Friday, September 11, 2009
Weekly Bento Round-Up #3
For this week's Bento round-up, it's another short week--three entries this time--due not to repetition, but rather to Monday's Labor Day holiday and today's biweekly day off, which Jen's work gives her. These three lunches were all very different, though, and while the Bento Box guacamole took only ten or so minutes to prepare, the other dishes required a little more work than that.
At the end of today's Bento round-up, I'll be sharing that new Bento accessory that I mentioned in last week's edition, which finally arrived in the mail late yesterday afternoon. If you're looking for a good place to buy Bento gear, check eBay, a local Japanese market, or online bento supply shops like I Love Obento. Without further ado, let's look at this week's Bentos.
For Tuesday's Bento, I made Jen a little charcuterie, which is typically a selected of cured meats, cheese, and other assorted small bites. Here, we have--from top-left--petit toasts, Boar's Head prosciutto, a single Babybel (how much is it to unwrap a Babybel? answer: so much fun), sliced gruyère, a little Manchego we got at the Farmer's Market last week, and baby carrots. The second picture above is the non-Bento charcuterie I made myself for lunch that day. Where are the baby carrots in that picture? In their original bag, but not for long, because I always forget how addictive they are. And then I take off my glasses and realize the carrots have given me 20/20 vision, because I've eaten half the bag. No, I'm kidding, of course, but they are a pretty delicious, and very healthy, snack.
You might be wondering what in the world the main dish in this Bento is, and that would be understandable, because I sort of invented it. Sort of. It's Japanese fried rice, which I made with day-old sushi rice (Chinese cookbooks will tell you the best fried rice is made with day-old rice) that I stir-fried in homemade kabayaki sauce, which is that BBQ sauce you find on unagi, or eel, sushi. I thought this would lend it a more Japanese-y flavor than traditional fried rice, which is made with soy sauce. I sautéed red bell pepper and mixed it in with the rice, and layered the whole thing with a thin omelet, rather than scrambling eggs with the fried rice. I got the omelet-layering idea from a dish called Amu at Zen Restaurant in Northampton, MA, where vegetable fried rice is layered with, and wrapped in, a thin omelet. The cool thing about this fried rice--literally, I guess!--is that it would probably be good hot or cold, as it only contains ingredients that you would normally eat cold in sushi rolls. Well, apart from the vegetables, but you can use whatever vegetables you like, and I'm sure those would be good cold, too. Oh, and sesame seeds would be good mixed into this fried rice, too.
The other items in this Bento are another Babybel, a little more prosciutto, and some homemade nut mix with almonds, cashews, and peanuts. I try to pack as many good, filling foods into the Bento box as a I can, because Jen gets hypoglycemic really easily--which means her blood sugar gets very low and she feels unwell from hunger--so it's good for her to have these kinds of food on hand for whenever she gets hungry. That's why, in addition to the Bento box, I always pack Jen a few bagged snacks--and if she doesn't get around to eating them, they're usually the kind of thing I can just re-pack the next day. Oh, and there's hot water in her break room at work, so I usually pack a lemon wedge and a tea bag, too. The lemon wedge goes in the Bento Box bag, so it stays cool.
The Bento Box guacamole trio was the subject of yesterday's post, so you can find out how to make it here. Jen also had a bag of tortilla chips to scoop up guacamole with, and a few bagged snacks. The baby carrots, surely, need no further praise, lest it go to their head and they become full-size carrots. No thank you. I like the baby carrots bite-size and as they are.
How can one help but let out an involuntary "aww" at the sight of this Bento accessory, straight from Hong Kong. These Bento Box food picks, which you could use as an hors d'oeuvre-style pick, or as a skewer for fruit, veggies, or various proteins, were about $5 including shipping, and are actually far sturdier and higher-quality looking than I'd thought they'd looked in the picture on eBay, or even in the above picture. Someone really put a lot of thought into these "Duck Family" (as they were called in the eBay listing) food picks! You can see the background was very well-considered, as it's half above water and half under the sea. And someone had to design the mind-bogglingly cute characters that adorn the top of each food pick. You've gotta love the "Baby" duck's just-cracked shell, the "Mama" duck's very en vogue bonnet, and the "Papa" duck's stylish top hat. Rest assured these will be making frequent appearances in future Bento Boxes.
Thanks for stopping by Beach City Cooking, and I'll see you all very soon for another post. Have a great night, and stay cool!