Tarako spaghetti lunches
Making bento lunches for preschool five days a week is no problem so far, but keeping up with the blogging is! I may have to rethink how many of Bug’s lunches I blog about — not all of them are necessarily photo-worthy, and I’d like to keep quality high and focused on speedy lunch packing. I may write in-depth about three or so a week, and then do a roundup post with the remainder for people just looking for quick visual ideas. The jury’s still out, but it’s something I’m weighing.
Contents of my lunch: Tarako spaghetti with onions, red bell peppers and kaiware (daikon sprouts). The top tier holds a section of corn on the cob, plum tomatoes, broccoli with red wine vinaigrette, black Mission fig, and grapes. Tarako is salted cod roe, but I often use jarred Greek tarama for this dish instead.
Morning prep time: 7 minutes, using leftover pasta and corn. I pre-packed the pasta when cleaning up from dinner. In the morning I briefly microwaved the pasta to restore texture, garnished with fresh kaiware, steamed the broccoli in my microwave mini steamer (speeding up cooking time by 50%), and arranged food in the the top tier.
Packing: I used tongs to twist the spaghetti into two large loose nests, making the pasta tier a little nicer looking. Nothing in the top tier was particularly wet, so I didn’t use food dividers (edible or otherwise). Packed in a 580ml two-tier Urara Dragonfly box.
Cooking: Hereâ€™s a tarako spaghetti recipe with good notes. I start by sauteing an onion and bell pepper if I have some on hand for color contrast. In Osaka I often had it with a little Kewpie mayonnaise stirred into it. Other variations omit the cream in favor of sauteing in butter and tossing in mirin/tarako/mayo (that’s what I did here). However you vary it, itâ€™s bound to be good â€” just get the sauce loose enough to lightly coat the noodles.
Preschooler lunch: Contents are the same as mine. For packing, I used kitchen scissors to cut up the spaghetti into smaller bits (right in the box) that are easier for little hands to manage. Packed in a 270ml one-tier Thomas the Tank Engine box with one hard plastic sub-container removed to fit more pasta, and a 150ml Anpanman side dish container for the fruit. After taking the photo I tucked in a little Anpanman pick for the fruit. Verdict: 5 stars. Bug ate all of this at preschool, nothing left over. Success!
(Cross-posted to The Daily Tiffin parenting and lifestyle blogâ€™s Tiffin Tuesday column.)