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Lunch Box 648: Let Me Eat Cake [May. 28th, 2009|07:21 pm]
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It's been a while since I made salmon saka-mushi. It still is, as I didn't have salmon, but the tilapia I substituted tastes just fine. Basically, this is fish and mushrooms and spring onions and carrots and snow peas, all steamed together in a tinfoil package until they're nice and juicy. Up above it I have avocado maki and, joy of joys, baked purple sweet potato. However, the market only had these skinny little things. "They're taking the babies!" I thought when I saw them. But I still got a few because I've been suffering from purple potato withdrawal.

On the other side I have a mandarin orange, strawberries, a few cherries, and a dried persimmon, which is more or less a persimmon that's been raisined, but instead of wrinkling up it is squashed into a flat ring. And I have a slice of pound cake made from a recipe my sister gave me. It's awesome, and easy to make if you have an electric mixer. If, like me, you don't, your arm will get a workout.

(Website post, with links to recipes.)
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Lunch Box 647: Polyglot lunch [May. 21st, 2009|08:55 pm]
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Some months ago my coworker Maria brought a bunch of mantecados - Spanish cookies - back from her visit to her hometown. They were delicious and shortbready and almondy and lemony and created an amazing amount of crumbs. I vowed to try to make them myself. I wasn't happy with the recipes I found on the web; most left out the lemon and almonds, and the one I tried was messed up, the proportions wrong, so I ended up with a swamp on a cookie sheet. After that I backward-engineered it based on Scotch shortbread, and Maria gave it a thumbs-up, so I packed it in my bento and posted the recipe to my site so everyone can make some. It's really easy - if you can chop nuts and zest a lemon you're good to go.

So! Here we have free-form maki - which is sushi with whatever I have handy, in this case shiitake, cucumber, crab stick, and smoked salmon - stir-fried vegetables, light-fried plantains, and mantecados.

(Website post, with links to recipes.)
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646: The Naked Lunch [May. 20th, 2009|11:10 pm]
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Sometimes I have leftovers before I even finish cooking. That is the source of my "inspiration" for today's naked gyoza. I ran out of wrappers before I ran out of filling, so I meatballed the rest and fried them up. Since gyoza wrappers are noodly I served these over udon noodles. On the other side I have miscellaneous stir-fried vegetables with some tonkatsu sauce (which also seasoned the noodles), simmered shiitake mushrooms, and light-fried plantains.

(Website post, with links to recipes.)
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Lunch Box 645: Patchwork Lunch [May. 14th, 2009|01:45 pm]
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Since the beginning I've avoided making character lunches. Not because I disdain them in principle, but because I simply have no inclination to cut Pikachus out of cheese. However, a book I just finished gave me an idea... and now you see another reason I don't make character lunches: I'm not very good at it!

So, anyway, here's some chirashi-zushi, strawberries, mango, and lychees. For those interested, the image on the right (and you get 5 points if you recognize her) is made out of egg, smoked salmon, cucumber, simmered shiitake mushrooms, crab sticks, and ume koume, with soba noodles for hair. On the right, above the fruit, I have more of the aforementioned toppings to add to the sushi.

(Website post, with links to recipes.)
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Lunch Box 644: I'm not dead yet. [May. 8th, 2009|10:06 pm]
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Wow, it's been a while since I've posted. This is due to 1) my vacation, which was my birthday present to myself, and 2) being overloaded in real life and not having much energy for cooking. I've been packing bento lunches, but they haven't been interesting enough to blog about. I'm working on some new stuff that ought to be worth posting, though.

Anyway! Here I have a boiled egg - wow, I'm starting right back in with the fancy cookin', ain't I? - simmered shiitake mushrooms, baked Japanese sweet potato, steamed broccoli, and a banana bread muffin. By the way, I made a dozen of these things and brought the other 10 in to the office. (Had to test one beforehand to make sure it wasn't poisonous. You know how it is.) It's gratifying when goodies disappear as fast as these did.

