Tag Archives: Makinajian

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!


December 2011 bentos ~ first week through the 8th

3 Jan

My daughter’s new favorite are blackberries.  She enjoys them immensely – so I try to include them whenever I can pick them up.

Boiled egg, pressed into teddy bear

Baked chicken leg with salt, pepper, thyme, oregano and soy sauce, de-boned

Carrot sticks

Steamed multi-grain rice, with black sesame seeds


Baked turkey meatballs with ground turkey, grated ginger, minced onions, minced carrots, black sesame seeds, mixed well by hand, and baked at 325 degrees until browned and done throughout.   The meatballs accompanied by beet greens, sautéed with a little olive oil, and dressed with a drop of soy sauce and lemon juice.

Steamed multi-grain rice, with black sesame seeds sprinkled on top

Carrot sticks


Ground turkey mabo-dofu this version including chopped watercress, served over multi-grain rice

Roasted beets in heart shapes


Carrot sticks

Baked turkey meatballs

Cucumber slices and carrot sticks

Blanched broccoli

Roasted beets in heart shapes

Multi-grain onigiri with yukari seasoning, wrapped in nori

Baked turkey meatballs

Left over vegetable lo mein – I cheated today….


Blanched broccoli

Turkey tacos – Bearitos taco shell

Trader Joe’s salsa (well draine) and grated four cheese

Chopped romaine lettuce

Ground turkey, with seasoning – I used Simply Organic Southwest Taco packet, which my kids and husband enjoy.

Friday continues to be, pizza day!

Swimming in Snow! Snow! Snow!

13 Jan

Our house was blanketed in more than a foot of lovely white yesterday, and we had a wonderful family snow day.  Papa cleared the driveway and walkways with the snowblower – a ribbon of white fluff relocated the snow, Kiki hopped around in the snow in circles, and the girls enjoyed exploring the various corners of the yard.  Of course the day didn’t start without drama – a good half hour of wailing and crying by the older one because she didn’t want to wear her winter coat, snow pants, boots, gloves or hat.  I probably should have allowed her to venture out in her wardrobe selection of skirt, tights and no sweater so she could understand, first hand, the importance of winter gear.  Next time.

I was able to put a few slow cooking dishes on the stove, and enjoyed a day of watching the girls and dog enjoy the beautiful snow.  They even had their own mugs of hot cocoa! (with marshmallows I purchased at Makinajian’s!)

Today’s lunch:

Sautéed cabbage, seasoned with a little pepper and soy sauce.  I let the soy sauce carmelize, adding a rich, savory edge to the sweet cabbage bits.  I was inspired to cook cabbage (normally I make an Asian “slaw” with shredded cabbage and thinly sliced red onion tossed with soy sauce, ginger and rice vinegar dressing) thanks to Elaine Louie’s lovely New York Times articles on cabbage this past week.

Roasted beets cut into penguin shapes (courtesy of a care package from Gigi and Baba)

Fresh veggie sticks (celery, cucumber and grape tomato)

Steamed multi-grain rice pilaf topped with Mabo Tofu.  I sautéed one minced onion, a half inch piece of ginger and two finely minced garlic cloves in canola oil, and set aside when they were done.  In the same pan, I browned a pound of ground turkey over medium heat.  Once the meat was done, I added the cooked onion and garlic, and added enough vegetable stock to immerse the meat, and set on the stove to simmer at very low heat for an hour.  I checked occasionally, and added more water as needed.  I then added a tablespoon of red miso dissolved in a half cup of water, and poured it over the meat mixture over low heat.  I let it reduce a bit more, and added a block (14 ozs) of House Medium Firm Tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes.  The key is to gently toss the tofu into the meat without crushing the tofu cubes.  Once the tofu heated through, I added two finely chopped (about 1/8 inch long pieces) scallions and slowly stirred it together.  I then added a slurry of katakuriko and water over everything, and slowly stirred until everything thickened.  Normally, I would add toubanjan or fermented spicy bean paste, but the last time I made this dish, I added too much and the girls refused to eat it.  I’ll just add to my portion when I warm it up.

Hopefully she’ll try everything.  The slow cooking of the turkey made it incredible tender and flavorful – and although it seems strange I would cook ground meat in such a manner, let’s say I was curious to see if it would be an improvement to the often dried out version I would make in a shorter span of time.

Back to Monday Monday!

29 Nov

Despite the panic I felt upon realizing the 20 lbs turkey hogged up all the available room in the oven, and the sinking feeling that toaster ovens do not serve as alternate ovens in a pinch (everything cooks too quickly) – I somehow managed to get Thanksgiving dinner on the table in a civilized, coordinated manner with only one fire (with flame) incident where runaway marshmallows (courtesy of my sister-in-law) oozed, rose out of their mashed sweet potato bed and dropped to their blackening deaths on the heated oven coils.  In the past, Thanksgivings were spent at a beloved friend’s house who adopted my brother and I as their own – but for some reason, every holiday would be punctuated by a (in no particular order, and sometimes these events coincided in one holiday):  broken oven, flaming votive candle (and singed eyebrows), flaming oven, flaming roast, and various exciting events that marked these meals with humourous laughter after the flames literally died down.  I heard I missed a hair-“singe”-er this past holiday as my dear friend celebrated her birthday with cake and candles.  (Candles and cake?)  Thankfully, no serious injuries or property damage ever arose from these events.

Thanksgiving came and went – and our house was filled with the warm and hearty smell of cooking, and the sounds of family and friends.  I had some harrowing moments of “I can’t believe my oven is smoking, the turkey sizzling, but the instructions say keep the oven at 450 degrees…” followed by peaceful food coma with the kids in bed, the husband and I curled up at our respective ends of the couch with a feline baker kneading away at our feet.

I did not bombard my family with turkey leftovers – so I decided today was my daughter’s day to celebrate Thanksgiving just one more time.

Today’s lunch:

Organic roast turkey – from Makinajian’s Poultry Farm

Organic cranberry sauce (pink sauce!) – a small amount of turbinado sugar was added when I cooked the entire batch

Twice-cooked organic potatoes – potatoes were cut into quarters and boiled until barely tender, then sautéed on low-medium heat on a cast-iron pan with a little butter until the surfaces brown.  Sea salt added at the very end.

Organic sweet peas with a little sea salt

Organic stuffing with celery and onions

I had grand ideas at the beginning – but the turkey domination of heating resources threw a wrench into my planning.  I had hemmed and hawed about trying a quinoa pilaf – but never found adequate time or space to challenge the dish.  Perhaps next year.