Wednesday, November 16, 2011

BENTO: Stir fry simplicity

Oh goodness it's been a LONG time! Life has been a bit all over the place: I moved from Brooklyn, NY to South Windsor, Connecticut and started a new job. Then the boyfriend, some of his friends and I had a road trip to Arkansas for a wedding. It was a very, very crazy time for me and I'm honestly glad to be home and relaxing! The wedding was lovely, however. If I get some photos up I'll post them as an aside ;) Anyway, onto my simple bento for today!

This simple bento was just a chicken with bell pepper stir fry with rice, hard boiled egg, and strawberries and kiwi slices. The bowl to the side contained an extra snack to eat during my manager's meeting of strawberries and kiwi. I can eat as much fruit as I want without feeling guilty about it!

My new co-workers were delighted with my bento. I showed them some other pictures and they loved the idea! Though one co-worker did comment that I ate too healthy because it made her feel bad :P Maybe my bento will inspire her to eat better! I know posting my lunch keeps me on the healthier side. And after all that fast food we ate during the road trip I need a detox!

And oops, you can see my bento stuff in the background! My sauce fish are mostly visible. I love those little guys!

Anyway, hope everyone has a grand week! I hope to get back into the swing of things :)

Posted on:

Bento Lunch

Sunday, September 25, 2011

RECIPE: Collards with Potatoes over Quinoa

So things have been a little crazy lately. I haven't had much time to make bento, nevertheless take any photos and post them! And truth be told, they've been kinda bland. Mostly stir fried things since that's usually what I make myself for dinner.

But tonight's dinner, oh ho, was not boring! I had gone to the local food co-operative and saw a box of quinoa at the checkout counter. I asked the cashier if someone was holding it, since I've wanted to cook with that for a while and never had. She said no, and was glad when I purchased it so she didn't need to go put it back! I got a reusable bag out of the deal, too. Go me!

So after playing around on Gojee for a while, I found a recipe that I'd adore. It's Chard with Potatoes and Tomatoes (you can see it here). I had most of the stuff on hand, but had to make a few substitutions. So in the end we have:

Collards with Potatoes and Tomatoes over Quinoa!
6 collard leaves, chopped
1/2 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used my zester for this!)
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
Can of diced tomatoes (mine were garlic and oil flavored)
3 red potatoes, diced (I find these have more flavor)
2 tbps fresh parsley
Salt & Pepper
1 cup cooked quinoa

Toss the diced potatoes in a sautee pan with a spot of oil (or butter if you're all Paula Dean like that), S&P and let them get a bit browned. Once they're looking like proper hash-ready potatoes put them to the side and add more oil to the pan.
Cook the onion, garlic and jalapeno pepper until the onions are soft and have a bit of color on them. Toss in the collard greens and let them wilt down a little.
Once all that's done, add in the tomatoes and reaquaint the potatoes back into this sautee pan lovefest. Sprinkle the parsley on top and let the mixture cook for a bit to marry together, have weird babies and live happily ever after. Make sure you taste it a bit and adjust S&P levels.

Once the liquid from the tomatoes cooks down a bit, your food is ready! Toss it over the quinoa and nosh to your hearts content.

This is served beside a side of vodka, the best side dish there is.
I had plenty of leftovers, so I'll be making a lot of annoying quinoa-based dishes all week! Yum!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bento: Stir fried fever

Alright so I may be going overboard with the stir fried stuff, but I'm currently heavily addicted to hoisen sauce so forgive me.
Onto the bento!
It's a simple one. I was tired. Hoisen chicken stir fried over vegetable fried rice. Next to it are baby red and orange bell peppers, a hard boiled egg and some grapes. Was simple and tasty!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

BENTO: It's a rice world.

Greetings! It's been a while! I've been incredibly busy and haven't gotten to take any pictures of my lunches at all!

But this morning I had a bit of extra time and threw together a good lunch for my late night at work.

Sorry there's no pictures of it all as one, my camera is awful in the lighting of my kitchen.

Bottom tier is leftover rice patties made from a cookbook that my friend Renee got me for my birthday! They were a mix of hoisen sauce, soy sauce, rice, egg, scallions and a few other things. They were grand, though a bit of a chore to make. But Boyfriend and I seem to have had the method down by the end, so I hope we make it again!
I took the leftover patty mix and stir fried it with an egg and soy sauce and made the side rice.

Top tier is simple. Hard boiled egg, blanced asparagus, grapes, and a mix of potatoes, bell peppers and soyrizo. I needed something a bit more substantial in this bento since it has to last me til I get home at 8pm!

I hope everyone enjoys their day! (And lunch!)

Monday, August 22, 2011

BENTO: Leftover chorizo madness

Hi! Today's bento was very simple, as I just didn't feel up to cooking this weekend. I had made a fresh salmon filet on top of pasta, collard greens, and chorizo mixed with kidney beans. It was freaking delicious!

So of course I ate all of the plate, but had PLENTY of leftovers for bento fodder. I keep a container in my fridge of various leftovers to throw into bento during the week:

It really helps to have that on the mornings that I'm just too tired to throw anything together. Also makes for fast dinner!

