Friday, October 30, 2009

Bento #3: Miso soup, onigiri filled with miso/tahini paste, cantaloupe slices and pommegranate seeds

Bento Box #3, Oct 30, 2009
Cantaloupe slices with pommegranate seeds (fruit)

Onigiri filled with miso-tahini-walnut paste and
topped with black sesame seeds (carb, protein)

Miso soup with wakame, green onions, white onions,
and beet greens (veggie)

This bento was half hit, half flop. You can't go wrong with cantaloupe slices and pommegranate seeds, of course. And my onigiri were great! The miso-paste was toasted to tame the saltiness inside, and they were so tasty I think I'll make them again for a snack later. The only problem is, without any proper dividers to separate the food, they got a little soggy and funny tasting on the bottom because of the fruit juice. But for the most part, they were awesome. I used another Just Bento member's onigiri making method: It works really well!

As for the miso soup...well, for as simple as a soup as it may seem, it was difficult to get the flavor right. Causes? I have genmai miso, which may be the wrong type of miso. Also, when I made the dashi, I think I used too much wakame and bonito flakes, at least for my taste, because I like a more subtle fish flavor and a more powerful miso flavor. Also, beet greens don't go well in miso, or maybe just not paired with wakame. Anyway, it wasn't really bad tasting, but not fantastic. And I really love miso soup, so I was pretty disappointed. The problem with making Japanese bentos, is all these items are so expensive here. Even the small asian market we have sells them for way-to-much. I need to make a trip to Longmont to get some cheaper supplies. Too bad my roommate's friend totaled her car, which is the only one we had. *sigh*

What to do next time:
Tweak my miso-soup recipe, and maybe actually follow Maki-san's recipe a little better. I would like to try potatoes in it or zucchini next time.

What to use up:
Still more miso paste, maybe I'll try it on sweet potatoes, or just more onigiri.
Ragu...still...We're having free sushi tonight, so I'm not making dinner. Tomorrow...tomorrow...

Bento #2: Cauliflower salad, miso-tahini-carrots, rice w/ furikake.

#2 for October 29, 2009

Rice with furikake (carb)
Cauliflower salad (veggie, see previous post for recipe)
Carrots with miso-tahini-walnut paste on top (veggie/protein)
(Recipe for miso-paste:

This bento was not so exciting as my first bento, though I do have a picture that will be loaded soon.
I used the same cauliflower from the day before, which was equally as tasty the next day. There were still some leftovers.
I had made the miso-tahini-walnut paste earlier as a tester, and made way too much, so I used Maki's carrot recipe from Just Bento. The first time I made this recipe, I messed up and baked the carrots too long without putting the paste on top in the middle of baking. This time, I did it right (ish). The carrots came out pretty good, and cooking the paste toned down its intense, overpowering flavor and saltiness, which I was grateful for.
I was excited to eat my rice because I just bought this new beef-steak plant furikake. But I packed way too much and couldn't eat it in the end. Still, it was a relatively satifying lunch.

What to change next time:
I need an actual bento box! All my contents keep moving around and messing up even the basic set up I have going on. Plus, this tupperware is too big. I am buying a bento box soon.

Leftovers to use next time:
MORE miso/tahini/nut paste.
Ragu tomato sauce
I thought I'd have to use the cauliflower salad again, but it has mysteriously disappeared...My roommate must've really liked it!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bento #1: Cauliflower salad, spiced chickpeas, mashed potatoes.

Bento #1: Oct, 28, 2009
Spiced chickpeas (protein)
(Recipe from a Just Bento member:

Mashed Potatoes (carb)
(instant mashed potatoes, always your friend when time is short!)

Cauliflower Salad (Vegetable, and sort of fruit/protein).
(another submission from a Just Bento member:

This bento was super tasty! I made everything the night before, for dinner. Dinner, and thus my first bento, was catered to the things in my fridge I needed to use-fast. The cauliflower had been in there for a while, so I definitely needed to use that. I had made a salad with chickpeas the day before, but I had a bunch of left over chickpeas (because who actually uses the whole can?) So I needed to use those. Thus, I searched around on Just Bento for ideas, and found these ones!

I made the cauliflower salad first, which, I have to say, is one of the best things I've ever tasted! When I first read the recipe, I was really skeptical. After all, mayo and peanut butter DO NOT sound good together. Especially not the kind of peanut butter I had: honey roasted peanut butter from the bulk machine at King Soopers. But I trust the Just Bento crew, and I really needed to use the cauliflower. When I made the dressing, I gave it a tester-taste, and immediately said, "mmmmm!!!" After tossing the cauliflower mixture, I was thoroughly satisfied. The sweetness of the honey-roasted peanut butter really enhanced the flavor. It was like a tangier version of the peanut sauce you get on pad thai. The author of the recipe said you could try throwing in some dried fruit, which made me happy, because I didn't have just plain ol' roasted peanuts. I had trail mix. Perfect! This dish will now be a staple, especially since my roommate liked it too!

Of course, I can't forget about the chickpeas. Though a much more straight-forward recipe than the salad, this also was wonderfully delicious, and mixed great with the mashed potatoes. I didn't have shallots, so I just used normal onions, and used various warming spices. I really like this recipe because it's completely customizable, and you can edit the spices to fit your cravings. The only setback I had was, I didn't have little cans of tomato sauce (even though I know I did...where did they go?). So I had to open a big bottle of Ragu, just for a few tablespoons of sauce. Now I have a bunch of Ragu I have to use before it goes bad.

At this point in making dinner, it was very late. I was going to make rice, but instead I threw some instant mashed potatoes in so I could finally start EATING! This bento was very easy to assemble from the left-overs the next day, and the flavors complimented eat other well. I wish I had a picture for you, but maybe next time.

Things to change next time:
The cauliflower salad needed more heat, so I'll need to add more curry powder and maybe some turmeric and some other heating spice.

Things to use for next dinner/bento:
Left over tomato sauce
Left over miso/tahini/walnut paste.
The rest of the cauliflower salad (there are still leftovers!)

The birth of my Boulder Bento Blog! (With lots of alliteration!)

Hi everyone! Although I don't expect many people to follow this blog, I've decided to create it anyway! It's going to center around my adventures with making bento box lunches! I've been a member of for a while now, but I've mostly just tried individual recipes instead of making actual bento. But now that I've settled into my new apartment, I think I'm actually going to try and dedicate myself to making healthy bentos for my lunch, so I can eat well and save money! Being a college student, I'm not so interested in losing weight, but rather just making sure I'm healthy and, really, eating at all.

I am also going to try to plan out my meals for the week in advance, so I can make the most of leftovers and the vegetables we buy (so they don't go bad before we eat them). I expect, though, at the end of our supplies, when I am only left with perogies in the freezer, my bento making will slow down. I'm a vegetarian, though not a very good one. I often eat meat when I go out, and sometimes I just feel like a real hamburger. In general, though, you won't find any meat in my fridge, and only some cans of tuna in my pantry. (I do like tuna...It's so convenient!)

Anyway, we'll see how it goes! I'm bento-ing from Boulder, CO at the moment, as you can maybe tell by the blog title. I hope to be able to upload pictures of the bentos for this blog, but I don't own a camera. My roommate does, though, so maybe she'll let me borrow hers. Unfortunately, she wasn't around when I made my first bento, so I'll just have to describe it to you!