Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Chicken's Back

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2016-06-15-0716
A cheese omelet with ketchup.
Chicken tender pieces --- seasoned with salt and pepper, dusted with curry powder and flour, then pan-fried.
That morning I had to make at least one more item, but came up with nothing. I always always keep aburaage, shirasu and edamame as fridge staples because I love them and they are all healthy foods. I impromptu stir-fried them all together and seasoned with a bit of shoyu. Yay, it turned out one of my impromptu hits!



2016-06-16-0729
Teriyaki salmon --- I marinated salmon pieces in shoyu and sake the night before. In the morning, pan-fried them, and dressed in shoyu and honey.
Chicken seniku --- marinated with salt and a bit of vinegar the night before, then broiled and sprinkled with herb salt.
Stir-fried green onion and shirasu.



2016-06-17-0732
Chicken seniku --- marinated with salt and a bit of vinegar, then pan-fried until crispy, and dressed in shoyu and shichiimi togarashi.
A shoyu egg half.
Pickled cucumber --- I sliced cucumbers, and pickled with salt and dashi shoyu.
Pickled mackerel --- I dusted salted-mackerel pieces with potato starch, and shallow-fried. Then soaked them in a marinade sauce of vinegar, shoyu, mirin, water and lemon slices. I made this for dinner.

I know, now some of you are wondering what chicken seniku is. I don't come up with a proper word for it, but I can say it's meat on chicken's back. It tastes better than breast or tenderloin and less greasy than thigh. Plus, it's cheaper than them! I've been using it pretty much every day lately. By the way prepping chicken or fish ahead of time (like how I do the night before) really makes a big difference. I will mention it some of these days.



clematis 1



clematis 2



clematis 3
Clematis.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Disposable Lunch Box... first time in ages

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2016-05-19-0701
Yuppi had a gathering of her art class with one day stay in a city far away from here. She got a bento in a disposable paper container. I bought the container from Daiso. I don't want to do this so often, but every now and then, it's ok and so much fun, isn't it? She had a karaage cup, two omusubi (one with edamame, scrambled egg and a shoyu okaka filling, and one with simply sesame seeds and salt to go with the karaage) and a pineapple cup for a refreshing dessert. Plus, Jagariko (butter chicken curry flavored) and a bottle of lemon soda for a snack to omnom in her bus or hotel. Later I thought I should have fancied up the container for a little surprise with cute stickers (of course lovebird ^^) or something, geez...



2016-05-20-0741
Spinach nori salad, fried chicken pieces, shoyu egg halves and a chunk of salted sockeye salmon on a bed of rice, sesame seeds and nori. For the chicken, I marinated chicken breast pieces with minced umeshiso overnight, then battered and fried them. Ume-shiso or ume-jiso is red shiso leaves pickled with umeboshi. You can use it as a seasoning as with umeboshi itself. By the way, yukari (a rice topping) was originally the same thing as dried umeshiso, but now yukari is made by a different process.



2016-05-18-0720
For this one, I marinated chicken thighs in miso and shoyu the night before and broiled them in the morning. The rest of this bento are spicy ketchuped potato, tamagoyaki, and asparagus for a green.



Summer is coming around the corner where I am. But before that, I have to post these pictures that I took over a month ago. Unfortunately I didn't get around to going to beautiful places of sakura trees so I settled for the tiny sakura blossoms in backyard. Since the backyard and trees are not my own, I had to use my lame zoom lens. It sometimes does a good job, but sometimes doesn't. That's my excuse though!

tiny sakura 4



tiny sakura 2



tiny sakura 1

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Chicken Soboro

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2016-04-26-0747
Konnyaku --- Cooked in dashi shoyu, mirin and sugar.

Aburaage and onion slices --- Cooked with ketchup, oyster sauce and chili pepper powder. This is my own idea and yes, was a HIT! (Yuppi and I loved it.) Topped with edamame for green.

Cabbage --- Blanched, tossed with sakura ebi, salt and sesame oil.

Chicken thigh --- Marinated in lemon juice, salt and black pepper overnight, then broiled.



2016-04-27-0750
Rice --- Topped with ume-okaka and salted sockeye salmon.

Chicken breast --- Marinated in BBQ-ish sauce of worcester sauce, shoyu and ketchup overnight, then broiled.

Asuparagas --- Blanched, tossed with syoyu, salt and nori (seaweed).

Simple tamagoyaki of eggs, sugar, shoyu and salt. There are many variations of tamagoyaki, but I like this type best for bento.



2016-04-25-0740
This type of bento is generally called Sanshoku soboro bento. Consists of scrambled eggs, ground chicken (sometimes pork or beef), a green vegetable (spinach, snow peas, edamame or this time I used asparagus) and rice underneath them. Sanshoku means three colours (green, yellow, brown) and soboro means crumbles of ground meat, egg, fish or tofu, and so on. Everyone makes their soboro into itty bitty grains, but they are literally grainy-flaky and a bit hard to eat because they drop down easily when you eat. For bento, I make mine into a bit larger pieces for easy eating (it's really important that your lunch is easy to eat). I usually use chicken thighs instead of store-ground chicken which has a lot of fat. I think chicken thighs are better for this dish than chicken breasts or tenders are because they are a bit too dry in texture and bland in taste, though, I actually prefer chicken tenders to thighs for other dishes.

