Vegetarian Bento Box

Vegetarian Bento Box

months ago,
i made mention of a
new food hobby:
the bento box.
my goal for a simple 2018
continues.
with some planning,
prep,
and practice,
i’ve been able to whip
this up in 30 min.
i’ll take it.

fyi:
wood bento boxes

Vegetarian Bento Box

Bento Components:
enough for a week’s lunch, for 2 adults
baked tofu
soy roasted squash
maple-ginger carrot
pickled daikon
prepared rice, fruits and cheese, hard boiled egg

for the snack layer, i used silicone muffin containers to keep the fruit and cheese separated. it ended up working out, dw is not a fan of papaya but the 3-4 pieces i added was enough without annoying him.

for the lunch layer, i sectioned off the box with a bit of rice, about 1/4 cup. then i layered the top with a few sticks of carrots, and sliced hard boiled eggs. next to it, i added the squash, tofu and slices of pickled daikon. under all that was either parchment paper cut to fit or spinach leaves, just to keep the food from leaching onto the wood.

baked tofu:
extra firm tofu, squeezed of excess water
2 TBL tamari
1 TBL sambal oelek or sriracha
drizzle of maple syrup
1 TBL sesame oil
cornstarch – approx 1/3 cup
sesame seeds – 2 TBL
black sesame seeds 2 TBL
bread crumbs – 1/2 cup
1 egg

wrap tofu block in a clean kitchen towel, pressed down with something heavy, i usually put a large can on top & ignore

large square bowl or casserole dish, add the tamari, sambal oelek or sriracha, maple syrup and sesame oil. mix through.

cut the tofu block into equal size cubes, aim for roughly the same size so that they bake evenly together. add the tofu to the dish and gently mix them in the sauce, every so often turning them so that all sides are evenly marinated. set aside while you set up the mise en place.

pre heat oven to 400F.

in three shallow dishes, add cornstarch in one, egg in another (mixed through so that the white and yolk are well incorporated) and breadcrumb + both kids of sesame seeds in the last bowl.

at the end of the assembly line, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

methodically, a tofu cube and roll around in the corn starch, shaking off any access. next, add it to the egg wash, ensuring all sides gets wet. last, dredge in the breadcrumb mix, pressing down hard to ensure it gets all sorts of crusty. line on prepared baking sheet.

now do this for the rest of the tofu. not gonna lie, this step sucks, it’s messy but it’s work it.

roast in oven for 30 minutes, at the mid-way mark flip the tofu cubes over.

cool completely, store in airtight container.

pickled daikon:
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
healthy pinch of salt
1 cup thinly sliced daikon
1/2 tsp tumeric, for color

in a small saucepan, gently simmer the rice vinegar, sugar and salt until dissolved. turn off heat. meanwhile, slice the daikon as thin as you can. in a clean jar, add the slices in and then gently pour the vinegar in, last adding the tumeric. gently swirl the jar till the tumeric is fully mixed in. allow to cool before lidding, will keep in fridge as long as you use clean utensils for a while.

soy roasted squash:
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 TBL tamari
1 TBL honey
1 TBL sriracha
1 TBL sesame oil

mix all the ingredients together and roast in 400F oven for about 30-40 minutes, until squash is tender. allow to cool.

maple ginger carrots:
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
1 TBL maple syrup
1 TBL minced ginger

mix all the ingredients together and roast in 400F oven for about 20-25 min, until just tender. allow to cool.

BAM!

Vegetarian Bento Box

4 years ago: red pepper & baked egg galette
3 years ago: lentil tacos – vegan
2 years ago: chili + fennel seed pork pies
1 year ago: spinach salad + baked falafel balls

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dark molasses pear bread

Molasses Pear Bread

Molasses Pear Bread

a little over a month ago,
while going about my business on a thing called Work,
a work much entrenched in judging resumes,
i realized that i needed to work on mine.
it had been a rather disappointing summer,
career-wise,
and rather than harp about it,
i decided to do something about it.

tl;dr; i applied for a job,
i started said job last week.

happy autumn,friends.

Molasses Pear Bread

dark molasses pear bread
adapted from epicurious

*note: i’ve been sitting on this recipe for years, playing around with ingredients, adding and subtracting here and there, following the recipe exactly to not at all. it’s delicious with tea, or an after dinner treat.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup + 2 TBL olive oil
1/4 cup coffee
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (actually, i don’t pack it in too hard, sweetness level up to you)
1/2 cup molasses
3 large eggs
1/4 cup grated peeled ginger, or if you’re lazy, minced as fine as you can manage
1 Bosc pear, diced
sprinkle of cocoa powder, about 1/4 – 1/2 a tsp

preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. grease loaf pan, set aside.

mix together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a small mixing bowl, set aside

add the coffee with olive oil, set aside.

using a stand mixer, beat the brown sugar with molasses. add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well. throw in the dry mixture until just combined. next add in the liquid with ginger.

pour into prepared loaf pan.

in bowl, add the pear pieces, sprinkle with cocoa powder. scatter the pieces over the batter. (the cocoa powder should help a little from keeping the pieces from sinking to the bottom of the pan. it works sometimes.)

bake for 35-40 minutes. cool.

serve sliced with a spot of tea.

