Archive for May, 2007
To prevent fruit from browning, Cookwise (Shirley O. Corriher’s respected book on food science) suggests putting the cut fruit into water with ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which slows the enzymes that cause browning. Options include lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice, cream of tartar, or even a crushed vitamin C tablet dissolved in water. Chili pepper is also high in vitamin C, so dipping fruit in water with ground-up chili pepper will also prevent browning. I like the flavor that orange juice adds to fruit, but often use bottled lemon juice with a little Splenda or sugar for the same effect without the pucker.
Contents: Rice and sukiyaki from dinner the night before. The sukiyaki includes thinly sliced beef, tofu, onions, Napa cabbage, green onions, chrysanthemum leaves, and Malony-brand saifun noodles (made of potato starch and corn starch, they don’t fall apart even when in broth for a long time — glutenfree). Shirataki noodles (from tofu or yam) are the traditional low-calorie, low-carb noodle choice for this dish, but I was out. Kuzukiri noodles (made from arrowroot) are also a good choice.
Morning prep time: 4 minutes, by packing dinner leftovers the night before when cleaning up. In the morning I just microwaved the top container with the sukiyaki, and put in fresh rice from the rice cooker. I could have pre-packed the rice the night before and refrigerated it (nuking it in the morning), but I chose to keep the rice cooker on overnight instead.
Packing: I packed these in a cheap knockoff thermal lunch jar that’s about the same size as the Zojirushi Ms. Bento. I packed the big rice container only about halfway full of rice, so that I was able to pour all of the sukiyaki on top of the rice when it was time to eat (creating a do-it-yourself fresh “gyudon” beef bowl without soggy rice — ta dah!). There’s no Yoshinoya beef bowl chain around here for my gyudon fix, so this’ll have to do.
Published by Biggie on May 30th, 2007 tagged bento, food jar, for kids, glutenfree, lactose free, meat, pasta or noodles, rice, soup or stew, thermal lunch jar, tips, tofu | 20 Comments »
Contents: Butternut squash with Korean barbeque sauce (recipe below), mini pudding cup, rolled egg (tamagoyaki: full tutorial here) with sauteed leftover broccoli stems and green onions, star cut-out sandwich with cheese and sun-dried tomato pesto, crispy fried scrapple, and ketchup in the little container for the scrapple. Under the sandwich is a cheese triangle and a sauce container of Lizano sauce for the rolled egg (just my personal preference).
Morning prep time: 15 minutes, mostly frying the scrapple (10 minutes) and the rolled egg (5 minutes). I used a frozen sandwich that I’d made previously, and let it defrost naturally in the lunch.
Packing: There’s a tiny reusable plastic spoon tucked alongside the egg for the pudding cup, and I put both dry dishes (sandwich and scrapple) in the same container away from the moist items.
Scrapple is a Pennsylvania Dutch specialty of pork, cornmeal and flour that elicits strong opinions — you either love it or you hate it. It elicits childhood breakfast memories for me (at grandma’s house!), but my husband has no such fond memories and gives it a pass. You cut the loaf into 1/4″ slices and fry them in a pan until crispy, then serve with a condiment like ketchup, maple syrup, apple butter, etc. A while back I was surprised to find several loaves of frozen Dietz & Watson scrapple in a local Safeway, and I snatched it all up. I thought it was unusual to find scrapple as far away from the East Coast as San Francisco, but I’m definitely not complaining! Bug had it for the first time today, and it turns out that he loves it too (what a oddly omnivorous child). So it looks like I’m not the only scrapple-eater in the family after all.
Published by Biggie on May 28th, 2007 tagged bento, eggs, for kids, glutenfree, leftover remake, meat, onigiri or sushi, recipe, rice, sandwich or wrap | 33 Comments »
Contents of Bug’s lunch: Chicken korma with broccoli (from a Costco simmer sauce), brown rice with black sesame seeds, and watermelon, mango and blueberries.Morning prep time: 7 minutes, using leftover curry and frozen brown rice. I heated the frozen rice and the cold curry (in a covered bowl) in the microwave at the same time to speed things along. The mango was already chopped and leftover from lunch a couple of days ago, so just sliced up watermelon and packed it all up.
Packing: I chopped up the chicken & broccoli in the curry and stirred in some yogurt to turn down the heat for my son. Curry went in the thermal jar portion of the insulated bento set to keep it warm; Bug eventually added the rice to the hot curry when eating. Each container has a separate lid, good for keeping the watermelon juice contained. You can get the same effect as the pricier insulated bento set by using a small side container and a thermal food jar, commonly available from stores like Target or Walmart. (Note to SF Bay Area locals: The Ichiban Kan stores stock four kinds of insulated bento sets for $20 - $25, and Kamei has two Zojirushi-brand sets for $33. Store info at the SF local shopping guide.)
Published by Biggie on May 25th, 2007 tagged bento, curry, equipment, food jar, for kids, glutenfree, potatoes, poultry, rice, tips | 16 Comments »
Contents: “Lamburger” (ground lamb and shredded carrot burger) on English muffin with lettuce and cheese, mangoes and blueberries with a splash of lime juice, quick spinach and corn dish with sesame seeds and vinaigrette (recipe follows), and salad with watermelon, feta, pecans and fresh mint (sauce container with orange juice balsamic vinaigrette).
Morning prep time: 7 minutes, using leftovers, freezer staples and packing some items the night before. The grilled/sauced “lamburger” patty was leftover from a friend this weekend, so I just heated it briefly in the microwave to get the texture back to normal, and assembled the burger. The salad was leftover from dinner, so I had packed that and the dressing the night before. What was left was cutting the mango and making the fast spinach and corn dish. I could have packed everything the night before except the burger, which is best assembled the morning of.
Packing: The salad really needed its own container because of the salad dressing, so I went with a cheapie three-tier 495ml box (170ml, 165ml and 155ml tiers), and a deep Lock & Lock box for the lamburger (too tall to fit into other boxes). I wrapped all of these in an insulated lunch cloth to keep the salad crisp and cool.
Published by Biggie on May 23rd, 2007 tagged bento, corn tortillas or masa, for kids, glutenfree, leftover remake, meat, recipe, salad, sandwich or wrap | 19 Comments »
Contents of Bug’s lunch: Purple potato gratin (scalloped potatoes), grilled chicken breasts, grilled corn, steamed broccoli with orange vinaigrette, and the last of the cherries. Not shown: a small side container of cut watermelon.
Morning prep time: 4 minutes, using leftovers. This morning I cut an ear of leftover grilled corn into segments and boned/sliced a leftover chicken breast. I cut the gratin into a shape that would fit into the sub-container, and cubed some already cut watermelon.
Packing: Cutting the corn on the cob into segments makes it good for little hands and a compact lunch container. The watermelon went into a side container so that the juice wouldn’t leak onto the savory food. The bulky corn on the cob required a slightly larger container (430ml) than usual for a two-year-old, according to the bento box size guidelines.