Sometimes pickings can be pretty slim and you need to work with what you have. When that happens with me, I make what I call egg cups. Spray a silicon muffin liner with cooking spray, and just crack an egg. If you want to get fancy, you can top with some seasoning and a dash of hot sauce before baking. I will throw these together the night before in my toaster oven and if you are an egg enthusiast, there are a lot of worse things you could be eating for lunch. I also made a quick tomato salad and threw in some peppers to round the whole thing out. Not a bad lunch to throw together in less than half an hour.
Archive for the ‘bento’ Category
A friend, my sister, and I have started a new blog about our various adventures in food, crafting, and hanging out at our local comic shop. While waiting for me to start bento making again, take a gander at the Ladies of Comicazi blog.
As for the bento making front, I have plans tomorrow afternoon to start working on a stash again. Poor advance planning has been my downfall many times, so let’s hope that I can turn over a new leaf. I still plan to focus on the more healthy side of bento making with the occasion trip to various recipes I have tried out and would like to share.
To keep you all interested, here is a bunny bento I did eons ago:
The bunny is ham and cheese mostly while the bulk of the bento is swiss chard cooked with some fennel sausage. I made the bunny using a set of cutter I bought, so getting the right look was fast and easy. And really, if it isn’t easy, chances are that I’m going to skip the character bento for something more in the generally pretty category.
My summer bentos have a way of leaning towards the boring side. Since spending quality time in my AC-deprived kitchen is pretty low on my list of Summer-Must-Do’s, I’m much more likely to throw a bunch of stuff in a container with some lettuce and call it a salad.
On a rather cool afternoon the other day, I was able to whip up a little something that would be pretty yummy for my lunch the next day. Little fun fact about this bento, this is the second bento I made that afternoon. The first one decided that it didn’t want to go out on the porch to have its picture taken. So rather than cooperating, it decided to jump out of my hands. Emphasis on the word jump, because anyone who knows me also knows that I am a graceful swan of a lady who would never trip over her own feet and spill the contents of an entire lunch on the kitchen floor. Nope, never. Not me. *wink wink
-Soba noodles (with dipping sauce in another container)
-Shitake mushrooms simmered in dashi and soy sauce
-cucumber salad with lemon and mint
There are some nights when I putter around the house trying to come up with something…anything to do in order to avoid making lunches. There are other nights when things fall surprisingly into place and I can get things done in half an hour, cooking and prep included. These nights are few and far between because it is much more common to find me lying on the floor in my living room trying to convince my little dog that giving her a bath or a quick brushing will not, I repeat WILL NOT, bring about the end of days.
But like I said, every once and again I get lucky and a tasty lunch comes together by just cooking some veggies and redressing some leftovers. Example below:
Black Bean Salad (made with pantry staples and leftover cilantro and chopped tomato)
Asparagus (steamed for bento)
Pork Tenderloin (leftover from dinner)
Just because it’s the weekend, it doesn’t mean that I don’t think about packed lunches. You see, The Boy holds a steady weekend job that leaves me home alone most weekend mornings and I need to think of things to occupy my time so I don’t end up doing things like, well….this:
Didn’t know I could knit, did ya?
Unlike the last chicken salad bento I posted, I was able to use mayo this time. The Boy has fewer dietary restrictions than I do, and I like to spice things up with a little something added to the mayo from time to time. Curry chicken salad has become more common now-a-days, but I’ve been known to add Singapore spice, creole spice, well pretty much anything you might find as a fancy-pants aioli or special mayo (think herbs, mustard, hot sauce, etc). Chicken goes so well with other things that it is hard to go wrong with this one. If you are worried, well…that’s what the internet is for. It can do the thinking for you.
The other weekend, I sent The Boy off to work with this:
chicken salad (with lots of freshly ground pepper)
salad with cucumber
mini babybel cheese
yaki onigiri (grilled rice ball, but more on that later)
Here we have another bento for The Boy. On the day I made this, I had something similar only with more broccoli and less yummy yummy curry. If my memory serves me right, this night I used Vermont Curry. I’m sad to say that I have yet to develop a real preference when it comes to curry mixes. Right now I have only been using Japanese brands like Golden, Java, and Vermont. One of these days I am going to have to take better notice and make note of the one I like best. Spicier the better if you ask me. Now if there was only some way to make this less horrible for me.
For those of you who might not be that familiar with Japanese curry, making the curry itself couldn’t be easier. Brown meat of choice in pan, add veggies and water, boil until cooked, add curry mix. It’s so easy in fact that I remember this old gag in the Sailor Moon amine where they claimed she was so inept at cooking that she couldn’t even make boxed curry. Well, I guess princesses from the Moon have more important things to do like talking her cats and flirting with a strange masked man who kept throwing these sharp roses at her…you know, cause he liked her. And I mean liked her liked her.
Oh, and in case anyone out there is interested to know why curry has become such a commonplace dish in Japan, I recommend checking out this article on the Vermont Curry website.
My apologies for the terrible picture. I wasn’t planning on actually featuring this bento until The Boy reminded me of how bad I have been about posting actual bentos….you know those things that I started this blog for in the first place? Well played, The Boy. Well played. Sadly, this leaves us with a terrible phone snap shot rather than something I have attempted to make look nice.
Another older one:
Baked egg cup with spinach
tomato and cheese salad
Spanish rice with beef and ham
That’s right people! Beef and ham! The ham was planned for the bento, but I also had a little steak left over from dinner that I didn’t want to waste. As you can tell from the pic, this is another older one and you can see that there is a lot more food in here than I normally have in my lunch now.
Looking at this reminds me of how much I love those egg cups though. A perfect bit of protein to get me through the afternoon and if you like eggs, there are a million difference combinations you can try. Best of all, they are really easy to bake in the toaster oven the night before.
Sometimes when work is throwing me for a loop and I want to spend my lunch hours hiding from the world, I will use my bento as a way of a little pick-me-up. I’ll pack something extra special and it makes me remember that small moments and treats can have a really large effect.
And so I present, Shrimp Cocktail Bento…complete with the semi-homemade (with recipe posted at the end) cocktail sauce. Trust me, it’s hard not to feel awesome about your lunch when everyone else in the lunch room is eating boring sandwiches and brown/red smoosh in Gladware containers. You can start to feel the sophistication oozing out of your pores and creating an aura of kick-ass all around you.
shrimp and cocktail sauce
sauteed spinach with garlic
chickpeas with parsley, olive oil, and vinegar
Homemade cocktail sauce:
horseradish to taste (I like mine pretty spicy)
squeeze of lemon juice
hot sauce to taste