I’ve built up a bit of a bento backlog in recent weeks, so I figured it’s high time that I unloaded it.
Valentine-y Bento (eaten 2/12/10):
Taller tier: Kiwi, carrot sticks, hard-boiled egg, strawberry gummies. Shorter tier: Mini onigiri (1 furikake, 1 w/ rou soong filling), pepperoni, edamame & corn, green olive, soy sauce in piggie. Sidecar is actually just yogurt and nuts that I ate with a banana for breakfast because I had a long day out of the house that day.
Homemade Dumpling Bento (eaten 2/19/10):
Taller tier: Boiled shanghai bok choy and pan-fried homemade pork & leek potstickers (I had a dumpling night with my housemates for Chinese New Year, for which I made a ton of fresh dumplings – these are some of the leftovers, which I froze). Shorter tier: Umbrella “cookies” (I thought they would be sweet when I bought them but actually they are mostly salty, like crackers with black sesame bits), lotus seed candy (also left over from CNY), pepperoni, rou soong stuffed onigiri, olives, dipping sauce in a small container. Sidecar: Sliced kiwifruit.
Yogurt chicken “nuggets” bento (eaten 3/5/10):
Taller tier: Spinach & pine nut salad (underneath everything else), baked “chicken nuggets” made using chicken breast and a variation on Pioneer Woman’s yogurt chicken recipe, strawberries. Shorter tier: mini onigiri (one w/ rou soong, the other with furikake), more strawberries, baby carrots, balsamic salad dressing in the small container.
Shrimp Salad Bento (eaten yesterday):
Main compartment: Real Simple’s shrimp, cucumber & white bean salad (with parsley instead of dill), lemon for squeezing. Smaller compartments: Furikake mini onigiri, dried kiwifruit (best stuff ever!), sliced strawberries, olive oil for the salad. Notes: Something in this bento made me a little sick. My stomach is still not great (I might skip lunch). I noticed while eating one of my onigiri that the middle of it had a weird freezerburnt texture, so I wonder if that was the culprit. Don’t think it was my shrimp, cucumber or cannellini beans (I had a little of it the night before an, d it was fine and the salad sat in the fridge overnight), or my strawberries (ditto, though they are getting old-ish). Definitely not the dried kiwi. Maybe the lemon? They are getting kind of old.
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Finally, an experiment: I tried to make chicken char siu a couple of weeks ago and it just did not come out the way I’d have liked it. I think I had several issues going on: first of all, chicken just tastes like chicken, and it was very weird to have a chickeny taste going on for something supposed to be char siu like (I hadn’t realized how much I’d associated char siu with the taste of pork before, or that chicken can really have a strong taste!); secondly, the marinade wasn’t quite right — not sweet or thick enough, and the chicken didn’t get crispy enough on the outside. I have looked at some other recipes since and think next time I would need to put hoisin and five spice in the marinade, brush on the honey thicker (or even add brown sugar on top), and broil it for much longer. An open gas flame would also have helped, but I have an electric stove, so that’s not an option. As for the chicken-y taste, I guess that can’t be helped! Next time if I really have a char siu craving I should make the real thing.
After I made the “char siu” I ate it in a big bowl of noodles with egg, boy choy, and scallions: