Bento/Lunch Boxes (2011)

December 22nd, 2011

Shijimi/蜆 is a small bivalve shellfish called Corbiculidae of the Cyrenidae family with the common name of “basket clam” abroad. That is for its scientific explanation!
They are a very popular shellfish in Japan and elsewhere, mainly used in soups. One can buy them already cooked and seasoned at supermarkets here.

The Missus used a small pack that she spread over the rice before steaming it. The preserved shijimi will give a lot of great taste to the rice as their flavors will mix quickly with the water.

Once the rice cooked, the Missus mixed the whole with the addition of her own pickled Japanese pepper/山椒/sanshyou.
She finally decorated the dish with some pockled fuki/蕗/giant butterbur stems from Nagano Prefecture for extra seasoning.

Pity there is no country with a flag bearing the colors green, yellow and mauve!

As we have just received mounds of spinach from the Missus’ family garden, she lightly boiled them before seasoning them with gomadare/sesame dressing.
As for the tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette she included fine strips of ham and cheese to the eggs!

The pink/violet/mauve potatoes (not sweet potatoes!) from her family garden make for great salad with chick peas!
As for the last touch she added lettuce and plum tomato for colors and nutrients!

Another satisfying and yummy bento!
December 21st, 2011

It seems that rolls must be one of the most popular way of cooking in the world with words like maki, roulade, Imperial Rolls and so on!
The Missus being a very cosmopolitan lady when it comes to cooking could not resist making one of her own with chicken with a Japanese twist!

But let’s start with the rice!
You can see that one can wrap o-musubi/rice balls with something different for better colors and balance!

After having steamed the rice the Missus mixed it with hijiki/sweet seaweed and golden sesame seeds and shaped it into triangular o-musubi. Instead of wrapping them in nori/dry seaweed she used large shiso/perilla leaves! Very tasty!
The pickles are all home-made: mini melons, radish and Japanese pepper.

Beautiful colors again!
Not as difficult as you might think! (The Missus is going to kill me for that comment!)

For the chicken rolls she used sasami/breast filets that she first flattened to stretch them. She filled them with shiso and sweet umeboshi/Japanese pickled plums, and shaped the whole into a large roll with cellophane paper. She fried the whole (without the cellophane paper!) over a moderate fire with the lid on until perfectly cooked. She let it cool down before slicing it.
She then secured the pieces inside the box with lettuce.

She kept things simple for the salad: coarsely grated carrot and walnut salad and a separate bean salad.

Plenty of colors to appeal to your appetite and reward the latter with great satisfaction!

December 14th, 2011

Omu Raisu/オムライスin Japanese means “omelette rice”, that is fried rice wrapped inside an omelette!

So the Missus proceeded in two steps:
first the rice: She steamed plain rice while she pan-fried some vegetables, especially diced pimentos, chopped onion and parsley.
Once the vegetables were almost cooked she added the rice and fried the whole lot while mixing it at the same time. At the last moment she added some tomato sauce and then switched off the fire.

She then made a round omelette in another frying pan.
When the omelette was ready she switched off the fire and filled the center of the omelette with plenty of fried rice.
She closed the omelette over the rice and put the whole upside down inside the round bento box.
She finally made a cross cut to show the inside and decorated the whole with lettuce and plum tomatoes.

As for the salad dessert box, she designed it with plenty of colors as usual!

The salad and the dessert were separated with more lettuce.
The salad consisted of boiled white and pink potatoes from her family’s garden, sliced cucumber and walnut.

For dessert apples cooked with grenadine mixed with raisins.

It proved a very hefty bento and yummy, too!
December, 13th, 2011

“Oyako”, as I mentioned before, means “Parent & Child” in Japanese, meaning the use of chicken and eggs in the same dish. As for “soboro”, it means a dish presented in the form of coarse powder.

When it comes to a chicken and egg combination one may expect an oyakodon which will be served as a kind of omelette containing fairly big pieces of chicken. But the Missus came up with an extra twist!

What she did was to use minced chicken and fry it in a soboro form with tomato sauce.
The egg soboro, which is no less than a type of Japanese scrambled eggs were prepared separately.
Having steamed the rice, she filled a box with it and covered the whole with chicken and egg soboro. She completed the design by separating the two with fresh cress and sliced black olives!

As for the side dish/box the Missus steamed various vegetables, most of them coming from her home garden, and served with a dip sauce!

Three types of potatoes (no sweet potatoes!), white, blue and violet, carrot, daikon, and green peas in their pod!

For more colors, fibers and vitamins she added lettuce and Ameera Rubbins Pearl Tomatoes.
As for the dip she mixed mayonnaise with miso paste seasoned with golden sesame seeds!
I took some mandarin oranges from her garden for dessert!

So healthy, yummy and fulfilling!
Who said I was a lucky man?
December 7th, 2011

“Oyako/親子” in Japanese means “Parent and Child”. It is used to describe two different combinations in Japanese Gastronomy, Chicken & Eggs or Fish & Roe. The Missus opted for the latter this morning with smoked salmon and salmon’s roe! Mind you, I could have called it a “Russian Bento”!

All orange color, the official color of Shizuoka Prefecture (though we do not have salmon here!) and that of my rugby club back home in France!

The Missus prepared sushi rice she actually mixed with tiny bits of seasoned seaweed and filled one box with it.
She covered half with seasoned smoked salmon.

She covered the other half with soy sauce-seasoned salmon roe from Hokkaido.
She separated the “Parent ” and the “Child” with fresh cress, sliced black olive and half a sudachi lemon for extra seasoning.

Plenty of colors again for the salad and dessert box!

Spicy burdock root/gobo (cooked) and water spinach sprouts/空心菜/kōngxīncài (raw) seasoned with gomadare/sesame dressing.

The Missus’ specialty, tamagoyaki, this time containing finely chopped parsley and red carrot, lettuce, Ameera pearl tomatoes and Red Heart Kiwi fruit!

Very, very tasty and very satisfying again!
December 6th, 2011

There are two things that the Japanese love, namely curry and hamburgers!
Mind you, the Missus didn’t agree with the naming of this bento as for her, hamburgers must be served with buns!
I beg to differ…
And when it comes to curry, the Japanese have this interesting notion of “dry curry”!

Actually “dry curry” in Japanese means rice flavored with curry mix and not in curry sauce!
So the Missus steamed the rice with some curry powder mix and some garam masala curry paste!
Once steamed, she mixed the lot and formed a well into the main box and sprinkled the rice with freshly chopped parsley.

