Thursday, July 29, 2010

Last Summer Bento

Next week lil P goes back to school. I don't think i'll be doing any more bentos unless he requests for it. So I decided to make this my best bento ever made. hahaha.

After reading a bunch of bento cookbooks and understanding of the placement, etc. I finally able to put them all together and make this bento the most presentable one. I just hope the soy beans stay in place since they're going to the Battle Ship Missouri today.

I made 3 bentos, one for lil P, the other two are for his friend and his friend's brother. My original plan was to make 3 little Pigs, with triscuits (as straw), pretzel rods (as wood), and chocolate bar that has blocks (as bricks). I thought that was a GREAT Idea! But when I asked lil P, he said his friend would prolly like the pokemon better. I'll do the 3 little pigs another time. :)

In these bento, I have 3 mini pepperoni pizza manapua: pikachu (american cheese, nori, swiss cheese as dot on the eyes, pepperoni as cheeks and mouth) and pokemon ball (swiss cheese, nori, and pepperoni), soy beans, a clementine (lil P doesn't like it, so I gave him some Juice Plus daily veggies and fruits), and an oki doki star cracker packet. All the remainder cheese and pepperonis from the cut outs are reused into the filling. So I've got nothing wasted!

I think this is a perfect wrap up for my summer bento-making. Now i can finally have time to clean the house....hahaha..

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Octopus and Crabs

Made this for lil P's Waterpark Adventure. Shoyu hot dogs and sausages over fried noodles, 2 spring rolls, some soy beans and a slice of apple. I made 3 of these to share with his friend and sibling. He came home with only some noodles left. yay! :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Chicken Katsu Donburi

In case you didn't know, I have been reading alot of bento making books lately. ALOT. I've got my hands on a total of 5 now, and I've been reading them nightly. Japanese cooking, I concluded, consists of 3 main ingredients: Shoyu, Sugar, and Mirin. If you have all 3, you can make almost anything yummy.

I love donburi. It makes the rice so tasty! I never would have thought I could make this and i managed to! It's so simple, using those same 3 ingredients.

1 tsp Mirin
1 tsp Sugar
1 tbsp Shoyu
2 tbsp water
2 tsp sake
1 small onion (chopped)
1 piece of chicken katsu/cutlet, cut into strips**
1 egg (beaten)
cooked rice

Heat first 5 ingredients in a skillet until bubbly, add in onions and cook until onions are cooked through. Reduced heat, add in chicken cutlet, cover, and cook for another 5 minutes. Slowly pour beaten egg into the skillet, move the skillet around to fluff the egg. Using spatula, loosen the content bottom from the skillet, flip the content over on the top of a bowl of rice. Serve!

**can be substitue with pork cutlet/tonkatsu, diced chicken with shiitake mushrooms (that's what I made for lunch the next day), shrimp, etc. lots of variety!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sushi Night

I haven't made dinner in a long time. At least nothing worth mentioning. Last night I decided to make something Mr. P would like: sushi.

I went to pick up some poke (hawaiian style raw seafood salad) from the grocery store before heading home early evening. I had spicy tuna, ahi poke, ocean salad, along with a fresh wild caught ahi fillet. I thought about making california roll too, but I didn't get any avocados from my in-law's tree and decided to save some money. The poke and the sashimi costed about $25.

I have been using hapa rice (half brown and half white) for quite some time now and didn't have any white rice. I thought I could try making sushi rice out of them -- not really a good idea. It's best to use white japanese rice.

Sushi Rice:

cook rice as directed. in a bowl, mix in one part sugar, 2 part rice vinegar, and a dash of salt. If it's 2 cups cooked rice, then 1 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, and 1/2 tsp salt. pour into cooked rice, mix well and let cool.

Inside out sushi roll:

Place siran wrap as base, place nori on top of siran wrap, thinly spread sushi rice all over nori. Flip nori over so rice is on the bottom. Add your inside stuff starting at half an inch from the base of the nori (mine is spicy tuna), line the filling up horizontally. start rolling by grabbing the siran wrap and cover the filling slowly and tightly, lifting the siran wrap up as the nori hits the inside and continue to roll through. Use your hands to grip the roll tightly, then open up the siran wrap. To cut, run a sharpe knife through cold water (per cut) and cut them into 6 to 8 pieces.