I remove skin and fat from chicken thighs and chop up the meat roughly with a knife. Then I add the usual sweet salty sauce of shoyu, mirin and sugar, and to keep the meat moist and tender, add a tiny bit of potato starch as well. I cook it without covering until just some of the sauce remains in the bottom of the pan. I always want meat to be moist. :)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Carrot Shiri Shiri

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2016-04-20-0747
Asparagus --- Blanched, tossed with salt and oil.
Boiled eggs --- Tossed with mayo and curry powder and salt.
Chikuwa (fish cake) Seasoned with shoyu, mirin and shichimi togarashi.
Chicken nuggets --- Chicken tenders minced with knife, mixed with shoyu, mayo and potato starch, coated in potato starch and shallow-fried in oil.
A mineola orange for dessert.


2016-04-13-0745
Purple cabbage salad --- Blanched, soaked in vinaigrette.
Ninjin shirishiri --- Shredded carrot (of course), stir-fried with white maitake mushroom, ham and edamame, seasoned with salt and black pepper.
Chicken tender Spread with miso-mayo sauce then broiled.
Shirasu --- Mixed with shoyu, sesame seeds and sesame oil. On a bed of rice.



2015-12-23-0913
Ninjin shirishiri --- Shredded carrot stir-fried with an egg, shirasu, sesame seeds, salt and black pepper.
Potato salad --- Tossed with mayo, curry powder, lemon juice and salt.
Glossy shoyu chicken --- Cooked in shoyu, mirin, sake and sugar.




I find myself making ninjin shirishiri for bento very often. It's super easy to make and Yuppi's only favorite carrot dish. Since carrots are full of nutrients, I want to put some good carrot dish in bentos as often as I can. Ninjin shirishiri tastes good at room temperature and goes with rice or even bread. That means it's perfect for bento. (Wait, I may have written the same thing long before. Oh well, nobody remembers, haha!)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Handy Pan for Bento

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2016-04-18-0748
Today's bento is chock-full of my favorite vegetables. Stir-cooked (stir-fried with no oil) maitake mushroom and thin pork slices. Savory pancakes made of spring cabbage, flour, okara (soy pulp from making soy milk), sakuraebi (dried teeny tiny shrimps) and aonori sea weed. A stir-fry of purple asparagus, green onion and an egg. Purple asparagus turns into green after cooking, but I think it's a bit better in taste than normal green one is.



Cabbage pancake
This is a cheap small nonstick frying pan (about 9-inch) you could buy anywhere. Although I definitely prefer a cast iron skillet, I cook pretty much everything for bento in this pan except for rice. When you have to make several dishes in very small amounts one after another within a short time, this type of pan will come in handy.

For example, like this, for the bento above I first made the cabbage pancakes because they were least likely to get the pan dirty. Then what I next made in the same pan was the asparagus stir-fry. Then I lightly washed the pan out under running water, and then cooked the mushroom and pork in it. Finally I cleaned the pan using soap after everything had done.

This is a little tip for quick-bentoing on a daily basis. It can apply to cutting boards as well. Always starting with a cleaner thing (veggie or fruit) and after that, finishing with raw meat/fish or greasy stuff. This will help you speed up. Really.

It's OK not to put many items in bento boxes, isn't it? I always only have three or four. Sometimes just ONE! Like fried rice or noodles or only some omusubi, high-carb bentos... LOL! If you make two quick dishes or three in the morning and in the fridge you have some leftovers from the night before, your bento will be such a perfection!



Cabbage pancake

Saturday, April 16, 2016

So Far So Good

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2015-12-08-0726
This bento contains spinach, daigakuimo (glazed sweet potato), chicken karaage, omusubi balls (of rice, edamame, scrambled egg and shirasu) and a mikan for dessert.



2016-04-14-0742
Chicken katsu curry. In this bento are spinach salad (as usual), a bit sour purple cabbage salad (I like purple veggies) for refreshment, mini panko-fried chicken breast pieces and rice (of course). Unfortunately I can't show you the content of the thermal jar, because I screw the lid on immediately.



2016-04-14-0749
I like this bagel (or donut?) key chain. It looks so good, doesn't it? I couldn't help taking the shot.



2016-04-15-0718
I made today, a quick omuraisu bento. I added blanched spinach and creamy sesame dressing to top it off.



Sadly, our spinach season is almost over. Spinach is available to buy all year, but not so good except for the cold season. For the same reason, I hardly buy tomatoes or cucumbers in winter. I'm about to make the switch from spinach to spring cabbage, which is also a time-limited deliciousness, and will be in season soon. You'll probably see a lot of cabbage in my bentos! :D

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

It Has Been Forever

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Whoa. How long has it been?? How many people in the world still read this blog? I myself, have not been here in a long long time. I am alive anyhow, haha! You are very precious if you're still interested in what I make for bento.



2016-04-12-0729
This contains salmon, edamame, spinach, lemon pork saute and potato.



2016-04-05-0729
Bibimbap bento. Spinach, stir-fried pork, carrot, moyashi (mung bean sprouts), gochujang (Korean bean paste) and rice.



2015-12-15-0826
Curry-flavored potato salad, fried pork slices, tamagoyaki and pickled purple Chinese cabbage.