I was not allowed to look at her preparing the hamburger, but I know it was made with minced beef and pork and her usual set of spices and that it contained some cheese before she fried it slowly in sauce. She placed it in the rice well and covered it with a tomato sauce she concocted with the hamburger juices.
She decorated the lot with some fresh cress and sliced cornichons.

The colorful salad dish consisted of an egg mimosa decorated with a black olive slice, Ameera Pearl Tomatoes, apple cuts, walnuts, Trevise and plenty of lettuce for beautiful colors and nutritious balance!

Very satisfying and delicious!
November 22nd, 2011

Have you ever played chess on a bento? LOL
Well, I could have this time!

This is actually a very popular pattern design for bentos in Japan. And it is very easy to achieve for maximum impression!

As it is also healthy the made two similar layers of it on top of each other.
Having spread the rice inside the box she placed cut squares of nori/dry seaweed on top to form a chess board.
For extra taste she had actually brushed a little soy sauce under each piece of nori!

For extra design, seasoning and fibers she added turnip home-pickled in amazu/sweet red rice vinegar and stir-fried burdock root/gobo with chili pepper for more piquancy.

As usual plenty of colors for the side dish!

For the meat she used salmon pieces she had previously lightly marinated in Japanese sake and what else. She then coated the pieces of salmon with plenty of rice flour/komeko and finely crushed spicy rice crackers before frying them in shallow oil and soaking the oil out on kitchen paper.
She placed them on a bed of lettuce with half a sudachi lemon. Sudachi lemons are vey small but full of juice more reminiscent of orange than lemon. Perfect pressed over the salmon!

She then completed the side box with plain tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette (she actually included more dashi than usual ton make it lighter) and lightly sauteed sliced soft pimentos.
Fresh grapes for dessert.

It was touch and go to either play chess with it or enjoy it right away! You probably have guessed my decision!

November 16th, 2011

Kanikama stands for Kani Kamaboko/Crab imitation paste made with steamed fish meat!
The Missus found a very interesting kanikama on the market and decided to use some for today’s bento!

The best way for color and design was to prepare it as Chirashizushi/Decoration sushi!

Having steamed the rice with plenty of konbu, she then prepared it as sushi rice. She mixed it with pieces of Kanikama, thin slices of cucumber, pimento, avocado cubes, cresson and home-pickled sanshyo/Japanese pepper. She decorated the top with the same!

The salad and dessert box was very colorful, too!

Salad of violet potatoes and boiled black beans on a bed of lettuce!

Dessert with plenty of fruit: Nashi/Japanese pear, grapefruit wedges and Red Heart Kiwi Fruit slices!

Very colorful and so tasty again!
November 15th, 2011

I recently was offered some yuzu koshio/yuzu, lime and pepper mixed sauce, by Kenya Yoshimura the owner/chef at Uzu, arguably the best Izakaya in the Prefecture!
The Missus decided to use some in today’s bento which also included karaage/Japanese-style deep-fried chicken!

The Missus first boiled sliced renkon/lotus root from Asabata in Shizuoka City and let it cool down while she deep-fried the chicken (one cannot boil and deep-fry food as the same time unless you wish to expose yourself to grave danger!).
Now, for the friends who want to know how the Missus concocts her karaage, I discovered she uses komeko/rice flour instead of wheat flour! No wonder they are so light. Moreover the deep-frying process is done in two stages! The latter will ensure that the chicken is melting inside your mouth instead of a dry tasteless (I mean the meat) inside you find in so many famous diners…

She filled the first box with freshly steamed rice and covered it with stir-fried pimento and chingensai/Qing geng cai
or Green pak choi/チンゲンサイ(青梗菜), then deep-fried chicken and the lotus roots she had seasoned with plenty of yuzu koshio.
The lotus root had a lot of pleasant piquancy for a great balance with the rice and the other ingredients!

As for the salad she filled a box with cress, sliced mini tomatoes and bean salad mixture, the whole seasoned with vinaigrette and fresh lemon.
For dessert I took some mandarines from the Missus’ family garden!

Very tasty bento indeed!
November 2nd, 2011

Yesterday was the official opening of the Autumn Season (as opposed to the Spring Season) for sakura ebi/桜海老/Cherry Shrimps caught exclusively off the Shizuoka shores!
Naturally, the Missus bought some at a local supermarket!

This time she prepared the rice as inarizushi!

The pouches for inari zushi are made with deep-fried tofu sheets readily available in any supermarkets. You first cut them in halves and then cut inside with a sharp knife to form a pouch. Of course you can also buy them as the finished product!
The Missus prepared sushi rice and mixed it with sweet preserved sakura/cherry blossoms for a cute color!

A side box with beautiful colors again!

The Missus made tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette with sakura ebi and leeks! Soooo tasty!

Fresh lettuce, pickled fuki/bog rhubarb from Nagano Prefecture, Shizuoka plum tomatoes and home-pickled cucumbers seasoned with golden and black sesame seeds!
For dessert, red heart kiwi fruit. Incidentally Shizuoka Prefecture is a major producer of kiwi fruit!

Did I say I loved it? LOL
November 1st, 2011

When I heard the Missus talking to herself this morning while she was pondering on today’s bento she reminded me of a piece called “Hesitation Blues” performed by Hot Tuna (Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane) a long time ago!
She didn’t seem to come to terms with what was available in the fridge!

She finally decided to prepare some steamed plain rice with shredded carrot which she later sprinkled with black sesame seeds.
I actually suggested it as it is very tasty and healthy!

As for the side dish she mainly combined “leftovers” with vegetables from her family’s garden!

She first introduced some violet sweet potato and walnut salad she had made the day before. The sweet potato were brought to us yesterday with the renkon/蓮根/lotus roots. Actually lotus roots grown in Asabata, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City are famous far beyond Shizuoka Prefecture borders!
She fried them with green peas in curry powder before adding them to the salad.

She thawed leftover shrimp and pork belly rolls and fried them before placing them on a bed of fresh lettuce adorned with a few Ameera Rubbins Pearl Tomatoes from Iwata City.
Finally she added plenty of tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette for dessert!

Well, I certainly won’t mind her hesitation next time!
October 26th, 2011

Shige Chan is a famous producer in Shizuoka City who not only grows top-class cress and tomatoes but also makes and sells udon seasoned with them!
They do make not only for great taste but also for great health!

