vegetables

Bento no. 67: Zucchini Two Ways Vegetarian Bento

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Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 550 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10-15 minutes in the morning

Type: Vegetarian, Japanese with a twist continue reading...

Bento filler: Zucchini flower blossom-end fritters

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Zucchini or courgette flowers are beautiful things to behold at the market. The most commonly seen recipes using them seem to call for stuffing them with meat or cheese, but they are great just simply fried too.

When trying to come up with a fritter that would fit neatly into a bento box, I found that the floppy flower petals got a bit too messy looking. So I cut them off, ending up with just the round blossom ends. They look rather like giant buttercups.

These little fritters are good hot or cold. They are very easy to make, so I would suggest making them for dinner and holding back a few for your bento the next day. continue reading...

Spring maze gohan: Green pea rice, Asparagus rice

The last pea in the pod

A very simple and frugal thing to make with fresh peas like this, and the stalk parts of asparagus. continue reading...

Travelling the world from your kitchen with bentos

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This is a guest post by Iliana (aka Mosaica), who blogs about her daily life at The Daily Mosaica.

In life I often find myself embracing contradictions, and with regard to planning and preparing bento lunches, it appears that I am, at least, consistent. At times I am purely focused on taking a given recipe, often a Japanese recipe, and rendering it as authentically as possible given the constraints of my semi-rural existence in Vermont, a small state in the northeast of the US.  For instance the bento from last week where I made inarizushi — this meal nourished me on a number of levels: it was completely delicious,  it tied into a fascinating bit of cultural history, and it expanded my culinary repertoire. While I do miss the days when I was more of a globe-trotter, I’ve come to really appreciate how traveling via recipes from far, far away can give real pleasure —to my nose and eyes and tastebuds, as well as to my intellectual bits.

On the other hand, I’m also a bit of a fiesty girl, and I like to kick up my heels, as it were, in the kitchen, and for me this manifests itself as a willingness to play with food, to be led by my nose, or intuition, or a gut feeling that mixing this with that might just be yummy. That’s what this post is about: Taking ingredients which are traditional in Japanese cuisine and dressing them up in flavors from around the globe: Tibet, Denmark, Africa, India, and beyond. In addition, if you start from a perspective of your own preferred ratio of carb to protein to veggies and fruit, I encourage you to include entirely new ingredients to add fresh flavor and interest to your bento meal. During the five weeks of the Bento Challenge, I was inspired to see how many of us were using foods and flavors from our own backyards to create delicious new twists on the bento theme. continue reading...

Bento Filler: Fennel Salad (Fennel no Shiomomi)

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This is such an easy recipe that it’s barely a recipe at all, but it’s very versatile and quick, so here it is. Fennel bulb has so much flavor on its own that you only need to add a minimal amount of seasonings to make a tasty salad. This method of massaging crunchy vegetables with salt is called shiomomi (塩揉み)in Japanese, and is very useful for making fibrous vegetables easier to eat without having to cook them. continue reading...

Bento Filler: Orange Juice Carrots

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What, yet another carrot recipe? Well I do like carrots, and they are so handy - available year-round, cheap, and long-lasting in the refrigerator. This one may not look like much, but it tastes very interesting - a little sweet, a little sour, just a little bitter, with an underlying heat. This was originally presented as a dessert in one of my Japanese cookbooks (but I can’t for the life of me remember which one); the original had I believe maple syrup and/or honey in it, which I have mostly omitted. Instead I’ve added salt and a little soy sauce. It makes a nice contrasting accent in a bento, like a salad. Cutting the carrot slices into odd shapes is strictly optional. continue reading...

Red Peppers With Maple Syrup and Chili

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This little side dish or filler is related to the Cooked To Death Peppers, but is a lot faster to make and less oily. It doesn’t keep as long as Cooked To Death, but will be ok for 2-3 days in the refrigerator. It’s a nice bright color and flavor accent in a bento. continue reading...

Bento Filler: The Easiest Ever Carrot-Sesame Salad

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This is yet another recipe that is so easy that I didn’t even think of posting it, though I make it all the time. But since a lot of you guys liked the soy sauce eggs, and carrot kinpira is one of the most popular recipes on Just Bento (not to mention the most, ahem, copied elsewhere)…I thought, why not?

It is a very simple carrot salad flavored with sesame oil. You can add toasted sesame seeds if you want, or chopped up parsley as I did here, or both. Or leave both out and keep it simple. The good thing about this salad for bentos is that it stays crunchy and fresh-tasting even the next day after making it. It’s a nice colorful filler. continue reading...