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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japanese style beef stew – Wahu Beaf Sichu

Japanese Beef Stew

a common theme around these parts lately
is simplicity.
2017 was an overwhelming year,
and a coping strategy i’ve taken to
is simplifying our meals –
it’s one less item on the
To-Do List,
of which i have many tasks.
even as a staunch non-resolution making person,
i do have a few loose goals,
that when strung together will hopefully lead
to more thoughtful,
less-stressed living.

here’s to Simplification in 2018!

Japanese Beef Stew

japanese style beef stew – Wahu Beaf Sichu
adapted from NHK: Dining with the Chef
video episode found here

*note: most friday night you’ll find us on the couch watching NHK and right around 9:10EST is Dining with the Chef. i am obsessed with this show, specifically when they feature chef Rika. (she has a fantastic credenza/buffet in her home that is so beautiful.) what was previously a strong aversion to japanese food, now has bloomed into an appreciation for their simplistic cooking, using seasonal ingredients with minimal fanfare, which leads to delicious but easy meals. a pressure cooker is featured in this recipe, but since we don’t have that toy, yet, i adapted it to use a slow cooker instead.

2 lbs beef chuck, cut into just larger than bite-size pieces
1 medium onion, rough chopped
2 carrots, cleaned, skin on, rough chopped
2 celery stalks, cleaned, rough chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1 can tomatoes – 14.5 oz
3 very generous TBL tomato paste

seasonings:
healthy splash of olive oil (optional)
1 cup sake
2 tsp miso
1/2 TBL salt
1 TBL sugar
1 TBL honey

in the crock pot, layer meat on the bottom.

in a food processor, add the onion, carrots, celery stalks, garlic, tomato paste and tomatoes. process until reached desired chunkiness.

in a bowl, mix the seasonings.

pour both sauces into the crock pot, over the meat. cover and turn on low.

ignore for about 4-5 hours.

serve with rice.

BAM!

Japanese Beef Stew

4 years ago: coffee chocolate chip ice cream
3 years ago: carne rustida de navidad
2 years ago: spiced mexican wedding cookies
1 year ago: mohinga – burmese fish noodle soup

birthday | checkerboard pâte sablée

checkerboard pâte sablée

it snowed for the first time on saturday.
we finally turned on our heat,
over-bundling of winter layers wasn’t cutting it.
life has been specially sweet lately,
and i am grateful.
forty looks good,
and i am reminded,
often,
that though the days blur sometimes,
that there’s more disappointment than
enough fingers to count them,
it can be balanced with kindness,
thoughtful friends,
mindfulness,
and
cookies.

thanks for visiting, friends. ❤

checkerboard pâte sablée

Checkerboard Pâte Sablée
adapted from baking obsession, sadly now defunct, with slight improvement from previous attempts at assembly and photography

Makes about 8 dozens

5 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 sticks of butter, at room temperature (i use green valley organics)
2 cups sugar
1 TBL vanilla extract
2 large eggs
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

sift dried ingredients in bowl. set aside.

in a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light + fluffy. beat in eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla extract. add in the flour mixture and combine.

divide the dough in half.

in the mixing bowl mix the cocoa powder in.

last, divide both halves into half again. you’re going to end up with 4 quarters: 2 vanillas and 2 chocolates. wrap individually in plastic and fridge for up to a day.

when ready, take 2 quarters of different flavors out & allow to soften for about 15-20 minutes. btwn parchment papers roll out a quarter dough into 1/2″ thick rectangles, measuring 12×5″. repeat for other quarter.

using some sharp object, knife, dough scraper (preferred tool) or pizza cutter, cut out a nine 1/2″ wide stripes.

being gentle, but not precious about it, form two checkerboard logs switching btwn the chocolate and vanilla strips. press gently so that the strips will adhere to each other, try not to smooch them. you’re aiming for cubed logs, roll the logs from side to size for sharp, right angle quarters. good luck with that. wrap in plastic wrap and fridge, until firm. (*note: logs can be frozen at this point, as long as well wrapped).

repeat with remaining two quarter doughs.

when ready, preheat oven 350F.

prepare baking sheet with parchment paper (very important!)

using a sharp knife, slice the logs into 1/4″ thick slices. place on prepared baking sheet, but leave about an inch space btwn cookies.

bake for about 12 minutes, don’t go more than that though, cus you want the color contrasts to be pronounced. as the cookie cools, it will firm up. cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes then transfer on wire rack. if you don’t parchment your baking sheet, don’t let the cookies cool directly on the pan, cus you’ll be scraping that shit off.

will keep, well wrapped, in fridge for awhiles. in fact, i had it on the counter, not so very well wrapped for a week and they were fine.

