Friday, October 15, 2021

Japanese Rock Garden Toast

 


TinySprite gets a peaceful toast today: hopefully it helps her wind down after a long hard week at school. I was inspired by the food artist Manami Sasaki. She's so creative. We love toast over here so it seems like fun to use the bread as a canvas for imagination and beauty. And I always love a miniature! 



Happy Friday friends!




Thursday, October 7, 2021

Beet-Dyed Egg

 

This jewel-toned egg.

The garnet hue.

But the color goes all the way through the white, and into the yolk too!


This is what happens when you let the egg hang out in the beet juice for a few days. If only overnight, you get a nice red rim around the inside edge when you slice it open.

What should I make with this beauty? ❤



Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Fried Egg Open Face Sandwich

 

Today TinySprite's snack is on the plate because we have a little time before we have to take off for activities. This sandwich might seem unusual to some people. Is it? But maybe not. I'm trying to load as much nutrition on the toast (her favorite means of caloric intake) as possible.

I already mentioned the dill pickle hummus; it has an extra tang. The split pea and quinoa I cooked on the stovetop and kept it on the spreadable consistency side. I added curry to it for flavor. The egg is sprinkled with turmeric and paprika, and the Sichuan pickles condiment I found at the Asian market. Hope she likes it!

Monday, October 4, 2021

The Chopped Salad


 Nothing like a fresh cold salad on a hot summery fall day, right? This is my take on the Nancy's Chopped Salad, of Pizzeria Mozza fame. I've eaten it many times and it's so satisfying I think because it doesn't feel like you're eating a salad so much as having an italian sub sandwich minus the bread, a thought smitten kitchen put into my head.

I didn't add the radicchio but otherwise it's pretty much on the money. Just add what you see here, plus whatever else you want, in the proportions you like. Add your favorite red wine vinaigrette and it's ready to eat.

This salad will be a hit with the whole fam, even the ones that hate salad. Plus, it's so quick and easy to put together. Yum!



Friday, October 1, 2021

Beet Tofu Avocado Pickle Onigirazu

 

This one may be vegetarian but it's substantial and flavorful. I wanted to make a snack for TinySprite using some random ingredients I had from salads this week. So here's what I did:

First I put the rice (this one is a mix of black, brown, and white), then I placed some baby kale leaves to keep the sliced beets from making the rice soggy. Then I layered sliced tofu, avocado, pickled red cabbage and red onion, then topped with baby spinach leaves to protect the rice again. To the bento I added sliced pluots, raspberries and yellow pear tomatoes. 

All packed up for TinySprite when she gets home from school. Happy Friday friends!


 

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Garlic Chili Oil Noodles

Had a craving for some spicy noods so did a quick search for a garlicky chili oil sauce to go with my new batch of knife-cut noodles.

Have you tried these before? I bought mine dried, and after you boil them you can see they have a frilly edge which is thinner than the center. They are cut using a special tool to create this unique shape. I admit I bought them because of their delicate beauty. But also I heard that they hold onto the sauce well. Big plus.

I sort of followed a general recipe but took a few liberties. The basic gist is shoyu, dark shoyu, black vinegar, chili oil (I used Lao Gan Ma chili crisp), extra chili powder, minced garlic, chopped scallions, sesame oil, and roasted peanuts (I pan toasted these in oil separately to get them crunchy before I added them). After the sauce is done, toss the drained noodles into the pan, coat thoroughly and enjoy!

Everyone else here seemed to like it but I'm looking for something a tad bit more spicy (and oily) with less soy. I should have known just by looking at it. Why didn't I just go with my gut and dump some chili oil on my bowl? Sometimes I just want chili and oil. But probably the garlic is crucial here too. I'm just going to have to tweak the proportions to suit my particular taste. This version is worth keeping for the fam though👍🏼



Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Sardine Melt Sandwich Bento

Throughout the pandemic while the kids were distance learning at home, they handled their own lunches and snacks. Since they were on completely different schedules and the kitchen is steps away from their workstations it was easy for them. One of TinySprite's favorites was toast. Toast with all kinds of various toppings. So today I will copy one of her standards... 

Sardines on toast! Now before you make a face, did you know that sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and selenium, and much lower in mercury than your usual tuna? They are high in protein and very good for you. Here's how I made mine.

Toast bread til crunchy. Smear on some dill pickle hummus, then zhoug sauce (or your preferred tangy sauce; maybe even pesto, salsa or hot sauce). Drain the sardines and add them in chunks to cover the whole toast. Add cheese on top, put the sandwich back in the oven, and broil to melt.

Take out of oven and add baby spinach and pickled red onions on top. That's it! I used a slightly larger bento box today so I could add a cup of sliced dinosaur pluots. These are my favorite stone fruit and I'm surprised they're stil in season right now. Still so sweet and juicy too. Hope she likes it!




