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.





hello kitty bunnies bento

27 03 2011

tomorrow’s lunch has two HKs wearing bunny costumes.  a sweet bento pal sent me the hats and bows pick set over the summer, and after seeing a few great HK bentos by sheri where she used these bows, i’ve been saving them up for my interpretation of our favorite sanrio kitty friend! the faces are made from cheese, nori, sesame seeds, and yellow soy paper, and the bunny costumes are made from pink egg sheet.  i used lia’s fab tutorial for making the egg sheet — straining is the key to a smooth texture!

the rest of my lunch consists of several nice-sized pieces of the battered cod we made for saturday night dinner (after a trip to a local fish market), steamed broccoli, a few steamed purple potato slices, and the usual mini-pepper and vine tomato.  there is a small container of tartar sauce for the fish that isn’t pictured here.

the bento4japan auctions are still going strong — we have raised more than $2000 since we started!  new items are still being added regularly, including generous donations from our favorite online bento vendors… like this adorable shinzi katoh snack-sized box from kir devries!   such a sweet design from a well-known japanese zakka artist… if you don’t bid on it, i just might, haha!

also, just bento’s maki recently posted about the flow of information regarding the japanese disaster, the importance of responding rationally, and ways to help.  this is a great (and important) read, so please check that out too.