grilled eggplant quinoa salad

30 08 2012

another day, another quinoa salad, right?!  lately i feel like i have been obsessed with quinoa… but in all seriousness, it’s so tasty, and so good for you compared to other rice-y/grain-y options!

a while back, i received a few bottles of chile olive oil because of my participation in an HGEats twitter chat.  although i have significantly reduced the amount of oils i use in my cooking, there is always room for some good “healthy” fat, and i knew i wanted to save these samples for something special.  this past weekend, my parents came over for a combined birthday brunch (my mom’s birthday and mine are just five days apart!), and i whipped up this salad with veg from my CSA share.  it’s TIU-approved and is actually quite versatile — delicious with the veggies still warm from the grill, still delicious chilled in the fridge the next day.  click through for the recipe and olive oil review.

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chard wraps bento

25 03 2012

tomorrow’s lunch has some super-healthy chard wraps (nutrient-rich steamed chard leaves, filled with zuchinni-eggplant-brown rice gratin) and mini lentil-cashew patties. indulging my last winter ingredient cravings before embracing the change of seasons in my kitchen… recipes and nutritional information 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.





twin geese bento

24 04 2011

tomorrow’s lunch has two hanpen geese with egg sheet beaks and feet, nori eyes, and fish sausage cheeks.  they’re sitting on a bed of basmati rice sprinkled with furikake i received in a surprise package from a bento pal — it’s got a combination of sesame seeds, dehydrated green bell pepper, and yuzu, which gives it a very unique, tangy flavor.  i love it!

i punched some little clovers out of fish sausage, and the back portion of this box has steamed sweet potato and broccolini, a takuwan rosette with asparagus leaves, tiny red vine tomatoes, and a cheese flower.  i think i felt like using my goose-shaped cutter because the resulting geese look like they would lay nice fat easter eggs.  did everyone have a nice easter weekend?

don’t forget that the auction for the lovely hand-crafted crane earrings ends in a few hours — all proceeds are to benefit japan relief, so get your bid in while you can!





octobre rose bento

11 10 2010

october is breast cancer awareness month.  like those of my fellow bento bloggers, my life has been touched by this disease, and so i was moved by bento blog’s invitation to participate in a “pink october” awareness-raising project. check out the lovely themed bentos by jenn of bentobird, susan of hawai`i’s bento box cookbook, lia of my bentolicious, debra of hapa bento, and chantale of skinny mini kiki. did you participate? if so, please add a link in the comments!

my “octobre rose” bento is simple — two pale pink onigiri (the rice is mixed with ume vinegar powder, and each one is stuffed with an umeboshi) topped with breast cancer ribbons (made from the outer layer of a kamaboko log), a stamed broccoli floret and purple potato flower, two pieces of veggie tamagoyaki, two pea pods, a vegetarian chicken nugget with a cheese heart, and a two-tone tomato pick with a pink flag.

i should note that the ribbons were inspired by pikko’s cool egg sheet ribbons from her breast cancer awareness bento last year. thanks for the bento-spiration (as always) pikko!





falling ginkgo bento

6 10 2010

i recently ordered a ginkgo leaf cutter, after more than a year of admiring its use by fellow bento-makers such as debra of hapa bento and sheri of happy little bento. the funny thing is, as soon as i got it, i realized that you can accomplish the same shape with a plain old round-fluted cutter and an x-acto knife (just cut a fluted round, and then trim away the profile of the stem — that’s how i made the smaller ginkgo leaves here).

anyway, i didn’t want to miss the opportunity to participate in the last week of hapa bento’s “fall theme” BOMB challenge, and i was inspired by sheri’s recent use of orange against black rice.  so i decided to use up my leftover forbidden rice with some simple falling leaves.

there are a number of gingko trees in my neighborhood, and these leaves remind me of my morning walks with ruby, who loves to chase, lick, or chew any leaf in her path!

my gingko leaves are cut from purple potato, sweet potato, and golden beet — all veggies that really feel autumnal to me — and the back portion of this bento has two vegetarian chicken nuggets, a zebra tomato and a red pear tomato, two pea pods, two carrot tamagoyaki slices, and a steamed broccoli floret.

this is the two-tier kyo bento from bento & co; in the other portion i have some leftover chili, which i’ll mix with rice when it’s time to eat lunch tomorrow.

happy fall!





sandwich bow bento

5 10 2010

last night i attended a lecture and then caught up over a bottle of red wine with a good friend, so i got home too late to bento; i threw some leftover chili in a tupperware on my way out the door this morning and that was that.

tonight also feels rushed, so another quick one:  just a few mini egg salad sandwiches with a salami “bow,” a lotus-cut baby carrot, a steamed broccoli floret, yellow and orange tomatoes, a strawberry and a fig.

what have you got for lunch this wednesday?  find out what everyone else is eating, at shannon’s blog.