BAM!

checkerboard pâte sablée

4 years ago: peppermint chocolate ice cream
3 years ago: gingerbread cake
2 years ago: chocolate espresso dacquoise
1 year ago: kefir biscuits

garbage plate

Garbage Plate + Asian Challah

i don’t remember thanksgiving growing up.
sure, we had school off,
but thanksgiving meals were …
non-existent?
i seem to recall a time when
we had black duck soup.
other than that,
it was just another meal.
this resulted in me as a grown up
with lukewarm aspirations for
turkey and all the fixings
(though, i will eat the shit outta some stuffing).
despite this,
most years we’ll mark the occasion
with something special.
this year,
dw re-created a regional favorite,
that region being Rochester, NY.

i won’t lie,
i only managed 1 1/2 sittings,
out of like 5 sittings,
but dw,
he was in a fog of nostalgia each time.
he planned this meal for weeks,
dissecting various recipes,
discussing with friends,
and all i did was take pictures.

it is a season of gratitude,
and i have much to be thankful for,
notably,
you all.

Garbage Plate + Asian Challah

Garbage Plate
as written up by dw, with proper punctuation and complete sentences.
this was served with healthy slices of molly’s scallion pancakes challah

Meat Sauce (I used this one. Very good taste and texture. Doubled the spices) – (Warning – Plays a MIDI song on load)

1 lb. ground beef
2 tablespoon minced onions, plus extra for garnish
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon crushed thyme leaves
2 ½ cups water (I just used as much as needed, and added more when it cooked down.)

Method: (This is my method that I wrote)
Saute some finely diced onion in oil.
Before the onion takes color, add the ground beef breaking it up and stirring constantly until it is cooked to a fine consistency.
Add spices, stirring well. Perhaps double the amount of spice for extra flavor
Add water to the sauce so that it has a bit of a runniness. It should have enough that it will trickle through the other elements for added flavor.
Let it simmer as long as you want. Add water as needed.

Home Fries
Potatoes – Cubed
Oil
Salt/Pepper
Place cubed potatoes in a saucepan with enough water to cover
Bring to a boil and continue boiling for about 3-4 minutes.
Drain very well
In a large skillet, using a generous amount of oil, fry the potato cubes. Take care not to move them too much, but careful to keep them from sticking. Cook until beautiful.
Season generously with salt and pepper

Macaroni Salad
Elbow Macaroni
Mayonnaise
Carrot
Celery

Cook the elbows perhaps a bit too much for soft texture
Dice the carrot and celery to a fairly small size.
Add a bit of mustard if desired. Ties in the plate flavor and reduces the amount of mayo needed.

Meat (Choose one and use two per serving)
Sausage – Weisswurst is perfect to represent a white hot
Fried Egg – Runny yolk
Hamburger
Cheeseburger – Cheese should be white
Other
White Onion – Chopped coarsely
Mustard – Brown, and should be loose/runny

Final Method:

On a standard dinner plate, arrange one side with the mac salad, and the other with the home fries. Don’t be stingy.
Add the meat. If patties, use two. If a hot dog or sausage, split in half lengthwise (Sear the cut edge on a skillet or grill) and use two.
Add a generous swipe of mustard across the plate.
Add a generous scoop of diced raw onion
Top with a generous scoop of the meat sauce. It should be runny enough to wet the plate through the mac salad and home fries.

Enjoy!

Garbage Plate + Asian Challah

4 years ago: pumpkin challah chips
3 years ago: chocolate chip pb cookies, vegan & gluten free
2 years ago: chocolate espresso dacquoise, lactose free
1 year ago: kefir biscuits

sausage corn chowder

Sausage Corn Chowder

corn season is over,
i know this.
i despair this,
but if you’re down with using frozen corn,
make this.
i usually make this when i’ve had my fill
of corn for the season,
but i still have about 5-6 cobs leftover,
cus i went crazy at the market.
it’s warming,
it’s filling,
it’s summer in a bowl,
if summer was a chowder.

it hit into the 20s over the weekend,
we are holding firm & not turning on the heat,
hygge is in full effect,
under heated blankets.
stay warm, friends.

Sausage Corn Chowder

sausage corn chowder
makes about 4-6 portions

1 lb sausage, you can use the crumbly sort, sweet or spicy, or the links kind
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
5 ears of corn, kernels shaved, and cobs reserved
2 large potatoes, diced
2 cans of coconut milk
2 cups of stock (i usually make a quick stock of veg scrapes + the cobs)
handful of copped kale, or greens
salt and pepper to taste

cook the sausage in a large soup pot. remove from pot but don’t discard the oil. eyeball it, if you need more fat, add some olive oil. throw in the onion and garlic to the pot, season with salt & pepper and saute till translucent. add in the potatoes, again season with salt. you’re aiming to coat everything in the oil.

add in the coconut milk and stock.

bring to boil, lower heat, cover and simmer till potatoes are tender.

add in the corn, kale and sausage, heat through, season as necessary and serve.

BAM!

Sausage Corn Chowder

4 years ago: blueberry jam danishes
3 years ago: za’taar socca + middle eastern smashed avocado
2 years ago: vegan carrot cake
1 year ago: curried broccoli & cheese soup