Bento/Lunch Boxes (2010)

December 28th: Snow Crab Sushi and Kiwi Bento

Winter means that we can get a lot of Snow Crab/Suwagani/諏訪蟹 on the markets.
As I did some shopping last night for the Missus, I bought a big batch of them. Most of it went into a “nabe dinner”, Japanese pot-au-feu, but some was kept for our bentos today!
As for the kiwi fruits, I had the pleasure to interview the owner of the largest individual kiwi farmer in Japan, namely Kiwifruit Country Japan in Kakegawa City (report coming soon!).

The Missus prepared sushi rice and mixed it with snow crab, thinly sliced cucumber (Shizuoka-grown), pickled perilla seeds and chopped Italian parsley.
She topped the lot with more snow crab, olive and lemon.
A bit extravagant, I must admit!

As for the salad, she included mini-tomatoes and cress (both grown in Shizuoka City), with some celery leaves, chopped carrots and walnuts.
Plenty of fibers and Vitamin C!

For dessert, the kiwi fruit!
She peeled and sliced one of each of the 3 varieties grown by Mr. Masatoshi Hirano (he actually grows 80 of them!):
-Kousen/光線, yellow with a red center
-Kouryoku/香緑,beutiful green
-Tear Drop/ティーヅロップ, beautiful yellow

These are packed with Vitamin C and many other great nutrients!

Healthy, healthy, healthy, and delicous!
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December 22nd: Healthy Sushi Bento

The Missus is still obsessed with my weight and girth (although I would never be called “fat” back in France…) and is trying hard to reduce the calories I ingest.
Mind you, I don’t mind a bit, as the bentos she makes still turn out to be very much of my liking! LOL

So she was back with another favorite of hers, “te-mari zushi/small sushi balls”.
She made three kinds all started from the same steamed sushi rice:
-One with smoked salmon topped with capers and lemon. For this one she had mixed the rice with finely chopped Japanese cucumber pickles.
-One with daikon called “beni kessho/red make-up (as for lipstick)” cut in very thin slices topped with violet kawairedaikon/daikon sprouts. The rice this time was mixed with black roasted sesame seeds.
-One with raw ham. The rice was mixed with small pieces of processed cheese.

As for the “garnish box” she filled it with vegetables sticks for a dip sauce made of cheese mayonnaise: cucumber, carrot, beni kessho daikon, celery and small tomatoes.
Wedges of red and yellow apple for dessert.

I was very hungry come evening but it was a delicious bento!
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December 20th: Oyakodon Bento

The Missus diagreed technically with the term “oyakodon” as she sid it should be a sort of soft omelette in one piece. She didn’t agree either with thw term”Soboro” as it is fine anand sweet omelette powder.
She just called “Chicken and Eggs”! LOL

What she did was to first fry the small chicken pieces in sauce before steaming the lot with the rice with the chicken on top. She later mixed the lot and added home-pickled Japanese pepper seeds.
She then added scrambled eggs.

For a closer view. She added tiny slices of home-pickled daikon for tatste and looks.

The “Garnish box” was kept healthy and simple:
Spicy fried burdock roots chips salad.
-Rape blossom palnts/Na no Hana/菜の花 and carrots salad with gomadare sauce/seasme dressing.
-Shizuoka-grown kiwi fruit slices and tomatoes!

Healthy and simple, I said?
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strong>December 15th: Two-Tiered Shrimp Sushi Bento

It seems that after all, that cold of mine (ours) is going to leave me alone soon.. I certainly have the appetite to prove it!
The only problem is that the Missus keeps badering me on my waistline!
Anyway the colors in today’s bento seem to point out that she was in a comparatively better mood!

For the staple dish she prepared an easy sushi rice seasoned with finely chopped japanese pickles.
She made two tiers with each layer covered with boiled shrimps (without the “tails” om the first tier), small cubes of avocado and cheese and, thin bits of lemon and Italian parsley.

Plenty of colors again in the “garnish” box:
Boiled broccoli with walnuts and sprinkled with chestnut powder.
Red radishes and soft-boiled egg.
Salad of thin slices of red and yellow apples and cress.

Tasty and refreshing!
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December 14th: Chicken Balls Bento

It seems that the Missus and I cannot get rid of our cold and coughs (orginally the Missus’!) although it has started improving. But with all these people falling under the curse, one is not careful enough.
That is when you need a hearty lunch!

Some ingredients are actually useful against colds, especially wasabi.
The other day I had brought a whole root with its stems and leaves and the Missus was more than happy to make pickles with the stems and leaves.
Accordingly she prepared plain rice and spread plenty of wasabi pickles over it.

We are very much in the season for durock root/goboo/牛蒡 and we naver can get enough.
The Missus make thin chips out of them.
After preparing chicken balls of her own (secret) recipe (fried and broiled) she placed them on a bed of budock root chips with some more on top of the chicken balls with black roasted sesame seeds.

As for the “garnish” box, plenty of vitamin and natural health food with a salad of raw yamamimo/yams, pimentoes, konbu/seaweed and sesame seeds, another salad of potatoes and violet sweet potatoes and fresh cress, Boiled broccoli on a mayonnaise bed, a half boiled egg and honey core apple.

I must admit that the Missus is trying hard getting us rid of those colds!LOL
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December 7th: “Crabby” Bento!

Why did I call this bento “crabby”?
Well, the Missus was “crabby”, meaning she was in a slightly foul mood! LOL
The other reason is that she did use you crab in her bento!

After steaming the rice she prepared simple balls of rice mixed with a few capers inside cellophane paper.
She unwrapped them, made an indent in their middle by pressing the ball with her thumb, filled the indent with mayonnaise and placed some crab in the middle.
All the crab came from frozen boiled pincers!
She then placed the balls inside the bamboo fiber box individually wrapped in lettuce.

As for the “Garnish” she included a salad of carrot tagliatelle and mixed boiled beans in one half and fresh tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette with lettuce and home-pickled radish.

For dessert she included a ponkan orange I brought for the other side of Izu Peninsula.

Simple, colourful and very satisfying!
I still have to get rid of the cold the Missus was so kind to give me!LOL
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December 6th: A Bento For A Cold

The Missus is a kind lady: she even gives me her colds!
I certainly needed a healthy meal to help go along with this predicament!

I must she came up with a good idea by steaming the rice with vegetables including chopped red pimetoes and burdock roots with curry powder mix she later seasoned with black sesame seeds and to which she some French pickles.

A very colourful and hearty “garnish dish”!

Salad of violet sweet potaoes, walnuts and cheese with lettuce to accompany her specialty: karaage chicken/deep-fried chicken!

Semi-hard boiled egg, boiled string beans and tomato, more lettuce and lemon for extra seasoning! Plenty of Vitamins here!

Shizuoka-grown Benihoppe/Red Cheeks strawberries (more Viamin C!) and banana chips (for more nutrients!).

The cold had somewhat abated by then and I do hope I will feel better tomorrow!LOL
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December 1st: A tale of two Sakés Bento

I have called thios Bento “A Tale of Two Sakés because the salmon/鮭 had been dipped in Japanese saké/日本酒 !
Both salmon and sake are pronounced “saké” in Japanese!

The Missus was in a particulalry artistic mood this morning!LOL

Although the steamed rice is the same plain one, she seaoned it into two different manners, one with burdock root/gobou/牛蒡 chips and roasted black sesame seeds.
The salmon had been lightlly marinated before the Missus fried it and placed it on top of the rice.

The second part of the rice was topped with chopped pickled myoga ginger and “kingoma”/金胡麻/yellow roasted sesame seeds.
The home pickles are turnips and konbu seweed.

The Missus couldn’t help having a dig at me with her tamagoyaki! LOL

The salad part of the garnish included boiled brocoli and string beans with some red pimentoes, the whole seasoned with burdock root chips.
Plain tamagoyaki cut in a peculiar fashion….

More home-made pickles with carrot, radish and celery to accompany the lettuce.

For dessert imported grapes and Shizuoka-grown strawberries and ruby kiwis (“ruby”, not “rugby”!).

Plenty of colors and very tasty as usual!
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November 30th: Cereal Rice Bento

I called today’s bento Cereal Rice Bento because the Missus steamed the rice with a special mix of 15 different cereals!

I had been busy all day yesterday being driven for 6 hours through Shizuoka Prefecture. I’m still pretty tired today, what with all the translation work I have to do for Agrigraph Japan, and I needed a solid bento!

As I said the rice was steamed with the addition of a special mix of 15 cereals including corn and many grains. It certainly made for staple!

The Missus added her speciality, soft-boiled egg sprinkled with black sesame and a salad of boiled string beas, red pimentoes, and a dressing containing burdock root chips.

The garnish box was also plentiful!

Spagheti in peperone stle with brocoli, lettuce, prawns fritters and lime for extra taste and zest.

For dessert, imported grapes and local strawberries (the season has just atrted for the latter!)

Plenty for the day and tasty!
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November 16th: Rose Window Sushi Bento

A Rose Window in English, or a Rosace in French, is a stained glass window designed in the shape of a rose that you can admire in many churches and cathedrals in various countries (don’t get me wrong, I’m agnostic!).
I was going to call this bento with a more prosaic name but I had to quickly backpedal under The Missus’ opposition!…

To obtain that design, the Missus first steamed rice and arranged/seasoned it in sushi style before adding chopped Japanese pickles (cucumber et al). She then made rolls (inside cellophane paper) whith a core of wasabi cheese and German-style Lyoner Ham.
She cut the rolls through the cellophane paper before unwrapping the latter and roll the sudhi in lettuce.
She then placed the rolls inside the lacquered bento box (made in Shizuoka Prefecture) in the shape of Rose Window with plum tomatoes in the middle and a slice of pimento-filled olive to offset the symmetry.

She used the second box of the set of three with a partition to ddesign the “garnish” box according to colors and ingredients.

She filled the left-side quarter partition with a salad of boiled kabocha pumpkin with mayonnaise, cheese creamand black beans.
She filled the right-side quarter partition with a salad of cucumber and shallots slices pickled in rice vinegar and sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds.

For dessert, she filled the upper half partition with fresh red oranges and fig compote I got at Mr. Naitoh’s Garden in Okitsu, Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City!

Great colors, plenty of satisfaction and beautiful taste combination!
(I will have to stop praising the Missus or she will become untenable!LOL)
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November 15th: “Nutritional” Bento

Why do I call this bento, “Nutritional Bento” whereas bento by definition should be nutritional?
Simply because the Missus streesed on the point this morning when she decided to mix the rice with beans, saying that her bentos should be more nutritional!LOL

The rice she used this morning is Shizuoka-grown “mochi kome/glutinous rice seasoned with matcha tea powder.
Once she had steamed it she mixed it with ready-cooked black beans.
The whole certainly made for fulfilling meal!

The “garnish” made up for a full meal as it contained ingredients both from the land and the sea!

She fried two types of “tsukune/Japanese meat patties”, one toppedwith renkon/lotus roots, the other ones with shimeji mushrooms. She then added sauce to both of them as she finished frying them.
She pkaced both on a little lettuce.
The dessert cosisted of sliced squat persimmons/jiro kaki and red-heart kiwii fruit/kousen/紅鮮/”red fresh”, both grown in Shizuoka Prefecture.

She included fresh sakura ebi/cherry shrimps (only found in Shizuoka Prefecture/we are in season just now!) in the tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette for the sea food.
She arranged it with home-pickled daikon, carrotand cucumber sticks, as well as plum tomato and lettuce!

Nutritional and very tasty!
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November 9th: Tango Bento

No, this bento has nothing to do with dancing!
“Tango” in French is also the name of a colour halfway between orange and red. This is also the colour and surname of my hometown Rugby Club in Chalon Sur Saone in France: Check their fans’ Forum Page at 16 TANGOS!
Since kaki/persimmon are mentioned in this blog, I couldn’t resist the temptation! I wonder if there is an Amreican Football Team sporting the same colour!
Incidentally beer mixed with grenadine is also called Tango!

The Missus’ bentos might look elaborate, but she actually makes use of simple everyday ingredients most of the time.
Today, after steaming the rice she opened a small can of yakitori and mixed the lot with the rice while it was still hot.

Alright, the home-pickled sansho/Japanese pepper seeds will be difficult to obtain or make outside Japan. Pickled, they are not so common here, either, but they add so much taste and zip!
As for the pickles, the red ones are murasaki daikon/violet daikon that the Missus has marinated with vinegar and konbu/seweed. The yellow shredded daikon pickles are from the supermarket. She sprinkled them with black roasted sesame seeds for a last touch.

The “garnish” box was a combination of leftovers and freshly cooked food.

For the fresh part the Missus prepared tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette with shiso/perilla leaves and sweet umeboshi/Japanese pickled plums. Instead of cutting it across, she cut it at a slant for a different design very similar to what you will encounter at a sushi restaurant.
Leetuce wrap provisded for some more vitamins.

The “leftover” part consisted of macaroni, cucumber and avocado salad she had prepared the night before for dinner.
She added fresh plum tomato and home-pickled renkon/lotus root and more lettuce for good balance.

As for dessert, shizuoka-grown fruits: jiro kaki/squat persimmon for the “tango” part and red-heart kiwi fruit. The latter is very very sweet!

Great bento I must admit,when you consider the relative simplicity of the ingredients!
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November 8th: Back To Work Bento

Today was certainly back to work after a great Sunday spent playing cricket away from the computers for a ful day!

Today’s bento was also very much a classic bento.
The Missus steamed plain rice and filled one box with two layers of it separated with seaweed, a very popular way to remind the taste of a seaweed wrapped musubi.

