A cheery Thursday bento on a snowy Spring morning

24 Mar

I managed to get home from my meetings in Elizabeth, New Jersey.  The Belt Parkway traffic was bearable – or I probably resigned myself I had no other choice.  At least it looks as though the D.O.T. is expanding the parkway – albeit, at the expense of the emergency lanes.  At least I wasn’t in labor, like my hospital roommate was, as we recounted our respective babies’ deliveries.

Being in labor on the Belt Parkway in rush hour traffic, with no access to the emergency lane still gives me severe sympathy pains, even just imagining her anxiety, stress, and pain…

I digress.

I awoke to everything blanketed in a fluffy coat of white.  Fortunately, I saw blacktop on the driveway – but the cars wore fuzzy snow jackets.  I brushed the snow off very quickly, warmed up the cars for a bit, and put down salt on the walkway.  I then slipped back inside for the morning routine, including packing my daughter’s bento.

Thursday’s lunch included:

Steamed multi-grain topped with mabo tofu.  Today’s mabo dofu included many vegetables.  I browned ground turkey, into which I added: finely pureed onion (food processor), 4 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 inch piece of ginger, bunch finely chopped beet greens (about 1 cup) and 4 cups vegetable broth.  I allowed everything to simmer (on medium low heat) for 30 minutes, constantly stirring until the onions “melted” into a sauce.  I then added 4 chopped scallions and stirred together.  I added a package of firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, and mixed, gently, into the sauce.  Salt, white pepper and soy sauce seasoned this mixture, and I drizzled a tsp of sesame oil on the top.  Normally, I add miso as a kakushi aji (literally “hidden” taste) or an extra flavor dimension – but I’ve actually run out of miso, so I had to improvise.  A small bit of tobanjan to season, and to add color.  I tend to improvise based on what I have in the fridge, so the recipes vary from time to time depending on the ingredients – this version will vary from earlier versions!

Roasted beets cut into hearts and penguin shapes

Blanched broccoli and sugar snap peas

Sliced yellow pepper slices


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