Monday, August 18, 2008

August 18th Bento Lunch

BF was on vacation for most of last week which is why I haven't posted much. Everything is back to normal today though, so I got up bright and early this morning and decided to make a donburi bento. I think this is the first time I've actually made rice in the morning. Usually I make it the night before and refrigerate or freeze it. It didn't actually take too much extra time though because by the time I had the donburi topping finished, the rice was ready.
Here's a picture of what is in the donburi. The recipe is a variation on one that appears in the book 'Bento Boxes - Japanese Meals on the Go'. There is a sliced inari pouch that I boiled for a few minutes in a mixture of 1/3 cup chicken broth, 1 Tbsp each of mirin, soy sauce and sake and 1 tsp sugar. Next I added some canned mushrooms I had leftover from the weekend (mushrooms are the one vegetable that I don't eat fresh. I've never liked fresh mushrooms but I love the canned ones), and let it boil about two more minutes before adding the parsley. Once the parsley had wilted, I added a beaten egg and stirred the mixture until the egg had set. The last step was to transfer it onto the rice in the bento box. I used the bento box divider in order to be able to compact as much rice into that area of the bento as possible.

It looked a little plain so I put a couple of red pepper butterflies on top. On the right hand side of the bottom tier are slices of steak left over from last night's barbecue. Between the steak, the egg and the inari, this bento is pretty heavy on the protein, which is fine for BF. If it was for me, I would have left out the steak altogether.

The veggies are simple. Just asparagus, broccoli and sugar snaps. My grocery store has been out of asparagus for the past week so we were happy to be able to get some yesterday.

For fruit there are orange slices, half of a plum, strawberry slices, blueberries and two cherries. I learned a neat trick for orange slices, to make them easier to eat. You just slice the orange away from the rind for about two thirds of the way across the wedge. Then when you go to eat it, you can just hold it by the peel and tear the orange off the rest of the way. For dessert there is a chocolate mint square from my freezer stash.

Sadly, I think summer is nearing it's end. I saw the first sign of it this weekend: strawberries were $4.99 a box. Well, at least it's still hot out!

As an aside, this weekend I started reading "Japanese Cooking, A Simple Art" (previously I was just using it as a reference whenever I needed a recipe or ran into an ingredient I didn't know how to cook). Ordinarily I wouldn't read a cookbook cover to cover but this book is really exceptional in how much there is to learn from it. There are full chapters on knives, sashimi, sushi, soups, pickles, sweets and tea, as well as chapters on each of the fundamental cooking methods (grilling, pan frying, teaming, simmering, deep frying, etc), each with a discussion of the subject and accompanying recipes. I'm discovering all kinds of new cooking techniques and philosophies on food, it's really exciting. I made some awesome chicken udon soup this weekend, and I've been working on perfecting my own version of eggs and rice as a light breakfast. Next I think I'm going to tackle light appetizer-style soups. I definitely recommend this book, it's completely changed the way I approach cooking.


Lyvvie said...

That sounds really nice! I'm the same as you and won't eat raw mushrooms. Not since the episode of ER where the vegan child got E-coli from eating uncooked mushrooms and the mother went mental. Figured the less cow poop I eat the better.

I'll look into getting the book as well! the chapter on knives appeals. Mine are rubbish.

Jacki said...

Ooh, I don't watch ER, but that sounds terrible!

I have a decent set of knives, but after reading that chapter I learned that I'm not very kind to them. I use plastic cutting boards which apparently damages the blade. And I think that's probably true because I've had them for just over a year and they definitely don't cut as well as they did when I first got them.