Too much time has passed since my last posting (October??) but in the spirit of a new year, a new page in the life of the Culinary Linguist if you will, I am jumping ahead with...
The Getting Started 5 Week Just Bento Challenge! (which you can read more about by clicking on the link).
I have been starting to make my own bento, or Japanese-style lunchboxes, since mid-fall or so. I barely get a half hour lunch break at the elementary school where I work, so eating out is not an option (plus, it gets to be very expensive and not satisfying). Making my own bento allows me to save money, and has also given me the chance to be creative. I was heavily inspired by Maki of Just Bento, and so I felt that taking her bento challenge (which officially started on January 12) would be a fitting way to start a new year of bento making.
My goals for this challenge, subject to revision, are:
-To try and make substantial, healthy bento that will get me through dinner
-To eat a variety of vegetables
-To expand my bento-making repertoire
Here are the contents of my first bento (for a picture, go to my Flickr page, here):
4 kidney bean fritters (for "recipe," see below) on top of butter lettuce leaves
short-grain brown rice with black sesame seeds
shredded green cabbage with bottled sesame dressing (Pietro)
a Gold Rush apple from our CSA box
I dreamed up the fritter recipe in bed this morning: one can of kidney beans, drained and mashed with a splash of soy sauce, to which I then added one finely minced garlic clove, a finely chopped stalk of celery, about a quarter cup of panko breadcrumbs (didn't measure), a generous sprinkling of goma shio (sesame salt), and black pepper. I then formed them into patties of approximately equal size and pan fried them in olive oil on both sides until golden brown. One 15.5 ounce can of beans made 5 fritters.
My bento turned out to be great at room temperature. The fritters were very flavorful. Not as elaborate as some of the other bento I've seen in the Flickr pool for the challenge, but overall it was a success. Next time I might add carrot to the fritters, and serve a sauteed dark green leafy vegetable like kale with it instead of the raw green cabbage salad.