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.





blossom onigiri bento

23 03 2011

a quick post since i’m a little bit tipsy after a few drinks with my best girlfriend…

tomorrow’s bento in a magewappa box has two onigiri filled with flaked salmon.  i mixed the salmon with chimichurri sauce (a new favorite in my household for serving with salmon — it’s so flavorful!) and mayo and then stuffed the rice, which was a blend of short-grain white and long-grain brown (texmati).  the onigiri are topped with blossoms made from cheese and steamed purple potato — they look familiar to me but i can’t place them.  cherry blossom?  plum blossom?  let me know if you have a guess!

the rest of the box has a steamed broccoli floret, a mini red pepper, a star-cut carrot, a roasted shitake mushroom, some slices of takuwan, a few pea pods, and a pretty sakura pick.

i’m trying to stick to a posting schedule of tuesdays-through-thursdays, with no bento on fridays because of a whole bagel-breakfast-which-turns-into-leftovers-for-lunch extravaganza that we have in my department on a weekly basis.  so, have a great weekend and i’ll see some of you on twitter in the meantime!