Thursday, July 31, 2008

Feisty Bento #199: Attempt at Food Art

Top tier: sirloin steak; marinated tomatoes & cucumbers
Bottom tier: chocolate peanut butter pretzels (Trader Joe's); tea infused pasta salad

This took me 5 minutes to pack this morning.  Awesome.  Since it was the same stuff as yesterday mostly, I just put the steak in circles and plopped some salad inside them.  Also, my sister said I had too much steak yesterday (like she'd know! hmph!), so I figured this cuts down on how much... Also, the last of the pasta salad, sadly.

Ooh!  Not Exactly Bento has been putting chocolate covered peanut butter filled pretzels in her bentos lately and the craving hit hard this morning.  Thankfully I have a bag in my pantry I'd been putting off opening until I could hold out no longer... that was today.  So!  Thanks a bunch :P

Tomorrow will be bento #200.  Any suggestions or requests for what to put in it?

And if you haven't already, what are you waiting for?  Go enter my contest.


PS Also, for those of you who are lucky enough to live with a Denny's in your area, check this out: a preview of their new menu coming soon! 

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Feisty Bento #198: Leftover Steak

Last night's dinner - perfectly medium rare.  Shoulder sirloin (it was on sale; can you tell I can't resist a good sale on meat?!) and I kept thinking I needed to marinate it or something in order to get something tender and tasty.  Not so, said Alton Brown.  I used this recipe almost to the letter, unusual for me, I know, but I was feeling lazy.  Mostly I just used a lot of salt and some pepper, since it's a very simple recipe, you really need to use extra salt to make the meat sing for you.  And sing it does - tasty, still very juicy and tender, I thinly sliced it using my Wusthof chef's knife (aka my everyday knife)... I think I could even make some delicious steak sandwiches with this and some ciabatta...  So easy and tasty.

Today's bento.

Top tier: leftover steak
Bottom tier: cucumber and tomato salad; tea infused pasta salad

The cucumber tomato salad is basically the same marinated tomatoes as yesterday with chopped seedless/English hothouse cucumbers and one clove of garlic, minced, mixed in as well.  Man, my breath is ROCKIN' from this, but it was totally awesome and worth it :)

Happy bento!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Feisty Bento #197: Economics 101

Cooking dinner on Monday night... yes, I am that anal retentive.

So I went to the grocery store and found a big package (three lbs.) of sweet Italian sausage for $2/lb.  They had smaller 1 lb. packages for about $3.59 or 3.99.  I live by myself.  Do I REALLY need 3 lbs. of sweet Italian sausage?  I don't even really eat sausage much (aside from breakfast sausage... or my homemade breakfast sausage), but I had been thinking how nice it would be to have some on hand instead of always using bacon to start some meals... fine.  My wallet nagged at my sensibilities, because to be honest, I wouldn't have used an entire 1 lb. package right away ANYWAY, so I bought the 3 lb. package, took 4 out for dinner, and froze the other 12 links in three-link-baggies.  Perfect for a meal just for me, with enough leftover for one lunch.  (Four turned out to be just a touch too much for just the one lunch, but it wasn't a big deal.) 

I sliced these into small rounds, plopped them into a pan over low heat and let a lot of the fat render out, then added a quarter red onion I had lying around, and a green bell pepper chopped.  I don't like green onions raw anymore, finding them too grassy for my tastes, so I made sure to cook these extra much, and wound up blistering the skin and really just roasting them into yummy sweet deliciousness.  Fantastic, I tell you. 

For a snack while dinner cooked... spicy masago spread on garlic & olive oil ciabatta.  YUM.  (Masago + a little mayo + hot sauce)

And finally, bento.

Top tier: marinated grape tomatoes; baby carrots; roasted pine nut hummus
Bottom tier: sweet Italian sausages with peppers and onions; tea infused pasta salad

The marinated grape tomatoes are just quartered, tossed in a bowl with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Yummy.

Happy bento!!!  Also, if you have any interest in winning a copy of the cookbook Fish without a Doubt: The Cook's Essential Companion, head on over to The Feisty Foodie to enter my contest.  Good luck!!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Feisty Bento #196: Baked egg because I love me

More photos of my weekend, mostly in food, but first, a baseball fun photo:

This is a photo of DW winding up right before his solo HR yesterday.  Man, what a game, Beltran singles, Tatis homers, then Easley singles, so Castro homers, the pitcher even got into it (his first RBI), and that's all before a single out in the top of the 6th!  AWESOME!  Johan Santana pitched a complete game, and that's really rare these days... he was averaging 10 pitches an inning, which is really low... only allowed 3 hits the whole game, one of which was a solo homer by Pujols... boo... but still, GREAT GAME!!!  And I FINALLY got a shot of DW as he's about to hit a home run, which I've been hoping for all season!!!  Just about halfway through and my wish comes true!!!  Hehe!

