, and did not know the menu at all. When I asked her to explain a dessert, she said “I don’t know” and went to check with the kitchen. She was gone for quite a while, but she seemed to always be missing when we needed her, even though there were only a few tables filled.

The bread was a little dense for my taste, but I loved the vellum Italian newspaper it came wrapped in. The Margherita my boyfriend ordered was a little sparse on the toppings, but the sausage (we added) was very flavorful and juicy. My half order of tortelloni was very good. The saffron cream sauce paired well with the butternut squash filling, but the pasta itself was a tad thick and too al dente for my tastes. I do like the fact that they allow half and full orders of almost all of their pastas. The menu at kora changes a little bit week to week. I’m not sure if it’s because they’re finding out what diners like best or if they’re trying to stay seasonal, but it’s good to know they’re keeping up either way.

The espresso laced tiramisu was, in one word, yummy. It had a very pronounced coffee flavor and the perfect mixture of custard-y texture and airy cake. The mascarpone cream and zabaglione were nice accompaniments that didn’t overwhelm the cake itself. I’m happy that I got to visit kora the first week that it opened, but I’m not sure I would go back. If it was in my neighborhood I might visit for brunch (Morou’s got a reputation!), or a quick catch-up lunch, but it’s in Crystal City. If there were things close to the restaurant or if I lived in the area, it’d be another story. As is, kora isn’t quite worth the trip. Yet.

Kora Kollage

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Something Sweet

Food Decor Service Cost
15 16 16 $6

August 7th, 2009
Nothing much to say about this place. It’s right across the street from 2Amy’s, which they admittedly did on purpose to catch all the diners “pouring out” with a “sweet tooth” that couldn’t be satisfied by the pizzeria. The service is a little off-putting, and the layout is cramped and awkward as well. Think Georgetown Cupcake, but instead of having all of the choices displayed right in front of you, you have to travel down a little alleyway crowded with people to see the non-cupcake options (and menu for that matter).

The cupcakes were alright. I was able to finish them, but they weren’t good enough to recommend to someone else or to even eat again. I picked the chocolate ganache one because it was just coming into the display case. I thought this meant that it would be fresh from the oven, but that wasn’t the case. The cake on the coconut cupcake was dry and the icing too sweet. The chocolate no-fat frozen yogurt was nice and silky, similar to Costco’s yogurt. I like Iceberry better though. Don’t make the trip out here for Something Sweet. Actually, don’t even eat here if you’re right across the street.


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