She added home-pickled renkon/lotus roots with black sesame seeds, gobo/burdock root and carrot salad in gomadare/sesame sauce, and the last the mukago/yam nuts from my nighbor’s garden she had deep-fried beforehand.

The garnish was also a classic in two separate parts.

Karaage chicken/deep-fried chicken, Japanese-style, and friedsweet ptatoes with lettuce and lime for seasoning and more vitamins.

Salad of home-pickled cucumber, carrt, pepper and daikon.
Dessert consisted of apples stewed in roselle (hibiscus) jam I had made following a visit at a local farm.

A solid and tasty bento!

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November 2nd: Omu Rasiu Musubi Bento

The Missus had planned to make an “Omu Raisu”, that is, fried rice coververed with omelette for my bento oday but she was not satisfied with her fried rice and decided to make musubi with it!

So, having steamed the rice, she fried/sauteed it Chinese style with finely chopped vegetables, spices and tomato sauce.
She then shaped the rice into triangular musubi/rice balls (not round, then! LOL).
She next made a thin rectangular omelette for each and wrapped the musubi inside it. She finally placed then in the box half-wrapped in lettuce.
She added some home-pickled carrot, cucumber and red pimento as well as cut plum tomatoes and olives.

For the salad dish she served bean salad mixed with hijiki sweet seaweed and freshly cut okra and celery.
Dessert consisted of sweet potatoes cooked in honey and lemon as well as figs in compote I acquired during my interview of Saitoh Orchard in Okitsu, Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City!

Great balance and certainly yummy!

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October 29th: Fried Shrimps Te-Mari Sushi Bento

The Missus is “geared up” for making bento on Wednesdays so things had to be kept simple today!

As you can see it was almost all sushi!
After steaming the rice she blended it in sushi rice fasion addin finely shredded pickled daikon.

She fried shrimps she had beforehand seasoned and coated with a little cornstarch.
She shaped the te-mari sushi (small sushiballs) between her palms before pressing their top to form a small bowl in which she placed a little coleslaw and a shrimp.
She wrapped each te-mari in lettuce and placed them in the bento box.

For more garnish and dessert I had the onsen tamago again with its yolk beautifully running and sprinkled with black sesame seeds.
She also included daigaku-imo she made the night before with two kinds of sweet potatoes.
The daigaku-imo are called so as they were very popular with penniless students in Tokyo back a long time ago!

Tasty and hearty!
No complaints!

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October 26th: Chicken & Burdock Root Rice Bento

Interestingly enough, today’s bento could really qualify as a “leftovers” bento!
Last night the Missus had made a very tasty Japanese stew of chicken and burdock (gobou/牛蒡) root with some other vege including small dices of carrot.
As she hade enough left over this morning she turned my bento into a new experience!

So last night she covered the rice to be steamed this morning with chicken and burdock root stew leftovers to allow them to season the rice and its water.

Once the rice had been steamed she mixed a lot with a spatula and filled the first box with it.
She sprinkled generously with roasted sesame seeds and added some Japanese pickled (and shredded) daikon for colour and taste.

She kept the “garnish” box as light and healthy as possible while providing for colours and design.

She put a good portion of boiled carrot and string beans seasoned with gomadare/sesame dressing, Ameera Rubbins pearl tomatoes and Japanese-style onsen egg, that is softly boiled and and marinated overnight, which makes for a tasty runny yolk once you cut it. She sprinkled the latter with black roasted ssame seeds and added a little lettuce bedding.

For a second look of the onsen tamago/soft-boiled egg.
The dessert consisted of walnut and apple pieces cooked in roselle (hibiscus) jam I made last week!

Plenty of colours and very healthy (and tasty!)!
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October 19th, 2010: Vegetable Rolls Sushi Bento

The Missus has been battering my ears with the fact I’m putting on weight again!
The fast is I have little time to take physical exercise with all the work I have to do on the computer these days!
Ayway, plenty of veg and fruit today!LOL

Having steamed (and grumbled) the rice, she prepared it as susi rice and mixed it with roasted sesame seeds.
She made three types of vegetavbles rolls:
-Carrots and green peppers (pimento)
-Cucumber and tartare sauce
-Buckwheat sprouts and umeboshi/Japanese pickled plum (sweet type)
Made for some interesting colours!

As for the garnish, she made her favourite mimosa egg on a bed of sprouts, French pickles and Ameera Rubbins pearl tomatoes on another bed of vegetables, and local (I was offered them during an interview!) fresh figs cut and seasoned with cottage cheese and cheese dresing.

Simple (mind you it still seemed a lot of work!), plentiful, tasty and so healthy!

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October 18th, 2010: Mukago Bento

Why did I call this bento “mukago bento”?
Mukago is the fruit/seed of the yama imo/yam.
They are not easy to find on the market as their season is very short (it has just finished) and they are usually served in expensive traditional Japanese restaurants.
But I’m blessed with a neighbor who grows them in his own garden, who was kind enough to offer me a whole bunch the other day!
Half of them (the larger ones) were eaten with the first glass of Japanese sake of that day, while the Missus kep the rest for today’s bento!

The Missus steamed them whole (their skinis very tasty!) with plain rice.
Later she added a little dashi soup stock and soy sauce when she mixed them together before placing them inside the bento box.

The skinof the mukago is easily broken with the teeth and the inside is very tender with an elegant taste.
The Missus added shredded Japanese pickles for more taste and colour!

Autumn is just arriving with (at last!) cooler nights and there are plenty to choose from in the fridge for a colourful garnish!

I must have my Tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette in my bento!
This time, the Missus prepared them plain and slightly sweet (they were my dessert of the day!).
Shw rolled okra in thin pork slices and fried them with some seasoning of hers. They make for a great sight once cut across their section!

The vegetables part were represented with her special carrot tagliatelle salad with a bit of lettuce, some parsley and walnuts.
The pearl tomatoes are “Ameera Rubbins” (still) exclusively grown by only two farmers in Iwata City in Western Shizuoka Prefecture!

I love the Autumn!
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October 4th, 2010: Te-Mari Sushi Bento

The Missus came up with an old favourite of hers with today’s sushi bento: Te-Mari sushi!
Mind you, these are a lot bigger than the ones they serve to geisha in Kyoto! LOL

As you can see she combined Jpaanese and Western tastes in the Te-Mari balls!

One type came with rice steamed wit konbu, then later prepared as sushi rice. She then mixed half with sweet umeboshi flesh and topped the balls with a slice of boiled and lightly pickled renkon/lotus root.

As for the other type, she mixed the rest of the rice with small cubes of cheese and topped the balls with smoked salmon has just brought us from Ireland, and some lemon and capers. A small piece of lettuce was introduced under the ball for extra taste.

Now, the garnish did involve some work:
She cut an avocado in half across the length, and peel it before filling it first with the whites (crumbled) of a soft-boiled egg, then the yolk (crumbeled) of the same egg before topping it with a slice of pimento-stuffed green olive for colour!
She added boiled spinach salad seasoned with gomadare/sesame dessing, and another salad of boiled and broiled satoimo/taro seasoned with roasted black sesame seeds.

Where is my dessert? LOL

Grat balance, colourful and tasty again!

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October 3rd: Canned Heat Bento

The weather has finally turned to Autumn/Fall, especially at night when it’s easier to sleep! Mind you this the typhoon season with some scalding daytime hetin-between.
Now, why did I callthis Bento Canned Heat?
Some of you (the nostalgic ones) will remember the rock group of the same name at Woodstock!

Canned yakitori is a very popular item in Japanese supermarkets and they can be arranged into surprisingly good food!
The Missus always has a few in her “larder”.
I chose the yuzu ksohio yakitori canned yakitori.
The Missus steamed the rice with the yakitori on top.
She then mixed the lot adding her own pickled sansho/Japanese pepper and “tukudani” made with ginger and konbu/seaweed.
It does make for a very tasty and filling rice. And very nourishing, too.
She added some pickled daikon for colour effect.
She added some delicious tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette she concocted with shiso/perill leaves.

She prepared the salad and dessert garnish inside the other (Shizuoka) Mempa bento Box with its T-shaped partition (all lacquerd).
Soba hime/buckwheat sprouts with katsuo bushi/dry bonito shavings in one quarter.
She filled the half section with a salad of beans, konbu, and boiled yellow and pink potatoes (the latter from her family’s garden), the lot on some lettuce leaves and topped with local plum tomato.
As for dessert nashi pears and plums!

Very filling and tasty!
Poor Susan at My Bento Box, who is being deprived of her bentos for 3 weeks is going to scream!
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September 28th, 2010: Fall Rain Sushi Roll Bento

Maybe I should have titled this lunch box “Fall Rainfall Sushi Bento”!
It was not raining this morning, it wa pouring!
Which meant I had to wait for the but in the driving rain, board a stuffy bus and find out two hours later that the skies had suddenly cleaned!
Oh well, a bento is here to provide you comfort and make you forget about the little “niggles” of life!

The Missus kept things very simple (and tasty):
She made two kinds of rolls with nori/seawwed:
one contained cheese and “okaka”/Bonito/Katsuo powder, the other avocado.
She placed both on some lettuce.

One more type of sushi with “inarizushi wrapped in sweet aburaage todfu pouches.
Some stuffed olives, tomatoes and sweet tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette for dessert.

SDimple, fulfilling and tasty!LOL
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September 27th: Chicken Roll Bento

The cooler days finally coming onto us, The Missus is introducing some more meat in her bentos, although she still keeps them full of vegetables and fruit.
Once again she used of the three lacquered boxes of our “Mampa” lunch box exclusively made by a single craftsman in Ikawa/Shizuoka Prefecture.
This time the smaller box conatained the rice whereas the larger one conatined the garnish.

After having steamed the rice with konbu/seaweed and finely chopped carrots (on top), she mixed the lot and sprinkled it wit roasted black sesame seeds. Beautiful deep oroange colour. Back in France we call such a colour “tango”, also the name of beer added with grenadine, or the name of my Rugby Club back home!

She inserted the”T”-shaped separator to prevent ingredients to mix up. THis the most common technique in Japan and make for very versatile use of difference spaces. It certainly helps with the design!

She prepared rolls by first spreading thin a chicken breast between sheets of cellophane paper.
She filled the chicken roll with bacon and cheese before sautee it in sauce. Once cooled she cut slices and put them in the box with lettuce, boiled brocoli and pieces of walnut.

The salad consited of sliced yamaimo/yam, Konbu/seaweed from the steamed rice, sweet pimento, the whole seasoned with ponzu and roasted sesame seeds.
Grapefruit wedges for desert!

Tasty and colourful!
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September 21st, 2010: British Sushi Bento

The Missus was finally able to use our new set of lacquered bento boxes!
These bento boxes are called “Ikawa Menpa” and are made exclusively made with materials coming from the forests of Ikawa in the Northern part of Shizuoka Prefecture!

They come into two main styles (I will write a more extensive article soon!), unlacquered and lacquered pine wood.
They have been designated as Prefectural Cullture Asset by the Shizuoka Prefecture Government.
Mr. Mochizuki (I’ll have to check the pronunciation of his first name as it is impossibly long!) is the only crsftsman making them . He is the fifth generation of a lineage of artists dating back to 1830!

The present 3-box set (The Missus used only two this time) even comes with is own bag and partitions!

Now today’s main dish consists of plain sushi rice that the Missus steameda with chopped parsley, cheese and French herbs and Olive Oil Bouillon (see below).
She made two layers of them with cold roast beef atop both. She put the fishing touch with some sliced green olives stuffed with pimento.

Here is the French Knorr Bouillon.
It contains EV olive oil, oreganao, laurel, garlic and onion)

The side dish contains a salad of pink potatoes (not sweet potaoes) and chestnuts with dressing and lettuce leaves, and mint from the verandah, Pickled Mizu Nasu/Water Eggplants which can be eaten raw, Shizuoka-grown Ameera Rubbins Pearl tomatoes, salad of gobo/burdock root, pimeto and cucumber, and a boiled egg seasoned with black roasted sesame seeds.

Dessert? The tomatoes! LOL

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September 14th; Late Summer Sushi Bento Box

The summer and the oppressive heat do not want to leave place to a cooler Autumn/Fall and yesterday Shizuoka was the hottest place in Japan with temperatures reaching 37 degrees Celsius in Shimizu!
We are in more need of fluids than calories!

The Missus kept the bento as healthy as possible:
She prepared the usual sushi rice and mixed it vegetables (red and green pimentoes, shimeji and maitake mushrooms and celery leaves) she had previusly fried lemon and herb oil. The juices became a natural seasoning to the rice. she added some lemon slices for effect and additional seasoning.

As for the side dish and dessert she placed sliced olum tomatoes and celey leaves at one end, Japanese-style mimosa eggs in the middle (the yolk is mixed with mayonnaise and chopped Japanese cucumber pickles), and nashi pears wrapped in raw ham with a few white grapes at the other end.

Light and tasty, and artistic, LOL!
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September 13th: Back To Work Bento

It was back to “normal work” after having spent almost a week on a holiday in Iwate Prefecture and been busy back home with clearing up a backload of work!

My organism needing a rest for all last week’s eating and eating, my beto was comparativeley light.
The Missus prepared plain steamed rice she seasoned with black roasted sesame seeds, sweet umbsohi and home-pickled cucumber and ginger.

That was for the rice.
Now for the accompaniment.

For once I’ll start with eggs.
The Missus prepared this tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette in a novel manner.
She took some okra, slice some of them thin and grated the other.
The sliced okra made for crunchy bits inside the tamagoyaki while providing a nice design. The grated okra gave a fluffy feeling and appearance to the whole.
A very interesting idea!

