Archive for May, 2008
Karaage is the addictive Japanese version of fried chicken that’s marinated in garlic, ginger and soy sauce — very light and crispy. Because it’s well spiced, it’s a bento classic that holds up well even when eaten at room temperature.
Contents of preschooler bento lunch: Strawberry, blackberries, kiwifruit, apricot, grilled squid, and Japanese ginger fried chicken (karaage). Can you tell that I’d just gone to the produce market?
Morning prep time: 7 minutes, using leftover squid and chicken from a restaurant meal (Sapoten in San Francisco, a nice little izakaya-style restaurant with a yakitori menu). In the morning I popped the chicken into my convection toaster oven to quickly crisp up the outside a bit, and cut the fruit. (Read on for packing details and an additional preschooler lunch.)
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Published by Biggie on May 29th, 2008 tagged bento, fish or seafood, for kids, lactose free, phyllo or pancake or other, poultry | 17 Comments »
Pikko over at Adventures in Bentomaking is running a bento contest to mark her bento blog’s upcoming 100,000 visitor mark. Send her a photo of a bento lunch you made and a description of what’s in it, and you might be chosen to receive a grab bag with a bento box and bento accessories. Check it out! (EDIT: Pikko has put up a photo of what’s in the bento grab bag she’s giving away — quite the haul.)
Following up on my challenge to readers to top cassandrasimplx’s really clever song parody inserting Lunch in a Box lyrics into the funny Justin Timberlake/Andy Samberg D**k in a Box song, cassandrasimplx reigned supreme (read her silly song here). To thank her, I gave her a choice of anything from the Lunch in a Box store on CafePress, and she chose the Got Bento? wall clock for the kitchen, to remind her husband to take his lunch with him. What time is it? Bento time!
- Obento song
- Bento box song
- Koinobori song for Children’s Day
- Lunch in a Box comes out of the closet
- Lunch in a Box & bento-themed merchandise
- Biggie’s list of top speed tips, tutorials and equipment reviews
Published by Biggie on May 28th, 2008 tagged admin | 7 Comments »
For easier site navigation, I put together an ordered list of lunch gear, packaged foods, books and stores that I’ve reviewed on Lunch in a Box so far, augmenting the Top Tips page. I think I was able to find most of my past mini-reviews, but feel free to let me know if I’ve missed something.
I also came across this thread on eGullet today about food blogging ethics, which got me thinking about how I approach product reviews. I generally toss mini reviews into a larger lunch post, covering things that I’ve bought with my own money. But as the blog grows I’ve started to be approached by companies to review different books and products. Many are not all that relevant and are therefore easy to turn down, but there have been a few on target enough to get me thinking that it’s time to establish a proper product review policy for the site. My journalist husband helped me draft a policy to avoid conflicts of interest; I’m hoping this’ll head off any misunderstandings.
Enjoy the Reviews page; I hope it helps you find what you’re looking for. I’ve also created a new Review category which I’ll be using to tag posts containing reviews of food, gear, books or stores.
Published by Biggie on May 26th, 2008 tagged admin, review | 6 Comments »
I particularly like pastas with oil-based sauces in bento lunches. The pasta doesn’t absorb extra moisture and get mushy while sitting, and doesn’t need a separate container of extra sauce to toss with the pasta just prior to eating (a helpful technique when packing tomato-based sauces). Very low maintenance. I warm the pasta briefly in the microwave when packing to help restore the texture.
Contents of preschooler bento lunch: Tarako (salted cod roe) spaghetti with sauteed onions and yellow bell peppers, and garnished with kaiware daikon sprouts (tarako spa cooking notes and recipe link at this earlier post). Edamame, cherry tomato, tangerine, and blueberries round out the lunch. Tarako spaghetti is a favorite in our house, made easier by using jarred tarama from a local Mediterranean market (22nd & Irving in San Francisco, store info at my list of favorite Bay Area ethnic markets).
Morning prep time: 5 minutes, using pre-cooked edamame from the fridge and leftover pasta that I packed in the bento box the night before. In the morning I briefly warmed the pasta in the microwave to restore the texture, garnished with fresh kaiware daikon shoots, and sliced the tangerine. I’m guilty of microwaving in plastic for this one; I wasn’t thinking straight like I did for the second lunch below. (Read on for detailed packing info and an additional preschooler lunch.)
Published by Biggie on May 24th, 2008 tagged bento, fish or seafood, for kids, lactose free, meat, pasta or noodles | 26 Comments »
You don’t have to have gourmet leftovers on hand for a quick but satisfying bento lunch. Here’s a simple vegetarian lunch that I threw together from frozen foods and pantry staples.
Contents of preschooler lunch: Rectangular Korean vegetarian dumplings (pan-fried mandu, like potstickers with a crispy bottom and soft steamed top) and dipping sauce, edamame, strawberry and a shelf-stable mini pudding cup (Kiku Petit Pudding, like a little flan or creme caramel, found here online and in Cost Plus World Market’s retail stores in the U.S.). The pudding cups can be frozen and used as edible ice packs in bento lunches for maximum packed lunch food safety. I like the Assi brand “Cooked Vegetable Dumplings” (calorie info here) that I picked up at Kukje, a large local Korean market (store info at my list of favorite SF Bay Area ethnic markets). They cook and cool quickly because they’re flat and thin, and you get maximum crispy surface area on the bottom. Perfect on mornings when I don’t have nice leftovers ready to go in the fridge.
Morning prep time: 12 minutes, using frozen dumplings and edamame. In the morning I pan-fried & steamed the frozen, store-bought dumplings in a mini frying pan, and lightly simmered the edamame in the hot pan afterwards while the dumplings cooled on a mini cooling rack. I also use the mini cooling rack and pan in my convection toaster oven for fast meal prep; they were only US$1.50 per piece at Daiso (Japanese dollar store with branches internationally, additional store info at my San Francisco Bay Area shopping guide to bento gear). (Full details here with speed packing info.)