So the Missus having prepared and cooled down a batch of cress udon, she seasoned them with tomato puree and a secret ingredient she refused to reveal. She lightly stir-fried large shrimps cut into small pieces and added them to the udon before tossing the whole lot and filling a bento box with them. Naturally she decorated the udon with fresh cress for design, taste and welcome fibers, iron and vitamins!

As for the side box, she prepared an avocado and walnuts salad she placed in cups formed with Trevise leaves and completed the dish with boiled egg halves seasoned with black sesame seeds and a few fresh radish and their edible leaves beside a couple of French pickles.
Dessert? The walnuts! LOL

Once again a very healthy and tasty Autumn/Fall Bento!
October 25th, 2011

Good bentos do not have to be complicated.
The Missus today came up with arguably the simplest and healthiest bento of the year, and a very tasty one to boot!
And apparently it didn’t take too much time either!

While the rice was being steamed she prepared “soboro” eggs, that is, Japanese scrambled eggs. The main difference with European/American scrambled eggs is that they are sweet and milk is not included. She uses only olive oil, sugar and dashi.
She boiled some large shrimps from the refrigerator with a little vinegar and sake and let then cool down before cutting them in halves.
Once the sushi rice was ready she mixed it some soboro eggs and filled the main box.
She then made a rim of fresh cress and filled the top with soboro egg on which she placed some of the cut prawns.
She put the finishing touch with some lime and cut Ameera Rubbins Pearl Tomatoes.
Simple and beautiful!

For the dessert box, Autumnal fruits: fresh figs, persimmon and nashi pears!

Simple as it may look, I was full and really stisfied!
October 18th, 20011

This time, apart of the seasoning the Missus has come up with the real local Bento using only ingredients from Shizuoka Prefecture!

I have to say it was realized with the help of her own mother’s cooking and garden!

The rice she steamed for the bento is “Koshihikari” grown in Suntoh Gun in the Eastern part of the Prefecture!
The sweet pickled ginger were prepared by her mother. She seasoned it with golden and black sesame seeds.
As for the Shizuoka-grown red and green peppers she sliced them and stir-fried them before adding them to the rice.

The ingredients in the colorful side box were also all grown or bred in Shizuoka Prefecture!

She prepared two types of rolls with thin strips of pork belly wrapped around okra and thick leek before stir-frying them.
She placed them on a bed of lettuce with green lemon for design and seasoning!

The tamagoyaki were made “Bioran” eggs produced by Mr. Shimizu in Shizuoka City and very thin leeks. The kaki/persimmon come from her mother’s garden and the Ameera Rubbins Pearl Tomatoes are grown in Iwata city, in the Western part of the Prefecture!

It would certainly be fun to see what friends could come up with, using only local ingredients!
October 12th, 2011

The Japanese love chestnuts as a vegetable, especially with rice which they call Kuri Gohan/栗ご飯!

Usually the Japanese cook the rice with preserved chestnuts, but as the latter came raw from the Missus’ family garden they were boiled separately and later mixed with cooked rice and black sesame seeds.

The color of the chestnuts is not as beautiful as those coming from preserves, but they look real and yummy!

I could also have called this bento, sesame chicken bento!

The Missus coated chicken filets/sasami with golden and black sesame seeds before frying them in olive oil.
She later placed them in the box over a bed of cress with some lemon for seasoning and radish for decoration.

She added stir-fried spicy burdock roots chips and her specialty, half-boiled onsen tamago/hotsprings egg!

For dessert, kaki/persimmon/柿from her family’s garden!

Very healthy seasonal yummy bento indeed!
October 11th, 2011

Now, why did I call today’s bento “Pre-Halloween Bento”?
Simply because the Missus used a local pumpkin called Red Kuri Squash or Uchiki kuri in Japanese! Other names include Japanese Squash, Orange Hokkaido Squash, Baby Red Hubbard Squash, Potimarron in French and Onion Squash in the United Kingdom.

Mind you, I could have called it a “Rustic bento” with all the mushrooms included in the sushi rice!

True to say, “rustic” might overdo it as the mushrooms involved, eringe, shimeji and enokitake, are all cultivated, not picked in the wild!
The Missus prepared a sushi rice and then mixed it with chopped parsley and the mmushrooms she had marinated in the fridge for the whole night.

Once again plenty of colors to remind me we are finally come into the Fall/Autumn.
This the longest season in Shizuoka, the most temperate region in Japan!

Smoked salmon and avocado salad decorated with mini tomatoes!

Baby corn with frilled lettuce.
And a salad of boiled Uchichi kiri pumpkin sprinkled with black sesame seeds for dessert!

A truly well-balanced and colorful bento! And yummy!
October 5th, 2011

Today’s bento drew inspiration both from the land and the sea!

But before I start explaining the preparation of the bento, let me show you the new “furoshiki/風呂敷/Traditional Japanese cloth wrapping used to carry gifts, boxes, bento and so on” that I have acquired at the Serizawa Keisuke Art Gallery in Shizuoka City!

I bought it small enough to wrap around my bento box.
But I might need a larger one for the round boxes!

Very cute with its food motifs!

For the rice box, The Missus drew inspiration from the sea by steaming the rice with canned scallops she shredded beforehand.
Once cooked, she mixed the whole with sweet seaweed/konbu preserves and her own pickled Japanese peeper/sanshyou/山椒 seeds for plenty of zip!

Except for the grapes, the ingredients in the side dish are all local!

She stir-fried the eggplants/aubergines, green shishito peppers and red pimentos from her family’s garden in miso paste, soy sauce, mirin, spices and black sesame seeds, and placed them alongside celery leaves.

Before preparing the rolls she boiled carrot and burdock root/gobou/牛蒡 sticks.
She used Shizuoka-bred chicken sasami/filets for the rolls after having flattened them.
She then rolled them around the carrot and burdock roots and slowly stir-fried the rolls in sauce.
She let them cool before cutting and arranging them inside the box.

Imported Chilean grapes for dessert!

This bento was certainly great fun and really tasty!
October 4th, 2011

“Chirashi Sushi” means “Decoration Sushi”. Contrary to what you might think it does not have to include fish or seafood.
The Missus can make a beautiful one with beef!

