Tag Archives: Edamame

Fall bentos, school year 2013!

16 Oct

I do not know where the last few months have gone. Between the dizzying daily routine of work, followed by the relentless wheel of routines, I found myself shocked to be mired in the middle of October.

I have been packing bentos for both girls these days – with little time for decompressing or downtime. A few evening were spent on the laptop at the kitchen table, battling the desperate attempts of my cat Spencer, to settle down in my lap as I feverishly tapped away at keyboards and calculators.

This year, both girls are at the same school, and often have an opportunity to eat together.

The little one loves onigiri, while the older one prefers raw vegetable slices and sticks.

Edamame is a definite hit with the older one – the empty pods in a neat pile, while the little one sends her beans intact.

Quinoa has joined the repertoire – I gently wash, and simmer the grains in a stock – vegetable, chicken, dashi, or in some cases, roasted red pepper and tomato soup!

Raw cauliflower and turnip slices, pickled in soy sauce, rice vinegar and ginger are often requested.

A dear friend’s husband caught porgy – and I found creative ways to cook the delicious fish – grilled, baked, porgy fish cakes, porgy omelette, porgy chowder… The porgy fish cakes do make appearances in the girls’ bento.

Grilled chicken wingettes and drumettes are always a hit, as well as turkey meatballies – the poultry always sourced from our beloved Makinajian Farms. I have packed them simply seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon juice, while other times, with a sweet-savory ketchup/HP sauce/Worcestershire sauce glaze with the meatballs, or a teriyaki glaze for the wingettes.

Below are just a few samplings of recent bentos… And more to come!



(porgy fish cakes!) … and I technical glitch where I can’t seem to figure out how to rotate this photo!!








Back into the swing of things!

8 Sep


Second day of school rolled around, and H provided me with a wish list of bento items.

By request, Thursday’s lunch included:

Roasted beets in star shapes

Soba salad, tossed with a sesame/soy sauce/rice vinegar dressing, topped with blanched and shelled edamame

Marinated cauliflower – I cut up a raw cauliflower into manageable florettes, and tossed with a soy sauce/lemon juice and minced ginger marinade. The raw cauliflower retains its crunch, while absorbing the marinade – a hit at our house

Grilled chicken wingette and drumette – of course from our favorite poultry farm

A side of black seedless grapes

The soba salad was a hit, and I got a thumbs-up.

Pizza lunch on Friday!

Saturday Bento – one for you, one for me

27 Sep

Japanese school bento was packed for my older daughter – and my little one had her own bento to take to her Nanna’s.  Papa left on Friday to catch up with a dear friend of his, and his future in-law’s, so we had some time with a full-house of estrogen of all breeds – human, feline and canine.

Saturday bento included:

Baked turkey meatballs – ringed with shelled edamame

Boiled quail egg (and edamame)

Roasted beets in hearts

Blanched watercress, tossed with soy sauce, lemon juice and black sesame seeds

Multi-grain Onigiri with turkey soboro filling, wrapped in nori

The little one was extremely happy to have her own little lunch box to take to Nanna’s.  Her watercress is actually under her turkey meatball – her box didn’t have enough space for another silicone cup. 

My older daughter has a lunch box that coordinates with her backpack – red for English school, pink for Japanese school.  The little one has a lunch bag with ladybugs on them – she loves her ladybugs, and I hear her anxiously looking for her “Tentoumushi (ladybug) bag where are you?”

Meato-ballie lunch

21 Sep

I have a suspicion my daughter spends much of her time at lunch carefully eating her edamame – one bean at a time.  Sometimes her bento box is completely empty (with the exception of the empty edamame pods), while other times, all items with the exception of the edamame are barely touched.  I’m fairly certain it is similar to the “baby corn effect” where my girls will sit at the dinner table and carefully eat row by row of baby corn, spending an easy hour sitting at the dinner table.  Fun for the girls, a bit long for Mama whose mind is always racing towards the next scheduled chore after the girls have gone to bed…

For today, I decided to shell her edamame, and create a fun lunch, hopefully adding variety, as well as trying to shave off some “distraction” time.

