Friday, January 30, 2009

Thursday's Bento

Top: Baked Apples, celery, pear tomatoes, tuna-stuffed inari, pickles

Bottom: Greens version 1, roasted veggies, greens version 2, celery, tuna with cilantro hot sauce

Didn't have time to post this yesterday. And then after a week of bentos I wanted a day off today.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Accidental Wall-E

Top: Tuna-stuffed inari (with spicy mayo and topped with sorrel), pickles, celery, pear tomatoes, and baked apples.

Bottom: Roasted veggies, teriyaki-pineapple meatballs, greens version 1, and an onigiri with a surprise stuffing (in other words, I don't remember what I stuffed it with).

One of my labmates saw this picture, and declared it to look like an adult Wall-E. At first, he just said it looked like a face, with the inari as eyes and the onigiri making the nose/mouth. Then he pondered the box a little longer and declared it a robot face, something like an adult Wall-E.

I hadn't thought about it this morning, making this - making the inari, really, since I saw the inari skins in the fridge and thought 'oops, better use those up!' even though I hadn't planned to make them. The rest of the stuff was all pre-prepped, so I just had to heat and pack. Even still, this bento stuff is taking more time than I'd like. When other bento-ers talk about how fast they pack their bentos, I am usually jealous. Maki over at JustBento says it takes practice to get that fast, and I believe her. Anyway, packing my bento, just trying to fit everything in, I accidentally made a face. :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Onigiri Today

Top: greens version 2, roasted veggies, and three onigiri (teddy bear is filled with tuna and miso, star is filled with cilantro-pepper sauce, and heart has nori wrapped around it and is filled with tuna).

Bottom: baked apples, celery, pickled ginger and peppers, and tuna topped with cilantro-pepper sauce. There's also a few folded sheets of seasoned seaweed under the pickles, but they didn't hold up well. Lesson for next time: put the folded nori in the top of the bento box where the chopsticks go!

I went to a seminar today at lunch time, and as there was pizza, I promptly forgot about my bento. Instead, I stashed it in the fridge and ate it for dinner. It was still pretty tasty, probably thanks to tips I've read about bento food needing to be well-spiced.

Monday, January 26, 2009

beginning bento again

Top: greens version 2, tuna, cilantro hot sauce, pickles, and cold soba with ponzu.

Bottom: greens version 1, roasted veggies, and baked apples.

Greens version 1 are a more Mediterranean style with olive oil and raspberry vinegar. Greens version 2 are more Thai/Indo inspired using olive oil, fish sauce and sambal terasi. Both are pretty tasty, though version 2 would have benefited from sesame oil.

The cilantro hot sauce is a riff on the sauce recipe of approximately the same name in South American Table. I had a ton of cilantro hanging around, so I figured what the heck and made it. Pretty tasty, somewhat akin to a very cilantro-y salsa verde.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bentoing Again

So, I fell off the bento wagon this week. I didn't get my johbisai done this weekend, and then I stayed home Monday because of the holiday so I didn't bento Monday. I actually had a sum total of one bento this week. And though I packed a huge salad today for lunch, it didn't get eaten. In my defense, salad when it's raining out doesn't seen very appetizing. Instead I went for something hot - a burger - and was dissapointed when it wasn't as good as what I could have brought from home if only I'd put in the prep work.

In any case, here's the one bento of the week:

Top: greens, tuna, and shiritaki with miso

Bottom: leftover Tampiqueña

Friday, January 16, 2009

No Bento today, but here's yesterday's

Top: lamb chop, spinach, goat cheese, homemade spaghetti and marinara with parmesan

Bottom: leeks, acorn squash, two quail eggs, and some goat cheese shaped like an egg.

Before I do more bentos I need to do some cooking. Looking forward to getting that done soon, though.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

So, I was incredibly rushed, both this morning and at lunch - I actually only wolfed down about half my bento before returning to work because that was enough to take the edge off. In any case, I didn't get a chance to take a picture. However, I used my natural lunch bento, which totals 580mls.