It certainly looked colorful and appetizing!
I coudn’t wait to break it in! LOL

The Missus first concocted the chirashiSushi rice as a normal sushi rice before mixing it with small pieces of beef and vegetables as well as chopped shiso and others.
She then covered it first one half with shredded beef stir-fried with sauce of her own (blending) making including soy sauce and black sesame seeds.
She covered the other half with soboro tamago/Japanese-style scrambled (sweet) eggs.
She drew a boundary with a mixture of shredded carrot and shishito/thin peppercorns seasoned with wasabi vinaigrette!

The side dish for all its colors required the Missus’ hand for all the ingredients!

The aubergines/eggplants and goya/bitter melon, both from her mother’s garden, were prepared as o-hitashi, that is, first steamed/cooked and then lightly marinated.

The renkon/lotus roots, also coming from her mother’s garden were prepared in two manners. They were both sliced and boiled first. Half were pickled in umboshi and umezu/sweet vinegar into a pink color, the other half was marinated in soft wasabi paste of her own making!

As for dessert, the Missus cooked apples in wine and grenadine!

Beautiful colors reminiscent of the Fall season! Beautiful in many senses!
September 28th, 2011

I found myself in a hell of a hurry this morning and did not have the time to look at the Missus preparing my bento!
She was kind enough to bring it to my office before she went to work herself!

She was also kind enough to send me the pictures for my report!
Very colorful, isn’t it?

She tries to use only local ingredients whenever possible!
The rice is “Koshihikari” grown in Suntoh Gun, Shizuoka Prefecture!
After steaming it, she decorated it with fresh okra and home-made umeboshi! Italian bento?

She kept things colorful as usual but she did not include dessert…
She will probably reply that she has to keep in mind my expanding waist…

The vegetables consisted of boiled broccoli and carrot seasoned with gomadare/sesame dressing.
She added her specialty: onsen tamago/soft-boiled egg marinated in soy sauce and sprinkled with black sesame seeds.

The meat balls were made of fresh tuna surimi (tuna flesh grated from insde the skin, probably an albacore tuna) and minced shiso/perilla leaves. She pan-fried them in sauce. Beautiful and lighter than one might expect!
She included more vegetables with lettuce and home-pickled burdock root with chili pepper!

Very satisfying, tasty and colorful!
September 27th, 2011

The recent typhoon has created havoc in the local supermarkets with less vegetables available and at steep prices! This might continue for some time unfortunately!
“Gomoku Takigohan/五目炊きご飯” means a steamed rice (takigohan) cooked together with 5 ingredients (gomoku)!

So the Missus steamed the rice with two kinds of mushrooms, shiitake and enokitake, carrot and chicken and their juices as well as a little soy sauce and whatsnot. That accounts for 4 ingredients!

As a fifth ingredients she decorated the rice with boliled black beans!

As the rice box was quite copious she kept the side dish to the strict minimum!

The missus’ specialty: Tamagoyaki with parsley and cheese accompanied by some lettuce!

For the fibers and vitamin C: mini-tomatoes, lettuce, violet cabbage and marinated cucumber with fresh ginger and golden sesame seeds!

A very healthy and tasty bento considering the weather and the availability!
September 20th, 2001

No, for all the frightening Missus I was not in a pickle! LOL
It is just that we had been offered a batch of Kyoto pickles and the MOTH (Mistress Of The House) decided to combine them with her own home-made pickles!

They certainly made for great colors!
The Missus prepared the rice as sushi rice and mixed it with chopped shiso leaves, golden sesame seeds and her own home-pickled Japanese pepper/sansho seeds.

The white and dark daikon pickles are Kyoto pickles.
The pickled ginger sticks are the Missus’.

The pickled cucumber, myoga ginger and eggplant/aubergine are all from Kyoto.
They make for beautiful design and are very beneficial to health!

The side dish is more Shizuoka-like although some of it comes from Hokkaido!

The half-boiled egg was produced by Mr. Shimizu in Shizuoka-City. The celery leaves and tomato are also from Shizuoka prefecture, but the smoked salmon is from Hokkaido while the capers and avocado came from very distant shores!

The dessert was all from Shhizuoka Prefecture: Japanese “Nashi” pear and plum!

Very healthy bento typical of early Autumn/Fall when the typhoons are crashing around our necks!
Naturally very colorful and yummy!
September 13th

Bentoes can become a great way to acoommodate some “errors”!
The Missus having cut an avocado which was not ripe enough and couldn’t be appreciated raw simply deep-fried them (my suggestion!)!

But when it came to preparing the rice she didn’t bother much about my suggestions, then!

She steamed the rice with finely chopped carrots and once cooked mixed the lot with freshly steamed edamame.
An Irish rice?

But for the side dish we did share suggestions!

She deep-fried the avocado as it was, cut into small bites.
As for the tuna she dee-fried cubes of it dipped into cornstarch. She later seasoned them in tonmato sauce.
She laid the lot on a bed of celery leaves.

She added her specialty, soft-boiled egg marinated in soy sauce and seasoned with black sesame seeds. She added freshly cut plum tomatoes for the vitamins C and completed the lot with a Japanese marinated salad of cucumber and fresh ginger.

Perfect for the ongoing heat, healthy and yummy!
September 7h, 2011

The weather is still very hot although the humidity has somewhat abated. It is when people tend to drink more than they eat, forgetting that the human body needs as many calories in hot summers as in cold winters. Since bentoes are served cold or lukewarm at best they are perfect for the summer, although you do have to be careful about preserving the quality and safety of the food. The latter conditions add another reason for bentoes to be made at home unless you want to feed yourself with preservatives!

The Missus had some large prawns handy in the fridge. She rolled them in thin pork belly strips and deep-fried them with coarse panko/breadcrumbs. Once cooked, she let them rest on a grill to cool down and give out any extra fat.

She lined the bento box with plenty of rice topped with shredded vegetables. The latter will soak in any extra juice and sauce and add taste to the whole.
She then placed the prawns on top and seasoned them with sweet sesame and miso barbecue sauce. She added a small cornichon for the last touch.

Plenty of vegetables must balance the meat and the rice (the latter providing only carbohydrates and fibers).
The Missus served them both cooked and raw.

As for the cooked vegetables she stir-fried aubergines/eggplants, green and red peppers, all cut roughly to the same size for even cooking, in a piquant sauce. She put the finishing touch by sprinkling black sesame seeds on top.

As for the raw vegetables, and the color touch, she placed cut yellow plum tomatoes on a bed of cress.
Lastly dessert was provided with red grapes.

Healthy, plentiful and savory!