She then inserted sauteed slices of renkon/lotus roots and goya with a couple of Shizuoka-grown Ameera Rubbins Pearl Tomatoes.
Then she introduced a couple of deep-fried slices of pork fillets interspered with celeri leaves. Good colour and great balance!

To end it up I was given some beans salad added with hijiki/sweet seaweed and some leafy sprouts.

White (they are green, actually!) grapes and sliced nashi pear for dessert.

Plenty and tasty for the day!

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August 31st, 2010: Birthday Sushi Bento

Today is my birthday, but I will have to wait 7 more years before someone can arrest me for indecent age!LOL
Incidentally, that makes me a Virgo for whatever it means!

Today’s sushi is of the chirashi/チラシ寿司/decoration-style sushi. It is comparatively light and almost fit for a lady!
Love the colours!

The Missus steamed the rice with konbu/seaweed and mixed with thinly sliced pickled vegetables and boiled renkon/lotus roots. Instead of adding vinegar to the rice she used the pickles brine. Made for extra taste!
She topped it slices of boiled renkon, boiled shrimps, lemon and violet kawaire daikon sprouts. Very healthy!

The salad and dessert box made for an interesting colour combo. Certainly makes you feel better in that heat!

Plain tamagoyaki/Japanese omelete, Shizuoka-grownAmeera Rubbins pearl tomatoes, grapes and blueberries.

More white grapes and blueberries with cress and lettuce.
The fig are grown in Shizuoka and brought to me by Lojol. In spite of their green skin they are ripe. Actually they are a green cultivar. Makes for even more colours!

Very healthy, cheerful and tasty!
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August 30th, 2010: Smoked Salmon Rolls Bento

With a vacation within sight (we shall spend 5 nights in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture from the 3rd of September), the Missus has to make do with whatever is left in the fridge and pantry! Well, rice and potatoes are not a problem! LOL

She kept things simple but made a little “experiment” in view of future bentoes.
She does attach a lot of improtance to the colour balance, especially in summer, as more colours do actually make the bento more refreshing, whereas in winter “darker” colours will make it look more comforting!

Having steamed plain rice she added it with some curry furikake/Japanese dry seasoning
for better colour and taste. She then prepared rolls with lettuce instead of dry seaweed. In the middle she placed smoked salmon (seasoned with tartare sauce), French cornichons and capers. You could call them French Salamon Sushi Rolls!

For the “salad side dish”, she experimented with a Japanese-style Spanish omelette of her own with lotus roots, carrots and cheese. She added two colour-potato salad (pink and yellow, I boiled and pan-dried myself the night before), Ameera Rubbins pearl tomatoes from Iawata City and basil leaves from our balcony!

For dessert, more colours and nutrients with slices of large and very firm plum and blueberries.

I wonder if I could call this bento Multi-coloured bento.
I can hear Debra/Hapabento commenting! LOL
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August 27th, 2010: Smple Friday Bento

As weare going on a long holiday end of next week in the north of Japan (expect a long series of articles) I found mysel suddenly extremely busy to the point I cannot come back home for lunch or eat outside. The Missus being very busy at the orthondist she works at on Saturday I cajoled her into preparing a bento for both of us.
“Fine, but it will be a vey simple one!
This was said as opposed to the grand affairs she embarks on Mondays and Tuesdays! LOL

She had the plain rice steamed and made three triangular nigiri/rice balls in two types:
-One with shooga konbu/konbu seaweed marinated with ginger.
-The other two with umebshi/pickled Japanes plum flesh and roasted sesame seeds. She wrapped these in large shiso/perilla leaves.
She added pickled cucumber and ginger (her mother’s) for extra salt needed in these sweaty days.

For the main part, she fried chicken breast pieces with sliced goya and pimentoes with a dash black roasted sesame seeds.

And for the second part of the main dish (and also as dessert) she prepared some tamagoyaki/Jpaanese omelette that she cut square for easy placing inside the rectangular bamboo fiber box.

With instant miso made at the office, I had plenty to last the day!

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August 24th, 2010: Okra & Salmon Sushi Bento

Tuesday, Sushi Bento Day!
I can tell you that with heat stifling out all stamina out your body, it is not easy to devise or cook anything.
The grumbling Missus somehow managed to come out (of the infernal kitchen) with a refreshing idea.

First she had thought of preparing a chirashizushi/decoration sushi, but quickly switche to rice balls. Sushi rice balls. not ordinary rice balls.

After steaming the rice (with konbu seaweed) and prepared it as sushi rice, she mixed in sesame seeds and fried salmon flakes. After forming the rice balls she wrapped them in lettuce and placed them inside the box. She then “decorated the balls with raw sliced okra for great effect. A few sansho/Japanese pepper (home-pickled) also entered into the equatione for extra taste.
As for the salt quotient needed in these sweaty days she added home-pickled carrot and cucumber.

The tamagoyaki was plain but delicious. I actually like it plain most of the time.
More pickles with home-made wasabi stem pickles.

Plenty of colours and nutrients in the salad/dessert dish with beans and cheese salad decorated with Shizuoka Ameera pearl tomatoes, Japanese nashi pears an prunes.

Certainly better for the whole day!
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August 23rd, 2010: 49th Heat Day Bento

The colors of today’s bento seem to remind me of the stifling heat outside.
Apparently the average number of heat days (over 30 degrees Celsius) in Japan (not including Okinawa, I’m sure) is 42 days. Well we are already in our 49th! And the end is not within sight!

Originally the Missus had intended the rice as nigiri/rice balls but give up as the rice was a bit too soft.

She steamed plain rice with black rice/kuromai/黒米. Actually the latter is not black, but a deep violet which tends tocolor the plain rice even if added in small quantities. Not only it is of a beautiful color and very tatsty, but also very healthy as it is whole.
The small green pickles are home-pickled Shizuoka wasabi stems.

As for the meat she had a big block of siar siu/roasted-stewd pork in the fridge. She cut slices of them and accoimodated with provided sauce. The green whirls are thin slices, tagliatelle style, of Japanese cucumber. Makes for beautiful design!

Plenty of vegetables and fruit for fluids, fibers and vitamins!

The salads included carrot tagliatelle and edamame with sesame dressing, Chinese green sprouts and chopped seaweed/kobu and Ameera Rubbins sweet pearl tomatoes (grown in Iawata City).

As for the fruit, sliced nashi pear (very crucnhy and juicy!) and blueberries.

I would not mind the heat if I had something like this everyday!

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August 17th, 2010: Soboro Sushi Bento

“Soboro” is a form of decoration in Japanese gastronomy.
It is almost impossible to translate, although it means that the decoration looks like little snow balls, whatever they are made from.
They are extremely popular in home-made bento.

They certainly make for beautiful geometrical designs and colours!

The Missus first prepared fresh sushi rice. She then mixed it with a little of each soboro, finely chopped Japanese pickled cucumber and sesame seeds before fuiling the first box.
She covered the left half with egg soboro. You could compare it to a sweet scrambled egg. She made it this very morning. Colours and nutrients are provided with sliced mini tomato and buckwheat sprouts/himesoba.

The right part is covered with meat soboro she prepared the night before with minced pork and beef.

Plenty of colours as usal with the salad/dessert box!

The salad consisted of boiled yellow and pink potatoes, violet sweet potatoes, walnuts and basil leaves from our verandah, the whole lightly seasoned with rice vinegar dressing.
Some lettuce made up for the separation and more Vitamin C and fibers.

Home-pickled mini melon and myoga ginger for the salt needed in these very hot days.
More vitamins and fibers with Japanese “Nashi/梨” pear (so crunchy and juicy!) and large blueberries!

I can see that hot day off with that!
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August, 10th, 2010: Duck Confit Sushi Bento

The Missus couldn’t go shopping yeaterday and she had to make do with what was left available this morning (BG will probably comment that I’m bonding the Missus into slavery!).
But apparently there was still plenty left in fridge and the “pantry”.

She steamed plain sushi rice she mixed with edamame boiled the precious evening and added some seasme seeds for seasoning.
There was still one frozen duck confit left in the freezer.
The benefits of internet were clearly felt there. The Missus orders a lot of French ingredients dirctly from Dining Plus, a Japanese import Company based in Osaka, with a great list and very fast service.
You don’t really need to unfreeze the duck confit in a hurry. Just Put it on a teflon non-stick frypan and cover it. It will cook to a crispy state in its own fat.
Once cooked you, you tsrip the bone (“for me!”, said the Missus. BG, keep quiet!) and cut or shred the meat. Don’t forget the crispy skin, it’s beautiful!

She topped the rice with plenty of shredded duck confit (cooled down), Shizuoka-grown cress, and deep-fried (small) renkon/lotus root slices.
French pickles were added to contribute another French note to the bento. I should have called it “French Sushi Bento”!

The dessert/salad dish included mini tomatoes, pink and yellow potato salad on lettuce.
Dessert wers plums (the Japanese call them “prunes”, another Japlish word!), and sliced peach.

Another solid bento for this stamina sapping weather!
Definitely a French bento! I wonder who the “Japanese half “is! LOL

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August 9th, 2010: Pacific Saury/Sanma/秋刀魚Bento

You do not have to fill yourself with supplements to insure your sufficient intake of Vitamin D, Omega 3 and Iron.
Red-flesh fish contain far enough and more!

The Japanese take an abundant catch of Pacific Saury or Sanma/秋刀魚(Autumn Sword Fish) and these fish are full of them all!
They can be accomodated in many way although the Japanese will either broil or stew them.

As the have just come in season, although it is still Summer, the Missus buys them in batches, already dressed, and first fry them before stewing them for a short while in sauce of her own.

She steamed the rice with umeboshi flesh and chopped myoga ginger before mixing in two types of roasted sesame seeds.
She placed the fish on top with the sauce wich added plenty of taste to the rice.
She sprinkled the lot with a few home-pickled sansho/Jpanaese pepper seeds and added ome home-made (her mother’s) cucumber and ginger pickles.

The fish certainly looks appetizing, but all that brown color tends to dull the eyesight.
That is when the Missus became a bit inventive!LOL

She started with a Japanese-stylesemi-soft boiled egg sprinkled with balck roasted sesmae seeds.
She the added “chikuwa/fish paste tubes” she filled with okra and cut for artistic effect!
The greens are boiled and fried “tsurumurasaki/Indian spinach, Malabar spinach” seasoned with gomadare/sesame dresing and ground sesame seeds.

The rest of the salad consisted of boiled/fried renkon/lotus roots. carrot, and edamame with some seasoning for plenty of fibers and vitamin C.

More Vitamin C with a dessert of sweet mini tomatoes, plums and nashi/梨 pear!

Great balance!
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August 3rd, 2010: Shake Maze Sushi Bento

Tuesday: Sushi Bento Day!
Did I say it was flaming hot outside?
I am certainly going to enjoy my day in my air-conditioned office!
“Shake or Sake/鮭”, although BG will come with another snide remark, means “Salmon”. Both words might turn a bit confusing for some when you write them! LOL

Salmon can easily be bought all year round at supermarkets as “Shiozake/Salted Salmon/塩鮭” and frozen when you have any left.
The Missus is always keen on using some, although I always ask her to discard the skin and fat after sauteing it.
She steamed some rice with a big piece of konbu/seaweed before seasoning it into sushi rice. She mixed it with sauteed salmon flakes, thinly cut pickled myoga ginger and cucumber and sesame seeds (these were not cut, BG!).

She lined the bento box with fresh lettuce before filling it with the sushi rice. She topped it plenty of thinly sliced fresh shiso/perilla leaves, home-pickled sansho/Japanese pepper and a piece of lemon for extra seasoning.

The Missus came up with a Salvador Dali (or is it a Picasso?) like side dish!

She came up with the interesting idea of including a half avocado pear inside its skin as a kind of vessel with its filling, the whole to be eaten with a spoon (I’ve got one at the office!). The semi-hard egg had been boiled in onsen tamago style with its yolk still running. The egg had furthermore been marinated in soy sauce and amazu/sweet vinegar, thus providing the seasoning to the avocado (you “crush” the egg into the avocado with your spoon when eating it!). Some more lettuce for the fiber and Vitamin C, and walnut for dessert.

The salad part was completed with raw sweet pimento sticks and home-pickled cucumber. Cream cheese dressing was provided as a dip sauce for the pimentoes.

I should have called that bento, Mexican Bento!
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August 2nd, 2010: Pork & Bens Curry Bento

We are in for a long and dreary summer, what with the infernal heat or torrential rains. Take your pick.
I’ve been repeating this for a few weeks now, but I suppose I’m only emulating the Missus who is having a hard time in her hot kitchen!
Accordingly, although meals still have to stay balanced and contain enough greens for the vital vitamin, they must also pack for more energy as we tend to drink more and eat less.

The Missus foraged in the refrigerator and came up with a curry of her own (she can’t live without pasta or curry, incdentally!). I do not really want to go into details as I was busy while she was cooking.
This is one her favourites: beans of all kinds stewed with minced pork and mushrooms, the whole in a curry sauce of her own.

She used these dear old tupperware box and filled it with plain steamed rice, making a dip/valley in the middle to include more curry.
The Vitamins and fibers came boiled brocoli and sliced raw okra (very much in season. Have you ever seen their flowers?), red and yellow pimentoes ad a few sliced black olives.
Plenty, I can assure you!

Fresh peaches for dessert.

I should be able to hold until tonight!
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July 27th, 2010: Indian Sushi Bento

Most Indian people have to devise their food according to a somewhat harsh climate (at times. Of course people living at the foot of the Himalayas would say otherwise!). The Missus is a great fan of Indian cuisine and anything called “curry”!
Today, sushi bento day, she came up with a simple twist to call her sushi Indian-style!