BAM!

Molasses Pear Bread

4 years ago: carrot bread
3 years ago: three bean chili
2 years ago: apparently i didn’t do shit.
1 year ago: lemongrass chicken & rice soup

mint chocolate chip cookies – NY Times style

Homemade Mint Chocolate Chips

similar to banana bread,
we all have our go-to favorite recipe,
(this is mine, in case you were wondering)
chocolate chip cookies have different iterations,
most of which i’m willing to try,
(tahini based, with soy sauce, with ginger & molasses, & gluten free.)
but i always fall back to the famous NY Times one.
dw requested it this year for his birthday,
and because i always add mint to his bday treats,
i made the chocolate chips minty.

his birthday is early in the month,
but i am incapable of not celebrating him everyday.
happy birthday sweet dw,
i am your Ride or Die,
forevermore.

Mint-Chocolate Chip Cookies

mint chocolate chip cookies – NY Times style
adapted from the NY Times

refer to the link for the method of the cookies themselves, i didn’t alter that part. my changes are that i used bread flour & spelt flour, as well green valley’s lactose free butter.

for the minty chocolate chips:

1 1/4 lb chocolate, if in bar form rough chop, or use chips
1 very generous TBL mint extract

using the double boiler method, melt the chocolate over boiling water. stir continuously, you’re aiming for a glossy sheen. add in the tablespoon of mint extract, i may have added a little over. mix to incorporate thoroughly.

remove from heat.

at this point, you can either spread the chocolate out on a piece of parchment paper and allow to cool. when completely cooled, break into small pieces.

or you can be fancy and make chips. allow the mixture to cool a little before handling. carefully pour into piping bag. i let it cool in order to be able to handle the piping without burning my hand. when ready, snip the end of the bag and carefully dollop a small chip amount on parchment paper, continuing until you’ve used up all the chocolate or you get annoyed and make the bar form.

allow to cool through before handling.

use as you would any other chips.

BAM!

Mint-Chocolate Chip Cookies

previous dw chocolate + mint confections:
minty milano cookies – 2016
peppermint kisses – 2015 (not officially blogged  but use this recipe for reference)
coconut peppermint patties – 2014
homemade thin mints – 2013
mint chocolate cake – 2012

butternut squash polenta & veggie sausage

Butternut Squash Polenta + Veggie Sausage

it’s Sunday morning,
10:00am,
i’m under a thick blanket
my friend Nuria knitted for me,
a parting gift made up of
old, random strands of yarn i had laying around.
the sun is full on bright out,
but the day lies,
because it’s below freezing.
i’m watching The Mind of a Chef,
season 4, episode 3,
trying to be motivated
and inspired to make something in the kitchen,
instead, all i can think about is
sipping a negroni.
first, i don’t even like gin,
the shit tastes like shit.
second, it’s taken about 4 watches of
Gabrielle Hamilton for me to even like her.
third, it’s now going on 10:30 in the A M.
BUT!
the way she describes
how the gin ebbs the edges of a hard day,
how the campari’s bitterness coaxes an appetite,
the combination leaves you warm, hungry,
and then the vermouth brings it all together.
damn, an aperitivo for breakfast, please!

and, should you find yourself,
later in the day, still awake,
breakfast for dinner it is…

Butternut Squash Polenta + Veggie Sausage

butternut squash polenta & veggie sausage
makes 4 servings

note: this dish came about because we had a butternut squash on our counter since autumn. for a hard veggie, it doesn’t really take that long to cook, especially when it’s chopped small. cooking two ingredients that take a fair amount of time to be done, together, seemed to make sense. and then to bring it all together, i topped with breakfast stuff. i’ve always viewed breakfast for dinner meals to be fun, somehow whimsical, but always satisfying and warming.

1 cup of polenta
a cup, give or take, of cubed butternut squash
1 bay leaf
4-5 cups of homemade veggie stock, or water

veggie breakfast sausage patties, chopped
1/2 onion sliced
olive oil
1 glove garlic minced

medium-hard boiled eggs, sliced in half
chopped chives, dried or fresh, optional, for garnish

in a large pot, heat up the veggie stock or water, along with the bay leave. bring it to a boil and slowly stir in the polenta and squash. reduce heat to medium and simmer. stir every so often, when you think of it, but think of it often. you’re aiming for a soft creamy mixture, anywhere from 20-30 minutes. you might have to add more liquid if it gets too thick. salt/pepper to taste. if you’re fancy, mix in a pat of butter.

between stirrings, in a skillet, heat up a splash of olive oil. add in the sliced onions and a sprinkle of salt. mix until well coated and then add in the minced garlic. you’re aiming for soft and tender and browned caramel-y onions. don’t burn the garlic.

push the onion/garlic mixture to side, and heat up the chopped veggie sausage.

to assemble, ladle in a scoop or two of the polenta. top with sauteed onions and chopped veggie sausage. finally, add on half an egg and garnish with chopped chives.

