Tag Archives: Soy Sauce

Tuesday on a short spring week

3 Apr

My daughter’s school had a wonderful fund-raiser last fall, selling various types of bulbs for planting.

In previous years, I forgot to plant the bulbs before the ground froze, so I would frantically poke holes when spring arrived.  The flowers bloomed, but a bit off-season.

During this round, my daughter and I planted the bulbs together, heeding my green-thumb-ed co-workers’ advice of dropping several bulbs into one hole.  Previous attempts at bulb planting were often spaced too far apart – little wisps of green looked more weed-like than flowers as they wearily stretched upward.

This year, we were pleased to see fresh, light green leaves – in healthy bunches! – push upward around the pine trees in the front yard, around the mailbox, around the mulched areas…

Until I saw the flash of fuzzy brown and white – a smudge of long-eared fur that our dog can never keep up with.

The bunnies are out.  Devouring the plants… especially the lilies.

Hopefully some of our plants survive – and we’ll become even more smarter, next year.

Today’s lunch included:

Baked chicken leg, seasoned with oregano, thyme, salt and pepper.  Parchment paper handle wrapped around the bottom to keep hands – relatively – clean

Grape tomatoes


Persian cucumber slices

Cauliflower, marinated in soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil for two days.  The girls love this “quick” pickle – I’ve also marinated celery and turnip slices, which are quickly devoured.  I keep a jar in the fridge as often as possible – usually a used pasta sauce jar, run through the dishwasher, and then filled with the marinade and raw vegetables.  Sometimes I’ll add grated or slivered fresh ginger, other times, whole or smashed garlic – these add a different flavor nuance to the mix.




Spring time is almost here… ?

5 Mar

Monday is upon us again, and the warm winter – although appreciated from a heating bill standpoint – it’s been quite uneventful without any significant snow fall (no excuse for hot chocolate and marshmallows!), and small signs of spring in the form of tender flower shoots are popping up everywhere.

Papa and I enjoyed a relaxing evening by a fire-pit after the girls continued their Girl’s Day celebration with roasted marshmallows.

Sunday was a day filled with errands and chores, including cooking for the week.  Chicken thighs, drumsticks and beets were roasted, beet greens washed (well) and sautéed, veggies blanched and cut up…

Today’s bento included:

Sautéed beet greens with soy sauce and sesame oil

Blanched broccoli florets

Turnip and celery slices marinated in soy sauce + rice vinegar + white pepper + sesame oil

De-boned baked chicken drumstick seasoned with grated ginger, drop soy sauce, rice vinegar marinade

Tofu shirataki (macaroni shape!) that was added into the baking dish for the chicken, where it absorbed the marinade and juices

Tonight’s challenge is to finish cooking and storing… turkey meatballs, meat sauce or mabo-dofu… let the creative challenge begin!

Golden beet kitties for lunch – surprise!

18 Jan

This week, I made three different types of chicken.  I roasted half of the chicken wings with the usual salt, pepper, organic poultry seasoning, while the other half, I seasoned with a mixture of 2 tbs soy sauce, 1 tbs mirin, squeeze of 1/4 lemon, and I baked both at 325 in a lidded corningware for 45 minutes.

I also roasted yellow beets – they were pretty large, the size of a baseball, so I left them in the oven for an additional 20 minutes.  Once the beets were removed from the heat, I allowed them to cool until I could handle, and slipped the skins off of them with my hands. 

Today’s lunch included:

Soy-sauce-mirin-lemon juice seasoned drumette and wingette.  The soy sauce and mirin carmelize deliciously – the soy sauce takes on a slightly nutty and fragrant taste, and mixes well with the sweetness of the mirin.

Golden beet cut into cat shapes.  The girls had the “cut-out” part of the beets with breakfast – they were amazed to see how sunny-yellow the beets were.

Grape tomatoes

Celery sticks


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!!