Having prepared the sushi rice, she added a good measure of curry furikake to it. Furikake means “seasoning to be sprinkled” in Japanese. There a good many of them including the curry variety she used today.
Simple, ain’t it?

She deep-fried large prawns in breadcrumbs and included them in rolls she made with a bamboo sushi roll and cellophane paper. She then took the rolls out of their cellophane paper and rolled them inside lettuce before wrapping them again into cellophane paper to facilitate the cutting.

plenty of home-made pickles to provide me with the salt I will lose during the sweating-hot day: cucumber, fresh geinger, carrot and sansho/Japanese pepper.

Loads of fruit for dessert for the vitamin C and fibers: red grapefruit, nectarines and blueberries. The latter are supposed to be good for the eyes. If true, they will help mine which tend to get tired at the end of the day with all my PC work!
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July 26th, 2010: Neverending (Heat) Story Bento

-“I hate this place! It must be 50 degress (C) in this kitchen!”
The Missus has been badgering me for some time with moving to a new home. What with the neverending scorching heat assiling us for the past two weeks with no end in view, her argument sounds the more convincing by the day!

All that heat means a lot of sweat and loss of body salts.
The Japanese are conscious of their health to the point of addiction. You wouldn’t believe the number of TV health programs we are subjected to ( no wonder I keep away from the TV. BG, that’s one for you!)! be assured that my bento are partly devised according to them (LOL)!

To compensate this loss of body salts, The Missus mixed the freshly seamed rice with home-pickled umeboshi (in vinegar, not slat). mini melons, asabi stems and sansho/Japanese pepper (I mean all are pickled)!

Now, for the stamina and vitamins!

She first made karaage/deep-fried chicken, and then cooked them in amazu/sweet vinegar, seame seeds and cornstarch. Very tasty!

Some fresh lettuces, fried goya and red pimentoes seasoned with gomadare and tamagoyaki.
Mow, these tamagoyaki were a bit different with the white in the middle and the yolk outside. I don’t have a clue as to how she made them but they were delicious!

The heat has finally a good side to it!
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July 20th, 2010: Maze Sushi Bento

There was no bento to write about yesterday as it was a National Holiday!
Instead we spent most of the day lazying about at home as it was simply too hot outside and visited a new (for the Missus!) sushi resstaurant in the evening!
The scales were ceratinly a pleasure to look at this morning!
Therefore back to healthy food and habits!

The Missus prepare “Maze Sushi/混ぜ鮨, or “mixed sushi” in English.
-“What did you put in it?” I asked most politely.
-“At least 10 ingredients! Why don’t you try and discover them?”
Alright, alright…
Avocado, ham, cheese, black olive, tomato, sansho/Japanese pepper (pickled), …. that does make 10! I’m in for a beating tonight.

The “salad” was certainly colouful once again (and tasty, an healthy!)!
Cut Renaissance tomatoes grown in Kakegawa City (I buy them regularly at Kakegawa Station on my way back from university), cornichons, lettuce, carrot tagliatelle saled with walnuts, and semi-boiled egg topped with black olive. East meets West!

Alright, I loved it!

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July 13th, 2010: Te-mari Sushi Bento

Tuesday’s Bentoes have become a regular feature as Sushi Bento!
Today’s bento consists of Te-mari Sushi/手まり寿司 or Hand-shaped ball sushi (not easy to translate, so read the explanation!).

The Missus could not decide which picture to choose, so it is my pleasure to show another angle!
Te-mari sushi are naturallly made with sushi rice.
The process is quite simple:
1) Make small rice balls (they can be as small/big as you wish!) either between the palms of your hands or by wrapping some rice inside cellophane paper and twisting the cellophane paper tightly around the rice to form a ball. Unwrap the balls and put them aside.
2) For each te-mari choose the”neta/topping”.
Lay a large enough piece of cellophane paper in your palm. Place the topping upside down (important as all is inverted), place the rice ball on top, close the cellophane paper around the te-mari and twist it closed tightly enough for easy unwrapping and placing inside the bento box.

The Missus prepared three types of Te-mari:
1) Smoked salmon te-mari topped with lemon and capers.
2) Raw ham topped with cress.
3) Cucumber (she sliced it thinly and took the excess humidity first with kitchen paper) topped umenoshi/Japanese pickled plum flesh and black sesame seeds.
She added home-made pickled aubergines/egg-plants and edamame.

As for the salad-dessert “dish”, the Missus included three-coloured potato salad (yellow, pink and violet) topped with black olive, sliced tomato over a bed of cress, cherries and bluberries for dessert.

Certianly made for a big and tasty bento!
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July 12th, 2010: Unending Rainy Season Bento

We are having a “small problem” with the rainy season this year and it seems we are not the exception, either!
We have been submitted to an unceasing series of unpredictable extremes from scalding heat to rain curtain storms with no end in sight.
No wonder people don’t feel like stepping outside, except when shopping, when it is a battle to wrench the best produce out of the display shelves in supermarkets!
Oh well… keep smiling and don’t drink too much!

This is also a time of the year when particular attention is needed to healthy, sustaining and gentle (on the body) ingredients.
The Missus (who will eat the same for lunch) steamed plain rice before mixing it with home-made umeboshi/pickled Japanese plums. These umeboshi were not pickled in salt but in vinegar. Definitely healthier! They are soft enough for the flesh to be torn away from the pit and mixed with the rice, turning the latter into sushi rice. She also added plenty of roasted sesame seeds for extra seasoning and nutrients.
Boiled green asparagus with a dash of dressing provided for the finishing touch.

The “main dish” included two types of food:

“Niwatori Dango/Chicken balls”. The Missus pressed shimeji mushrooms and plenty of sesame seeds (two colours) on top before frying them in sesame oil. Very soft and tasty balls! The vegetables are fried shishito peppers and fresh lettuce for more vitamins and fibers.

My favourite: plain tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette!

Interesting colourful dessert: home-made sweet mini-tomatoes compote and fresh blueberries!
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July 6th, 2010: Korean Sushi Roll Bento

In these days of incessant weather change, one has to make sure of his/her sustainance. In winter, when they are in need of calories, the Japanese often visit the innumerable Korean restaurants in their cities.
I believe that the Korean are tempted with lighter fare such as sushi in summer (I’m only assuming!)!

That is why the Missus came up the idea last night to create a Korean sushi bento of her own for today, Tuesday sushi bento day!

That orange colour is definitively that of kimchi!
After steaming the rice and arranged it as sushi rice, the Missus mixed it with “golden” roasted sesame seeds.
Before spreading the rice on the seaweed, she brushed the inside of the nori/dry seaweed with sesame oil.
She then lined the sushi rice with 3 types of pimentoes she had cut into thin strips before frying them in sesame oil/namuru style.
On top of the vegetables she spread thin slices of pork she had fried Korean-style with spicy sauce and black roasted sesame seeds.

For a closer view of the sushi roll cross section!

The Koreans eat a lot of vegetables with their meat, so the Missus did likewise with a salad duo of freshly cut large plum tomatoes and a combo of cucumber, myoga ginger, shiso/perilla leaves, konbu/seaweed, daikon and sesame seeds.

Cherries from Yamagata Prefecture for dessert!
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July 5th, 2010: Heat Wave Bento

We are going through a very trying period of the year as far as the weather in Shizuoka is concerned. It is either torrential rains or infernal heat. A small earthquake last night added to the general grumpiness.
That is when you need good sustenance!

Colours are as important as nutrients, aren’t they?
The Missus steamed plain rice with shredded carrots and served it sprinkled with black roasted sesame seeds and topped with home-cooked-pickled edamame and cucumber pickled with ginger from her home.

Considering all the beer I guzzled after cycling out yesterday in unprotected heat, the Missus kept the calories to a minimum.

“You always make mistakes when you describe my bentoes, so listen carefully to my explanations!” grumbled the Missus as she gracefully shot the pics. Interestingly enough, I was not supposed to learn her little secrets until now…

She wrapped black tiger prawns in thin pork slices dipped in miso, then wrapped them again with shiso/perilla leaves before rolling them in breadcrumbs and deep-frying them. She placed them in the box with lettuce to wrap around the prawns and lemon for extra seasoning.

She prepared an Oknawan-style “chanpuru” by sauteeing together thinly sliced goya and red pimentoes with eggs. The red mini-tomato provided extra vitamins on top of those found in the chanpuru.

Japanese cherries for dessert!
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June 29th, 2010: Sushi Millefeuille Bento

I finally managed to have the Missus take all photos of her bentos according to my preferences and hope that BG will stop commenting on my general clumsiness and ignorance!LOL
It takes time even for dragons like me to tame btter-worse halves calling themselves rabbits (BG, spare me from the next question!)

As Tuesday is “Sushi bento day”, the Missus came up with the concept of sushi millefeuille, that is a multi-layer sushi.
She lined a terrine with cellophane paper before placing the ingredients in the following order (inverted!): sliced avocado dipped in lemon juice, sushi rice, cucumber strips, smoked salmon and rice again!

The same unwrapped.
Now, if you do not wish to press the sushi too hard like the Missus, keep it wrapped in the cellophane paper when you cut it to avoid unpleasant (crumbling away) surprises.

And you might have to wrap them again before cutting them a second time across!

Then she wrapped each sushi in lettuce for better handling and easier insertion into the bento box. That particular box is very practical for big bento rice balls or sushi!

For a closer cross section view of the sushi!

Mini tomatoes and the Missus’ mother’s home-made cucumber pickles for the finishing touch!

The Salad dish consisted of mixed boiled beans, hijiki/sweet seaweed, fresh celery, red trevise and lettuce.
No dessert? Oh well, the tomatoes are very sweet!
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June 28th, 2010: Irish Bento?

The Missus Pic!

My pic….

Shizuoka Prefecture produces more than 45% of all green tea in Japan, and you are bound to find some interesting derivated products here.
Last wek I brought a small bag of rice which had been polished and coated with matcha! No need to wash it, just steam it right away!

Accordingly the Missus prepared some “Irish” (you know, the colour green! BG, I can hear you!) musubi/rice balls!

The daikon slices pickled in amazu/sweet rice vinegar made for a beautiful contrast in colours! The Missus is becoming artistic!

The “main dish” was both very seasonal and local as most ingredients were bought at the next door supermarket.

Fried red onion and eringi mushrooms with tuna steak (of the cheaper kind, but perfect for cooking!) fried with wasabi sauce and home-pickled wasabi stems for extra zip.

Boiled/stir-fried string beans and mini carrots are local. The Missus sprinkled them with roasted sesame seeds, a must ingredient.

And American dark cherries for dessert!

I will have to keep this bento out of the reach of the local pixies, brownies, elves, leprechauns and banshees (they have other names in Japanese, but the generic term is 0-bake!) until lunch time!
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June 22nd, 2010: Keep On Rollin’ Bento

Picture by the Missus!

When I took a sneaky peak in the kitchen this morning, I couldn’t help commenting to the Missus:
-Keep them rollin’!
-Do you mind?
-Sorry, sorry, Rabbit!
I made myself scarce and took my shower (the safest palce away from the real Dragon!).

My pic… Oh well… (ever heard of Fleetwood Mac?)…

She kept things very simple, healthy and light as you can see. Which suited me fine, as I ate a lot yesterday!

I’m trying hard not to make mistakes when describing the Missus’ bentoes as she will check later, and I can assure I’ll be in for some flak for the tiniest error! LOL
Anyway, she made two types of rolls.

One included home-pickled cuumber strips and surumi (the latter bought at the supermarket).

The other one contained processed cheese and o-kaka.
O-kaka is a mixture of dry bonito shavings, sugar, miso, soy sauce and ground sesame seeds you can easily buy.

The pickles included myoga ginger (home-made), Fresh ginger root (home-made) and yellow takuan/pickled daikon (bought).

As for the salad I was offered sweet tomato (“sweet enough for your dessert) and a soft-boiled egg on a bed of fresh coriander!

Very healthy again!
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June 21st, 2010:

Picture taken by the Missus!

I don’t have any special title for this bento although it does include some unusual pink potatoes (not sweet potatoes, normal potatoes!)
The Missus having grown proud of her own photography has started sending me her pic of the day’s bento as a matter of course!

My picture,… oh. well…

The “staple” dish was simple in concept but made for some good colours.

Just freshly steamed plain rice with a dash of green tea furikake and broken walnuts.

Meat balls first fried with a coating of cornstarch and finished with curry sauce. Some lettuce anf French cornichons/pickled cucumbers.

Good colours again for the salad and dessert box!

Salad of carrot tagliatelle, black olives, mini tomatoes and fresh coriander.
The large string beans are called “Morokko Ingen”, which probably mean they were first imprted from Morocco (I’m sure about that at all!). They were boiled before being seasoned with goma dare/sesame dressing.

The boiled pink potatoes actually sport red skin, and the flesh is white under the skin, but pink for the largest part of it. Taste like real potatoes!

Dark US cherries for dessert!
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June 19th: Avocado Sushi Roll Bento

The weather is perfect for sushi!
It has been raining non-stop, at times at typhoon level, for the last 24 hours and more rain is on the cards for the next two weeks!

The Missus seems to have got the mesage as yesterday’s university train bento consisted of large sushi roll (report prohibited! LOL). On top of that, I was invited to a sushi restaurant last night (report coming soon). And to finish it, I had musubi/rice balls for breakfast and now avocado rolls!

The rolls were hastily inserted inside that old box of mine made of bamboo fibers lined with a large dry bamboo leaf.