In the top tier, I had a cupcake tin with homemade pasta and marinara with a sprinkling of parmesan, greens, and a lamb chop with chèvre. In the bottom tier, I had leeks vinaigrette and some roasted acorn squash that I shaped into a nest and filled with two quail eggs and some carrot pieces. I figured that was the best way to protect the mojority of the squash, eggs, and carrots from getting the vinaigrette from the leeks on them.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tuesday and Salad

I planned a completely different bento for today, but didn't have time to prep sufficiently. I wanted a relatively low-cal meal for lunch, so I went with salad and a few things from from the freezer.

Top Left: salad toppings - tomatoes, avocado, goat cheese

Top Right: teriyaki-pineapple meatballs, havarti cheese, lobster salad

Bottom: carrots and lettuce for my salad

Not pictured: salad dressing

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday Lunchtime!

I knew I was going to be having kind of a long day and exercising quite a bit (4.25 miles running and half a mile at the pool), so I packed a big bento today. I ended up not finishing the inari and not eating the two Pocky sticks in the lid of my bento at lunchtime because I got full, even though I'd just finished my swim. I'll probably eat all that later, though. Anyway, here's my bento:

Top: two inari stuffed with rice/quinoa mixture and topped with a tsp or so of lobster salad, a quail egg, roasted acorn squash, and greens

Bottom Left: more lobster salad, and blanched leeks with some vinaigrette

Bottom Right: carrot flowers, paté, Cypress Grove truffle tremor, and pineapple

The Bento Challenge

I am participating in the Bento Challenge over at Just Bento. My goals for the duration are to make bento lunches more regularly, use all of my CSA produce during the week, and get better at making bentos, specifically to make cuter, more streamlined bentos. This week, I want to make lunch bentos every day this week except Friday, when I will be having free lunch at Journal Club. I will plan to go ahead and make a snack bento Friday, though. Additionally, for the challenge we are focusing on mise en place and pre-planning my bentos. This means that I need to have my bento supplies ready for the next day every night. It also means that I needed to plan my bentos for the week over the weekend.

While I am trying to build and maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes getting to a more reasonable weight than where I’m at, I am not planning to do the weight loss portion of the bento challenge for the most part. However, I can already tell you that my bento containers hold either 580mls or 690mls. At least, that’s my actual bento boxes. I also have some lock and locks that range from 250mls to 450mls. Additionally, I need about 2000kcal/day for my current weight/height/metabolism.

At the end of the week, I’ll post my menu for the week as it was originally planned and compare it to what I actually ate.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Fun on Friday Bento

I managed to make things a little cuter today with carrot flowers and my little quail egg in its acorn squash "nest." Thankfully, the flavor combination worked well and lunch was tasty. Carrot flowers separating the cornichons from the pineapple was a total must.

Top: green beans, steak, sesame greens, acorn squash, quail egg
Bottom: Cypress Grove Truffle Tremor, carrot flowers, paté, cornichons, and pineapple.
Not pictured: two choc. chip cookies that I stashed in the lid/chopsticks compartment.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thursday's Lunch

I didn't do the best job on the photo, but since my camera ran out of batteries right after this, I didn't get to take a second photo. Anyway, it's mostly the same staples today. I was pressed for time, so it's not exactly a cute bento today.

Top: Inari, teriyaki-pineapple meatballs, sesame greens, and homemade spaghetti and marinara.

Bottom: Paté, Cypress Grove Truffle Tremor, cornichons, pineapple, steamed green beans, a little bit of carrot, and a quail egg.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Paté. Mousse. Forcemeats.

I love me some charcuterie. Always have, ever since I was a bitty little thing, having my first bite of paté. In truth, it could have been liverwurst, since I first remember having that as a small child. I've this vague memory of being between 2 and 4 years old, sitting on the kitchen counter, and eating a liverwurst sandwich with pickles, mustard, and mayo. I don't remember what kind of bread the sandwich was made with, but I do remember wanting more liverwurst straight from the package. And to this day, if I'm buying liverwurst, it's the same one my mom bought - Oscar Mayer liverwurst. But back to paté. I love the stuff. And I love to cook. Even still, it took me a long while to make it.