September 6th, 2011

After almost a month’s hiatus the fiery Dragon at home has finally cooled down and resumed her bento creations!
Today’s title comes from the fact we were offered a succulent (and enormous) spider crab last night which the Missus steamed (or boiled? she didn’t tell me!) and partly served for dinner keeping enough apart for today’s bento!

She steamed plain white rice before mixing it with all kinds of ingredients cut in small pieces, except for the crab meat. The latter had been divided into shredded meat and whole leg meat.

She mixed the rice with thinly sliced Japanese cucumbers, small pieces of lemon, avocado, shredded crab meat and small pieces of black pepper processed cheese.
She topped the whole with the same plus the crab leg meat cut into small pieces for design and garnish.

As for the side box she kept things simple and light considering the comeback of the searing hot weather.

For the vegetables she placed bean salad and more boiled black beans on a bed of Shizuoka-grown cress and added a cut plum tomato for more vitamins and design.

For dessert she prepared her specialty, tamgoyaki/Japanese omelette, sweet enough to be considered as such!

The Dragon might have lost some of her fire but the weather is simply scalding outside.
A tasty and colorful bento for a typical summer day!
August 11th, 2011

It seems that for the last week or so either the thermometer climbs over 35 degrees Celsius or it rains halberds (as we say in France!)!
It is certainly not easy to conceive a bento then.
Lucky we have access to so many vegetables here in Shizuoka!

Rice is probably more practical served as nigiri then.
The Missus prepared three types:
-Wrapped in egoma, a large type of shiso with a strong flavor and fried in sauce.
-Containing umeboshi and black sesame. Incidentally the umeboshi is made with Shizuoka-grown organic Japanese plums!
-Mixed with beef chirimen/semi-dry powder.
Pickles are also important for hygiene in summer: home-made cucumber and myoga ginger pickles and home-made fresh ginger pickles!
The latter are extremely tasty, too!

For a better view of the nigiri!

I contributed a lot to all those vegetables and fruit as I’ve been interviewing a few farmers!

Vegetable salad, green peppers, carrot, tomato (Shizuoka City supermarket) with Chinese cabbage lettuce (Kakegawa City supermarket) marinated with fresh ginger and konbu seaweed.

String eggplant/aubergine and two types of peppers marinated from a macrobiotic farm in Kakegawa City.
Nashi/Japanese pears from Ichikawa Garden in Iwata City.

When it’s hot, eat local!
Fresh, delicious and so safe!

August 2nd, 2011

I’m getting used to earthquakes…
Just before midnight yesterday the shouts of the Missus woke me up. I had gone to bed early while she was still fiddling with the computer.
On the Japanese scale a 6.2 tremor struck from deep in the Suruga Bay just in front of Shizuoka City which was jolted up to 5.2 but only for a short time fortunately.
Having made sure the Missus had calmed down I just went back to bed…

This morning things were normal as no tsunami or damage had been announced.
The Missus was soon hard at work preparing my bento…

While the rice was being steamed she prepared one of her specialties, chicken breast fillets stir-fried with burdock root and black sesame seeds. She included sesame oil and spices at the last minute and mixed the whole with the rice and letting it cool before filling the first box with it!

I contributed to the side dish as she used some of the organic vegetables from Kitayama Farm in Fujinomiya City I had brought her last Sunday.

She stir-fried the above as well as using some of the tomatoes for the salad.

She stir-fried the small violet egg plants she had sliced beforehand with the roughly cut banana pimento in basically the same way as the chicken with plenty of yellow sesame seeds.
She cooked plain and slightly sweet tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette with a nice crispy outside.

As for the salad she placed three types of sliced tomatoes on a bed of lettuce: The orange tomatoes and the green heirloom tomatoes are organic.
She added a last touch with Shizuoka-grown (Shimizu Ku) blueberries.

Who said that an earthquake stimulates the appetite?

July 27th, 2011

I wonder whether I could say this Bento bore the influences of East and West!
Tea and soba/buckwheat noodles are definitely Eastern although they eat a lot of buckwheat in Western France…
Quiche is definitely Western but the Cherry Shrimps can be found only in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan!

The soba/buckwheat noodles are made in Hamamatsu City with Shizuoka Tea, hence their beautiful color!
The Missus having boiled, drained and cooled them, mixed them with salad beans and hime soba/姫蕎麦/buckwheat sprouts and tea dressing from Shizuoka before topping them with freshly grated wasabi from Utogi, Shizuoka City! Very local ingredients, indeed!

The side dish comprised the aforesaid Cherry Shrimps/sakuraebi/桜海老/ from Yui, Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City, inside the quiche!

The quiche had been made the night before as a friend had come for dinner then!

The quiche had been made in the modern way, that is, light and healthy with a very thin crust consisting of filo crust.

The quiche had been laid over a bed of cress and complemented with more cress, red radishes and grape tomatoes all from Shizuoka.
As for dessert a couple of Japanese cherries!

Plenty of colors, healthy. delicious and so local!

July 26th, 2011

Sakura ebi/桜海老/Cherry Shrimps are the most famous seafood of Shizuoka Prefecture, a region already blessed with the richest bay in Japan, namely Suruga Bay/駿河湾.
Although we are not in season they are available frozen, good enough for a bento!
In season they become a real treat, cheap here but at steep prices elsewhere if fresh!

The Missus first steamed rice with finely cut ginger root and the cherry shrimps, and once cooked, mixed the whole lot with boiled edamame (green soy beans).

It certainly makes for great design, colors and balance.
It also gives an extra satisfactory “bite” to the rice!

The side box consisted of ingredients both from the land and the sea!

Those tubes are called “chikwa/竹輪 in Japanese. They are made of fish paste first steamed then grilled around a stick.
They can be bought in any supermarket in Japan. If you cut them and push cheese or cucumber sticks inside them like the Missus did they for great design (and snacks, too!).

Chicken patties are called “tsukune/つくね in Japanese. They consist of minced chicken and spices (the Missus wouldn’t tell me!).
The Missus wrapped them in shiso leaves before pan-frying them for extra taste.
She added fresh shiso leaves, mini tomatoes and “himesoba/姫蕎麦/buckwheat sprouts for vitamins and fibers.
The dessert was blackberries from our balcony!

Very much a summer bento!

July 20th, 2011

The rain has not stopped, neither the wind…
Actually the typhoon is really upon us today…
I had to walk all the way to the office today…
Well, I suppose this is good for my health!