BAM!

Butternut Squash Polenta + Veggie Sausage

another polenta option: creamy polenta and roasted mushrooms
3 years ago: ultimate white cake
2 years ago: overnight steel cut oats
1 year ago: ny style cheesecake

citrus-pistachio scones (grain free)

Citrus-Pistachio Scones

the other night,
while aimlessly scrolling through FB
with alex trebeck smug in the background
i came across an hs friend’s update.
for some reason,
through no prompting that i could discern,
he listed 10 albums he listened to
when we were all still pimply,
voices changing
and in dire need of deodorant.
being as how i adore lists
i wracked my brain
for my list of albums:

Citrus-Pistachio Scones

madonna // bedtime stories
tori amos // little earthquakes
toad the wet sprocket // fear
jon bon jovi // blaze of glory
u2 // zooropa
erasure // the innocents
roxette // crash boom bang
alanis morissette // jagged little pill
stone temple pilots // purple
counting crows // august and everything after

this doesn’t include the
asian new wave
i still have a fondness for.

tl;dr: i was emo AF

Citrus-Pistachio Scones

citrus-pistachio scones (grain free)
loosely adapted from against all grain cookbook by danielle walker
makes 7 scones

*note: these scones have nothing to do with music, unless you count the fact that i was listening to music while i made them.

2 cups blanched almond flour, sifted, plus more to roll out dough
3 TBL super crushed pistachio nuts, unsalted
3 TBL kinda sorta crushed pistachio nuts, unsalted
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 egg
2 TBL almond milk, i use califia farms
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 TBL coconut oil, in soft solid form
zest of 2 lemons
1/4 cup candied orange peel (recipe below)

preheat oven to 350F, put parchment paper on cookie sheet. set aside.

place almond flour, 2 types of crushed pistachio nuts, maple syrup, egg, almond milk, baking soda, salt & lemon zest into mixing bowl. mix until it loosely comes together.

using a fork, add in the coconut oil, letting the oil crumble. stir in candied orange peels.

on the counter, sprinkle some almond flour. dump out the dough onto the counter and shape into a disc, about an inch thick. cut into triangles and be done with it. but if you’re fancy, use a round biscuit cutter to make into circle scones.

place on prepared cookie sheet.

bake for 18-20 minutes. i like it slightly under, crispy outside but still soft on the inside. dw likes it more done. you’re aiming for a golden crust.

serve with tea or coffee. if you’re super fancy, a glaze drizzle would be nice.

candied orange peel

*note: if conventional oranges are what’s available, be sure to wash them in warm water. i’ve let them sit in a vinegar bath (1 part vinegar, 2 parts water) for about 5 minutes. in my mind, whether true or not, it gets rid of any residual sprayed pesticides etc. it’s entirely up to you.
**note: this can be made way ahead, and can keep in a clean jar in the fridge for awhile, aim for less than a month.

2 organic oranges
water
1/2 cup sugar
scant 1/2 cup water
3 TBL sugar

wash the oranges really well, and dry.

cut the top and bottom of the orange to give it stability. you can either score the skin and peel (which is how my gpa used to do for me) or you can be lazy and just cut the skin off as close to the flesh as possible.

cut/peel as much of the pith (the white stuff) off as possible.

slice the orange peels as thin or thick as you want.

dump into a saucepan, add water and bring to a boil. drain. do this 2 more times.

in the same saucepan, add in the 1/2 cup sugar with scant 1/2 cup of water. bring to a gentle boil, swirl to dissolve the sugar. add in the sliced peels, mix to make sure every peel is covered in syrup. leave it alone for about 15 minutes.

drain, reserving the syrup for another use, like tea or lemonade, or some baked bread that calls for the use of citrus simple syrup to be doused in it. i’d say there’s about 1/4 cup of the stuff left.

in a bowl add about 3 TBL sugar. add the drained sticky peels to the bowl and shake it around till all the peels are coated in sugar. lay on a cookie tray with parchment paper. spread it out into a single layer. put it in the oven set at the lowest temp possible (mine goes down to 170F) and leave for 30 minutes, or up to an hour. more if your peels are thick. you’re aiming for a dried product.

BAM!

Citrus-Pistachio Scones

3 years ago: red pepper & baked egg galette
2 years ago: crocheted broomstick lace infinity cowl
1 year ago: mushroom stroganoff