Archive for December, 2009

Sunday Dinner Bento

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Monday’s bentos are usually the best simply because I have all Sunday to get ready for it. Either I have really tasty leftovers from a nice Sunday dinner, or I’m not too worn out from work to really take the time to make the bento staples that I need to help me make it through the rest of the week’s bentos.

This bento features some leftovers from my Sunday roasted chicken dinner. I admit to using jarred gravy, which in the end was a huge loss cause the chicken drippings were incredible looking, but gravy is one of those things that I am still trying to get a real grasp on. Practice does make perfect, but a cranky chef is not always going to enjoy the meal.

Roasted Chicken Bento

There is rice under the chicken and I added a few dried apricots for dessert. The only extra cooking I did for this bento was the artichoke. I love artichokes with a passion and while my preferred method is to stuff them, I chose to steam this one instead. Steamed in my rice cooker while I cooked the rice for dinner, I only had to worry about making a dip for the artichoke leaves. While many recipes are mayo based for dip, I either use yogurt or even salad dressing instead.

Roasting Peppers

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Almost anyone who enjoys cooking and considers themselves a “foodie” will tell you that while taking the right shortcuts in the kitchen is not only encouraged but can be necessary due to space and time constraints, there are some things that are just not the same unless you make your own.  I would argue that roasted peppers are one of those things.  This might be because I like my peppers softer than the ones you find in the jars, but regardless, these are so easy to make that I can very rarely come up with an excuse not to do the roasting myself.

There are several methods you can use when roasting your peppers, but the overall principal remains the same. Roast the pepper until the skin turns black and can be peeled away. That’s pretty much it. I’ve roasted peppers on my bbq grill, in my toaster oven, in my conventional oven, and even directly on the burners themselves. (You can blame my mother for that one. She once told me a story where she said she and my grandmother used to roast peppers over the gas burner like marshmallows when she was a kid.)

roasting

During these colder months, the broiler can be your best friend. Wash and clean your bell peppers. I would I suggest using any color other than green. In fact, you can mix colors for a prettier presentation if you are so inclined. Place the whole pepper under the broiler and watch it as the skin starts to bubble up and turn black. Once it is black on one side, rotate the peppers until they are black all around.

Once the peppers are roasted to your liking, you can either try to peel it while it is still warm, or wait for them to cool. I personally like to wrap the peppers in some foil until they are cool enough to touch but still warm. Then, when I go to peel them and remove the core, all I need to do is pull on the stem and pretty much everything comes out of the middle. You might need to scrap the pepper a little with a knife to remove any stray seeds or patches of skin. Lastly, dress the peppers with some thinly sliced garlic, olive oil, and some salt before serving.

Peppers

I prefer to slice my peppers into strips and eat them either in sandwiches or just with some great crusty bread. I always serve roasted peppers with antipasto and will sometimes add them to my bentos. But as I said in the beginning, using great fresh peppers to make your own are so much better than those you find in a jar.

Happy Holidays

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Santa and Kitsu

Icebox Cake

Friday, December 18th, 2009

So, it’s not a bento, but at least it’s something right? I’m not really sure what happened but I haven’t had the time to spend on my blog as maybe I should. So before I even start thinking about New Year’s Resolutions and all that crap, I am instead going to focus on updating this poor blog a few time before the new year even arrives.

Here is a picture of what my mother called an Icebox Cake. She used to make this every now and then when I was a kid for dessert. The trick to making this “cake” is to put it together hours before you are going to eat it so that the pudding has time to soak into the graham crackers and make the whole thing soft and gooey. The only real effort this recipe requires is choosing what flavor of pudding to use. In my version, we used Devil’s Food chocolate pudding.

Icebox Cake

Ice Box Cake (serves 2-4)

One package instant pudding and amount of milk required to make it
one package graham crackers (each box has about 2 packages inside)

Prepare pudding according to the directions on the box. Once pudding has set, spread pudding thickly over two graham crackers and place in a dish. Add two more graham crackers on top and continue to layer until you have about 5 levels or so. The top layer should be pudding so that you can crush up an extra graham cracker as the pretty topping. Place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving.

Mind you, this recipe is as simple as they come, so feel free to get creative by adding extras like whipped cream, jam, or even Heath Bar pieces to it. Just remember that if you want anything to remain crunchy, it should be added right before eating.

Whoa…

Monday, December 14th, 2009

and i’m back. Though once again I must admit to being neglectful. Part of the reason I was away was a rather nasty cold, ad the other part is just being too worn out from work and my hectic schedule to feel like posting a bunch of stuff. The trouble is that this leaves me with a bunch of pictures on my camera that are just forced to sit there sad and neglected. I do have some plans for posting this week, especially since I am hoping to attend a french themed night at my local watering-hole/pub.

While I am forcing you wait wait once again, here is a little something to entertain you:

Disney seems to have started a push to utilize the Muppets again and there have been a couple viral videos out there lately. I sure hope this is a sign of more to come.