Today the Missus made “maabou nasu”!
Usually the word “maabou” is associated with “maaboudoufu/麻婆豆腐, a dish prepared with tofu.
Check “Maboudoufu/Mapo doufu/麻婆豆腐” for better understanding!
“Nasu/茄子” means “eggplant/aubergine”. It replaces the tofu!

The Missus first fried some minced pork in oil and spices.
Incidentally, I wasn’t allowed inside the kitchen. Hence the link above to check the recipe.
She then fried cubed eggplant/aubergine and green pepper in a hot sauce of her own making before adding the minced meat and stir-fry the whole before pouring it over steamed rice and sprinkle it with sesame seeds.

The side dish included three different potatoes of three different colours from her family’s garden!
She included her specialty, a half-boiled egg sprinkle with black sesame seeds, home-pickled cucumbers with wakame seaweed and golden sesame seeds, lettuce and Ameera Rubbins Pearl Tomatoes.

For a better view of the salad made with white, pink and violet potatoes (not sweet potatoes!)!

Looking forward to more of the same potatoes! LOL

July 19th, 2011

We are just being battered by a monster Typhoon (40 m/s!). They just called them numbers in Japan, and I couldn’t agree more…
Anyway the Missus, having not been able to go shopping nonetheless managed with was “left” in the fridge!

She had marinated plenty of mushrooms the previous morning and found some frozen duck confit!

having steamed the rice, she mixed it with plenty of marinated mushrooms.
As for the mushrooms she mainly used Japanese shimeji and eringe she had first fried in olive oil before adding spices, vinegar and what else and let it marinate inside the fridge.

She then fried the duck confit until crispy, let it cool and finally shredded it before adding it to the rice with some French pickles.

As for the side dish, although she said she had nothing left, she came up with her specialty, carrot tagliatelle salad with walnuts and Ameera Rubbins Pearl tomatoes, boiled black beans, green peppers fried in oil, ponzu and soy sauce. She completed the whole with yellow kiwi fruit for dessert!

I don’t mind having another typhoon! LOL

July 13th, 2011

Today the Missus prepared my bento inside Ikawa Menpa Lunch Boxes!
These are made in Shizuoka City by one of the very few Japanese craftsmen left plying their trade in the creation of true lunch boxes, Mr. Yoshiaki Mochizuki/望月良秋さん who uses only hinoki/檜/Japanese cypress and sakura no ki/桜の木/cherry tree bark from Shizuoka City mountains!

The Missus devised this lunch with a concern for the very hot weather again when people not only need to drink lots of water but also absorb solid food!

As for the rice, after steaming it, she mixed it with plenty of home-pickled myoga ginger she had sliced beforehand and golden sesame seeds.
She actually tries to include sesame seeds any time she can for their great nutritious value.

As for the sweet and sour pork she first seasoned thin slices of pork belly and rolled them into rough balls before frying them in a sweet and sour sauce of her own recipe. Just before the pork was ready she stir-fried red and yellow sweet pimento and violet onions with it and put the lot atop the rice with a couple of French cornichons/pickles.

The side box was very much of Okinawan inspiration!

Goya champuru, the original Okinawa recipe, is basically made with goya/sour gourd and eggs. Some people add tofu and katsuo bushi/dried bonito shavings, but actually the recipes are innumerable!
The Missus made a simple one withn goya and eggs. Beautiful summer colors!

I actually contributed to the other half as I had made the umshu plum last year!
She added some Japanese cherries and small Shizuoka tomatoes with a bit of lettuce for the vitamins and fibers!

Certainly plentiful, tasty and colorful once again!

July 12th, 2011

Hot days are following each other and a lot of people are suffering from “natsubare/summer lethargy”.
Preparing meals is becoming complicated as you do have to provide energy without too many calories and make them appetizing!

Sushi is a good idea in summer as it includes rice vinegar, very good to cool down the system.
The Missus, after steaming the rice prepared it as sushi rice and mixed it with boiled shrimps, tobikko/flying fish roe, thinly sliced small Japanese cucumbers and finely chopped shiso leaves to present it as chrirashizushi/decoration sushi.

For a closer view of the ingredients!

The Missus strove for balance with the side dish.

She mixed ready-made bean salad with hijiki/sweet seaweed and fresh okra to which she added her specialty, half-boiled eggs seasoned with black sesame seeds.

Nice colors with lettuce wrapped under the eggs and Japanese cherries. The latter are more acid than dark cherries and are perfect in summer heat.

Surprisingly satisfying and tasty (and colorful as usual!)!

June 26th, 2011

We are going through a blasting heat wave seeing us almost reach 40 degrees, which means probably higher inside town!
The Missus had to devise a bento that could be kept safe in spite of the adverse conditions!

That is why she mixed shredded sweet umeboshi/pickled Japanese plums with the rice after having steamed. Not only great for taste, design and color, but it will also keep the rice safe for a long time.
She added some black sesame seeds for decoration and supplementary seasoning.

The same conditions applied for the side dish/box: design, color, nutrition and safety!

Pickled celery with hijiki/sweet seaweed and tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette! The latter is for the dessert part!

Great colors there:
Sauteed salmon seasoned with a mixture of mayonnaise and wasabi tsuke/wasabi stems and leaves pickled in sake white lees.
Sauteed yellow zucchini, okra and plum tomatoes.

Low in calories, very tasty and so colorful!

June 22nd, 2011

“Shiira/シイラ” is the Japanese name for Mahi-mahi, Dorado,or Common dolphinfish!

It is a very popular and reasonably-priced fish in Japan you can eat in all manners. This particular one came from Kochi Prefecture in Shikoku Island although they are also caught of our shores in Shizuoka!

This time the Missus kept things simple with the rice.
After steaming it she mixed it with some finely chopped carrot and parsely and topped it with broken walnuts.

She strived for balance in nutrients as well in colors for the “side dish”!

Having cut the fillets of shiira into proper-size bits she took off the small bones with pincers before covering the pieces of fish with flour, seasoning, egg and panko and shallow frying (fried in shallow oil, not deep) them.
She added lemon for more seasoning and color and plenty of lettuce for the fibers and vitamin C!

For the “garnish”, she placed her favorite half-boiled egg decorated with black olive, boiled broccoli on a small bed of tartare sauce, French cornichons and tomatoes (the latter for dessert!).

Very tasty, but a little short of satisfaction (I guess the Missus is significantly reducing the calories!)!
June, 21st, 2011

Now, what made me call this bento, Alien Chicken Faces Bento?
The Missus is going to kill me for publishing such a title LOL
Mind you, I can always plead the dudden rise in temperatures as a good excuse!