Ok, back to food:

Breakfast on Saturday: gyoza, baked egg, salmon & salmon roe, miso soup.  Yummy.  (Ignore my messy coffee table; I get great light out there so I took the picture there instead of in the kitchen with so-so light.)

Lunch on Saturday @ Roll-n-Roaster (Brooklyn location; Manhattan location is now closed): roast beef with cheese, fries, corn tots,... mmmmmmmmm.  (This is for two people, you can't see his sandwich, and we didn't finish all the food, boo.)

Part of dinner on Saturday: veal francese.  Ughhh, so good.  (I'm hungry right now, can you tell?)

Lunch on Sunday: homemade sake oyako don (finally!) though the rice came out crappy.  And yes, that's the last of the salmon and roe - I froze the salmon after a day because I knew I wouldn't be able to use it all right away.  Anyway, this was soooooooo good.... so 'lish.  *drool*

And, bento.  So hungry... why can't I just eat you right now... sigh.

Top tier: egg baked (in a mold I got during this shopping trip and am using for the first time) over pasta salad
Bottom tier: gyoza with gyoza sauce

Happy bento!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Feisty Bento #195: Refreshing tea infused pasta salad

Top tier: refreshing tea salad
Bottom tier: hummus & baby carrots

Recipe for the salad to come soon... on The Feisty Foodie ;) part of the whole Lipton thing... yummy!

Happy bento!!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Feisty Bento #194: Something AWESOME, and super exciting news!!!

I had a good, albeit busy, weekend... started off with the farewell bar bash of one of my closest coworkers... I've known him for 2-3 years now, and in that time, we've become really close; going on double dates, bemoaning a lot of bad things, sharing a drink whenever possible, throwing parties for people just as an excuse to have a party, and overall... just becoming good friends.  His life path is taking him somewhere I will never go, but I wish him the best of luck and hope that in the future, our paths will cross again and put us in the same city. 

Anyway, moving away from the sadness of goodbyes (funny, I realized I didn't even really say goodbye to him... probably because I'm seeing him one last time before he leaves), Saturday saw us (bf & I) at a friend's BBQ.  Ever since I saw this link on Serious Eats, sent it to BF and said "Want to do this?" I've been dying for an occasion to, well, do it!  So we did.

In all its glory... unfortunately, our hostess's blender fritzed out, so we had to hand mash most of the watermelon to get some form of juice out of it.  Also- I wanted vodka instead of rum, thinking rum would be too strongly flavored, so we used vodka instead.  And added ice inside of the watermelon to superchill it.

In action - shot 1

In action - shot 2.  He doesn't have the faucet open all the way, thus the weak stream, and I think it was getting low at that point.  I drank a LOT of it.  Haha.

Today's bento. 

Top tier: kickin' chicken; baby carrots
Bottom tier: English cucumber slices; celery sticks; roasted pine nut hummus for the veggies

Also, head over to The Feisty Foodie for some super exciting news!!!  How COOL is that?!?!?!

And if you're in the NYC area, enter my contest to win free lunch!  Healthy lunch, no less!

As always - happy bento!!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Feisty Bento #193: Exciting News

Top tier: Seaweed salad; kickin' chicken
Bottom tier: baby carrots and hummus

Have a great weekend everyone!  I will be posting about something super exciting later on The Feisty Foodie, so be sure to check it out ;)


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Feisty Bento #192: Lamb

Greek/Mediterranean/Middle Eastern theme...

Top tier: baked falafel; hummus
Bottom tier: seasoned rice; beans; lamb souvlaki from Corfu Grill


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Feisty Bento #191: New and Old

So last night, I was experimenting with some new ingredients for cooking and both of my test recipes came out EXCELLENT!  I was super happy with that... I mean, I thought if anything, they'd come out alright or unnoticeable... but they came out really tasty, and the new ingredient was prominently taste-able.  Yummy!  So I'm happy about that...

Unfortunately one of the dishes came out really ugly... have to fix that.

Sigh.  Is that ugly or what?

Thankfully, sliced up, it isn't so bad!

But I need to cut out the pretzels... not good for me.  And I've been drinking - gasp - caloried drinks... not good!  *tugs at pants*  Gotta lose weight...!


