asian pantry bento, redux

2 04 2012

i know, spring has sprung, and i am psyched to try some new seasonal recipes… but i’ve been traveling like a crazy person for work, and haven’t had time to put together a blog-worthy spring lunch. until i can get around to doing that, i thought i’d share a lunch from a couple of weeks back. it was made with almost exactly the same ingredients as the pantry-based lunch i posted about here: same cannelini-rice mix (this time, with a quarter-cup of steamed spinach mixed in), same burdock namul (this time, with a purple potato flower garnish), same japanese pickles (the batch of veggies i pickled was a mix of lotus, daikon, and myoga ginger, and i’m still working my way through the jar). although this is super simple, the solid combo of carb-plus-veg-plus-protein (beans) is in keeping with the tone it up nutrition plan principles for meal 3 of the day (where meal 1 is breakfast and meal 2 is a mid-morning snack).

this came together quickly with a bamboo skewer of regular old canned black olives (leftover from another meal). the onigiri are filled with about a teaspoon each of white miso, and wrapped with a red shiso leaf from the pickle jar — these are what give my pickles the pretty pink color, although they go dark purple-ish in the jar after giving off their natural dye.

nutrition info below.

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raw veggie rolls bento

18 03 2012

i am a new, but sure-to-be-faithful, reader of the gorgeous blog 101 cookbooks, which has some really inspiring vegetarian recipes. tomorrow’s lunch includes a few raw veggie rolls from a big batch i adapted from one of the site’s recipes. i’ve also got some wheatberry and cranberry salad based on a dean & deluca recipe; i think this chewy-tangy-nutty blend is a nice compliment. i’m looking forward to this flavorful and nutritionally well-balanced lunch.

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roasted eggplant soba bento

7 02 2012

a quick lunch tomorrow (in my new bento & co. “origami bento,” bought on karaimame’s brilliant suggestion), made up of leftovers from batch dinner cooking i did earlier this week, plus a pantry item.  recipes and calorie count below.

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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.





new birdie bento

14 01 2010

all japanese flavors in tonight’s bento… clockwise from left, going in a spiral:  two pan-fried gyoza (studded with fish cake flowers), carrot sticks, some steamed broccoli, enoki mushrooms, two pieces of tempura fried sweet potato, cherry tomatoes with two steamed sweet potato stars, miso-sesame-honey eggplant made with a variation of hapa bento’s excellent recipe, a sesame mochi, and some kamaboko slices.

on top of the steamed broccoli is a beautiful takuwan bird, cut with a new handmade cutter, which was a present from my pal sherimiya — thanks so much sheri, i love it!  i think i’ll try cutting something thinner next time, so that the intricate shape of the cutter is reflected more crisply (this was my first time using it, so any flaw in the bird was with my technique, NOT the cutter!!).

i’m looking forward to the the end of the workday tomorrow… i filed a massive brief this week, which had me up working late several nights, and i’m exhausted.  hope you all have a wonderful and restful weekend!





miso salmon bento

2 10 2009

bento 12aquatic-themed bento using miso-broiled salmon leftover from last night’s dinner.  also in the main box:  yellow wax beans, orange and red grape tomatoes with fish and turtle food picks, veggie gratin in a silicone food cup, takuwan slices, and blueberries with one strawberry in a paper food cup.  top tier:  sesame-sprinkled rice with sweet potato/kiwi “star fish” and radish/nori “octopus tentacles.”