Friday, August 1, 2014

Arancini Bento

Today I used leftovers from yesterday's bento to create this one. Arancini are fried rice balls with cheese inside of them. Um, thanks Italy for the AMAZING idea. I used leftover brown rice as well as some of my exploded sweet potato to form these rice balls, and each has a cube of white cheddar inside. Also in this bento: steamed broccolini from the West End Farmers Market, and a yellow tomato also from the West End Farmers Market.

I used a recipe from Giada de Laurentiis as the basis for my recipe. I have included a loose recipe below, but the measurements are not exact.

Look at that oozy yummy cheesy goodness! These are the best soon after they are made, but they are also a delicious bento staple.

Exploded Sweet Potato Arancini
1 small egg, beaten
1/2 cup cooked short brain brown rice
1/8 cup exploded (mashed) cooked sweet potato
1/4 cup breadcrumbs, plus more for coating
1 teaspoon minced fresh green onion
1 teaspoon minced fresh cilantro
salt and pepper

Combine above ingredients in a bowl. Mixture should hold together but still be sticky. Take about two tablespoons of mixture and then put in a little chunk of white cheddar cheese. Use your hands and fingers to mold the mixture around the cheese, then roll the ball in reserved breadcrumbs. Heat oil over medium heat, and fry balls in oil until browned on all sides. If you have a deep fryer, good for you. You can deep fry the balls at about 350 degrees for about 4 minutes until golden. Serve either warm, or cool and add to bento box lunches. Makes about 4 large arancini.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hippie Bento

One of the go-to lunches I used to eat in Seattle was brown rice, greens, and sweet potato. Sometimes I would add tofu. My boss, Shawn, used to call this "Hippie Lunch #1" and that always cracked me up. I guess Hippie Lunch #2 might include hummus.

In this bento: brown rice with black sesame seeds, sauteed kale from Sebastopol, sweet potato mash*, and chunks of heirloom tomato from the West End Farmers Market in Santa Rosa.

*I ended up with sweet potato mash because I was baking a sweet potato in the oven, and when I went to check on it, it exploded! So instead of just a half of a baked sweet potato (which was my original plan) I ended up scraping out some exploded sweet potato into this bento box. LOL

And as soon as I am done eating this, I will order a pizza with everything. Kidding.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Circular Logic Bento

Today's bento is in fact NOT from today. I never posted this lunch (which I actually made LAST summer), but I saw this picture and it got me thinking...

One of the most pleasing box shapes for preparing bento box lunches is not actually a box with sides, but a circular shaped container like this one. Bento makers call it a Magic Round Bento. Food placed in a circular bento box naturally falls into place, with one food gently resting on the next, echoing the circular flow of the outside of the container. There really isn't a need to plan placement in a circular container, because each bit of food fits easily next to the other bit. And an empty pocket is the perfect spot for the tiny globe of a cherry tomato. I also photographed this bento on a piece of scrapbook paper dotted with circles. (whoa, dude!)

In this bento: baby carrots, bbq pork, tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette), radishes, edamame, and a cherry tomato. Happy bento-ing!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Monochromatic Green Bento

I thought I would try my hand at a few monochromatic bento box lunches. One of the rules of bento is to include 5 different colors. This makes sense, to insure that your lunch has a variety of foods. However, sometimes you gotta break the rules. I present: Green Bento!

In the left container: steamed broccoli, cucumber slices, steamed green beans, fried bamboo rice with edamame, and kiwi slices. In the right container: fried bamboo rice with edamame topped with pan fried turkey cutlet and herbs.

While this bento does not have 5 different colors, I do have protein (the egg whites in the fried rice, as well as the edamame and turkey cutlet), starch (rice), vegetables, and fruit. 

I made a marinade for the turkey cutlet using Italian Parsley and cilantro, and reserved some of the marinade (before I put the turkey in it!) to put on top of the poultry after I pan fried it. The marinade also contains olive oil, salt, pepper, a drop of sesame oil, and Yuzu Ponzu sauce.

Bamboo rice is a light green rice that has been infused with bamboo extract. It does retain a slight green tinge after cooking and it is very pretty. I used Yuzu Ponzu sauce when frying the rice so as not to turn it brown with regular shoyu. I also added fresh parsley to the egg white in the rice, for more green color.

Here is the bento box I used for my green bento. This is a fun two tiered bento box in the shape of a frog. And I would say the best thing to pair with this bento is the Austrian wine, Grüner Veltliner. (Grün is German for Green!)

Happy Bento-ing!