Monday, July 07, 2008

July 7th Bento

We went to the grocery store yesterday as usual. BF went to the meat counter and ordered some stuff. As we walked away, I asked "What do you plan to do with that ground bison?"

He replied "Give it to you to put in a bento!"

Of course.

Seeing as how this was the first I'd heard that people even eat bison, I didn't know what to do with it. Luckily I know how to use Google.

And that is how we ended up having buffaloaf for lunch.
I followed the recipe at the link above. The only changes I made were to divide it in four and use a quail egg instead of a regular egg (because it's easier than measuring a quarter of an egg). This is the first time in my life I've ever made meatloaf. I don't think I've even eaten meatloaf since I was a kid. It turned out much better than I expected. I actually prefer bison to beef as it turns out.

The other interesting component to this bento is a Vietnamese dumpling called bahn khuc. The recipe is from my Vietnamese cookbook (listed in the carousel in the left column of my blog). The basic idea is that the dumpling dough is made of spinach puree and glutinous rice flour. The filling is ground pork, mung bean paste and shallots. It's then rolled in uncooked rice and steamed for about 20 minutes until the rice is cooked (I did all of this the night before and then put it straight in the bento from the fridge in the morning).

These were a whole lot of work, although I suspect it would have been faster if I had the mung bean paste already prepared, waiting in the freezer (it takes two hours to soak the beans). And for how much work they were, the taste was only so-so, so I don't think I'll make them again. The consistency was similar to a daifuku, which didn't carry over well to a dumpling in my opinion. BF wasn't so keen on them either. I really wanted to like this recipe because I thought it was a cool idea with lots of healthy ingredients, but alas, it was not to be.

For additional carbs, I included two heart shaped red bean onigiri.

For veggies there is some steamed red swiss chard (I really liked this last time so I bought another bunch this weekend), broccoli, asparagus, sugar snaps, raw carrot and daikon flowers and yellow zucchini.

For fruit there is half a fig, a strawberry that I thought was adorable, some fresh pineapple chunks, blueberries, raspberries and a cherry.

Sometimes my lunches take even me by surprise. I never would have guessed bison and mung!


Unknown said...

Hi, Jacki, I think I found your bento blog through some Flickr photos. At any rate- I love your blog and subscribed to it. I love that you're a caucasian lady like me making cute little lunches. I work with several Japanese people and one of them almost peed her pants laughing at me and my bento today! It was cute laughter, but they still all thought I was crazy then came over to inspect and critique my work.

I'll be reading so please keep posting!

Par said...

You must have alot of ingredients to be using a little of everything...hehe

Jacki said...

Hi Julie, glad to hear you like my blog! It's true, not many caucasians seem make bento....yet!! Or at least, not around here. I hope that as more people learn about bento style lunches, that we'll see it more often!

Whenever anyone sees my lunches in real life, they always comment on them and I think it's just because it's so different from the sandwiches and ziplock bags of things we're used to seeing in pack lunches in North America.

That's the beauty of the internet though. You can look at styles of things from all over the world and pick the one you like the best :)

ms. ___2be! You would laugh if you saw the groceries that I buy. I always get tiny tiny amounts of like a zillion things. Like one stick of rhubarb, or four cherries tomatoes, lol