Tag Archives: Asparagus

Heading towards end of May bentos

5 Jun

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Thankfully, my girls love their vegetables and fruits. Late spring/summer starts bringing a variety of veggies and fruit that can be enjoyed raw, or with minimal preparation.

Tuesday included a bento packed with:
Grilled chicken (drumstick, de-boned)
Blanched broccoli and asparagus
Cauliflower pickle in lemon juice, soy sauce, salt, pepper, sesame oil for fragrance
Cucumber slices
Blueberries
Mini multi-grain onigiri with okaka center, nori belt

Wednesday included:
Savory omelette with broccoli and shirasu
Blanched asparagus spears with soy sauce, lemon juice and olive oil drizzle
Raw, red pepper slices – my older one adores these sweet, crunchy, slices. The little one is a bit more cautious, but more often won over by her sister’s enthusiasm, and quick pace of munching through them – the only evidence remaining are her hands and face faintly stained by the pepper juice.
Cauliflower pickles
Mini multi-grain onigiri with okaka center

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Thursday was pizza day, due to the shortened week in observance of Memorial Day.

Asparagus Monday!

23 May

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The weekend’s left over dinner is lunch in this Monday!

Grilled chicken drumette and wings, first marinated in (guess what?) soy sauce-lemon juice-olive oil-poultry herbs, and grilled over distant heat until the skin is crispy. Fresh squeezed lemon juice while the chicken is still hot

Blanched asparagus, ponzu dressing

Grape tomatoes

Blueberries

Onigiri with turkey soboro filling, nori wrap

The locally grown asparagus are tender, and full of flavor. I blanch quickly to retain snap and taste. They sell them at Makinajian’s Poultry Farm in delicate bunches, pencil-thin, and a beautiful green with purplish hues that turn brilliantly as they blanch.

The girls love the tender spears – a harbinger of springtime.

Wrapping up the week

15 May

Thursday bento included:

Roasted drumette and wingette

Roasted beets in heart shapes

Blanched asparagus spears

Cucumber slices

Blueberries

Vegetable spirals in Trader Joe’s marinara sauce, with thinly sliced (pre-cooked) TJ’s sweet sausage

 

This bento was actually for Japanese school.  It included:

Roasted  beet hearts

Grape tomatoes

Blanched asparagus pieces with tossed with a little katsuobushi and soy sauce

Rolled Omelette with shirasu (boiled baby sardines)

Multi-grain onigiri with okaka center, wrapped in nori

I had actually made four similar bentos – one for my little one, who had a quality “papa” day at home, one for Baba and one for myself – as we had a class-outing to the local park with her grade, and we spent a nice afternoon outdoors.

 

Wednesday bento and the blueberry chronicles

15 May

I realized I reversed Tuesday and Wednesday… alas… I still have not fully mastered blogging from my mobile…

We’ll just continue this as Wednesday’s bento!

Wednesday included:

Roasted chicken drumette and wingette – baked after being briefly marinated in soy sauce, mirin, lemon juice and sesame oil.  Always relieved when Makinajian’s has a package of these wings!

Carrot and turnip slices marinated/pickled in soy sauce, lemon juice, salt, pepper, grated ginger in a glass jar – and shaken up every time I opened the fridge

Blanched broccoli

Grape tomatoes, cucumber (Persian) slices, and blueberries

Multi-grain onigiri in tawara (rice barrel) shape, sprinkled with black sesame seeds for crunch, no center, wrapped with nori

The blueberries are plump and sweet, and my little one is starting to eye them curiously.  She seems to take after me – I was never adventurous eating fruit – and to this day, I’m very particular as to what kind of fruit (fresh, uncut, unsweetened) I am willing to eat.  I’m of the “I’d-rather-get-my-daily-fiber-and-vitamin-intake-eating-a-tub-of-salad” girl, rather than enjoying a piece of sweet fruit.  My mother-in-law always contributes a gorgeous green salad at family events for me (and me only!!) – and is entertained by the amount of greens I will consume in a sitting.

Blueberries, I was speaking of, and the little one.

Her favorite color is blue – “Bu-looooh!” she says, and she chooses everything blue – shirts, pants, cutlery, paper, sweets, pens, crayons… and marvels at her father’s blue eyes, the color of the sky on a clear, early summer day.

“Mama, blue berries are Bu-loooh!”  she says.

“Yes, they are, and they are yummy,” I tell her.

“I like them, and they were in MY bento,” my older one announces.

“… Ne-ne (shorted version for the Japanese word, “oh-neh-chan” or familiar form of “older sister”) can I have one?”

Handed a plump, deep blue berry, she expertly popped it in her mouth.  Her right cheek bulged, and her eyebrows furrowed as she concentrated on maneuvering the berry between her teeth. 

