quinoa falafel halloween bento

7 10 2012

tomorrow’s lunch is a holiday-themed, healthy twist on a few dishes i love: falafel balls and greek rice. for my falafel, i used a mix from earthly choice brand, and added some middle-eastern flavor (cumin spice and smoked paprika).  the balls are baked instead of fried.  for the “rice,” i used powercakes’ rice-free recipe, pulsing raw cauliflower in the food processor with other raw vegetables and kalamata olives for the briny zing. a cute carved jack-o-pepper with a spider pick gives some halloween flair to the lunch.  click through for details.

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o-tsukimi bento

30 09 2012

my dear twitter friend lisa recently educated me about the japanese holiday o-tsukimi… as a fanatic for all things autumnal, i was eager to try my hand at a bento celebrating this lovely tradition.  but being a bit out of practice with kyaraben, i turned to the best for guidance on how to interpret the themes of this celebration (the harvest moon, bunny, mochi, and fall foods such as squash/pumpkin) into a bento.  hippomum is a bento-maker whose work i have admired ever since i started making my own bento boxes, and looking back through her archives, i found several o-tsukimi-themed bentos.  specifically, these examples from 2009 and 2010 were just the inspiration i needed.  i followed her model of a cheerful rabbit with a mochi pyramid atop a ceremonial stand, and a partially-clouded-over moon against a night sky, switching out only the ingredients.

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salmon yuzu rice bento

10 06 2012

a bento inspired by two dear friends i wish i saw more of — mira, with whom i had dinner at our fave edo sushi on friday night (providing salmon leftovers for the main dish here), and rupal, currently in shanghai but who left me this pretty bottled lemon drink which i knew i would use as a bento prop.

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lentil rice bento

26 02 2012

i spent today batch cooking for the week from some tasty recipes i bookmarked in magazines i read in various airports during the past week’s work-related travels. tomorrow’s lunch, though, is just the basics: leftover lentil rice pilaf from last night’s dinner, plus two chicken-free nuggets (i prefer health is wealth’s version, as they are lower in fat than the comparable boca product) and some fresh veggies.

turns out that a realistic portion of both of these protein-rich foods is waaaay smaller than i thought! but that’s ok, i’m learning to listen to my body telling me it’s full when i eat denser foods, and the balance of healthy foods here is tone it up nutrition plan-friendly. calorie count below.

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vegan pattie bento

30 01 2012

sticking to my plan, i’ve prepared a simple and disposable lunch bento, with no frills or decorative accents. simplifying my take-to-work lunches to fit my work-night routine also means simplifying my bento photography… so i hope you don’t mind this quick, prop-less shot.

tomorrow’s lunch features a delicious, low-calorie recipe i tweaked over the weekend: spicy vegan jamaican patties. for those of you unfamiliar, a pattie is a savory, filled pastry — the jamaican version probably originated from the english/cornish pastie, but similar foods can be found in many other cultures (see, e.g. the latin american empanada). as a light and cooling accompaniment to this spicy treat, i made a fennel and green bean salad. both recipes after the jump…

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happy matryoshka bento

25 04 2011

tonight for dinner i made an awesome pan-seared cod dish, served with shitake-miso-arugula-quinoa salad (recipe below) and a fat slice of oven-roasted beefsteak tomato.

for tomorrow’s lunch, which is my last passover lunch for the year (YAY!), i packed some of the cod beneath a layer of the quinoa salad, topped with a cheese-and-nori matryoshka.  the side portion has steamed broccoli, a fish sausage heart, steamed asparagus, sweet potato “doilies”, pea pods, and a lettuce border.

quinoa has been a controversial grain for those observing passover — because it was not a part of the diet of the jews who fled slavery in egypt, it was never placed on the list of forbidden passover foods, even though it expands like rice and other forbidden grains.  that’s good enough for me, and because quinoa is protein-packed, it’s a nice change from rice.

the basic recipe is simple, and the number of potential add-ins is infinite.  here’s the combo i came up with tonight:

shitake-miso-arugula-quinoa salad (if you can come up with a better name, let me know!)

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 8 medium shitake caps, julienned
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • olive oil to coat a medium skillet
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp. shiro miso paste
  • 3 big handfuls of arugula
  • pepper to taste
  1. coat your skillet with olive oil and heat it up.  add the sliced garlic and julienned shitake caps, and sautee until golden.
  2. add the quinoa to the pan and stir until it’s evenly toasted but not burned.  (this is the same process you would use when making risotto and toasting the arborio rice prior to adding liquid.)
  3. in a separate pot, bring 2 cups of water to boil, and then whisk in the miso paste.
  4. add the quinoa-shitake-garlic mixture to the boiling miso broth, cover and reduce to a low simmer.  allow to cook for 10-15 minutes until all liquid has been absorbed and the individual quinoa grains are plumped.  turn off heat and leave lid on to steam for an additional 2 to 5 minutes.
  5. transfer the quinoa-shitake-garlic mixture to a mixing bowl, and fold in the arugula.  it will steam/wilt in this process; make sure fold until it’s evenly incorporated.

that’s it!  it’s good hot or cold, and very nutritious.





spring horsies bento

19 04 2011

tomorrow’s lunch has some curry rice with two hanpen horses, plus steamed broccoli, a tomato, steamed brussels sprout halves, and some juicy pieces of mochiko chicken.  i made a batch using a combination of both sheri and debra‘s helpful recipes; mine came out looking a little bit different (the batter consistency was so close to pancake batter that the outside of some of the pieces actually look like pancakes), but it was absolutely delicious.

my horsies have manes made from egg sheet that i had leftover from last night’s rilakkuma creation.  i cut a slit in the hanpen and inserted the base of the fringed egg sheet strip so that the mane looks like it’s “growing.”  cilantro sprig harnesses are a cool idea i borrowed from lucky sundae, and i put my own spin on akinoichigo’s saddle idea by using soy paper in which i hand cut little hearts.

have you bid on the awesome play bento set or the beautiful crane earrings, both auctions to benefit the japan relief effort?

and — i posted my lunch in “what’s for lunch wednesday,” did you?