Turkey-carrot-celery-ginger-garlic-onion-oatmeal meatball, lightly coated with a sweet/savory sauce of 1:1 of ketchup and HP sauce (and a couple of drops of Bulldog Worcestshire sauce), surrounded with shelled edamame.  Eyes of tightly wrung watercress with a mouth of beet.

Onigiri with multi-grain rice, and a center filling of finely minced blanched watercress from which I’ve wrung out as much liquid as possible.  I then mixed this with a tablespoon of turkey soboro for a different taste and texture.  A piece of nori wrapped around it.

Roasted regular and chioggi beets in heart shapes

Boiled quail egg + yellow cherry tomatoes from the garden

Another week starts, third school week for Fall 2011

19 Sep

My weekend experience at the drive-thru made me re-think my bento and meal strategy.  I wanted to continue with the bento making, but I realize, sometimes the choices were becoming a bit redundant, especially when I was too pressed for time, and I didn’t plan in advance.

After a pleasant lunch with my older daughter’s school mates and their parents at Fortune Wheel for dim sum , I went on a cooking rampage at home.

Turkey meatballs, ground turkey soboro, mabo-nasu (eggplant with ground turkey and tofu), roasted beets, roasted chicken drumsticks and wings, vegetable (arugula) lasagna, whole wheat rotini pasta with hearty tomato sauce… I was on a mission.  For dinner, we had leftovers from last week, which allowed me to continue cooking up a storm.

I went to sleep only after I was satisfied, knowing I had a wide selection of items to freeze and to fall back on during the week.

For today’s bento, I packed:

Baked turkey-oatmeal-celery-ginger (conventional)-garlic-carrot-onion meatballs (sesame seed eyes and beet mouth)

Blanched (with the water squeezed out well) watercress, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces, seasoned with a little soy sauce and lemon juice

Boiled quail (conventional) eggs with tomatoes from the garden (sesame seed eyes)

Blanched edamame

Whole wheat rotini with tomato-maitake-celery-carrot-onion sauce

A scramble for a starch

15 Sep

My timing was a little off for today’s lunch.  I forgot to prepare the rice cooker last night (timed to be ready at 6:00 am) so I was a bit panicked this morning.

Boiled egg in bunny shape (photo is a bit blurry), roasted beet stars, blanched edamame, and mini boiled hot dogs with their little pattern were quickly assembled.

Then started a frantic inventory of quick, easy, and healthy starches.  Without rice, onigiri was out of the question.  My husband recently fell off the multi-grain bread wagon, and had surreptitiously bought himself a loaf of WHITE, fluffy (conventional) bread – this was out of the question for me.  Soba noodles didn’t inspire me, and I ruled out making yakisoba (pan-fried) noodles due to time constraints.

I found a bag of organic vegetable pasta twists, which I boiled up, and seasoned with Trader Joe’s basil marinara sauce.  This will just have to do.

In the meantime, the little one had a glimpse of her sister’s bento before breakfast, and I then had an extremely defiant and cranky child pushing away her Oatios, and asking for “Mama, bento, edamame, edamame, edamame, MINE!!”

I then had my older one retort, “It’s MY bento, NOT YOURS! MY EDAMAME!”

A cacophony followed of defiant “No, not yours!” and “MY BENTO, MY edamame!!”

Ah… just another typical work morning…


Week two of English school

12 Sep

The farm had a huge bin, full, of organic edamame.  I dug right in, and came home with a generous amount of them.  Perfect lunch side, perfect appetizer, perfectly healthy.

The boiled egg press is back out again – this time, I created a star-egg.

The chicken drumstick is baked for today’s lunch – at 325 degrees for 40 minutes.  I lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, and baked it in over-proof glassware, uncovered for the last 15 minutes. 

Onigiri with yes, okaka filling.  1:1 white and multi-grain rice mix, steamed, and mixed with roasted white sesame seeds, and a tablespoon of unseasoned katsuobushi flakes.  All wrapped together with nori.

I have ground turkey calling to be cooked this evening… perhaps meatballs, mini-burgers, or maybe mabo nasu (eggplant) or tofu… or even soboro, which is seasoned and cooked ground turkey that can be served over rice as a topping.  I use soy sauce, mirin, minced ginger, a little minced garlic, and a little miso, and simmer the whole mixture until the turkey absorbs all the flavors. 

I’ll have to contemplate the menu once the girls go to bed…