Archive for the 'fish or seafood' Category
Once a year, volunteer language teachers come from Japan to help out at my son’s school, and do a month’s homestay with families from the school. Part of the homestay deal is that the host family is to pack the teacher a daily lunch to eat at school. So that means that I’m back to making adult and child versions of the same lunch while “A-sensei” is with us — I’m finding it stimulating.
It was initially a little weird to be making bentos for a Japanese person. (You know, will she like our food? I don’t want them to look so thrown-together that the other senseis at school wind up gossiping about it.) But we’ve gotten used to each other over the past couple weeks, so I’m less self-conscious now and am learning her food likes and dislikes. The result? I’ve slipped back into my regular old speed bento habits for both lunches.
For this meal I fell back on pasta frittata, a simple egg dish that incorporates leftover spaghetti from the night before. Now whenever I make pasta I just go ahead and make extra, knowing that leftovers will get remade into breakfast or lunch the next day.
Contents of adult bento lunch: Pasta frittata made with leftover spaghetti, shrimp & tomato sauce (see the full pasta frittata tutorial). Sauteed orange bell pepper with garlic & soy sauce, and green grapes.
Morning prep time: 20 minutes for the two bentos, using leftover pasta for the frittata and including prep/cooling time for the frittata and peppers. Thoroughly cooling all foods before closing them up inside a bento box reduces the amount of condensation inside of the box, improving food safety and making it easier to remove the lid of the bento box. (Click for lunch details and a kid-sized version of the same lunch.) Read the rest of this entry »
Published by Biggie on March 8th, 2010 tagged bento, eggs, fish or seafood, for kids, leftover remake, pasta or noodles | 21 Comments »
Making inside-out sushi rolls doesn’t have to be all that involved if you’ve got the basic materials and some plastic wrap on hand. Serve plain or decorated like fish to thrill your child (or your inner child), like I did with Bug’s bento lunch for Children’s Day. You can speed this up by using frozen fried shrimp and frozen rice, but a step-by-step recipe for making inside-out shrimp sushi rolls from scratch follows below.
Published by Biggie on November 9th, 2009 tagged decorative, fish or seafood, for kids, onigiri or sushi, recipe | 24 Comments »
Today I’ve got two lunches that represent both ends of the bento spectrum: one is fast and simple, the other is time-consuming decorative food art. My usual preference is for the fast and easy bento made through speedy prep techniques and leftovers, but once or twice a year I go the extra mile for a holiday lunch. Think of it like a birthday cake: even if you make cake regularly, you probably don’t put as much effort into decorating each unless it’s for a special occasion.
I realize that by posting one of my rare ornate lunches right after recent bento articles in the New York Times and the Globe and Mail I’m at risk of falling into a fussy stereotype. Maybe I should reread Need for Speed: A Mommy’s Lunch Manifesto? Anyway, I cut myself a break when I remember the wide variety of real-life special occasion bentos I saw at my son’s old Japanese immersion preschool and read about other parents’ lunchtime adventures on the Lunch in a Box online community forum.
I have to admit that although I get a feeling of accomplishment once I finish an elaborate creation like the one above, I do feel time pressure while I’m making it and wonder, “Why bother?” Am I a bad attitude mom? Guilty as charged! The simpler lunch below was made quickly with the leftovers from the fancier one above, and is much more my pace for an average school day.
Contents of preschooler bento lunch: Fried shrimp (recipe forthcoming), steamed broccoli with vinaigrette dressing, round onigiri rice balls (stuffed with Gohan Desu Yo! seaweed paste and decorated with strips of nori seaweed), wrapped triangle cheese, grapes, and kiwifruit.
Morning prep time: 15 minutes, using frozen rice and fried shrimp left over from the shrimp rolls the day before. In the morning I assembled the rice balls, nuked a couple florets of broccoli in my microwave mini steamer, and peeled/sliced the kiwifruit. (Read on for the full post. with details on the fish-shaped sushi lunch..) Read the rest of this entry »
Published by Biggie on September 9th, 2009 tagged bento, decorative, fish or seafood, for kids, onigiri or sushi, rice | 44 Comments »
I know some of you are looking for alternatives to plastic bento boxes because of concerns about the health effects of food packed or heated in plastic, so I’ve been playing around with metal bento containers. Most multi-tier latching tiffin tins are plain-looking and too big for a one-person bento-style lunch, so I was pleased to find a smaller metal alternative with a dash of style, from Kids Konserve.
I tried out their green lunch set, which consists of a cloth napkin/placemat, two 250ml stainless steel bowls with green plastic lids, a drink bottle, a reusable sandwich wrapper, and a cloth carrying bag with handles and a velcro closure (shown below). I was also curious about their smaller, all-metal 80ml condiment containers, pictured above at the bottom/middle. I had a few questions and concerns going in, namely about how watertight the containers were and how well the sandwich wrapper would work. (Read on for the full review and a sample lunch packed inside.) Read the rest of this entry »
Published by Biggie on March 25th, 2009 tagged bento, equipment, fish or seafood, for kids, meat, phyllo or pancake or other, review | 24 Comments »
Last week I discovered that whatever I write while taking painkillers makes very little sense. I tried writing and rewriting posts while recovering from some medical stuff, only to find that Vicodin makes me stupid, dizzy and sleepy. Anyway, all is well with me again — sorry about the unintended break! It’s time to get back to bento with mini bagel sandwiches, a compact way to pack a non-squishable sandwich in a bento box.
Contents of preschooler bento lunch: Mini bagel sandwich with cream cheese and spruce tip jelly from our trip to Alaska (reviewed below), an “octodog” (octopus-shaped hotdog, full tutorials here for boiling, and here for frying) with ketchup for dipping, boiled broccoli with vinaigrette, hard-boiled quail eggs, boiled carrots, strawberries, and grapes.
Morning prep time: 12 minutes, using already-boiled quail eggs from the fridge and the multi-boiling technique to cook multiple things at once. In the morning I made the bagel sandwich while the water quickly came to a boil in my electric kettle (see my earlier post on Kettle Races: Electric vs. stovetop). I poured the boiling water into a small saucepan and cooked the broccoli, carrots and octodog. (Read on for lunch details, a review of local Alaskan jellies, and additional mother/son lunches.)