So anyway, enough of the non-bento!

This one was easy to throw together last night. There's leftover chorizo with kidney beans over collard greens and pasta on the left. On the right, there's sliced kiwi, strawberries, apples, cucumber and some quickly fried red potato slices! There's so much green in this bento it reminded me of my friend Renee, whose favorite color is green!

Hope you enjoyed & everyone has a great start to the week =)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

REVIEW: Tapeo29

I never knew much about brunch until I moved to Brooklyn. I had seen shows about it on the Food Network, and heard friends talk about having brunch here and there – but it never crossed my mind to go out on a Sunday morning for some food and drinks.

And then my good friend Bob suggested that we have brunch in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Bob's been a large influence in my newfound foodieness – most of the new foods I've tried have been with him! He's a great friend and amusingly we met each other at my old job. He was one of our regular customers and we kept in touch when I switched jobs.

So it was decided that on this particular Sunday we'd go to Tapeo29 – a nice restaurant in the Lower East Side on Clinton Street.

This place looks amazing. The large bar dominates most of the restaurant, but there's plenty of seating on the side next to the open walls, so it's fresh and sunny as well! The crowd wasn't large and everyone seemed in good spirits, including the staff.

Their brunch special includes a large array of items, served with home fries or salad and two drinks of your choice (screwdriver, mimosa or bloody mary).

I'm a chorizo addict – I admit it. I had never tried them or cooked with them before about a year ago, and once I did I was hooked! The taste of it is just perfect with eggs, on pizza, mixed with anything! I could go on and on about chorizo...but this is a review and not a chorizo-induced rant.

So Chorizo al Vino was ordered – that's chorizo glazed in a red wine sauce. It was delicious! I could just eat them all day. The wine sauce had a hint of cinnamon in it that played perfectly with the spiciness of the chorizo. It was the perfect size to share between two people – even chorizo lovers like us!

Next up was the main event of brunch: omelettes! I always have the most difficult time ordering these because I generally don't like cheese. And I especially don't like cheese with my eggs. Luckily they have three egg omelettes with two add-ons of your choice, which can include: spinach, scallions, bell peppers, sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, bacon, an array of cheeses and a few more things. This was right up my alley, so I ordered one with sausage and bell peppers.

The eggs were cooked perfectly – not runny like I've gotten far too many times at other places. I ordered crispy home fries on the side. Needless to say, my plate was cleaned off in a small amount of time.

Afterwards we sat around, chit chatting and having $5 pitchers of screwdrivers! $5! I know!

The bartender knew how to make a great strong drink that wasn't too strong for it being so early in the day. The wait staff was incredibly friendly and were very prompt with whatever we needed.

Also, and this really is worth mentioning, their bathroom is swank. I mean when I say swank, it's swank. Incredibly clean and well-kept, it really has it's own mood. Behind a black curtain and through a door is a darkly painted oasis with beautiful sinks and candles as the sole source of lighting. It's amazing.

All in all we had a great time here. The place was easy to get to (from Brooklyn), there was a good crowd and in general it was just a lovely atmosphere. The food was delicious, and I can't wait to try a tapas the next time we go!

And now I'm hungry for chorizo. Yum!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

BENTO: Connecticut bound and back again!

Hi! This past Friday I got the opportunity to see some lovely friends of mine in Connecticut! I was really excited to go, and packed a lunch to eat during the day and of course a lunch to eat on the train up there. I didn't get to eat the bento on the train, unfortunately, because it was all over the place! So I saved it and ate it a bit later.

This lunch was a big one for during the day Friday. It's pretty simple: veggie noodle soup, asparagus, tuna salad sandwiches, grapes, hard boiled egg & some kiwi!

I love the LunchBots box that I got at Ohayo Bento! Please check out her store if you're looking for great quality items for not a great amount of money ;) The sandwiches are just tuna with mayo between Jamaican hard dough bread.

My second box was for eating on the train, which was just not in the cards for me at all. That's okay, because it was still delicious!

More soup! I'm souped out.

The bottom was simple. More tuna wraps with kiwi, asparagus and grapes on a bed of lettuce. I'll be cooking more exciting things, I swear. I'm pretty sick of the same thing every day!

I had a great time in CT! I got a tan playing four square, had breakfast with new friends and old friends, took a capoeria lesson (and my muscles STILL hurt), played war, went to a brewery and watched quite possibly the saddest movie in existence. It is so sad, I will not mention it here. But the weekend was GREAT and thanks to everyone who spent it with me!

Until next time, enjoy!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

GUEST: Caitlin's Crabby Patties!

So my lovely friend Caitlin can bake. To be completely honest, I can't bake to save my life. Seriously, don't ask me to make anything beyond snickerdoodles. There's a reason everything I make involves a sautee pan.

With her permission, I'm posting the pictures she sent me of her adorable cupcakes! They're in the shape of crabby patties from Spongebob!