Top tier: seaweed salad; marinated cuttlefish; dark chocolate covered pretzels
Bottom tier: the last of the miso mushrooms; kickin' chicken; and my new recipe: tea-infused pork chops with blueberry/pomegranate gravy

I'll be posting the recipe later.  Sounds a bit weird or a bit gross?  Don't worry, I promise it is ultra-lish!  (lish = my new word for delicious)

Happy bento!!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Feisty Bento #190: Weekend in Food, and a New Product

Weekend in Food...

Dinner on Friday - 15 whole grain bread, pepper jack cheese, thickly sliced tomato, smoked turkey, and a bit of mayo.  YUM.

Dinner on Saturday - yummy!  From this place, though this time, the pita was served hot.  Yay!

A shut out last night.  That makes their 9th straight win.  *squee*  I love my team.  And yes, that's DW at bat =P


Top tier: seaweed salad; marinated cuttlefish; dark chocolate covered pretzels
Bottom tier: Ajinomoto brand kara age (seasoned fried chicken, boneless); Ajinomoto brand gyoza (pork & chicken).  Tonkatsu sauce in the pig in case the chicken isn't that good, and Ajinomoto brand gyoza sauce in the little tomato bottle.

I love Ajinomoto brand gyoza!  The other day, I happened to see a bag of the kara age in the frozen section and picked up a bag.  Kind of expensive, at $5-6 for a bag of less than 20 pieces, but kara age is not something I foresee myself making, and it's nice to have a bag in the freezer for days when I'm strapped for stuff.  You know how I have to have protein in my bento.  Well, this is perfect.  I admit, I wound up making too much (the above is 3 pieces - one a lot larger than most of the pieces in the bag - and the instructions were how to make 5 pieces, so I made 5 thinking that'd be a decent amount) so I ate the two pieces "leftover".  It was pretty good - crisped up nicely in my toaster oven, and very flavorful.  I don't like using frozen/packaged food too often but I think this will do nicely in a pinch for a protein.

Happy bento!!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Feisty Bento #189: More of the Same

Waiting for iPhones... down by Wall Street.  See in the left hand side of the picture, there's a street food cart that says "LUNCH" (well, you can't see the "h" but I assure you, it's there)?  THAT IS THE CART I ATE AND GOT SICK AT!  (first pic)  SO GROSS!  Someone get the word out and tell those poor people DO NOT GO HERE...

Top tier: marinated cuttlefish banchan; dark chocolate covered pretzels; seaweed salad
Bottom tier: miso mushrooms; garlic stem banchan bacon fried rice

I'm going a million miles a minute here, so have a GREAT WEEKEND and...


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Feisty Bento #188: Miso Mushrooms!!!

Breakfast this morning.  I used the same bread but this time, added a slick of mayo, two slices of smoked turkey (Trader Joe's), slices of hearty tomato, and basil freshly plucked from my fully blooming basil plant.  Before I lay them down, however, to get them to release some essence first, I rolled the basil leaves and crushed them in my hand.  It tasted phenomenal.  Tomorrow morning will be turkey, pepperjack, and tomato, though; I learned my lesson about mixing fresh herbs with pepperjack cheese...

YUMMY bento... and yes I still have fried rice for tomorrow's bento LOL but no more kalbi after today...

Top tier: garlic stem banchan bacon fried rice; last piece of kalbi, sliced up
Bottom tier: white miso mushrooms!!!; marinated cuttlefish; seaweed salad

Ooh, so I bought white button mushrooms a few days ago, figuring I can always add it to soup or eggs or whatever to make something delicious and bento-able, right?  But I made something far more delicious than I thought I could possibly dream up...

I sliced up the button mushrooms, heated a heavy bottom skillet over low heat, then plopped in some butter.  Mine actually browned a bit, which may have made these taste extra delicious, but either way should be fine.  I tossed in a generous teaspoon of shiro miso (white miso; I use Miko brand, but you could probably use regular miso too), stirred that around, and that browned a bit too, but then I added all of the mushrooms and stir-stir-stirred.  After a long while, the mushrooms gave off their water, which combined and helped melt down the miso further, though you can probably see from the above picture that there were still splotches of miso in places, but that's cool. 

When I tried one, I thought yeah they'll taste good, but I was blown away by just HOW good they taste... omg, seriously, try this.  And sooo bento-able! 


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Feisty Bento #187: Yumminess abounds!