Maki Sushi:

Same as inside out, but don't flip the nori over, so rice is on the inside. =)

Gunkan style:

Using a pair of wet hands, grab some rice to shape it into an oval shape rice ball. Cut the nori into strips (you should be able to see the lines lightly indented on the sheet of nori) then wrap it around the rice ball with the base of the rice ball touching one base of the strip. This is so that there is room on the top of the nori to create a "pocket" to put your filling on top. Then you can fill in whatever filling you want on top, the more, the better. Filling suggestions (possibilities are endless!): spicy tuna, tako poke (octopus), ahi poke, ocean salad, tuna with mayo, corn with mayo, tobikko (flying fish eggs), ikura (salmon roe), uni (sea urchin), etc.

Nigiri, or Sashimi:

No sweat, just cut them in slices and place it on top of an oval shape rice ball, or just eat them with wasabi and shoyu!

Of course there were plenty of poke leftover, I also made Edemame Rice with this too. for $25, i think it's not bad to play sushi chef!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bento Books

I had lunch with my friend today and she surprised me with a copy of Yum-Yum Bento Box book, signed by Pikko!!
I first started showing interest was when I got my hands on Susan Yuen's first bento bookHawaii Bento Box Cookbook. I was intrigued by the recipe section as I love to cook. I mean, she was a sou chef at Palomino's! Her food must be AWESOME! Sure enough, I started making her recipes and it's always a winner! Eventually I found her blog so I added it to my favorites.

Some where down the line of reading her blogs, I started seeing Susan commenting on other blogs and needless to say, I end up having a new folder under my favorites and added to-date 8 bento blog sites, including Pikko's blog.

I decided to start doing bento for lil P's summer fun days and posted them up for my friends to see. They were amazed, though, my camera sucks, and it's not even great compare to these author's bentos. I am still learning, will probably never be like them. But I'm very happy to get a copy of this Yum-Yum Bento Box book. Perhaps I can make lil P lunch if he decides not to eat school lunches when school resumes in August! Thanks Yen for the wonderful gift!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Summer fun bentos

7/6: Bakugan ham sandwich

Lil P is obsessed over bakugan and pokemon. so I figured I'll try to please him. I had to go through his dark room to dig up some bakugan cards to see how they're supposed to look. To my surprised, he knew exactly what they were just by looking at it and thought it was cool, and ate the whole thing...except for the fiber bar that he absolutely needed. And I found wrappers from chocolate which I did not get for him. He said his friend gave him one. sigh.

6/7: Meatball Sandwich of Onix from Pokemon

I asked lil P if his friends ever look at his bento. he said yes and told me they wanted to see more pokemon. So I asked him to give me suggestions. He immediately went to his pokemon book and showed me some of the characters. Originally it was a green dragon guy and he said he'll be fine eating lettuce (OMG!) but then I decided to make it easier on me by making him a meatball sandwich. Of course I stuck the fiber bar back in this time and told him he MUST eat that before eating any other snacks!

6/8: Spam musubis and kalbi bento

Lil P said he doesn't need anything special, so i told him musubis. He said he wanted the ones I buy down at the okazuya, he said it's better than the ones I make, hmph! So I told him I think i can master the way they make theirs and I really think I did! The okazuya really just left out the shoyu, they just put sugar on the spam and fried it. At least that's what I did and he said it tasted the same.

Kalbi on the other hand was made the night before. Lil P's absolute favorite dish so I used Susan Yuen's first bento book's recipe. I made too much as Mr. P and I worked out so hard we weren't hungry for a big meal. So I decided to pack some for my sister for lunch at her office and packed some for myself too. :)

6/9: Pizza manaupa

Yup, this week is mostly per request. Lil P requested to have the pizza manapuas again. So here it is. I decided to not do the cheese topping but egg wash the top instead so it looks shiny like a baked manapua. This time I'm even smarter by mixing carrot puree into the spaghetti sauce so that he could have some veggies along with his favorite food: pizza! You can find how to make it here, on 6/30.