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👍🏼