Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! was our Daring Cooks’ April 2011 hostess. Renata challenged us to think “outside the plate” and create our own edible containers! Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 17th to May 16th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!

Edible containers = Food inside of food. How brilliant is that?

Speaking of brilliant, some of the creations these daring cooks came up with just blew me away. Check em’ out at the daring cooks homepage.

Me on the other hand, I created plain boring wraps. On the menu at half the chinese restaurants in the country, they are entirely unoriginal, but I had a craving. Sometime you just have to do what your stomach tells you to do. Mine has some pretty good ideas.

Cool and crispy on the outside. Warm flavor explosion on the inside. Super adorable, bite sized, and vegan to boot!

The key to making the tofu is good marinating and caramelization. This transforms tofu from tasteless mushy blobs to crispy flavorful nuggets.

The key to making good lettuce wraps is boston bibb lettuce. Vibrant, green, easy to work with, and more vitamin A than iceberg.

First step is making the tofu.

Marinated tofu

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp grated onion

1 clove garlic minced

1 block extra firm tofu, diced small

2 tbsp oil for frying

3 tbsp sugar

Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, onion, and garlic in a medium sized bowl.  Add the diced tofu and gently stir (careful not to break the tofu) until tofu is covered. Let marinate in fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Heat oil in frying pan over medium-high heat. Add tofu. Sprinkle sugar on top. Turn heat down to medium and fry, stirring frequently, until tofu is golden brown and caramelized. If it starts to burn before it is finished, lower heat. This may take 10 minutes or so.

Remove from pan, set aside

Tofu filling – adapted from food.com

Marinated fried tofu (see above) cut into small cubes

2 carrots, diced small

1 red bell pepper, diced small

1 small sweet onion (or 1/2 large), diced small

1 carton button mushrooms, diced small

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp oil

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup water + 2 tbsp (divided)

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp ketchup

2 tsp mustard

1 tsp sriracha (or other hot chili sauce)

Heat a frying pan with 2 tbsp oil. Add veggies (except for garlic), saute for 5-7 minutes or until onions are completely translucent. Add garlic and saute for an additional 1-2 minutes.

Combine 1/4 cup of the water and the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Add to pan along with the pre-fried tofu. Continue to simmer until all the water from the sauce has nearly evaporated and the sauce gets sticky and starts to caramelize. Stir in additional 2 tbsp of water and remove from heat.

Lettuce wraps

1 package boston bibb lettuce

long chives (optional)

Muffin pan

This part is pretty self explanatory I would think. Wash the lettuce. Break off the leaves, and, being careful not to crack the lettuce, push into a muff in tin. Add filling and voila! Lettuce wraps. Optionally you can tie them up with a chive for an even more convenient little food package.

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