The Missus steamed some fresh sushi rice this morning although instead of adding the usual rice vinegar to the rice, she seasoned it with with a little soy sauce before rolling it around avocado.

Home-made marinated salad for the fibers and some Chilean grapes for dessert.
Simple, tasty and satisfying!
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June 15th, 2010: Broiled Conger Eel Bento

Picture taken by the Missus!

The Missus has been less than happy with my mobile phone pics recently and she decided to send me the above pic for publication. After all, she said, I make the bento, so I have the right to choose the proper picture!LOL

That is my picture and I must admit it does look as good! LOL again!
As for the title, she had prepared a chirashizushi/散らし寿司/”decoration sushi” with broiled conger eels (not the unagi/鰻/common eel, but the anago/穴子/conger eel).

She lay the freshly steamed sushi rice into two different layers:

the first one topped with lightly pickled cucumber slices and broiled conger eel, and the second one again added with some home-pickled sansho/山椒/Japanese pepper for extra zip and some roasted sesame seeds.

And two more kinds of pickles (daikon) for extra colours and taste.

Now for the side dish: plenty of colours and variety once again.

Boiled violet sweet potatoes, cheese and walnuts salad flanked with lettuce and lightly vinegar-pickled vegetables: cucumber, carrot, pimentoes, celery and mini tomato.

And tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette containing shiso/perilla leaves.
Would you believe that the Missus had first forgotten to include it? LOL

Grapes from Chile and yellow kiwi fruit from Japan for dessert!
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June 14th, 2010: Pink & Violet Potatoes Bento

The Missus’ family grows all kinds of vegetables both for the fun and the need of them.
They happen to live in an area of Shizuoka City renown for its farming products.
We were given some very interesting potatoes (please note, not sweet potatoes) of red (outside) and pink (inside, and black (outsid) and violet (inside) colours.
They certainly make for some great presentations and taste exactly the same!

The Missus seems never to be satisfied with the presentation of her bentoes and insists on a variety of colours, which I must say, I totally agree with!

The rice was steamed with a mixture of sanasi/山菜/mountain vegetables we had bought in Kawane, in the central nothern part of Shizuoka Prefecture.
Once the rice was steamed, she mixed the lot and place some inside the cedar wood bento box with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

The pickles part was provided with yellow takuan/沢庵/pickled daikon and mome-pickled myoga ginger.

How many colours in this main dish? (I can already hear Bazooka Gourmet commenting!LOL)

Boiled pink and violet potatoes seasoned with a light vinaigrette, and boiled string beans seasoned with gomatare/sesame dressing.

The Missus took all fat and skin off the chicken for once before steam-frying (first steamed in sauce and then fried) it with carroit.
Her specialty, the soft boiled egg she later lightly fried with the chicken to add taste.

Chilean grapes for dessert.

Colourful, healthy, nutritious and artistic? LOL
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June 08th, 2010

I did have to pedal fast to work this morning as I had decided to go to work by bicycle in spite of the threatening weather. After a hot and dry week-end, the weather has turned to the typically unpredictable rainy season, meaning cold and grotty days alternating with blasting hot clear skies.
At least my bento had enough colours to brighten the day!

Tuesday has become sushi bento day.
Today’s style was “chirashizushi/散らし寿司/loosely translated as “decoration sushi”. Actually it is impossible to translate as it sushi rice topped with all kinds of ingredients!

The Missus mixed the sushi rice with finely chopped home-pickled myoga ginger and sesame seeds, before topping it with finely shredded shiso/perilla leaves and a few sansho/山椒/Japanese pepper that she had pickled two days ago.

The main dish was very colourful and nutritious in concept once again.

The Missus fried some chicken breast after having dipped the pieces in a concoction of hers (she wouldn’t tell me, although I do have an inkling) and coated them with sesame seeds.
The green are wasabi na/a letuce named so for its taste reminiscent of wasabi. The sweet plum tomatoes provide the vitamin C!

As for the salad, the Missus’ specialty: yam (yamaimo) and pimentoes, fresh ginger all sliced and complemented with konbu seaweed.

No dessert, but the Missus said that the sweet tomatoes sufficiently made for it!
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June 07th, 2010

The weather has suddenly turned very hot and dry, making the absorption of liquids vital. However it seems that I Have taken it a bit too litterally recently as a hangover seemed to have chased me around for the past 4 days! LOL

The whole bento was classic and striving for balance and fewer calories as the Missus put it.
Three musubi/rice balls, two containing shredded umeboshi/Japanese pickled plum and wrapped in egomama/large perilla leaves, and one containing boiled edamame.

The Missus added home-pickled myoga ginger for extra taste and healthy nutrients.

Now, what’s inside those rolls?

The rolls came in two types: both were made of thin pork slices wrapped around yam/yamaimo and home-pickled fresh ginger root (the ginger roots are freshly taken out of the earth, as opposite to the somewhat dried samples found all over the world).
The greens are wasabi-na, a kind of lettuce with a taste reminiscent to wasabi without the ping, ameera rubbins mini very sweet tomatoes from Shizuoka.

The tamagoyaki/Japanese Omelette was plain and the supplementary salad consisted of fresh okra seasoned with katsuobushi/dry bonito shavings.

Shizuoka-grown Benihoppe/Red Cheeks strawberries for dessert!

Plenty of vitamins and nutrients! And ver tasty at that! LOL
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May 25th, 2010: Vegan Sushi Rolls Bento

As from last week, The Missus has been experimenting with sushi for my “Tuesday Bento”.
If you take the boiled egg away it is a truly vegan/vegetarian bento!
Notice that the rolls are packed in the bamboo fiber bento box lined with dry bamboo leaf!

She made three sushi rolls/sushi maki/寿司巻, two of them thin sushi rolls/hoso sushi maki/細寿司巻 and one thick sushi roll/futo sushi maki/太寿司巻.
The home-made pickles are myoga ginger on top of wasabi stems.

The thick sushi rolls/futo sushi maki/太寿司巻 contained sweet umeboshi flesh, perilla/shiso leaves and natto.

The thin sushi rolls/hoso sushi maki/細寿司巻 were of two kinds:
-Kappa maki/cucumber sushi rolls/かっぱ巻
-Kampyo maki/かんぴょう巻dried gourd shavings cooked again in sugar and mirin. They were combined with home-made pickled wasabi stems.

The salad/dessert box contained the Missus’ classics: Salad celery sprouts, carrot tagliatelle with black olives and walnuts, a semi-boiled egg later marinated, and Benihoppe/red cheeks strawberries from Shizuoka!

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May 24th: Rainy Season Early Start Bento

Yesterday and today have been witnessing torrential rains, the more unseasonal that the rainy season has not been “officially announced” by the government autorities!
I wonder when they will accept the facts….

A very traditional bento today with enough colours to compensate with the somber day!
Over plain freshly steamed rice the Missus lay two types of “soboro”: one made with minced chicken, the other with eggs.

The green note was added with edamame, while roasted/black sesame seeds accentuated the brown colour of the chicken.

The salad/dessert dish consisted (from right to left): Shizuoka-grown “Ameera” sweet tomatoes, a salad made of pieces of yam and cucumber, carrot tagliatelle, mixed boiled beans and hijiki/sweet seaweed.
For dessert, Shizuoka orange and imported dark cherries!

Very healthy!
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May 21st, 2010: University Train Bento

On Friday I have to the train to University where I’m a visiting French lecturer. Usually the Missus prepare simple sandwiches.
But yesterday she suddenly realized she had run out of “fillings”, so she opted for the traditional musubi/rice balls quick bento!

Very traditional as the musubi were wrapped in dry bamboo leaves!

Home-made pickled myoga ginger and a musubi coated with red cucumber pickle and wrapped in a shiso/perilla leaf.

It contained a sweet honey-pickled Japanese plum.

The other two musubi were made of the same plain rice mixed with katsuo/bonito flakes,

and cheese!

Quick, efficient, healthy, filling and tasty!
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March 18th, 2010: California Rolls Bento

The Missus has decided that she will try her hand at rolls, especially “California Rolls” on Tuesdays for a while. I suspect that she is thinking mostly of herself as I know very well that she loves them! I’m not one to complain, mind you!

The packaging was very traditional. The box is one of the old two we keep all the time made of bamboo leaf fibers.
Now, as rolls are not easy to extract from the box, she inserted s dried bamboo leaf inside the box to allow me to “lift the rolls out” of the box.
The Japanese have kept/transported rice balls wrapped in fresh or dried bamboo leaves for thousands of years.

She furthermore placed the roll slices on lettuce for easier handling.
The California Rolls contained nori/dry seaweed, fresh lettuce, smoked salmon, boiled green asparaguses and a mixture of boiled egg and avocado chopped fine and liaised with mayonnaise.

The roll was finally sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds.

The “side-salad dish” was placed inside the cedar wood box!

More boiled green asparaguses from the Missus’ family garden, pickled ginger roots, home-pickled wasabi stems, yellow mini tomatoes and red Renaissance tomatoes.

Sato imo/taro bought ready at the supermarket and green peas (from the family garden).
Plenty of colours again!

For dessert and plenty of Vitamin C (do not take the leafy part out!), “kanamihime” strawberries from Shizuoka Prefecture.

Just wondering what kind of rolls I will get next week!
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May 17th, 2010: Picnic Bento

Today’s bento is called a “Picnic Bento” because of many factors:
I made myself free for lunch and afternoon.
The Missus couldn’t stay home on her day off because of noisy works around and in our appartment bulding.
Lastly it was a gorgeous day, so we decided to go away and enjoy our lunch in the nature!

Now, keep in mind this is a (large) bento for two adults!

The musubi/rice balls are “maze-gohan/mixed rice” styly. The Missus steamed the rice topped with sauteed mushrooms and hijiki/sweet seaweed with their juices. She then mixed the lot and added some roasted sesame seeds.

She made plenty of plain tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette and included home-pickled wasabi stems and myoga ginger.

A very colourful “garnish and salad” box to go with staple rice.

The Missus’ specialty: juicy and so tender chicken karaage/deep-fried chicken with Meyer lemon fopr extra seasoning.

As for the salad, she included sticks (with tartare sauce sachets) of Shizuoka celery, carrots and cucumber. The pointed tomatoes are Renaissance tomatoes grown in Kakegawa City, halfway between Shizuoka and Hamamatsu cities.

Note: The bento boxes are disposable/degradable pastic boxes.
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May 11th, 2010

Have you ever heard the expression, a “grotty day”?
That is when you wake up in the morning looking at an overcast sky and hear the first drops of the rain that wil come and go at the wrong moments all day!
Well, being a hedonist, I can see only one way to ignore such outside influences: eat, and eat well!
If you know a good lunch is awaiting you, you can take things along in your stride however unpleasant they are!LOL

For once, I will change the description order of my bento of the day, and will start with the sala and garnish paert.

From right to left:
Small daikon marinated/pickled in sweet rice vinegar and umeboshi/pickled Japanese plum.
Freshly boiled green peas.
Violet sweet potato/beni satsuma imo salad.

The Missus boiled the egg last night long enough to obtain solid white and still soft yolks. She then marinated it all night in soy sauce and other ingredients. The same eggs can served in all kind of fashions and garnishes any time of the day.

Now, for the main dish:
The Missus filled the box with freshly steamed rice that she covered with finely shredded vegetables.

She fried pork fillet slices in “tonkatsu” style, before brushing them with plenty of miso bbq sauce. The same sauce has the merit to seaon the vegetables and rice under the pork. She then cut them across for better size and sprinkled roasted sesame seeds over them.

For dessert, Shizuoka oranges and mini tomatoes compote!

Tomorrow’s forecast is fine!
———————
May 10th, 2010

The present Bento boom is not happening only outside Japan, but very much in this country, too, as witnessed on the NHK News this morning who ran a report on young professional (and eliglble) men not only making their own bentoes, but also devising, creating and marketing their own boxes!

The main difference with the traditional bento boxes is that they are definitely hip and hi-tec!
In the coming days, I will run a series of postings on bento and bento boxes to provide as much as information as possible for my blogging friends!

Now, to come to today’s bento, I had forgotten most of the (cleaned!) boxes I had been given last Saturday and the Missus had to do with a motley assortment of boxes!

The “main dish” was placed in my old bamboo leaves woven box.

The Missus came back to her classics: boiled violet sweet potatoes/beni satsuma imo, and deep-fried chicken/karaage niwatoriniku, with a piece of lemon for extra seasoning and some lettuce for colour and vitamin C.

As for the rice, two types of “musubi/large rice balls” made with frshly steamed rice: one containg cheese and seasoned with soy sauce, the other wrapped in nori/dry seaweed and topped with (and also containing) pickled Japanese plum/umeboshi.

The salad/dessert side dish as usual was very colourful, although the Missus grumbled that the whole bento was a failure! (I can tell I don’t mind about herfailures!LOL).

A mixed salad of various boiled beans and hijiki sweet seaweed, pickled carrot parpadelle, walnuts and lettuce. A home-made pickled myoga ginger sprouts made for extra seasoning and colour.

The “tubes” are “chikuwa/fish paste tubes that I filled myself with cucumber sticks. Some home-made pickled wasabi stems and the first cherries of the year for dessert!
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May 8th, 2010

I’m not supposed to get a bento on Saturdays, but the Missus and I being very busy from early morning, my other half decided to make one for both of us. It is simpler in concept than the bentoes she usually makes on Mondays and Tuesadays (none for this week as this was Golden Week Holiday), hence today’s title.

I took this pic to compare the sizes of our respective bentoes. The Missus’ is smaller (front one) and I had some extra dessert!