Monday, September 27, 2021

Chicken Salad Onigirazu Bento


TinySprite is in high school now, can you believe it? Time flies; seems like only yesterday she was in preschool and enjoying her little snack bento at home.

After school these days she has only a short break before extracurricular activities so I decided to make her a little snack bento to tide her over. This one is onigirazu, which is a handheld rice ball filled with various proteins and veggies. Today I made a filling with the ingredients of our chicken salad from yesterday. First thing I did is lay out all tools and foods I'll be using.

I scoop the rice into a small ramekin for two reasons: it helps measure the portion size and it makes a nice compact round flattened rice ball in the center of the nori, placed shiny side down. My rice is a mixture of red, white and brown.


Next, pile on the ingredients you've chosen. Try to stay neatly on the rice patty. I used shredded romaine lettuce, shredded carrots, sliced purple radish, shredded chicken, some dressing, then more lettuce. Be creative and use whatever you like!

Sorry I didn't take process photos of the folding but I folded the bottom right corner in first, then the top left over that, then the two other sides. I used parchment paper but you can also use plastic wrap.

You're left with a nice neat package that you can then slice in half for visual appeal. Or you could keep it a surprise! 

I sliced mine because I'm excited to see how it looks. Try to remember which way the lengths of lettuce and chicken go so you can make a crosswise cut.

Pick a box that's small enough to keep the onigirazu from moving around. A clear lid lets her see what she's getting, and it looks so pretty and colorful. Snap the lid closed and you're ready to go. Hope she likes it!


Update: I think she liked it👍🏼




Monday, October 26, 2020

Healthy Mac and Cheese

I've made a lot of mac and cheese throughout my bentomaking years (I just went back and did a search through the website via the search box on the top right -->). But today I had to find a way to make it without milk. As usual, I also added veggies. This time I used minced broccoli, chopped zucchini, and chopped kuri squash.

You're probably saying, but you need milk! It has to be creamy! Well, I happened to not have milk in the house so I had to find a way to make do. I previously always made a roux with milk and flour but this time I just added shredded cheddar and parmesan to the cooked pasta and sauteed veggies. Guess what? It's still good! You can keep it vegetarian, or add protein if you like; I used soyrizo (so still vegetarian). Use your favorite spices; I used paprika, chili powder, cayenne, cumin, and pepper. Toss together and it's done. So good!


Mac and Cheese No Milk Method

1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked al dente
1 cup broccoli, chopped small
1 cup zucchini, chopped small
1 cup kuri (or other squash), chopped small
1 cup onion, chopped small
3 cloves garlic, minced
soyrizo (or sausage or other protein), to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (or other cheese of choice)

Saute the veggies in olive oil until soft. Add your favorite spices (I used paprika, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper). Add soyrizo. Add pasta, toss together. Add the cheese, mix together. 



Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Morning Meal


This morning I felt like making a comfort meal: 
pan-fried teriyaki wild Coho salmon onigiri with furikake, tamagoyaki, fresh tomatoes from the garden, and green tea with goji berries. The only thing missing was miso soup. And maybe something pickled. I'll work on that for next time.


Hope you are holding up during the new school year, which for us means Zoom and Google Meet classes at home. The kids have been preparing their own snacks and lunches themselves, according to how their screen breaks work out. I'm thinking about sharing some of their creations here. Stay tuned!




Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Toast Of The Day: Colorful Tomatoes!


Nice to be able to look at my colorful toast and feel cheerful!
These are some of my favorite flavors, tossed together like a salad on a piece of crispy bread. Can you get rainbow-hued tomatoes where you are? It may be nearly fall, but just looking at this pretty snack makes me think of summer.


Happy toasting, friends! 😊❤🍱🍞


Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Baking Adventures: Sourdough Purple Sweet Potato Yogurt Beet Juice Bread



Okinawan sweet potato sourdough bread.



This is my 3rd sourdough loaf using my own homegrown starter (which is 2 weeks old). I'm hoping to strengthen the sourness over time, but so far I'm quite happy with the results.




 Here is the method I used for this loaf:

360g all purpose flour
40g whole wheat flour
300g spring water
8g sea salt
130g (~½ cup) mashed steamed Okinawan sweet potatoes
130g (~½ cup) Greek yogurt
2T beet juice, stirred into the yogurt
⅓ cup walnuts
80g sourdough starter, at peak, 100% hydration
79% hydration
Autolyse 1 hour
6 hours bulk fermentation at room temp
Stretch and fold at 30 minute intervals for 1st 2 hours
Preshape, bench rest 30 minutes
Envelope fold, shape, place seam side up in linen-lined, floured bowl
Rest at room temp 1.5 hours
Proof in refrigerator 16 hours
Bake 400°F 40 minutes
Lid off, 20 more minutes