Saturday, August 11, 2012

Been Awhile

 Chicken Kijiyaki, Tamagoyaki (not shown), Steamed Broccoli, and Rice.

Sorry for the late post, but between the Manbearpig's birthday and a generally busy summer, I've been swamped. I kept cooking, but I really don't as much as I do during school. There were a few stars. I'll post up the food porn for now and get to recipes later this week. :3 Enjoy and tell your friends the Bento Buddy is back.

Those sharp of eye may notice that the hubby's box is back in that top photo. No, it's not an old shot. We went to San Francisco as a weekend anniversary getaway. Lo and behold, a Japan Town dollar (sort of) store had the exact same box, chopsticks and all, for $5. We scooped up the box and got a few veggie cutters, sauce bottles, and a chopstick case for myself. With treats and all, we didn't spend $20. Pretty sweet deal. Best of all, he doesn't have to use mine anymore. The boxes on Amazon can still be a good deal if you don't live near a specialty store like that, though.

This is a meat pie bento I made for the hubby before we got the newbie. Flaky, butter and shortening crust and a little beef and onion filling make this seem like a fatty treat, but you really only use a couple tablespoonfuls between the pies, and fitting them in the boxes means making them small. It's a good sometimes treat for when he has to work late, and I pad the rest of the box with veggies only. Best of all, the pies keep well. Make a bunch and freeze them for a quick and easy bento on the run.

I was feeling Moroccan for a week. These are Moroccan meatballs, mini Roti, Cucumber Raiti, and Cilantro Rice. The meatballs were little more than ground beef, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, poppy seeds, and cilantro, and the cucumber salad was fat free Greek yogurt and dill. Roti are an Indian flat bread. I make these on occasion as a cheap and easy snack or to sit with a bowl of curry. It's just two parts flour to one part water, a sprinkle of salt and oil, and cook it on a dry skillet. The bread couldn't be easier, but they impress.

When Danny saw Dad's excitement over his new box, he insisted I pull out his Star Wars tin lunchbox and fill it for him one day. A peanut butter and jelly Tie Fighter, carrots, vanilla cookies, and some sliced apples were the perfect appeasement and took no effort on my part. I've learned how to carve apples in the traditional rabbit and checker styles since I took up bentos, but I made the mistake of spoiling the Manbearpig with them. Now, he insists I cut every apple the same way for him.
Here's a quick treat and a recipe: Bubble Tea. This has become extremely popular lately and can even be found around our town. Large tapioca pearls sit at the bottom of milky drinks and are slurped up with special, wide straws. I'll give two recipes for making the pearls and tea, but you can pair the bubbles with any cold drink for a fun, summer sweet.

1/2 cup large tapioca pearls (or flavored gelatin cut into small cubes)
5 bags chai or black tea
1 quart boiled water
1 tbs sugar
1 pint milk
-Prepare the tapioca as directed, drain and stir in the sugar.
-Steep tea bags in water in a bowl for 5 minutes, removing bags after.
-Add the milk to the tea and refrigerate in a serving jug until cool.
-In a glass, pour 2-4 tbs of the tapioca pearls or gelatin and fill the remainder of the glass with the milk tea. Add sugar if desired.

I love Bubble Tea, and finding these rainbow pearls on the trip was a major bonus. Even Danny enjoys the drink, but be careful to watch small children with these. I keep the sugar low in my milk tea, but many Japanese recipes call for a syrup of the stuff added to a much thicker milk concentration. The pearls create a similar consistency when you add the sugar, so I suggest adding extra at that stage. Play with it how you like.

Finally, Popovers! Okay, they're not Japanese nor particularly bento friendly. I just like them as an homage to traditional American baking and have made these to accompany a few meals lately. The ones in the corner are bleu cheese with the foreground being plain. They're light and buttery, but I'm starting to look a little like that puffed over muffin top. x.x Hope you enjoyed catching up. I'll post recipes soon enough.

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