A very un-wintery break from all things routine

27 Feb

The nudges were subtle, but definitely, there.

“R- chan, you’ve been very busy?”

“The last time I saw something was … February 2nd?  I do read your blog without being prompted, you know…”

My father, ever the supporter, was dropping hints.

Then, a dear friend of mine who sends me cyber-encouragement through her site visits (the counts keep me going) noted the last entry… and I finally gathered my wits together to try to play catch up.

Work was indeed, hectic for the past few weeks.  Several business meetings in various local areas sapped my energy, as well as my creativity, and I found my bentos were starting to fall into a routine.  I realized I started depending on my husband, mother-in-law, and daycare provider – but truly, there were certain limitations such as meeting times, train schedules and closing hours to be carefully planned around.

Of course, the girls didn’t go hungry.

I was pleasantly to discover, my daughters loved the zucchini slices that were sautéed in canola or olive oil until the edges were barely translucent, and then tossed with soy sauce and lemon juice.  Chicken wings, drumsticks and turkey meatballs were staples – but the occasional mini-hot dog was also a big hit.  Sugar snap peas were available again – and these made great additions to the bentos when quickly blanched after being rinsed and de-stringed.  Broccoli, grape tomatoes, cucumber slices, carrot and celery sticks were staples – as they were quick, healthy, and added crunchy texture to lunch.  The rice cooker was my best friend – and between onigiri, and steamed multi-grain rice topped with either sesame seeds or gomashio, I had the carbohydrates covered.

Blackberries and blueberries were also available, as well as the smaller sized Fuji apples I was able to buy in bags at Trader Joe’s. 

I then realized, I was so busy, I hadn’t stopped at the Japanese store in weeks… and realized I NEEDED to stop by when I had run out of soy sauce.  I cannot function without soy sauce!

I made a quick stop at the store, and picked up quail eggs, ginger, daikon, and frozen udon noodles.  I realized afterward, it is amaebi, or sweet shrimp season, and had neglected to pick up a pack of these delicious seasonal treasures of the ocean.  They are a bit of an acquired taste – both in texture, as well as in preparation.  The shrimp are eaten raw, and similar to eating crawfish, you twist the heads off, peel the delicate shells off, which easily peel off, and pop the tails into your mouth.  They are creamy and delicious – similar to the texture of scallop sashimi.

I can attest – you either love them or hate them – I fall into the “love” team, while my husband definitely falls into the latter due to the texture.

I’ll have to go back this week and hope the season isn’t over…

Needless to say.  Back to trying to step back into the bento blogging routine!

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