Tag Archives: Cucumber

Wednesday, hump day!

16 May


Wednesday’s bento includes:

Grilled organic steak, thinly sliced
Pickled turnip slices
Cucumber and yellow pepper slices
Multi-grain onigiri with okaka center, nori belt, mini-sized per my daughter’s request

Hard to believe we are marching right through May – and we will soon be ending another school year!

How quickly time flies!


Girls’ Day 2012

5 Mar

Just two more sessions until my daughter graduates from her current grade in Japanese school… Hard to believe it has been a year already since I gave up my Saturday mornings!

For Saturday school, I packed:

Whole wheat rotini with roasted red pepper and pecorino sausage in a marinara sauce (with thinly sliced onion)

Boiled egg – star shape

Sautéed zucchini with a drop of soy sauce

Cucumber slices


For dinner, we went to our favorite, local Japanese restaurant, Takumi, where we enjoyed sushi, edamame,  and gyoza (papa).  My understanding is that traditionally, chirashizushi is eaten on Girl’s Day, or Hinamatsuri, but I never fully mastered the concept of making sushi rice at home. 

The girls enjoyed seared toroaji, (served whole, and once finished, the bones were deep-fried for a crispy and savory treat), as well as fluke usuzukuri – the fluke slices sliced thinly, garnished with chopped scallion and a little ponzu to dip the slices.

I spoiled myself with a “Japanese sushi” which included traditional deluxe sushi items, such as uni (sea urchin), ikura (salmon roe), kazunoko (herring roe), o-toro, or fatty tuna…  I ordered a separate order of ikura for my girls, who savored each roe, each gem-like sphere carefully placed in their mouths as they slowly (and almost for the parents, painfully) ate each egg.

“Happy Girls’ Day!” we cheered, the girls with their special calpico drinks, Papa with a kirin, and Mama, with green tea.

Another Girl’s Day – here and gone.  They enjoyed special arare or puffed rice candies and rice crackers sent over from Japan from Jiji and Baba.  Photographic evidence flooded their inbox, and I imagined my parents’ delight as they opened each picture.

Last bento before summer break 2011 – Japanese School version

12 Jul

Okra season arrived, and I was excited to find the fresh, crisp, green vegetables in the bins at Makinajian Farm.  The girls love to eat them – and they are often anxiously waiting for the blanched pieces to be seasoned for dinner.

I bring a small pan of water to boil, sprinkle a little sea salt, and once it is boiling, I put the okra (top stem portion cut off) to quickly blanch.  The pieces become a brilliant green – and I quickly take them out of the boiling water with chopsticks.  I then plunge them into ice water.

Once chilled, the pieces are cut into 1/2 inch pieces – and I season with whatever’s on hand.  Soy sauce, rice vinegar and a little grated ginger are a great choice, as well as soy sauce and katsuobushi.  Lemon juice and a sprinkle of sea salt is also refreshing.

Either way, the girls can’t inhale them quickly enough, and I feel like the Mama Swallow who raised her six babies outside our garage – the birds’ heads popping over the edge of the nest, as they eagerly called for her around meal times… and just as quickly as they started peeping for her attention, they would quickly silence as soon as she flew away.  Papa Swallow would perch on my car antennae, a little avian decoy who sat still on the slender wire while Mama would swoop and feed.

The girls would ask for more okra after the teaser pieces I provided to them before dinner.  Once their meals were plated, a quick “Itadakimasu”  all the okra pieces seemed to rapidly disappear in quick swooping motions with their little spoons – each one laden with two, three, pieces they could balance and configure into their mouths.

Bento included:

TJ’s Armenian Cucumbers (conventional) – can’t wait for the ones from the garden to be ready!

Roasted beets, star shapes

Baby carrots – I try to avoid pre-cut carrots, but I had them handy, so they were included in the lunch

Onigiri with yukari seasoning – it’s shiso leaves that have been dried, mixed with salt – it’s an herbal, almost fruity, flowery taste that is refreshing.

Blanched okra pieces – I put the cut slices into a smaller container with a lid, seasoned with soy sauce, lemon juice and a little pepper, and shook everything together, gently.  I then shook the excess dressing off, so it didn’t “run” in her lunch.

The teacher commented how excited my older daughter was when she opened her bento box, and how she savored every bit of it.  Home-run lunch for the last bento until mid-August!!