Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Bento

Valentine's Day is tomorrow in case you don't own a calendar. I tend to like this holiday as an excuse to dote on Bobbers, but on the receiving end, I'm usually oblivious to it. This year, though, Bob got me my really nice Android phone, and I haven't been able to stop playing with it. Good score.

Last year, I made him a steamed lobster tail bento. It's not something I would recommend unless you have access to a refrigerator and a microwave to keep it safe. Seafood is usually a big no-no when it comes to bentos, but there are a few safe recipes. Tomorrow's is a great example.

This year, I made a crab meat and cabbage slaw, inari zushi pockets, and a hard-boiled egg. Bob got another lobster this year...kind of. This little guy is made of roma tomatoes, red bell peppers, and mozzarella cheese. I sat him on a bed of salad and splashed some balsamic vinegar dressing over him. I recommend packaging dressings for salad separately because it can really make your lettuce soggy and unappetizing, but the lobster is the feature here, and soaking in a little dressing will make him tasty tomorrow.

The crab salad is one of those safe recipes for bentos. I used imitation crab, but you can also use canned crab. Both of these won't spoil as quickly as fresh crab meat. Just keep in mind that you might want to half the sugar if you use imitation as the meat is really sweet.

Crab and Cabbage Slaw: (makes 4 servings)

2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded canned or imitation crab
2 tsp salt
2 tbs rice vinegar
1-2 tsp sugar
ground pepper and black sesame seeds to taste

1. Massage the salt into the cabbage until it wilts and pat dry with a paper towel.
2. Add the vinegar and sugar, mixing vigorously.
3. Mix in the crab meat and sprinkle with pepper.
4. Serve with sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

The inari pockets you can get canned at a grocery store or Asian market. If you can't find them there, try online. They're one of the few items that you can order fairly cheap, and they last a little while. Just drain the can and blot out the pockets. I stuffed these with sushi rice (rice with a little vinegar, sugar, and salt), but you can fill them with rice and other treats like tuna, salmon, furikake, egg soboro, veggies, etc.

Happy V-Day!