Today’s bento was not only smaller, but also lighter and definitely in healthy and nutritious-conscious style:
Over some plain steamed rice, she placed lightly pickled carrot parpadelle salad, Home-made pickled wasabi stems, plum tomatoes and freshly boiled peas from her family’s garden.

Then sliced soft boiled egg, katsuo/bonito flakes (not the shavings, but thin flkes like the ones for tuna. You can buy them anywhere in Japan. Very practical and tasty!) and home-made pickle myoga ginger.

As for dessert I had orange wedges and strawberries from Shizuoka!

Simple, colourful and healthy!
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April 27th, 2010: Johoku Park Bento

Today’s bento has been named “Johoku Park Bento” because the Missus who had a day off yesterday called me during the afternoon to join her for a walk in Johoku Park during a break at work. I actually had to bicycle there first. LOL.

But it was defunitely worth the trip.
Johoku Park is located by the new Shizuoka Municipal Library and it is the ideal place to stay away from the bustle of city, but still within manageable distance. On the other it gest crowded on Holidays.

One can freely choose his/her right spot for a deserved rest and meal.
If it rains, no worry as there is great cafe called Tables Spoon nearby (I’m planning a post on it)!

The Missus did work a lot preparing today’s bento.

She had concocted the meat balls with minced beef and pork and bits of lotus ro0ts the night before before frying them this morning. The lotus root provided for a welcome crunchy bite. Tomatoes are sweet and grown in Shizuoka. As for the peas in their pods, they come from her family’s garden.

She added chopped red pimento and string beans (boiled) and cheese to the tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette (very soft and yummy). Lettuce and Kyoto-style red pickled cucumbers provided the colours and fibers.

The “mame gohan”/rice and green peas has an interesting story.

She first boiled the green peas inside their pods.
She discarded the pods but used the water she boiled them in to steam the rice, giving it plenty of nutrients and a beautiful colour.
She mixed the boiled peas with the rice only once the rice was steamed. If you steamed together the peas will become mushy.

For dessert fresh orange from her family’s garden and canned Chinese lychees!

Next time, if the weather is fine (it was a horror today…), I plan to take my bento to the park!
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April 26th, 2010

The title “Canned Bento” is only a joke. It just pointed out to the good use of canned food in a bento!

Now, what is the fish laying on the rice?

This is where the title, “Canned Bento”, comes into play!
The Japanese are very good at canning food, especially fish (Shizuoka is a major canning area). They do it more or less along traditional European process (did you know that the French were the first to successfully can food?), although their tins are definitely smaller and seasoning is far more varied.

The Missus used a small Japanese (it is also very popular in South Korea) can of “sanma/秋刀魚/Pacific saury:

Sanma/Pacific saury is a very fat red-meat fish and its marinade makes for a delicous seasoning on the freshly steamed rice.

Roasted sesame seeds ‘”yellow and black”) were added for futher seasoning.

Lightly fried lotus root slices, home-made pickles myoga ginger and wasabi plants made fro the rest of the “staple” dish.

The “salad dish” as usual was every colourful!

Shizuoka winter orange for dessert with trevise lettuce, sliced/chopped red radishes, celery (Shizuoka-grown) and plum tomatoes (Shizuoka-grown).

Boiled string beans (they were first introduced in Japan by the French over 100 years ago) and boiled shrimp salad!

Just wondering what I’m going to call tomorrow’s bento. LOL.
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April 20th, 2010

The season for sakura ebi/桜海老, or Cherry Shrimps has finally started!

Sakura Ebi are exclusively caught caught in Suruga Bay off Shizuoka Prefecture and can be obtained absolutley fresh here!
The Missus was so proud of herself when she brought some back home last night: the first of the year!
Although we ate them raw, she kept some for my bento today!

She first steamed plain rice and covere it with the cherry shrimps only after the rice had been cooked. The residual heat was enough to cook them.

She then mixed them with the rice before filling the first box. She sprinkled the lot with roasted sesame seeds and added some home-made pickled wasabi stems, leaves and flowers.

The garnish once again was very colourful and provided for great balance.

Beans and broad beans salad, semi-boiled marinated egg with black sesame seeds, and fresh okra with katsuobushi/dry bonito shavings.

Sorry for the fuzzy pic!
Plenty of lettuce, white asparaguses and bacon roll (fried) and sliced plum tomatoes. Plenty of fibers and vitamins!

Shizuoka Oranges and Chilean grapes for dessert.

The season for cherry shrimps will last for only two months and again in the Fall!

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April 19th, 2010

The weather has been really cracking recently to the point one just does not know what to put on in the morning before going out!
Yesterday’s cricket game started in dry heat to finish in wet cold. The sun is out again today with a vengeance but the next three days promise rain.
With what is happening in Iceland and Europe these days, I wonder what of kind year we shall have!

Anyway, we are on Monday and my bento was ready, weather or not! LOL
And it was served in those beautiful cedar tree boxes!

The Missus steamed the rice with a (pre-packed/pre-cooked) mixture of beans and hijiki/sweet seaweed that she stir-mixed later after it was cooked. It also added a slightly sweet taste to the rice. She sprinkled the rice with plenty of roasted sesame seeds.

She also added a large home-pickled (sweet rice vinegar) myoga ginger sprout (it is alctually the flower) and “chikuwa”/fried fish paste tubes stuufed with hard young cucumber.

She included plenty of colours in the garnish dish, although she said she could have added more. It was just alright by me!

She had boiled some broad beans/sora mame and made a salad of them with quickly fried prawns. The tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette was of the plainn kind as other ingredients were pretty strong in taste.

She rolled pieces of chicken which had been long marinated in nori/dry seaweed sheet before shallow-frying them. She added lettuce and Italian parsley for the vitamins and very sweet Ameera Rubbins mini tomatoes (from Shizuoka Prefecture) for dessert.

Well, I don’ mind about the weather as long as I get this kind of bento! LOL
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April 13th, 2010

I called this bento, “Two-Box Bento” simply because the Missus has combined that faithful bamboo leaves/fibers box with half of the new cedar wood lunch box!

The weather has made a complete turnaround from yesterday’s deluge to a balmy day with plenty of sunshine and heat. I will have to find many reasons to get out the office today!

Today’s bento was another hearty one. I love bentoes, but if I had one everyday I would be afraid to step on the scales every morning!

The “main dish” featured tuna fried with tomato sauce, boiled peas in their pods (they are caleed “snap endou” in Japanese), home-pickled myoga ginger (in sweet vinegar), mini tomatoes and home-pickled wasabi stems and leaves.

Rice consisted of three musubi/rice balls containing umeboshi/Jpanese pickle plum. One ball was was seasoned with yuzu kosho furikake/lime pepper seasoning powder and “white” roasted sesame seeds, and the other with Yukari (red shiso powder seasoning) all were wrapped in green shiso leaves and lettuce.

The salad dish consisted of the Missus’ specialties, home-pickled carrot tagliatelle with black olives parsley, spicy fried yam/nagai imo and sweet pimentoes with hujiki/sweet seaweed, and her mother beans, vegetables and konbu seaweed “ni”/simmered food.

The dessert was a mixture of fresh Shizuoka orange, Chilean grapes and Chinese lychee.

Plenty for a long day!
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After a very hot Sunday (I mean in April) when we got sunburnt playing (and winning!) cricket, this morning’s cold rain called for another hearty traditional Japanese bento!
The Missus being on holiday today cooked for the two of us, which is always a plus! LOL

The pictures I took this morning were too fuzzy because of the prevalent darkness and I had to take new pictures at the office!
The Missus used that beautiful Aomori Prefecture cedar wood box again!

The rice had been left to soak overnight with water to which she had added musshrooms cooked beforehand and their juices (konbu seaweed was also included).
Having steamed it, she mixed the whole (the mushrooms were left on top of the rice while being steamed) and added boiled broad beans for colour, texture and fibers!

The “side dish” was quite elaborate and the Missus had some difficulties fitting everything in!

She shallow deep-fried two types of chicken sasami/chicken “tenderloins”, one with “white” sesame seeds, the other with black ones. She also fitted in some (boiled) green asparaguses and lettuce.

Tamagoyaki! Plain one, this ime!

Extra vegetables included fried red sweet pimentoes and violet sweet potatoes/beni imo!

For dessert she gave me sliced green kiwi fruit and a new type of lemon/orange recently grown in our prefecture.

It is a very small type of orange or lemon (I will have to check the name) remiscent of a Meyer lemon, but deep yellw. The skin is quite thin and very fragrant (the latter wil go into the bath!) and the flesh very sweet and juicy!

It was certainly gratifying and bigger than it looked!
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April 6th, 2010: “Dry Curry” Bento

Today’s bento had to be served into the more practical round tupperware boxes. By “practical” I mean easier to clean as today’s lunch box contained curry and tumeric-coloured rice which would very probably stain the cedar wood boxes. Since the wood is somewhat fragile, one cannot wash it too harshly, hence the plastic boxes!

“Dry Curry” is a Japanese expression. There is nothing dry about the curry! It just means that the curry does come in the usual “soup” or “sauce” fashion. The present curry is more of a keema style with minced porkand beef slowly simmered in all kinds of spices, masala and curry paste until most of the water has evaporated. The Missus cooked it with beans and chick peas for more “bite”.

It is very much reminiscent of the “curry savoury” I saw served so many times in English hotels I worked in during my university years. The difference is that the rice is steamed with tumeric.
The English would slice the boiled egg whereas the Missus prefers (I do, too) to cut/chop it finely and place it in a “valley” made in the middle of the rice. She added the finishing touch with sliced black olives and chopped leaves.

A big salad was added for the Vitamins and fibers: boiled brocoli, hand-torn lettuces, sliced plum tomato, broken walnut and cheese.

And for dessert, ornage from Shizuoka and garapes from Chile!

A very hearty bento I ate with a spoon and fork this time!
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April, 5th, 2010: Rainy Day Bento

After a great Sunday spent playing cricket (and losing a final, tears….), it was a bit of a “cold shower” this morning when we woke up with the rain battering the windows. Well, it’s Spring after all, and we need all that water for the great vegetables grown in this particular region of Japan!

This time the Missus chose the sturdier (and cheaper) cedar wood bento box and tried to include some colours to cheer me up!

She made a bed of plain steamed rice in the larger box and topped it with thin slices of chicken fired in teriyaki style sauce seasoned with roasted sesame nuts. In the middle she placed marinated soft-boiled eggs of her own fashion and her other specialty: yam/yama imo, hijiki/sweet seaweed, and lightly fried pimento Japanese salad. That for the stamina and vitamins!

For a better view of the eggs and and salad. The pic is a bit fuzzy as it was really dark this morning.

The chicken and the eggs, which prompted the Missus in calling this bento an “oyakodon”, Parent/chicken and Child/egg bento!

And then a dish of salad and dessert for more vitamins and fibers!

Fried shimeji mushrooms, boiled rapeseed/Na no Hana salad with sesame dressing and seeds, home-pickled sweet myoga ginger and boiled Okinawan baby corn!

Shizuoka Plum tomatoes and Chilean grapes for dessert!

The weather forecast is good for tomorrow. Whta’s in store for me then?

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March, 30th, 2010/Hail, Cherry Blossoms & Imo Bento

Now, you may ask why I gave this “subtitle” to Today’s bento!
“Hail” for bento? Unless it is an ice-cream bento…

Actually we had a good 10 minutes of hail in Shizuoka City yesterday afternoon, and this only in our city! On the other hand some people were blocked for the night in the vicinity of Mount Fuji.
If I recall properly, itis only the third time I witness such an event in 34 years of lif in this town. No wonder the TV crews were out in force downtown!

Now cherry blossoms are easier to understand.
Japan, like many other countries in the Northern Hemisphere has gone through a very unseasonably cold winter. At long last cherry blossoms are litterally exploding into full bloom around us.
The above picture was taken along the moat of Sumpu Castle.
On the other hand I don’t know if these flowers will last until the Shizuoka Festival starting on the 1st of April as the next two days will see more rain…

For today’s bento the Missus used the other cedar wood box she bought from Akita Prefecture. Contrary to yesterday, this box is made of sturdy lacquered cedar wood. The two tiers can be used a single box with the second tier becomeing the lid. A “belt” is also provided for securing it.
It is also cheaper, but still expensive at a little less than 50 US$, but it is very resilient.

First the rice or staple “dish”.

The Missus steamed plain rice with a piece of konbu/seaweed.
Having filled the box with it, she sprinkled the middle first with “katsuo soboro/鰹そぼろ/”, that is coked bonito “powder” (not dry) and then with Japanese-style (chopped) cucumber pickle for a colourful contrast.

She added two types of pickles: home-made sweet (sweet vinegar) carrot pickles and pickled daikon slices I got from a friend who travelled to Niigata Prefecture on the other side of Japan. The latter is very crunchy and tasty.

And then for the garnish “dish”.

The meat is Japanese-style char siu/kakuni pork she cooked in a jiffy in a pressure cooker, and the egg is another specialty of hers, half-boiled and sprinkled with roasted/black sesame seeds.

The opposite extremity was filled with boiled peas in their pods and home-made sweet pickled myoga ginger.

The middle is occupied with what justifies the third element of the title: imo.
She simmered yellow and violet satsuma imo/sweet potatoes together with a dash of honey (she wouldn’t tell me more…).
Cetainly makes for great colours and taste.
Sorry for the slightly fuzzy pictures (the Missus is giving me hell for that, but that gives her an incentive to take her own ics!LOL).

For dessert, Shizuoka-grown Benihoppe/Red Cheeks strawberries!

