Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Feisty Bento #311: I am a strange, strange girl


So here's the story.  Well, it's a lot of stories.  I didn't plan my week very well last week, and wound up not having anything ready to go for lunch on Thursday... so no bento (but a delicious sandwich I will be posting about eventually over on Feisty Foodie). 

I took off from work on Friday to show a friend around town, so obviously, no bento, and the weekend was cram-packed such that I wound up unable to do much in the way of making food for the week.  (And yes, I make food for the week of bentos; it makes my life so much easier to be able to just pull out containers from which I pack my lunch!)  I did, however, manage to roast 3 heads of broccoli... and take leftovers from my sister's, cabbage boiled with butter.  No, no corned beef, don't be a jerk and remind me what I passed up...

Anyway, that's why there has been a bit of radio silence for the past few days.  (If you want to know EVERYTHING I ate over last week during the challenge, click here.)

My bento above is... cabbage boiled with butter, roasted broccoli and what I am dubbing: random rice concoction

And the other story is... well, last night/this morning, I decided I was going to bring bento today if it killed me, damn it (it just made me late for work). 

A week or two ago, shortly after I'd given up meat temporarily, I spent a day cooking before the BF came over to watch TV with me.  I was rushing around, and decided that though I'd be eating salmon (of which he isn't exactly a fan - I've seen him eat it raw once or twice, but cooked is an application which I'll let him approach me to try), he would need something for dinner as well.  So I made some stuff, and made a really fast pasta sauce, a recipe at which I am quite adept, thanks very much.  Unfortunately, if you clicked over, you'll notice that I most certainly use meat to start that sauce, imparting a distinct umami taste about the sauce, which I was stupidly in too much of a rush that night to realize would not fly over without it, and didn't think to use some mushrooms to replace some of the lost flavor. 

The result was a sauce that, well, put it this way.  While the item I sauced with said gravy received high marks from BF, he hesitated before remarking, "Where did you get the sauce?" 

I knew right away there was an issue, but simply said "I made it... pretty much the same way I always do, without the meat."
The response nearly broke my heart, "Oh... it kind of tastes... well, jarred."

Some people would take this as a compliment.  Some people would think that's awesome, that the sauce proffered was good enough to be jarred. 

Some people clearly don't date an Italian American. 

I tasted the sauce myself and realized there was just this flat sweetness to it, nothing rounding it out or giving it that special tang, a background smoothness.  At the same time, it tasted tinny, metallic, slightly sour - the tomato flavor - which makes no sense, because to combat the sourness of tomatoes, I tend to add a teaspoon of sugar.  It was like... it needed a splash of ground beef to make it taste right.  Grrr.

I chalked it up to being in a hurry and threw the sauce into the fridge, where it sat, unloved, for little bit.  (I'm done admitting to how long things sit in my fridge before I chuck them - people are constantly horrified by my timeframes, but hell, if I don't get sick, then why is it awful?) 

This morning, determined to have bento, I pulled out a Ziploc bag of cooked spaghetti, which I'd been smelling everyday for... a little while... that never smelled off.  I knew in my mind AND heart that it had been in the fridge way too long to deserve to be eaten - surely it was past its prime - but there was no visible mold and it really smelled FINE.  I even pulled some out and it felt fine, but I couldn't bring myself to taste it.  I'm still uncertain why.  Finally I began mushing it around in the bag and decided f* it, I'm not eating it, and chucked it.  Hahaha.

Meanwhile, I had the sauce in a pot on the stove, bubbling a bit, and I began adding a ton of freshly grated Parmagiana-Reggiano.  Yes, the good stuff.  I figured the saltiness should cut the sweetness, right?  But it was still missing something... so I added some frozen mixed veggies, figuring that would cut the sweetness, too, right? 

But ... what starch am I supposed to top with this??? 

Luckily (?) I had a container of a quick fried rice I made last week - that I also hadn't liked that much - but whatever - and I mixed that all into the sauce in the pan and out came the above.  Which wound up tasting quite nice!  Nothing I'd actually post a recipe for because it really is luck of the draw to mess something up that badly and then fix it somehow with random things tossed in - but hell, it was pretty darn tasty, and I may top it with some mozzarella for a repeat tomorrow!  We'll see! 

Yes, I'm a strange, strange girl... who will eat nearly anything.  Hahaha. 

Think outside the lunchbox~!!!


  1. About your pasta sauce quandry --- maybe a hit of Worchestershire (sp?) sauce, or Black Vinegar (sweet, dark vinegar) to round out the flavors? I think there must be "carmel" in them to darken and sweeten them.

    I use these on almost everything. But I'm not Italian-anything. Not that I wouldn't mind ;)

  2. Are you calling me a jerk [y'know the Corned Beef Crack?] LOL...and yeah, you are weird...but we luv' ya'

    I am just not eating any of your bento....

    [running away fast] :D

  3. Little Ol' Liz - funny you say that. The quick fried rice I'd made had a lot of Worcestershire sauce on it, maybe that's why it all tastes so good. But I did put sugar in the sauce already, it was just too sweet. *shrug

    SkippyMom - my brother-in-law kept putting hot dogs, hamburgers, corned beef on my plate over the weekend, which I would scoop off onto my mother's plate. So who do you think is the jerk?! :P
    And no one invited you to eat my bento! I don't share! It tastes delicious! And shame on you for not eating broccoli, setting a bad example for the SkippyKids :P Broccoli is delicious!

  4. Hmm I always forget that sugar helps the tart tomatoes. Fun post =)

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