In the fridge!
Without the "tops" on

Seriously, Caitlin is awesome. When I trick someone into marrying me, she's making my cake.
Note from Caitlin: If anyone needs to recipe, let me know and I'll let her know! :)

[Note: Will be writing up my Connecticut trip tomorrow - work has been *insane!*]

Hope everyone is doing well!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bento: Sandwiches and fruit galore

Good evening! (Night, actually...) I had a rough day today, and was glad to have such a substantial bento for lunch today. I didn't get to eat until around 3pm! Not going to be making the mistake of having early breakfast on my late day again. Silly Mande.

Anyway this bento was thrown together (again) the morning... so sorry for the hasty pictures! But at least the lighting is much better in my kitchen in the mid-morning hours than at night.

The top half is a simple array of tuna sandwich w/ lettuce roll ups on a bed of romaine lettuce. Next to that are terrible apple bunnies nomming on some cucumbers. I'm a bit paranoid about using my knife today as I cut myself pretty badly chopping veggies for soup last night. So minimal knife work for me today.

I just didn't have the time this morning to make everything cut all cute, so I put some colourful picks on the food! It held the kiwi in place quite nicely, I must say. Here we have grapes, kiwi slices over some red bell peppers, a hard boiled egg and some blanched asparagus.

All in all it was a delicious lunch! I finished it up again with some SkinnyCow ice cream and relaxed in my break room watching the Food Network!

This weekend I'm heading to Connecticut to see some very lovely friends. I've already packed my bento for lunch tomorrow, and made one to eat on the train on the way up there. I'll post those when I get back.

I hope you enjoyed!

RECIPE: Faux potato curry from leftover samosa filling

Good morning! The past week I've been eating enough potato curry to curry myself out. So I figured I could share how I made it and others can try this easy way to use up some leftovers!

A bit ago I made veggie samosas. They consisted of 1 carrot, 1 potato, 1 onion, 2 cloves garlic, some peas finely chopped mixed with curry powder, S&P and sauteed. Then you add ~1/2c veggie stock and let it simmer down to thin it out. Afterwards you just add it to filo dough - and bake! I had a ton of filling leftover!

A girl simply doesn't need to eat THAT many samosas. Leftover filling!
As you can see - holy tons of extra filling, Batman! After thinking for a bit, I decided to make a faux potato curry with it.

I chopped up two more red potatoes

I removed the skins because they taste funny to me.

They went into the sautee pan with a spot of oil to soften a bit, then I added the leftover samosa filling, some more veggie stock, more curry powder, S&P and covered it to let it simmer for a while. "For a while" I mean about 20-25 minutes. I stirred it pretty frequently - once every 7-8 minutes to make sure nothing stuck to the bottom.

The water in the pot in the background is for blanching asparagus!
Afterwards it was a delicious, hearty faux curry that I really enjoyed! It packed wonderfully in my bentos for the week and tasted just fine warm/room temperature/or cold!

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

BENTO: Nom ALL the leftovers!!

Sorry kids, today's bento isn't all that exciting. I was exhausted and had a terrible time sleeping last night! No idea what was up with THAT nonsense! So I pretty hurriedly packed lunch for today this morning instead of the night before. Won't be doing THAT again!

I have quite possibly enough leftovers that truly need to be eaten by tomorrow to feed 3 people. So I figured bento today, dinner tonight, lunch tomorrow except - tragedy of tragedies - I ran out of rice! As I didn't realize that until I got home, I'll have to make do with having soup tonight to use up the veggies that are in my fridge threatening to rebel if not eaten.

I'll be posting the recipes I used for what I have in this box tomorrow or Monday - I'll be in Connecticut this weekend! I plan to pack a bento for Friday lunch, and one to eat on the train for dinner since I'll be running to Grand Central right from work.

ANYWAY, in this bento: jasmine rice, leftover potato curry, large hard boiled egg. On the right side are some strawberries, raw red bell pepper, collard greens sauteed with more red bell pepper (I like peppers!) and some asparagus buried underneath. (Not pictured: for dessert I had a SkinnyCow chocolate truffle bar! OMG! Yum!)

And that's all she wrote. I might post the recipes tonight - depending on how long it takes me to make the soup. Hope everyone enjoys!

Submitted to:
Bento Lunch

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Bento: Tuna Cakes w/ fruits & veggies

Only one picture of this bento: I was tired!
I had been cooking for a friend lately (he was my guinea pig!) and he wanted crab cakes. I dislike crab meat, so I decided to make the same recipe with canned tuna instead!

All I did was put a two cans of tuna (I made a lot) in a bowl, mixed in some mayo, jalapeno pepper, scallions, a whole egg, salt, pepper, parsley and then mixed in some panko and crushed ritz crackers. They were delicious! And so easy! I just threw them into a sautee pan until they browned up and they were ready to eat.

On the bottom of the tuna cakes is a potato and apple hash I tossed together. I just put in some thinly chopped red potatoes with salt and pepper, cooked that until it got a bit brown, and added in some chopped granny smith apples until they got soft and presto: my version of a simple potato and apple hash.

The rest is pretty self-explanatory: blanched asparagus, cucumber, some grapes and a hard boiled egg.

This bento was just really leftovers from the dinner I made my friend and myself, and I was able to prepare it the night before so I could sleep a few extra minutes that morning! Hope you enjoyed!