Anyway, the rice first:
The Missus steamed it with a dash of soy sauce and dashi/soupstock added to the water.
Once steamed she mixed it with boiled black beans.

She added home-pickles mini-melons for fibers and vinegar.
These mini-melons mainly come from the musk melon farmes in the area of Fukuroi City who have to pare down their plants. A good way to avoid waste and turn a reject into gastronomy!

Now, for the accompaniment box:
Can you see the alien faces peeking out?

The Missus made her usual pickle corner with home-pickled cucumber mixed with seaweed (wakame) and umeboshi pulp with a little more ponzu!
Very appreciated on hot days!

Now, do you agree they look alien?
The Missus did work hard to conceive them with sasami/Chicken breast fillets she had first flattened before rolling them around boiled carrots strips and stringbeans and stir-fry them together.
She added plenty of local lettuce and small plum tomatoes for fibers and vitamins!

The dessert added plenty of colorrs with pineapple and redcurrants from our balcony garden (the redcurrants, not the pineapple!)!

Very colorful and summerlike bento! Very satisfying and yummy!
Loved those alien faces…
June 15th, 2011

Dry curry is a very popular way of preparing curried rice in Japan!
Actually, there is nothing dry about it, only a “Japlish” expression!

The Missus, like most Japanese, loves curry, but more the Japanese style than anything else.
This means curry will be mild, even sweet.
You would be surprised how many shops serve curry in Japan, from Tonkatsu Curry to Curry Udon!

Anyway the Missus, after steaming the rice, mixed in curry mix powder and curry paste while the rice was hot.
She filled the main box with it and topped it with a few raisins.

I was not allowed inside the kitchen (even in the bigger one in our new apartment!) while she prepared the meat balls! All she would tell me is that they were made with pork and beef minced meat, cheese and parsley!
I must admit she makes great balls! (No pun meant!)
She added Shizuoka-grown celery for more fibers and vitamins!

The salad and dessert (she did not forget the latter!) box consisted of home-pickled mini melons and carrots, a semi-boiled egg topped with black sesame seeds, lettuce and beautiful Japanese cherries from Nagano Prefecture ( a present from a student!)!

Plenty of colors again, very satisfying (I was very busy physically today) and yummy!
June 14th, 2011

The Missus is still very busy settling around in around our new appartment.
So, when she asked: “Do you want a bento today?”
I replied: “Yes, if possible!”
To which she commented” In this case, “nokorimono no bento” today!
“Nokorimono” means “leftovers (or what’s ever left in the fridge)!

Plenty of vegetables as you can see, and all locally grown.
After steaming the rice she prepared burdock roots/gobou/牛蒡 in “kinpira” style. She fried some red and green peppers in olive oil and wasabi dressing and black sesame seeds.
The okra served raw with katsuobushi/dry bonito shavings/鰹節.
She then topped the rice with the three of them.
When I ate from that box, I mixed the whole a bit beforehand.

As for the side dish, she first boiled local white and yellow potatoes and then fried them with a tin of yakitori!
She added boiled morokko ingen/モロッコいんげん, a large variety of string beans (these are usually grown for their beans, but the Japanese like them young) knotted for design and some pearl tomatoes!

Very healthy and yummy leftovers, but where was my dessert? LOL

June 07th, 2011

Due to our moving to a new home just completed the Missus simply had not the time to make a bento for me for nearly a month!
Thus this is my first bento made in our new home!

The Missus kept everything simple this time. She said more complicated affairs will still have to wait!
After having steamed she rice she mixed it with her own pickled Japanese pepper seeds/sanshou/山椒 and added a “kinpira” of carrots and burdock roots/gobou/牛蒡 she had prepared last night. It certainly made for simple and nice colors.

The “side box/dish” also came in simple colors and healthy balance!

She deep-fried (actually shallow-fried) “tontoro/soft pork” cut into rough strips, not with breadcrumbs, but with karaage crumbs which are a lot finer. She placed them on a bed of Shizuoka-grown celery (our Prefecture grows half of the total Japanese crop!) and added a touch of color and balance with lemon pieces for seasoning and sweet pearl tomatoes for taste and vitamins!

She finally added her own pickled cucumber (with konbu) and boiled black beans (bought in a market).

If she plans to concoct something more complicated in the future I’m not going to complain! LOL

May 10th, 2011

Wasabi sausages!!??
Yes, they certainly exist!
These were conceived with the best pork you could find in Japan produced by Sanoman Company in Fujinomiya City. The wasabi of course is from Shizuoka Prefecture, that is, from a nearby wasabi field.
Actually, I went to Fujinomiya City yesterday to report on a grand BBQ organized by Sanoman Co. and I just couldn’t resist bringing back these sausages to the Missus!

The Missus just steamed plain rice before filling the box and sprinkling them with black roasted sesame seeds and adding some fresh ginger pickled in sweet vinegar.
As for the vegetables she prepared “kinpira” with burdock roots/gobo/牛蒡, local chili pepper and dry shredded cuttle-fish. She filled the other other half with hot Chinese-style sauteed eggplant and green pepper.

As for the side dish she prepared her specialty, tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette and simply boiled and fried the sausages to which she added fresh celery.
The dessert was made of grapes and oranges wedges.

For a better view of the wasabi pork sausages!
A real delicatessen’s delicacy (the oxymoron of the day!)!
You must absolutely try them!

April 28th, 2011

The Missus was very busy this morning as she had to prepare not one but three bentos!
She did have to come up with practical ideas, hence a sushi stylle!

After having steamed the rice and prepared it as sushi rice she made three types of “te-mari/手まり sushi, that is sushi in the shape of small balls ( you shape them insde cellophane paper:
1-Sakura Te-mari: the rice was mixed with real pickled cherry blossoms.
2-Anago te-mari. She mixed the rice with home-pickled sansho/Japanese pepper seeds and topped them with broiled anago/conger eel.
3-Pickles and cheese te-mari. She mixed the rice with finely chopped Japanese cucumber pickles before introducing small pieces of processed cheese inside.

As for the side dish she prepared tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette with chopped shiso/perilla inside. She placed them in the box with shizuoka-grown cress and Ameera Rubbins pearl tomatoes and quite a few broad beans.
For dessert she added sweet stewed beans.

Solid and tasty!