Her eyes opened wide, as she bit down.

“Mama, it’s good!” she exclaimed, and added, “I like blueberries!  They are buh-looh! My favorite!”

Tuesday

14 May

Salmon burgers, blanched asparagus, cucumber slices, pickled carrots and turnips, and blueberries!

No room for onigiri today.

May Monday and beyond with koi nobori, and yoroi kabuto

9 May

I realized, I did not address the issue of Kodomo no hi, or Children’s Day in my earlier entry.

Traditionally, May 5th of each year celebrates the health and happiness of boys – which was subsequently changed to all children (and became a national holiday).  Carp streamers, or koi nobori are flown throughout Japan, and in households with boys (sons), a traditional warrior helmet, or kabuto are displayed, similar to the hinamatsuri dolls that are displayed for Girl’s Day in March. 

My nephew's set from my parents

My daughter enjoyed folding kabuto with origami at Japanese school with her classmates, and they all got together under a koi nobori streamer up in display in the gymnasium, waving their own hand-made koi nobori.

Monday bento included:

Baked salmon cakes, which happened to be a hit when I made them a few weeks ago.  A can of salmon, two minced celery stalks, 1/2 minced onion, 1 tsp grated ginger, 2 minced scallions, one beaten egg, a palmful of black sesame seeds, 1 tbs mustard mixed well by hand, and subsequently pan-fried in a cast-iron (minimal canola oil) over medium low heat until the surface formed a crispy crust on each side.  They are healthy (I include skin and bones, and mash everything together when mixing by hand), quick, and tasty even at room temperature, or straight out of the refrigerator.

Pickled turnip slices – soy sauce, lemon juice, drop of mirin, grated ginger and rice vinegar for 2 – 4 days.

Grape tomatoes and cucumber slices

Blueberries

Tawara shaped onigiri, no filling, sprinkled with black sesame seeds for crunch and color, with nori wrap

Catching my breath after a wedding, birthday parties and a shower, Oh my!

30 Apr

I always prided myself on being able to tap into what seems to be an endless source of energy…

However, the event-packed three days of April 20th through the 22nd truly tested the extent of this source, and also reminded me, proper time management and creativity can ensure a pretty varied lunch week.

Monday lunch included:
Baked turkey-arugula-vegetable meatballs, including ground turkey mixed with minced onion, celery, carrots, as well as well blanched arugula, water squeezed out, and chopped finely.
Seaweed salad – pre-packaged, and found at Makinajian Farm. Thinly sliced kombu, seasoned with a little soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds and vinegar.
Roasted beets, heart shapes
Vegetable spirals with baked chicken sausage pieces, mixed with marinara sauce
Blueberries

Tuesday lunch included:
Vegetable pasta spirals with baked chicken sausage pieces in marinara sauce
Baked chicken drumstick
Roasted beets in star shapes
Carrot sticks

Wednesday lunch included:
Blanched asparagus spears, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
Seaweed salad
Baked turkey-arugula-vegetable meatballs
Cauliflower pickled in soy sauce, rice vinegar, lemon juice and minced ginger
Blueberries

Thursday lunch included:
vegetable spirals in marinara sauce
Turkey-arugula-vegetable meatball
Pickled, sliced turnip
Roasted beets in star shapes
Sliced cucumbers

Friday was pizza day!!

Friday night, Baba arrived to stay with my family for the weekend. She shadowed me all day on Saturday, and spent some quality time with the little one as my older one attended school.

I packed both girls a bento box – the adults had onigiri for lunch.

The girls’ bento included:
Baked turkey meatballs
Boiled Trader Joe’s cocktail pups with patterns
Blanched asparagus spears
Cucumber slices
Roasted beet slices in star shapes
Blueberries
Multi-grain onigiri with okaka center, wrapped iwth a strip of nori

Actually, the adult onigiri had umeboshi, or pickled plum center.  The girls tried a small taste, and the older one’s mouth puckered up very quickly – while the little one’s eyes grew wide.

I laughed – I always loved having umeboshi with a cup of green tea after a meal with my parents.  My maternal grandmother would send over packages of home-made umeboshi that she salted and dried at home…   The salty, sour pickles have a faint undercurrent of floral/fruity flavor.  It brings me back to an unforgettable summer I spent in my mother’s hometown of Gifu City, playing with the neighborhood girls I had met at the local elementary school I had enrolled for the summer.  We sucked on umeboshi, carefully licking away every morsel from the pit in the middle, and telling each other stories how one must never bite or swallow the ume pit, lest we anger the umeboshi spirit.

The  wildest things 8-year olds come up with!