(Website post, with links to recipes.)
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Lunch Box 643: You can get anything you want at Dot's Diner [Apr. 14th, 2009|10:52 pm]
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Sometimes I have a theme to my lunches. It may be an image, it may be a color or a type of food. Today it's a shape. Seems everything I have today is round, so it looks like Little Dot packed my lunch. (Please tell me I'm not the only one who remembers that character.)

Anyway, here I have a mini-hamburger, or perhaps a very large nanoburger. Then there's a big helping of steamed carrots & squash - zucchini and crookneck - with butter. A single broccoli stem star snuck in, so I guess that clears Dot. Lastly, there's dry-roasted edamame and sakura mochi (onigiri type).

(Website post, with links to recipes.)
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Lunch Box 642: Spring? [Apr. 9th, 2009|08:18 pm]
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The weather in Atlanta has been insane. Warm Spring weather, then down to the 30s with snow flurries for a few days, then overnight the temperature jumps up by another 20 degrees. Oh, and tornadoes, but those are typical of Spring in the south.

Anyway, I've got a Spring lunch here. I don't care if it refuses to act like Spring, the calendar says it is. There's some beef & broccoli stir-fry, light-fried plantains, edamame, and sakura mochi (onigiri type).

The sakura mochi is the spring-specific part of the meal. In Japan, people have hanami - cherry blossom viewing parties - when the cherry trees bloom in Spring. I couldn't find a cherry tree to sit under, but from my 9th floor office window I can see some dogwoods.

(Website post, with links to recipes.)
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Lunch Box 641: Sasquatch, the other jerky meat [Apr. 1st, 2009|06:56 pm]
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Today I have a meatloaf cupcake (with a little container of ketchup on the side), steamed snow peas and steamed purple sweet potato. I normally bake - well, microwave - sweet potatoes, but the purple ones I've gotten lately were small and rather dry, so I tried slicing them into half-inch-thick "coins" and throwing them into the steamer. The result: the color is not as bright, but they came out moist and very sweet! I'll remember this trick. Anyway, I also have blood orange segments, some mango, and several pieces of sasquatch jerky.

I like beef jerky, but I haven't packed it in my lunches because, well, something you gnaw on isn't very bento-istic, is it? But when the folks at jerky.com asked me if I'd try a sample of their new sasquatch jerky, I couldn't resist. (Don't worry, Sasquatch are no longer on the Threatened Species list, and they use only free range sasquatches.) It's surprisingly tender - somehow I had expected it to be tough - and it tastes nothing like chicken.

(Website post, with links to recipes.)
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Lunch Box 640: Lunch for the Weird [Mar. 27th, 2009|09:55 pm]
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Most of this lunch is pretty typical bento fare for me. chicken fried rice, steamed broccoli, edamame - all typical stuff. But there, imprisoned within its plastic wrapper, lurks a Ding Dong. Why a Ding Dong, when I have neat stuff like mochi and homemade banana bread and fresh strawberries? Well... I perform in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Normally I play Frank N. Furter, but we had an '80s Pop theme night and I played The Criminologist as Weird Al Yankovic. "Yo, Ding Dong, man. Ding Dong. Ding Dong, yo." I threw Ding Dongs to the audience at one point, but one somehow ended up in my lunch box.

(Website post, with links to recipes.)
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Lunch Box 639: Shades of orange [Mar. 26th, 2009|10:49 pm]
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I've been doing a lot of stir-frying lately. I see a bunch of vegetables and immediately drag out a big pan. Well, here's beef & broccoli stir-fry, which is held in check by some baked Japanese sweet potato. On the other side, a fruit salad made with strawberries, kiwi, blood orange, and yellow raspberries.

Is it my imagination, or are the blood oranges darker this year? Last time Kroger had blood oranges they were light orange shading to red inside. This time there's only a touch of orange, with a lot of red shading into a dark wine, almost purple color.

(Website post, with links to recipes.)
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