Do I need to tell you I’m looking forward to next week?
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March 29th, 2010

The Missus at long last received the two cedar wood bento boxes she had ordered from Akita Prefecture in the far north of Japan!
The one she used today cost a whopping 90 US$ although she managed to buy it through the Internet for a little less than 60 US $.

The reason for such a cost is that all boxes are manually fabricated with the best cedar wood cut into very thin sheets to be later shaped with molds and then affixed to each other in painstaking process. Such boxes are washable, although they need some care then. The fact is that the cedar wood will add extra flavour to the food!

The box comes into two tiers with a lid, a small inner mobile partition and its own lacquered cedar wood chopsticks. A “belt” is also provided to secure the box before the Missus wraps it in napkin.
Traditional multi-tiered bento boxes used to be secured with bamboo twine or tightly wrapped into a large piece of cloth.

The boxes seem to be of small small size at first look but they contain more than one might think thanks to their depth.

Not only the box, but the meal too as very traditionla today!
The rice was plain rice steamed with konbu/seaweed and later mixed with home-pickled myoga ginger and sprinkled with roasted sesame nuts.

The Missus fried the salted salmon she bought at the local supermarket in a teriyaki sauce of her own.

The garnish box was filled to the brim!

The vegetables are separated with a small cedar wood partition:
on the right is mixture of yama imo/yam, red and green pimentoes and carrot strips fried together in spicy sauce with hijiki/sweet seaweed;
on the left salad of rapeseed flowers with their stwms and leaves seasoned with gomadare/sesame dressing and sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds.
Note that the salads are placed inside paper cups to avoid too much direct contact with the wood.

As for dessert, The Missus included freshly fried plain tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette.
Tamgoyaki is readily available in supermarkets amd are tasty enough, but contains large amounts of sugar and preservatives. The Missus never touches them.
On the other hand the sweet beans were bought at the supermarket, although the Missus from time to time uses beans cooked by her mother.
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March 23rd, 2010

Since yesterday was a national holiday in Japan, I had to wait until today before I could get my first bento of the week!

As you can see, the Missus prepared a very solid bento today with two kinds of musubi/rice balls.

“Leftovers bento for you today!”, she said. One musubi contained cheese and fish sausage, the whole wrapped in Trevise.

The other musubi, wrapped in lettuce contained smaoked salmon and tobikko, flying fish roe, for a “oya-ko combination”/”parent and child” combination, topped with olive and seasoned with mayonnaise.

Mini-tomatoes and pickled myoga ginger sprouts were also included for taste and design.

The salad garnish was also composed of leftovers: spicy mushrooms salad, pickled carrot salad, walnuts, soft poached egg seasoned with black sesame seeds and bean salad.
Where is my dessert?

Hearty leftovers, and tasty at that!
————————
March 16th, 2010

The Missus and I went to this beautiful island called Kume Island off Okinawa main island last week, and we took the opportunity to visit the local supermarkets as these are the best places to learn what the local truly eat at home.
We found a special mix to add to rice when steaming it and it certainly for delicious musubi/rice balls!

The Missus seemed to really enjoy herself as she offered me a pe-tasting of her bento with breakfast! It certainly made for a very tradional and colourful bento again!

For a closer look of the musubi!

As for the garnish, she made tuna patties (secret recipe, sorry! I wasn’t told about it, either!) that she fried and served with lemon slices for extra seasoning and added some lightly fried sweet pimentoes for colour, fibers and vitamins. A feww slices of pickled daikon were also added later.

As for the salad/dessert: potato and vegetables salad, mini-tomatoes and plain (but delicious!) tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette.

Poor me, I will have to wait until next Tuesday till the next bento!
————————–
March 15th, “2010”

Finally back to “normal life” after this short but great trip to the other extremity of Japan, namely Kume Island/久米島/ off Okinawa. A few postings and a lot of pictures will soon be featured on this blog!

The Missus used that favourite woven bento box, which was actually containing a bento when we bought it! It proved a bargain in the end!LOL

The “sushi maki” were made with ton toro/豚トロ or very soft pork slices that the Missus deep-fried in tonkatsu style before wrapping them in plain rice steamed with a piece of konbu/seaweed and eolling them into lettuce for great presentation and nutritious balance.

She added soft-boiled egg marinated in a concoction of hers and sprinkled with black sesame seeds. She completed the box with some stir-fried renkon/lotus root slices seasoned with chopped scallions, dry bonito shavings/katsuo bushi and chili pepper mix.

The salad contributed more balance, vitamins, fibers and so forth with beans, celery, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, trevise, walnuts and cheese.

For dessert and more vitamin C, benihoppe/red cheeks strwawberries from Shizuoka. We are almost at the end of their season!

Back to a healthy diet!
———————–
March 9th, 2010

As we are leaving on our (very short) Spring holiday tomorrow to Kume Island near Okinawa Island, the Missus had to concoct today’s bento with whatever she could find in the fridge and the “pantry”.
My bento friend at Hapabento will note that my (?) half is using traditional (and small) bento boxes until she finds one of her liking make of cedar tree wood. I agree that the woven box ought to be fine, but I’m going to contradict the resident dragon!

This time she actually used two boxes as the rice and meat garnish took all the space in the bottom tier.

The rice was plain steamed rice, but the chicken that she fried with mushrooms (shimeji maibly) and cut leeks provided for plenty of “sauce” and seasoning, agremented with black sesame seeds..

The pickels were all home-made: red daikon, mini lemons and wasabi stems and leaves.

The second granish box made for plenty of colours!
marinated carrot salad and celery leaf, tamagoyaki containing shiso leaves, boiled peas in the pod and radishes.
Plenty of vitamins and fibers!

For a better view of the tamagoyaki.
Frankly speaking I love these “leftovers” bentoes! LOL
————————
March 8th, 2010

What with our pending trip to Kume Island, Okinawa, which promises a lot of eating and drinking, the Missus will keep an eye on my calories for the next two days!
So it was back again to a more traditional form of Japanese bento!

She steamed the sice with shredded carrot (you know, those carotenes?) and mixed later with black sesame seeds. She accompanied the rice with home-made pickled red daikon for colour and balance.

As for the garnish, she kept it well-balanced but controlled the volume with an eye for colours.

Salad of pickled green and red cabbage, carrots and konbu seaweed for the fibers. Boiled peas intheir pods for more fibers, iron and vitamin C seasoned with umeboshi!

For the meat garnish, she prepared a pork and beans stew by frying pieces of pork belly before adding boiled beans and tomato sauce. She sprinkled the lot with chopped parsley and rested a soft boiled egg half which had been marinated in a soy sauce mixture of her own.

For dessert, benihoppe/red cheeks strawberries from Shizuoka. Did you that 2 strawberries contain enough Vitamin C for a single person for a whole day?
———————
March 2nd, 2010

Spring has come early in Shizuoka, the mildest region in Japan after Okinawa.
This is both a bonus and a pain. We get all these great vegetables before eveyone else, but we are also plagued with grotty weather and cold rain. Mind you, we shouldn’t complain compared to other regions.
In the end it means that the bentoes will be both rich in calories and vitamins!

The rice part this time consisted of two kinds of te-mari sushi balls/手まり寿司. The missus, used freshly steamed rice, formed the balls by wrapping rice and the garnish together in cellophane paper, twisting it closed and shaping in balls with her hands. This type of sushi is particular popular in the Kyoto area, where they are both served to adults and kids with beautiful effect.
One of my te-mari sushi contained cheese and was topped with raw ham and some fresh dill.
The other contained Japanese-style pickled cucumber (Very finely chopped) and sesame seeds, and was topped with smoked salmon, lemon, capers and a little tartare sauce. A small piece of lettuce added colour and vitamins!

The salad part included home-made marinated carrot tagliatelle salad with walnuts, mini tomatoes and soft-boiled egg. The whole was surrounded by a wealth of hand-broken leaf vegetables: ice plant, trevise, luccolla, and others as well as sliced red radish and mini tomato.

As for dessert I took a couple of mikan/madarines from The Missus’ family garden.
Once again, colourful, healthy and tasty!
———————-
March 1st, 2010

Shizuoka is replete with new vegetables in this supposedly early Spring and buying them at the local markets in view of including (sorry having them included by the Missus) in the next day’s bento is great fun!

It certainly makes for very colourful bentoes, too!
The Missus has been looking around shops for this elusive (meaning big enough) pinewood bento box for better looks and better taste (she believes that the pine wood will enhance the taste of her creations).
The steamed rice looks violet because it has been supplemented with a little (too much would the rice too dark) with Kuromai/黒米 or “Black Rivce”.
Actually it is not black rice, but dark violet rice. It comes from Iriomote Island in Okinawa. It is simply “ancient rice” as it used to be many centuries ago. It does provide a lot of useful nutrients that have disappeared after white rice was polished.

Now for the garnish:
The Missus concocted her tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette with cheese and ciboulette, also called civette, chiboulette, brelette (French), Schnittlauch (German), chives (English), cebolleta (Spanish). They habeen cultivated for some time in Japan and people are starting discovering them. They contain plenty of Vitamin C and iron! The vegetables include boiled and fried lotus root slices, home-made pickled mini lemons and a new vegetable grown in Fukuoka, Kyushu. I still remember the name but I will check today again and write up some information!

More of the mystery green vegetable, eringe mushrooms. sweet red piments chicken fillets, the whole fried in spicy sauce and agremented with black sesame seeds.

Dessert was benihppe/red cheeks strawberries and mikan/winter oranges from Shizuoka.

Complete, healthy and tasty bento!
———————
February, 24th, 2010

The Missus made this bento today because she is having her annual check-up tomorrow morning, meaning she will have to eat dinner before I arrive back home. Since I’m on a diet, I will do with a protein drink tonight!

In such cases she opts for “open sandwich” bentoes, with the result of an easyand healthy lunch.

She toasted English muffin and provided me with a small pot of salmon paste.

As for the garnish, it included lettuce, red radishes and their leaves and dip (I always eat the leaves!), seasoned salad of celery, cucumber and red cabbage, mini tomatoes, raw ham, cheese and walnuts and plenty of fruit: pink grapefruit, kiwi fruit and benihoppe/red cheeks strawberries. the latter two are grown in Shizuoka!

Colourful and plenty of Vitamins (real ones!)
——————————-
February, 23rd, 2010

The Missus is still in her traditional bento mode.
First of all, I’d like to say that although the box looks big on the pictures, it is smaller than my usual fare.
It is traditional, not only in design and taste, but also in size!

This time the “mazegohan”/mixed rice was a bit complicated.
The Missus had prepared pork belly for three days by regularly massaging in salt and sugar for no less than 3 days.
Before steaming the rice, she cut the pork into tiny bits and fried it in sesame oil.
She steamed the rice together with the fried pork and its juices, pieces of carrots, and pieces of sakuraebi aburaage. Aburaage is deep-fried tofu sheets. The sakura ebi/cherry blossom shrimps were originally mixed into the aburaage when she bought it. She ut it into strips and dry-fry them first, before cutting them again into small pieces she steamed together with the rice.
Once the rice had been steamed, she stirred the whole and added cut boiled peas in their pod, shredded konbu/seaweed she had used for streaming the rice and black sesame seeds.

As for the “garnish”, it consisted of half soft-boiled egg lightly marinated in soy sauce and something elese, boiled Na no hana/rapeseed flowers seasoned with gomadare/sesame dressing, mini tomatoes, freshly cut yamaimo/yam seasoned with umeboshi flesh, and white and black sesame seeds, and home-made stewed beans (sweet) for dessert.

Very healthy and tasty!
———————–
February, 22nd, 2010

The Missus is “feeling the pressure”! Well, that’s she keeps on saying these days if I have the temerity to come to the kitchen to have a look at her at work!
I’ve also noticed quite a few bento magazines laying around in our home too and heard “I can do better than that!” comments.
Well, I’m certainly going to pile on the pressure!LOL

Today’s bento was very much according to traditions:

Three musubi/rice balls. Two of them contained fried salted salmon, chopped fresh shiso/perilla leaves and sesame seeds, the other sesame seeds, both yellow and black (they are actually the same, but roasted differently) and umeboshi/Japanese pickled plum. All musubi were wrapped in shiso leaves.

The tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette was plain tamagoyaki with melting cheese. Tasted more like dessert!

The “Garnish” consisted of:
Top left corner: Pickled mini-melons and pickled wasabi stems.
Bottom left corner: Salad of boiled beans and violet sweet potato.
Right half: Stir-fried prawns in sweet and sour sauce and boiled broccoli!

The Missus must have read my recent posting on Food Supplements!LOL
———————-
February, 18th, 2010

I called this bento “the Convict Bento” bedause it was not supposed to be posted last Tuesday. The Missus was in a hurry and a grumpy mood (for good reasons?) and tersely ordered, “not for the blog!”.
I have a propensity to disobey the Missus’ orders…

It was the “open sandwich-style” bento with English muffins.
Quite simple, almost analog, but filling, tasty and colourful.

The fillings consisted of:
Boiled baby corns, white asparaguses, pois gourmends/green peas in their pods, cut green string beans with their dip dressing.
Japanese-style scrambled eggs (containing some gren veg), Japanese-char siu (cold), carrot and walnut salad, and mini tomatoes (dessert?).

Pickled green young melons (a Japanese specialty), Boiled and sauteed sato imo/taro tubers with black sesame seeds, violet kawaire daikon sprouts (for more vitamin C and iron). Plenty of lettuce was also included for making the sandwiches.