I finally got around to making paté myself last year, but the recipe I used resulted in a heavy, rich product that I liked but couldn't finish. I vowed I wouldn't make paté again until I found a better recipe. Something similar to the Goose Mousse I get at Whole Foods. Lo and behold, I finally found a good recipe. It was the Chicken Liver Mousse recipe in The Girl and The Fig cookbook. Since I didn't want to make 4+ cups of mousse, and had a half pound of calf liver on hand already, I scaled-down the recipe and used the calf liver instead of chicken livers. This meant I had to tinker with the recipe a little more than I thought I'd have to, and the end result was what I'd consider a new recipe. It's very, very good.

Liver Paté

2 slices pancetta, chopped
1 tbs minced shallots
1 tbs chopped leeks
1/2 lb calf livers, chopped
1 egg
3 tbs heavy cream
1 tbs brandy
1 tbs ruby port
1 tbs chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
pinch pepper
pinch tsp nutmeg
1 tbs flour
3 tbs butter at room temp, plus one and a half sticks

preheat oven to 375 F

place bacon, shallots, leeks, and livers in a food processor and puree until smooth. Add the eggs, cream, brandy, port, parsley, ginger, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and blend thoroughly. Slowly work the flour in and continue to puree until there are no large pieces (I actually dumped all these ingredients into my blender instead - it was not as good as a food processor, but it did the job).
grease an ovenproof dish with 1 tbs of butter and fill dish with liver mixture. Cover with aluminum foil, place in a pan with water that reaches halfway to the top and put in the oven. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the center reaches 160 F on an instant read thermometer. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

In a blender or food processor, whip the remaining two tablespoons of butter into the mixture. Because this wasn't liquidy enough for my blender, I melted butter in half-stick increments and added that to the mix until I got thorough mixing. It turned out to be a stick and a half. Anyway, puree until smooth, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and serve.

Also tastes good cold if you want to make it ahead of time for an event.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Another Day Another Bento

I had time to make some inari this morning! I made them with a half quinoa, half genmai rice mixture. When I first made the rice/quinoa mixture it was fairly sticky, but that's faded. I think from now on I'll make it and then make onigiri or inari immediately to preserve the stickiness.

I also tried to make a molded quail egg, and I did get slight indentations for a chick face, but clearly I wasn't using hot enough eggs. It's a learning process, I guess.

Anyway, here's whats in the bento today:

Top: two inari, two teriyaki-pinepple meatballs, pineapple, and below the meatballs and pineapple is sesame greens.

Bottom: Paté, carrots, cornichons, Cypress Grove Truffle Tremor, steamed green beans, and the boiled quail egg.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Top: Spaghetti with Mushroom Marinara and parm/romano cheese, steamed green beans, sliced steak, and cole slaw

Bottom Left: carrot flowers, paté, Cypress Grove Truffle Tremor, cornichons

Bottom Right: a whole lotta pineapple

I had a slightly different lunch planned, but due to lack of time, I didn't get the inari made and then I forgot about my quail eggs.....better luck tomorrow.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Dinner Bento 1/3/09

Top: Salad with carrots, tomatoes, and garlic cheese curds. The lettuce was separated from everything else during the day by virtue of a foil baking cup holding the other things.

Bottom: Pineapple, sliced flap steak marinated in cholula chile-lime seasoning with lemon juice, paté, and roasted potato slices.

Not pictured is my salad dressing and the cauliflower-cheese soup that I have been keeping around in case my bento dinners aren't enough.

Lunch Bento for 1/3/09

Top: salad with cheese; tomatoes, mushrooms, and asparagus (mushrooms and asparagus are under the tomatoes) in a separate compartment to keep the lettuce from wilting.

Bottom Left: roasted potato slices, peas sautéed with pancetta, delicata squash stuffed with ground beef/pork.

Bottom Right: pineapple, carrots, tomatoes, and paté

Not the most harmonious of lunches but it's tasty. I made some paté recently and decided to portion it out for use in my bentos. Alas, I didn't think to pack crackers today in my rush to get out the door.

Bento 1

A small dinner bento.

From Mead and Other Musings

Top: a salad with carrots
Bottom: grilled flap steak marinated in cholula chile-lime seasoning and lemon, steamed asparagus, and pineapple

Not pictured: Cauliflower and cheese soup, dressing for salad.