Edit: One day I will pay attention to desert and dessert and get them write…right.
Since I started bentoing for Barb, an issue of mine has been dessert. Every meal should end in something dessertish. I did not like packing cookies or candy as that seems counter to the nature of the bentoing I have been doing. Grapes worked well, but a person can only eat so many grapes before they ask for something else. Unfortunately, by the time Barb’s rotation ended I had not found anything suitably desserty (ie?). 🙂 Flipping through the bento cookbooks I have and searching online I found a few that I made today.
First, cinnamon and sugar glazed bananas which I smacked myself on the forehead for not thinking of sooner as there was a “phase” of dessert experimentation where I made these. Put two tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of water into a pot and heat to a boil, stirring constantly. I let the sugar boil for about a minute before dumping the banana slices into the sugar and mixing. Add a 1/4 tsp of cinnamon mix, and remove from heat to cool. There is a lot of variation with this dish from the length of time you work with the sugar to how much cinnamon added.
Second, glazed sweet potato fries (Effortless Bento). Slice two sweet potatoes into fries around 1/2″ in length. The instructions say fry in 340 degree oil; here is what I did: in a large pan put 1 1/2 cups of oil over medium high heat. When oil is heated add small batches of sweet potato fries and fry for three to five minutes. Watch for the surface of the fries to change to a darker color. Remove from oil and dry. In a separate pot, mix two tablespoons of sugar and two tablespoons of mirin over medium heat. Stir constantly, when mix is boiling, add dried sweet potato fries. Coat all of the fries, turn off heat, remove from heat, a dash of salt and one last mix. These are good warm or cold.
Third, marinated orange slices (Effortless Bento). Peel and remove as much of the pith as possible from two oranges, then divide into slices. Put them into a mix of two tablespoons of white wine and two tablespoons of sugar. Marinate in refrigerator. I don’t know how I feel about this one; I tasted too much wine and Barb said it was two sweet. Time will tell.
Last, Sichuan cucumber slices (The Chinese Takeout Cookbook). This is a spicy dessert for me. Barb and the kids do not like the spice. Something I have not liked is the runny nature of the dressing/marinade. I adjusted that today, by upping the sugar to a tablespoon and heating the dressing until it boiled I turned the runny dressing into a glaze that coated the cucumber slices better and concentrated the flavor to a nice spicy tang.
Now when I pack bento boxes for Barb and the kids I can be happy that their dessert is tasty, sweet, not out of a package of cookies, or grapes for the 100th day in a row.