I was pretty happy about it, actually!
————————-
February, 15th, 2010

The Missus might be right after all when she throws the epithtet, “jiji”, at me when she gets exasperated at me.
“Jiji” means “Grandpa” when muttered by kids when they are seeking further treats, and downright “senile old man” when proffered by my supposedly better half.
After using my hi-tec Japanese mobile phone camera, I finally discovered I had picture size options up to 2 MB! I had been using the 30KB option until then….

The pics are truly enormous now, but reducing them to this will mean a finer grain and an enhanced picture.
The only problem is that it takes ages to download and upload!

The Missus has been experimenting of late.
Today she steamed plain rice before mixing it with roasted sesasme seeds and finely chopped pickled wasabi leaves.
She then made large musubi she rolled inside thin pork slices. She fried the the rolls first with a little sesame oil, and then some tare/Japanese sauce.

She is going to kill if she finds out I handled them with my bare fingers!
As for the garnish, she fried some ready cooked sato imo/taro roots seasoned with black sesame seeds.

She also included a soft-boiled egg of hers (she never revealed the full recipe!) and boiled spinach seasoned with gomadare/sesame dressing.

As for the side dish, she prepared a salad-dessert with lettuce, mini tomatoes, boiled broccoli, cheese and orange wedges.

A true winter bento, “jiji”!
———————-
February 9th, 2010

The Missus was into her “colourful” mode in spite of all the grumbling today!

The rice was plain steamed rice sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds with enough peeping out for the looks (and photograph!).
Chicken was “karaage”/Japanese-style deep-fried chicken agremented with pimento pieces in sweet and sour sauce.. and a another sprinkle of roasted seame seeds.

As for the garnish it was a bit of an embarrassment of choices as where to start eating!
Tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette 8 ab it on the sweet note this time), lettuce, mini-tomatoes, Boiled carrots, romanesco broccoli and Brussels sprouts, with some dippping sauce under the the broccoli.

And for dessert?
A big orange from Shizuoka!
————————-
February 8th, 2010: Mount Fuji Views Bento

Yesterday I had to go to that disliked city called Tokyo for a Cricket AGM and had to ride the Shikansen Bullet train from Shizuoka City.
It was an incredibly clear windy day. Mount Fuji was magnificent.
Back in the evening I enjoyed the rare sight in Tokyo of a dark Mount Fuji in the distance silhouetted by fiery skies.
I managed to take some pics on the way to Tokyo with my mobile phone camera. Look at the pictures at the end of this posting!

The Missus (who now takes her own pics) pointed out I should take the pic of the bento with the rice in the background, not in the foreground… Who can argue?

So I will start with garnish:
Soft-boiled egg/han-yude-tamago, later marinated in soy sauce, sake and mirin (and probably a little ginger).
Alabcore tuna/tonbo magura (the cheaper kind) first marinated for a little while in soy sauce then fried (with the lid on) topped with cheese and served topped again with some home-made wasabi leaves and flowers pickles (verystrong!).
Lettuce for balance and decoration.

For the slad and vitamins part, mini-tomatoes, home-made pickled carrot salad with black olives and black sesame seeds, na ho hana/rape blossoms salad seasoned with goma dare/sesame dressing.

The rice was steamed together with tinned shijimi/basket clams. These small mollusks are very popular in Asia. Check Wikipedia for more information! She had adde thin strips of fresh ginger to them.
Once the rice was cooked, she mixed the lot before placing it in the bento box and sprinkling it with roasted sesame seeds.

A simple dessert of local straberries and ornage wedges.
Nice bento, I agree!

Mount Fuji Views:

I took the pics with the camera almost aginst the window for clarity. The mobile phone camera has enough speed to obliterate all interference.
This pic was taken before reaching Fuji City, the first stop on the way.
The river in the foreground is the Fujikawa River. Because we are in the middle of winter all grass looks brown.

Another pic taken just before entering Fuji City JR Station.

Mount Fuji again caught just after leaving Fuji JR Station. Sorry for the smudges!

Now that pic was taken as we approached Mishima City which stands at comparatively high altitude surrounded by all kinds of mountains.

Last picture taken just before reaching Mishima JR Station.
After that you have to wait a long time (ifyou are lucky!) to see again over the horizon!
———————–
February 2nd, 2010

After the deluge we bore yetserday, clear bright skies were welcome today. The drawback is that I had to ride of those stuffing buses to work as I had left my bicycle at work last night. Don’t worry, it’s safe and nobody wills steal it. This is Japan! I still marvel at the patience shown by the Japanese in their common transport. Not a single complaint….

The Missus was quickly back into her meat mode today. I suspect that she is planning well ahead as she has started taking regular pictures of her concoctions!
“I will start a notebook when I have one hundred of them!, she said.
It’s about time she started her own blog!

The rice was steamed together with shredded carrots on top, then mixed before being served with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds and some shredded takuan/pickled daikon.

The garnish consisted of meatballs fried coated in cornstarch first in oil then with a sweet and sour sauce of the Missus’ invention. It was complemented with half-boiled eeg, boiled na no hana/rape flower seasoned with sesame sauce, and beans (canned) and cucumber salad.

Dessert was benihoppe/red cheek strawberry like yesterday with orange wedges.

Hearty, healthy and yummy!
———————-
February 1st, 2010

“You must eat more fish!” said the Missus this morning.
Alright, I love any fish as sushi or sashimi, but when it comes to cooked fish, The Japanese tend to include too much salt for my own liking with the result of emphasizing the “fishy smell and taste”.
I suppose I will have to hold myself on a leash for some time to come!LOL

The positive side of this morning’s (grumpy) conversation is that the Missus is planning to buy a cedar wood bento box for better presentation!

Today’s rice was her specialty: Steamed together with hijiki/sweet seaweed and tinned beans and their juice. It does make for good diet balance and colours.

My compulsory tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette, crucnhy sauteed renkon/lotus root and a sprig of fresh cress for the looks and Vitamin C.

Mini tomatoes for more Vitamin C, Na no Hana/Rape flowers, boiled and seasoned with sesame sauce and seeds for iron, and the fish: salted salmon the Missus fried with soy sauce and other seasoning.

And more Vitamin C with Benihoppe/red cheeks strawberry from Shizuoka and kiwi fruit.

Well-balanced bento, I agree.
————————–
Januray 26th, 2010

The Dragon is still in a good mood (the bright weater and her day off might explain it! LOL).
For once, she kept away from rice or bread and concocted a pasta bento.

It certainly made for a colourful bento!

The pasta base was made with spaghettini.
After boiling and cooling them she mixed in tinned smoked oyters, and vegetables she had lightly fried beforehand: shimeji muchrooms, red and yellow pimentoe, red onion and sliced shiitake. She seasoned the lot with the smoked oysters oil and smoked salt, and a little dressing. She finally topeed it fresh cress.

As for the garnish: Boiled green asparaguses rolled in raw ham and mini tomatoes lined with lettuce.

The side dish consisted of soft boiled egg, and vegetable sticks with their dipping sauce: carrots, cucumber, and celery.
A few walnuts and a mini banana (not featured) for dessert.

Very healthy, indeed. No wonder the Missus is checking my waistline every morning! LOL
—————————-
January 25th, 2010

Today was a bright day and the Missus was in a fairly good morning mood (evenings are somewhat different), and the colourful bento proved it!

The Missus? (picture taken at a fashion store in Shizuoka City)

Friends who know my e-mail address know that a dragon and a raabit are featured therein, but have you ever wondered who was which? LOL
If you want to see more pictures of everyday life in Shizuoka with more dragons and oddities, just go THERE!

As I said, the bento was full of colours!

The rice is violet because it was steamed together with pieces of violet sweet potatoes/murasaki satsuma imo. The potatoes were placed on top of the rice before steaming it. They were then stirred together with black sesame seeds when the rice was cooked.

As for the garnish, I got my compulsory tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette (cooked with pieces of sweet pimentoes), lettuce and mini-tomato.

The shiitake and the rolls were fried together and seasoned with wasabi dressing.

The rolls were made enoki (farm-growned) mushrooms rolled into thin pork belly strips and fried together. The enoki being thin, long and tender,they blend in very quickly.

The salad/dessert side dish consisted of a bed of shredded greens covered with pieces of lettuce, celery, orange sweet pimento and cheese, cucumber slices, walnuts, home-made apple compote and wedges of kiwi fruit for dessert.

The real Missus? (picture taken at Komagata Shrine in Shizuoka City)

Thank you, Dragon! (Alright, she is the Rabbit!)
—————————-
January 19th, 2010

It’s been some time since yhe Missus switched to “Open Sandwich Bento” mode. The merit is that if you in a hurry, you just look waht is left in the fridge and improvise from there!

A view of my bento as I unwrapped the cloth/napkin.

The toasted muffins.
In Japan they sell pre half-cut, making them easy to prepare or toast.

As you can see, there was plenty of fillings for my sandwich.
Actually I ate half of them with a fork I keep handy at work!

From top:
Fried/boiled taro/sato imo from yesterday’s bento leftovers.
Lettuce.
Sliced baked ham (part of end-of-the-year present).
Peeling cheese.
Japanese-style scrambled eggs.

From top:
Lettuce.
Taro.
Home-made pickles.
Bean (canned) salad.

For dessert, sliced kiwi fruit and home-made apple compote.

Simple but effective!
————————
January 18th, 2010

It still is cold for the season although the weather is beautiful.
Yesterday we could manage a full day of “gardening and terraforming” at the cricket ground in glorious weather!
Which means I’m quite hungry as I write this posting on the Missus’ bento.

For the rice she came up with one of her “oishii/delicious” creations: “maze gohan/混ぜご飯” or mixed rice.

I “stole” that picture as she was momentarily busy while the rice was steaming.
After soaking the rice for a while with a piece of konbu, she first fried the mushrooms (shimeji and maitake) in soy sauce, grated ginger and someting I couldn’t steal away. She then transfered the lot on top of the rice and steamed as shown in above picture.

Once the rice was properly steamed, she mixed the rice and mushrooms before while hole placing them inside the bento box.

As for the garnish, she quickly fried some taro/sato imo (bought steamed) in soy sauce and something else before coating them with white sesame seeds. She added boiled Na no Hana/rape blossoms seasoned with gomadare/sesame dressing and white sesame seeds, home-made pickles with black sesame seeds (carrots, red daikon, celeri) and freshly made tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette.

The salad and dessert dish included mini tomatoes on a bed of shredded vegetables, trevise cabbage and cress, (tinned) smoked oysters with shiso/perilla leaves to wrap them in and sliced of kiwi fruit!

Plenty of satisfaction here!
————————–
January 12th, 2010

I will have to be more careful when I describe the Missus’ bentoes this year, as she makes a point to read my comments and crash on me, talons extended, if I make a mistake (who do you think is the dragon in my e-mail address? LOL).
The positive side is that she is starting getting serious about her creations!

As in the rest of North Hemisphere, we are going through a very cold spell in Japan. Here in Shizuoka, the mildest region in these islands after Okinawa, the situation is not dramatic, but it is markedly colder than usual. Therefore bentoes need to pack more body-heating ingredients, but at the same time control the calorie intake!

Today’s bento was certainly well-balanced, keeping in mind this a bento for an adult.

It contained three musubi/rice balls (triangular actually) of two different kinds. Two were made of plain steamed rice with umeboshi/Japanese pickled plum.
The plums had been marinated in honey, counterbalancing the salty taste.
The third one was made of freshly steamed (with konbu/seaweed) rice mixed with katsuo soboro/bonito powder.
The two umeboshi musubi were wrapped in large egoma/shiso-perilla variety leaves. These leaves are even tastier than the usual shiso leaves.

The tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette was of the plain variety.
When I asked about my dessert, my other half tersely repled that this was my dessert!
The pickled vegetables are home-made and served with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds.

The garnish part was certainly colourful and well-balanced with boiled brocoli, fresh plum tomatoes, a liitle red trevise cabbage and plenty of succulent wasabi lettuce (nothing to do with wasabi but reminiscent of its taste!).

The meat part are tsukune/Japanese meat balls.
They consisted of chicken minced meat, grated renkon/lotus roots and spices that the Missus would not reveal. They were subsequently fried in oil, soy sauce, mirin and I don’t know what (keeping myself away from those talons!) and served coated with plenty of black sesame seeds.

No complaints!
——————————
January 5th, 2010

Today’s bento was the first of the year.
The Missus being still on holiday made it in a bit of a hurry as she being bsuy cleaning our place like very Japanese housewife does at the beginning of the year. A good time forme to escape to work! LOL

Being conscious of the too many calories I’ve been infgetsing recently she kept my bento to a healthy minimum.: musubi/rice balls, tamagoyaki and salad.

The musubi/rice balls were an interesting concept: She had marinated large egoma leaves (a large and very tasty variety of shiso/perilla) overnght in miso and what else. After steaming the rice, she made triangular rice balls (balls is not the right term, then!), sauteed and then wrapped them inside the leaves. They also contained a honey-sweetened umeboshi/Japanese pickled plum. Very tasty!

The salad dish was basically made up of leftovers:
Potato, onion, cucumber and tobikko/flying fish roe salad, boiled large green beans she rolled with some dressing in the middle. home-made pickled red daikon with black sesame, and plum tomatoes on trevise cabbage.

Colorful, healthy and tasty! No complaints! LOL

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3 thoughts on “Bento/Lunch Boxes (2010)”

  1. I love your website and wow….what a long page you have here…but u know what, it was absolutely worth it to view every single bento @_@
    You’re also a very lucky person to not only eat delicious food healthily but have pretty lunches every day..!
    Keep on trying!!! ^^
    love,

    Like

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