lentil-walnut meatballs (aka “amazeballs”!)

4 01 2013

lentil meatballs text revised

earlier this year for a date night, the hubby and i walked over the williamsburg bridge (which is pretty close to our apartment) and headed into the lower east side for dinner at the meatball shop.  the concept of this restaurant is that you order whatever kind of meatballs you want (beef, pork, chicken, veggie, and a variety of often-kooky daily specials, like a reuben-sandwich-flavored ball), and then get to choose from a variety of “bases” (mashed potatoes, greens, etc.) and sauces (tomato, pesto, etc.) to build your own dish.  i had the “vegetable meatballs,” and at the time, i was doing the #plantPOWER challenge — so after a long discussion with my server, we agreed that my dish would be prepped without the standard shower of parmesan cheese that normally tops the balls, in order to keep it plant-based.  i should have realized, but did not at the time, that the mixture for the balls also had an animal-based ingredient: eggs.  oopsie.  my #plantPOWER intentions were good and i thought i was covered!  but then i found a new york times article publishing the recipe, and i realized i had gone astray.

last night, in the face of the unbelievably cold weather we’ve been having in NYC, i was in the mood for some plant-based comfort food, and i decided to modify the meatball shop recipe so that it would be completely plant-based.  click through for the modified recipe!

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“summer chill” quinoa salad bento

28 06 2012

quinoa — which is actually a seed, not a grain — is a superfood that i’ve used before (see exhibit A and exhibit B).  but since getting on the tone it up nutrition plan, which requires me to avoid starchy foods in the evenings, i’ve been turning to it more frequently as an accompaniment to lean proteins or as the base for refreshing salads.  the salad in today’s lunchbox is a perfect “summer chill” concoction, full of fresh seasonal veg and piquant flavor — i made it for some girlfriends coming over to hang out and drink wine on my roofdeck.  click through recipe and nutrition info.

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pikachu curry bento

19 09 2010

we had a bit of a trying weekend with a jewish holiday that involves fasting (NOT my favorite!) and a sick puppy, so just a quick and easy dinner tonight, so that we can relax on the couch tonight watching the motoGP aragon race that we DVR’d.

golden curry to the rescue!  ours has red potatoes, spanish onions, button mushrooms, carrot chunks, and cubed tofu.  i layered some in a box with some leftover brown-and-white rice (mixed with a bit of furikake), and added a piece of corn, some steamed broccolini, one grape tomato with a leaf pick, a carrot star, and two chicken nuggets (i love something breaded with my curry!).

i realized recently that in all my bentos (more than 200 over the past year), i have never done a pikachu, despite having seen so many lovely examples — for example by shoppingmum and akinoichigo.   so for decoration, i tried a simple pikachu face cut from cheese, with nori-and-cheese eyes, nori nose, mouth and ear tips, and vegetarian ham cheeks and tongue.  a lady apple on the side, and we’re good to go — hope you all have an easy start to your work week!





confetti rice bento

8 09 2010

tired work nights call for quick, easy meals; it’s no surprise that fried rice is one of my favorites. this batch has everything but the kitchen sink (leftovers from the last few weeks of summer produce): red and yellow peppers, serrano chiles, mushrooms, kosher hot dogs, spanish onion, kimchi, and zucchini, plus freshly-ground black pepper, soy sauce, gochujang, and a bit of sesame oil for flavor. the boyfriend hates peas and carrots, so i added a few of those, plus some takuwan strips, on top (rather than mixing in, which would mean he couldn’t pick them out) — i think the scattered effect looks a bit like festive confetti.

the rest of the box has steamed broccolini, cucumber sticks sprinkled with black sesame seeds, a fried quail egg, and a grape tomato. for dessert, i have a sidecar with green and champagne grapes, plus beautiful early-fall raspberries from my CSA share, garnished with a bit of mint.  that’s it; no fancy decorations this time (save for one pick), just a quick transformation of leftovers into a reasonably appealing lunch for tomorrow.

i need to take ruby on one more walk tonight, and then i’ll probably fall asleep watching the giants game.  g’night bento pals!





