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Valentine’s Dinner at Costa Blanca
少し早めのバレンタインデート

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Since Valentine’s Day is in the middle of the week this year we decided to celebrate a bit early.

We did a quick research on Yelp and found this popular tapas place in Minneapolis.

We like tapas because we get to try a little bit of different things.

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The restaurant is not huge but comfortable and well staffed.

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They had a course menu specifically made for Valentine’s Day dinner, but we decided to stick with our initial plan to order different small plates from their regular menu.

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Iberico meat platter.

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Scallops.

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King Mushrooms.

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Fried Manchego.

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Roasted Sea Bass.

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Coffee.

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Spanish Flan.

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Everything was delicious, and we’ll definitely come back.

Hopefully soon.

Costa Blanca Bistro

Konjac Steak Bento
こんにゃくステーキ弁

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Weekend bento making fun continues!

I think I’m slowly getting better at filling this new BENTO box.

Little differences such as the length or the depth of the box makes each bento-box filling challenging.

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In this vegan bento box you’ll find…

-Konjac steak
-Sesame Shun-giku
-Mustard Kabocha
-Spiced Yuzu Carrots (note for myself: tahini, white vinegar, water, sugar, spiced yuzu paste, salt)

Konjac is a very unique ingredient, popular in Japan, but not well known in other countries.

It’s a hard sell to people who did not grow up eating this because of its unique jello-like texture.

Konjac is made of some type of yam potato, and is well known as a “diet food” in Japan.

I love Konjac not because it’s a diet food, but because of its taste and texture.

It’s quite substantial, so it has no problem made into and served as a main dish, in my opinion.

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And here is a one-plate version.

Which do you like better, bento or one-plate?

King Mushroom Cauliflower Red Curry
エリンギとカリフラワーエスニックカレー

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When I want to make something vegan, there are some fabulous vegetables that I can use as a main ingredient for my dish.

Mushrooms and cauliflower are some of those, my go-to ingredients.

Particularly these meaty king mushrooms are wonderful, because of their size and the “meaty” texture.

They certainly look important and it’s hard to not see them.

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I love making curry.

I think adding little bit of this, and a little bit of that, while tasting and adjusting the flavors, trying to get closer and closer to what I’m looking for is such a fun process for me.

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Also I shoulg mention that I finally got to use the wheat berries that I bought a while ago.

I first tried it at a restaurant in Chicago while we were visiting the city, and I fell in love with the texture.

By actually cooking it, I found out that it takes a long time to cook them through, but I still love them.

King Mushroom and Cauliflower Red Curry

canola oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
ginger – about the same amount as ginger
1 onion, chopped
1 package king mushroom, cut into bite size pieces
1/3 cauliflower, cut into bite size pieces
water
2 bay leaves
red curry paste
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes
white vinegar
1 can coconut milk
cane sugar
salt and pepper
1 cup cooked wheat berries
chopped cilantro
chopped scallion
chopped napa cabbage

1. Sautee garlic and ginger in oil.
2. Add onion and continue to cook.
3. Add mushrooms and cauliflower. Continue to sautee.
4. Add water and bay leaves. Boil and then turn down to low heat.
5. Add curry paste, sun dried tomatoes, vinegar, coconut milk, sugar, salt, and pepper.
6. Add cooked wheat berries.
7. Serve with chopped cilantro, scallion, and napa cabbage.

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