Tag Archives: Shiozake

Mama’s little helper’s bento

15 Jun

The past few days have struck out with bentos.  Perhaps my daughter has finally had her fill of beets and/or onigiri, but she insists on having these for her lunch.

This morning, I woke up to have her as well as her loyal feline companion, our beloved Max (about 12 + lbs of fur and love), taking up the center of our bed.  My husband and I were pushed to the extreme edges of our respective sides… I got her changed, teeth brushed, and told her she was going to help me make her lunch.


Grilled chicken drumstick

Roasted beets – she specifically requested flowers.  Flowers, she shall get.

Boiled quail eggs with black sesame seed faces… but they shifted a little bit.

Onigiri with grilled shiozake (salted salmon) per her request.  However – today, she formed her OWN onigiri.  We pulled a kitchen chair to the counter, and she washed her hands without drying them off.  I placed a golf-ball sized clump of steamed rice, and made an indent in the middle for the salmon.  I then wet my own hands, and placed a larger bit of rice, and showed her how to “fold” the steamed rice around the yummy filling.  She made two – I helped to “seal” off the center, and molded them into distinct triangular shapes, and wrapped nori around them. 

Carrot sticks and blanched asparagus (not shown)

“Look at the adorable little onigiri!” I told her.

“I helped you make them, Mama,” she beamed.

I heard the little one stirring in her room, and went to get her ready for the day. 

When my older one saw her come into the kitchen, she beamed, “I made my onigiri today!”

Onigiri?the little one replied.

“No, onigiri, GO-HAN! (Breakfast!)” replied the little one, as she tried to climb up the side of her high chair.

She must be hungry….

Hopefully today’s a home run lunch!


Last week of bentos for American School until September

13 Jun

It’s hard to believe my daughter’s school is in its last week.  It feels like yesterday I started keeping track of my bentos – and I’m proud to say (to parents and husband…) SEE I’M NOT A MIKKA BOUZU!

Last Friday, my daughters and husband attended Field Day for my older one’s American school.  It was a lovely event, (I missed the meal part due to work) with pizza, vegetable sticks, salad, watermelon and ice pops enjoyed by the beach.  When I arrived to join them, I found both kids ambling through the sand with classmates.

Today’s lunch:

Grilled chicken drumstick – I marinated the drumsticks in Trader Joe’s 21 Spice Seasoning, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce and fresh pepper for about 30 minutes.  I grill these over medium low heat, and baste with the marinade periodically.  The skin crisps up, but the meat remains moist.  I usually cook a large batch as an all-purpose “back-up” meal for dinner or lunch.  Fresh lemon juice squeezed on at the end.

Onigiri  with grilled shiozake (salted salmon) center – I finally mustered enough time and strength to grill this – with the chicken drumstick.  I actually used 1:1 ratio of the multi-grain mix (Brown rice, quinoa, millet, wheat berries) with organic white rice.  The combination worked, and I was able to actually make onigiri that could retain its shape without crumbling.

Boiled quail eggs (conventional)

Roasted beet hearts

Blanched asparagus spears

I made two onigiri for the girls’ breakfast with the shiozake center.  My little one, hungry, ran to her high-chair, yelled to be seated, unwrapped the nori off of her rice ball, and dug the fish center out.  All in a matter of two minutes.

My older one meandered into to the kitchen, and methodically ate her onigiri – but sped up once I announced anyone done with breakfast will have watermelon!

June bento – summer’s arrived!

1 Jun

My daughter wasn’t happy with her sandwich yesterday.  She scrunched up her nose and said, “Mama, no sandwich.” 

That’s OK, I told her. 

I thought to myself, I’ll just have to pack her an onigiri with shiozake filling – my hands happily anticipating the rice-ball making session in the morning…

With the warmer weather, I didn’t want to pack anything heavy.  Hot weather can turn off an appetite pretty quickly.

Today’s lunch included:

Onigiri with grilled shiozake (salted salmon) filling.  I sprinkled a little salt on my hands after I wet them prior to forming the onigiri.  Wrapped up with nori.  The salmon is basically a fillet that has been salted and in a way, air-dried and almost cured by the salt – though the taste is unlike gravalax or lox (eaten alone, it’s VERY salty…).  I purchase the fillets and grill on the gas grill – I cooked it indoors once, and created such a pungent (read = fishy) smoke storm in the house – my cats went wild, and my husband was not pleased.  

Roasted beets in star shapes – in honor of the starfish this past weekend

Boiled quail eggs

Blanched sugar snap peas and grape tomatoes

Since I’ve gotten the hang of making onigiri, I’ve brought them on several occasions – including the 2011 Japan Day Festival in Central Park (New York City), to the beach.  I’ve yet to introduce pickled plum, or umeboshi, which is certainly an acquired taste.  They are mouth-puckering-ly sour, salty, faintly fruity pickles that are often used as a filling for onigiri. My maternal grandmother used to prepare them at home – and growing up, until her passing, we always had homemade umeboshi to eat.  My mother said, recently, she never had to purchase umeboshi because her mother always made them, so she wouldn’t know which brand or what type to purchase at a store – and that comment tugged at my heart a little bit. 

I miss her umeboshi too!