I woke up extra early this morning- to make sure I had a great day, I made myself a huge breakfast.  Unfortunately it looks much better than it tasted.  The bread failed me miserably.  Boo.  Olive oil & garlic ciabatta from Trader Joe's, only it wasn't really ciabatta, much softer than ciabatta (which is almost crispy on the outside, with a good chewy crust), though the inside was airy much like ciabatta.  Oh well.  Just as well, I'm not sure how well a chewier bread would pair up with eggs anyway.  Scrambled eggs with a dash of hot sauce, salt, pepper, and heavy cream - hehe decadence - and then a slice of pepperjack cheese.  Oh, the yum. 

Top tier: garlic stem bacon fried rice; cut up kalbi
Bottom tier: seaweed salad; dark chocolate covered pretzels from Trader Joe's; marinated cuttlefish banchan

Yummy!  Can't wait for lunch!!!

Happy bento!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Feisty Bento #186: Anniversary Bento

How was my 4th of July weekend...?  BBQ, fireworks by the bridge, BBQ again at my sister's, more food, and then playing tour guide around the city on Sunday... I didn't realize I knew so much about the Financial District.  Random stuff you pick up along the way, really... But I guess it is one of the most rife-with-history areas in NYC, considering it's probably one of, if not the, oldest section... (I mean, it dates back to Dutch times!) 

Picture taken from my bus... see under the bridge?  It's a waterfall!  NYC Waterfalls, to be exact. 

Still on the bus... free standing waterfall, looks stupid and look how much water is going into the parking lot.  Sorry. My 2c.

Late night snack on the 4th... this, from a Greek diner, was only OKAY... and then I got really sick later that night.  Maybe that was from too much vodka though?

Sunday's lunch, plate #1, at our standby buffet place... they're getting funky with the sushi!  Pretty darn tasty though.  You see the one up top, left of the inari?  It had caviar on top... and was huge, but you couldn't really bite it to eat it, it would just fall apart.. so I put the whole damn thing in my mouth.  Hahaha.  It was... interesting... trying to chew it, with no room for my tongue to move... lol.

Plate #2... yum yum... some of this stuff... actually more than half the stuff here fell very flat unfortunately... the tuna I liked so much last time was really blah this time!  The only two good parts of the above dish were the Peking duck, of course, and the kalbi/short rib on the bottom.  Boo...

And, of course... bento!!!  YUMMY!!!

In honor of the anniversary of my first bento ever, I decided to pack some kalbi!  Of course, having learned my lesson the first time, I heated it through, sliced it, and let it cool, so the oil won't still be hard and gross later for lunch, and it'll be easy to eat...

Top tier: marinated cuttlefish banchan; grapes
Bottom tier: (see below); kalbi, sliced up

A week or two back, I purchased garlic stem banchan, a spicy bunch of green-bean looking things that had red sauce gooped on.  I've eaten these before and enjoyed them- a different maker, but these were way too spicy for me, and I couldn't eat more than a few pieces with lots of white rice before tearing up and sweating so much I couldn't see.  I decided to cook with them, one of the ways my mom tames down kimchi that has gotten way too spicy for her (though she usually puts it in soup). 

Basically a variation on my bacon fried rice recipe... (which is quite outdated, as I've made this dish several more times since, each time making it better!)

Scramble one egg; remove from pan and set aside.  5 slices of bacon, chopped, heat in a frying pan over low heat to let more fat render.  When it's crisp, push to one side, add diced onions.  Add rice into bacon fat, and let coat, sizzle nicely until the rice is heated through.  Add garlic stems, making sure you get all the red sauce as well.  Add scrambled egg.  Stir together and let the red meld with all the rice... turn off heat, serve and enjoy!  I snipped a bit of green onions to go on top.

The result is still spicy, with a bit of smoky background from the bacon, and super delicious.

Happy bento!!!

Saturday, July 5, 2008


Wow, it's been exactly a year since the first time I put together a bento. (Ironically, I am making homemade kalbi again today. Guess it's a 4th of July kind of thing for me?) I'm super happy that I've stuck with it - and will be sticking with it - and thrilled with all the weight I've lost - and will continue to lose. Bento has been a great way for me to focus and to eat healthier than I would if I didn't bento. I know the past few weeks have been a struggle for me, but it should get better again, I promise, knowing what I do about the changes in my own life. To everyone who reads, thank you for being with me through this journey - stick around, there's more to come! I wish you the happiest of bento, always... even when, like me, you can't be happy, at least your bento can... and maybe it will rub off on you :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Feisty Bento #185: Yummy new recipe

Top tier: cucumbers and tzatziki sauce
Bottom tier: farfalle alla not-vodka

Yummm!  I totally forgot I didn't need a bento, but oh well... still delicious!  Why I didn't need one: Top Berry Luncheon.

Happy bento!