Sunday, December 12, 2010

Soy-Sauced Green Beans and Soba Bento!

A good way to get your greens and whole wheat! The beans are a bit on the salty side, so unseasoned buckwheat noodles balance them out. Obviously, it can also be eaten fresh; it doesn't need to be made into bento.

Protip: These are great made either with frozen or fresh beans :) Frozen tend to make softer beans while with fresh you can turn up the heat and make crisper bean!

Soy-Sauced Green Beans and Soba

1. Boil some water for your soba. In the mean time, heat up a bit of canola oil in a skillet (medium heat).
2. Smash 1 clove garlic per serving and chop finely. Throw it on the skillet when the oil is hot enough it loses some viscosity (a.k.a. becomes runnier).
3. When the garlic smells nice, add the green beans (frozen or trimmed and washed fresh). For frozen, keep the heat medium & cover until the beans thaw out a bit, then uncover, add a splash of dark soy sauce and turn it up to med-high. For fresh, turn up the heat to med-high, add the soy sauce, and do not cover.
4. At this point, your water should be boiling, so throw in the soba and let it boil for 5 minutes or so (or whatever you package says) 'til their insides are all cooked but they're still slightly firm (commonly referred to as al dente).
5. Taste your green beans after the ends get black. Add more soy sauce if necessary. If it got too salty, a bit of mirin will temper it. Take them off the heat before they get soggy.
6. Drain your soba and wash with cold water to stop them cooking. Make a nest in your bento container with the noodles, then surround with the green beans. Pair with a clementine and piece of cheese for a well-rounded, colourful meal :)

Happy Lunching! Read More......

Packet Portobello Burger

Necessity is the mother of this recipe: all the frying pans in the house are dirty, and I really didn't want to wash anything, so I decided to make the usual portobello steak using a foil packet and the toaster oven instead.

The carrots add nutrients, colour, and a subtle earthy sweetness that compliments the savoury mushroom and slight pungency of Havarti.

1. Wipe off portobello and break off stem, if present. Rip the stem up into little pieces.
2. Chop up 1/4 of a small onion.
3. Put the portobello cap gill-side up on a big piece of aluminum foil (at least 4x as big as the mushroom.)
4. Put the stem pieces and chopped up onion on top.
5. Sprinkle with seasoned salt, or just salt.
6. Bring up the edges of the foil and crimp shut, making a cozy tent around your portobella
7. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.
8. In the mean time, grate some carrots. I actually thought it was a lot of work, and wasted some carrot, so next time I'll probably just chop it into matchsticks. Also, I leave the skin on my carrots for extra nutrients. Just make sure to scrub it well, and always get organic carrots :)
9. When the mushroom is done, push it to the back of your toaster oven and toast your hamburger buns with a piece of havarti.
10. Let it cool off a little, then assemble your burger as shown.
11. Pair with romaine salad for a delicious nutritious meal.

Happy Eating! Read More......

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bento~ Many Ways!

I bring lunch to school pretty much every day, and sometimes it can be a challenge to create a balanced meal, especially on a student's timetable! Bento is technically the Japanese term for a packed lunch, and although they are generally not heated, I like my lunches piping hot ;P so it's kinda like a Chinese-Japanese fusion bento thingy. But whatever. Here are some of the bento I've made, with tips for EXTRA DELICIOUS TIME.

Leftover Bento Parfait
Made of last night's Asian Fusion leftovers! The doggie-bag actual yielded 3 meals worth -- which is pretty good for restaurant leftovers ;P

The parfait keeps the oil (since restaurant food is always way greasy compared to home!) from splattering on top, and absorbs the delicious sauce on bottom, creating the most awesome lunchtime experience ever!

Leftover stir fry makes a good bento 'cause it's got lots of colours (eat your colours!) and is very flavourful. Just add rice (either from the restaurant, or steam your own) and it's a complete meal!

Really Quick Mashed Potato Bento with Veggie-Cod Heart
This bento was made on one of those mornings where I woke up and realized I forgot to pack lunch the night before (OH NOEZZZZ). Frozen corn and peas sprinkled with salt and topped with mashed potates makes a kinda shepard-pie like dish. Pepper for flavour on top, and a chunk of veggie cod steak, cut into a heart shape, adds protein. The only colour it's missing is red (according to the Japanese 5-colour per meal deal: red, yellow, green, black, white) so I'd probably add like an apple to balance it out. Or not, if apples aren't in season. I hate dull apples.

Finally, Ultra-Healthy Bento of Awesomeness features stir-fried peas and corn (just a pinch salt, a touch of sesame oil, and throw in some scallions at the end) on a bed of brown rice, topped with seared veggie cod steak. Carrots add the requisite red (orange counts as red in far as food goes, anyways) while grapes and brie cheese make a decadent dessert.

Alright guys, let's make some SUPER-DELICIOUS BENTO TIME! Read More......