faux strawberries bento

28 06 2010

hey!  i know, it’s been forever since i posted!  quick life update:  left my law firm job and am thinking of transitioning back into museum work; have been to las vegas, new orleans, and philadelphia (twice) in the last three weeks visiting friends, seeing art, eating tons of food, and celebrating a birthday girl and a bride; and am still exploring the new food and craft spots in my new neighborhood and fine-tuning the decor details in the new[-ish] apartment.  lots going on, but i hope to get back on a regular bento schedule soon… starting today, in fact!

this bento has two “strawberries” cut from red pepper with mint leaves and white cheese “seeds” (cut from a straw section with one end pinched to make it pointier for a tear-drop shape).  my strawberries are resting on savory quinoa salad (recipe below) topped with the thinnest possible layer of plain quinoa (for better color contrast against the red pepper flesh).  the rest of the box has steamed broccoli with two carrot butterflies, sliced radish, takuwan flowers, vegetarian ham-wrapped okra, a grape tomato cut in half, and a few blueberries.

hope you have all been enjoying your summer travels, projects, and whatever else you’re up to!

savory quinoa salad with goat cheese, thyme and mint

  • 1 cup of quinoa, 2 cups water (you can halve or double the recipe if you want, but keep the 1 quinoa:2 water ratio the same!)
  • 2 springs fresh thyme (pull the tiny leaves off and discard the woody stem)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped (i used the leftovers from cutting out the “strawberries”)
  • 1/4 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic (can be omitted for a lighter, more subtly flavored salad)
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms (i actually used some leftover stems from mushroom caps that the boyfriend stuffed for sunday brunch)
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. goat cheese per serving (this recipe makes 2 servings so i used about half of the pre-packaged cheese “log”, but you may want to add more or less)
  • mint for garnish
  1. add your quinoa and water to a saucepan, and bring the mixture up to a boil.  as soon as it’s boiling, reduce it to the lowest simmer possible, and stir every 2-3 minutes until the water is absorbed.  the total cooking time should be 10-15 minutes counting the time to boil.  (another method is to bring the quinoa to a boil, make sure it’s tightly covered, and turn the flame completely off, letting it steam for about 15 minutes until cooked.)  when the quinoa is cooked, fluff with a fork.
  2. add most of your olive oil to a small pan, and cook all your veggies until the peppers are tender and the onions translucent.  turn the flame off and incorporate the fresh thyme.
  3. in a bowl, fold the sautéed vegetables into the cooked quinoa, and drizzle the rest of the olive oil over top.  crumble some goat cheese on top (it melts into a deliciously gooey texture over the warm salad), and garnish with a mint sprig or some julienned mint.

so fast and easy… a perfect summer salad!

[as seen on more design please]





fried chicken sushi bento

10 06 2010

“fried chicken sushi”… that sounds weird, right?  well, i had leftover chicken, and i thought it might be nice to have a sushi roll in my bento, since that’s pretty rare for me (due to the fact that i don’t trust raw fish to keep fresh in the box at variable temperatures).  this maki includes vinegared rice, butter lettuce, thin slices of red onion, thin strips of jalapeno, and lime zest grated over the chicken just before rolling.  i think the combination is fantastic — try it and let me know if you agree!

the rest of my box contains quick-pickled cucumber slices (in a squished paper food cup), a puffy tomato “heart,” two tamogyaki slices, two steamed brussels sprout halves and a steamed broccoli floret, three carved carrot flowers, and a few pea pods.  i propped a juicy-ripe strawberry up in the background before popping it in my mouth!





veggie burrito bento

18 10 2009

bento 21fruit tier:  red and green grapes, kiwi slices, pomegranate seeds and raspberries.  main tier, lined in spinach leaves:  veggie burritos (grilled yellow pepper and red onion, rice, tofu, cilantro, sour cream, black beans); sliced farmer’s market pepper in a silicone cup, green and orange tomatoes, purple and yellow cauliflower and broccoli, purple beans, red carrot skewer.

[as seen on just bento and eco-salon’s “7 painless ways to be an almost-vegetarian“]