June bento – summer’s arrived!

1 Jun

My daughter wasn’t happy with her sandwich yesterday.  She scrunched up her nose and said, “Mama, no sandwich.” 

That’s OK, I told her. 

I thought to myself, I’ll just have to pack her an onigiri with shiozake filling – my hands happily anticipating the rice-ball making session in the morning…

With the warmer weather, I didn’t want to pack anything heavy.  Hot weather can turn off an appetite pretty quickly.

Today’s lunch included:

Onigiri with grilled shiozake (salted salmon) filling.  I sprinkled a little salt on my hands after I wet them prior to forming the onigiri.  Wrapped up with nori.  The salmon is basically a fillet that has been salted and in a way, air-dried and almost cured by the salt – though the taste is unlike gravalax or lox (eaten alone, it’s VERY salty…).  I purchase the fillets and grill on the gas grill – I cooked it indoors once, and created such a pungent (read = fishy) smoke storm in the house – my cats went wild, and my husband was not pleased.  

Roasted beets in star shapes – in honor of the starfish this past weekend

Boiled quail eggs

Blanched sugar snap peas and grape tomatoes

Since I’ve gotten the hang of making onigiri, I’ve brought them on several occasions – including the 2011 Japan Day Festival in Central Park (New York City), to the beach.  I’ve yet to introduce pickled plum, or umeboshi, which is certainly an acquired taste.  They are mouth-puckering-ly sour, salty, faintly fruity pickles that are often used as a filling for onigiri. My maternal grandmother used to prepare them at home – and growing up, until her passing, we always had homemade umeboshi to eat.  My mother said, recently, she never had to purchase umeboshi because her mother always made them, so she wouldn’t know which brand or what type to purchase at a store – and that comment tugged at my heart a little bit. 

I miss her umeboshi too!

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