April 27th, 2011

Wasabi Zuke/山葵漬 is wasabi fermented and pickled with the white lees of Japanese sake. This is a prime product of Shizuoka Prefecture which outputs 80% of all wasabi in Japan!

The Missus being very this week didn’t have much time for shopping yesterday and made ends meet with waht was available in the pantry!

After steaming the rice she mixed it with home-pickled wasabi stems and chopped seaweed/konbu (she pickled them together).
She added wasabi zuke (very high qulaity even in Shizuoka Prefecture made by Tamaruya Co.) for extra seasoning and zip.

As I like yakitori hot, cold or canned, she opened a small tin of it and spread it over the rice. Simple and effective!LOL

The side dish looked like a flag!

The Missus included her favorite trick, half an avocado fille with the half of a boiled egg. She coated the inside of the avocado with tartatre mayonnaise for seasoning. The cut tomatoes on a thick bed of Shiuzoka-grown cress is Shizuoka-graown Ameera tomatoes (very sweet!)

She added some cheese for the necessary balance. As for dessert, home-made apple compote and (imported) blueberries.

Today promises rain. I wonder what the Missus will come up with?

April 19th, 2011

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Bamboo are in season and “take gohan/bamboo shoots rice” can be seen everywhere!

A very colorful rice dish!
The Missus prepared the finely chopped carrot and the bamboo shoots (cut into small triangular pieces) beforehand to soften them a bit and than steamed them on top of the rice before mixing the lot.
She placed a fresh sansho/Japanese pepper sprig (very much in season) on top for more color and seasoning.

A solid side dish! (I’m just recovering from a very bad cold and I need the calories!)

Pork fillet she pan-fried and which she seasoned (while still frying) at the last second with mayonnaise and capers. Very Italian/French/Japanese!
Shizuoka-grown Ameera Rubbins Peral Tomatoes, green and white asparagus tip, stick Junior Broccoli and lettuce.


The other showing the kabocha and sweet black beans salad!

I did have a dessert consisting of ornage, grapes and prunes!

Healthy, solid and really tasty!

April 13th, 2011

Soboro in Japanese cuisine means an ingredient presented in small lumps, be it scrambled eggs or minced meat!. It does for great decoration in bentos!

Hint: for a better design divide your topping slightly at a slant instead of a straightforward division and use the division line for a better accent!

The Missus used minced pork (you can use beef of course!) which she pan-fried with a generous portion of black sesame seeds. It was slightly sweet as the Japanese like it. For design (it is edible) she placed a sprig of sansho/Japanese pepper.

The second half was covered with sweetened srcumble eggs.
As for the “division line” she boiled some peas in their pods (edible). Thn she cut the pods finely for the line and placed the peas for extra color over the eggs.

The side dish was colorful as usual!
From the left, stick junior broccoli, boiled and seasoned with crushed walnut coarse powder, home-pickled myoga ginger in sweet vinegar, “chikuwa” (fish paste tubes) stuffed with home-pickles fresh ginger roots, and local oranges.

The colors should be enough to attract anyone!LOL

April 12th, 2011

Today’s name, Sakura Bento, had two reasons for it!
One, the sakura/Cheery trees were in full bloom in Shizuoka City.
Two, The Missus had decorated the rice with a salted (edible) cherry blossom!

Having steamed the rice, she placed it in the first box before sprinkling with dry red shio/perila furikake, finely chopped Japanese cucumber pickles, home-pickled sansho/Japanese pepper seeds and a cherry blossom!

A very colorful side dish with pk\lenty of home recipes!

Potato and peas in (and) their pods (cut to size after being boiled), boiled carrots a (some cut as pine trees!) and lettuce.

Zauteed chicken rolls of two kinds, one containing home-pickled myoga ginger leaves, the other young ginger roots also pickled in sweet rice vinegar.
Lettuce again and weet plum tomatoes.
The dessert consisted of apples simmered in kirsch, lemon and honey!

Plenty of colors, the Spring is definitely around the corner!

April 6th, 2011

Chirashi Sushi could be called “mixed sushi” or “decoration sushi” and it is very popular dish in Japanese homes as it is both very practical and tasty!

They also make for beautiful colors!
The Missus first prepared the sushi rice while she lightly boiled some shrimps.
She added chopped home-pickled myoga ginger, Japanese scrambled egg, shrimp cut in small pieces, home-pickled sansho/Japanese pepper seeds, diced avocado to the rice and mixed the lot.
She topped it with boiled shrimps and a sprig of sansho/ki no mi!

Beautiful, isn’t it?

The salad box was very healthy: boiled Shizuoka-grown Stick Junior broccoli, orange wedges and strips f red pimento. The sweet beans (very Japanese!) were my dessert!

Just love these chirashi sushi!

April 5th, 2011

The Missus was back into the “square bento mode” today.
I called it a “scallop and Broad Beans Bento” because of the “rice box”!

She steamed the rice with the whole contents of a small can of small scallops and their juices poure on top of the rice.
Once they had been cooked, she mixed the rice and the scallops so as to break the latter for better inclusion. She then added boiled and peeled broad beans and mixed the lot roughly.
She topped the whole with finely cut home-pickled ginger for extra seasoning.

Now the “salad box” wasqite intricate:
From right to left:
-Suteed egg plants/aubegines with a dash of ginger jam (ginger cooked with honey only).
Sweet carrot salad with whole sesame seeds and ground sesame seeds.
Cress from Shige Chan Garden in Shizuoka City.
-Mimosa egg.
-Kiwi fruit, orange and mini tomatoes. great colors!

As usual very tasty and satisfying!

March 31st, 2011

I don’t know if it’s the fault of yesterday’s medical check up, but I seem to recognize “alienfaces” looking at me through the tamagoyaki!
Actually the Missus agreed when she made it this morning!

Beautiful orange-dominated colors in the “rice box” although I wish that the Missus had not forgotten sending the two detailed pictures of it.
The rice was steamed together with finely chopped carrot then mixed together once cooked and finally sprinkled with black sesame seeds.
The Missus then fried sliced zucchini to be placed under fried tuna filets topped with cheddar cheese. The finishing note was achieved with a pair of Shizuoka-grown Ameera Rubbins pearl tomatoes.

Actually you will have to look top to bottom to see the “alien faces”!

Can you see them now: two with a “nose”, the bottom one with two eyes and a very thin smiling mouth!

And now for the explanations:
Home-pickled myoga ginger and pieces of fresh ginger root from Hatada Garden in Kuno, Shizuoka City that the Missus pickled herself.
The tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette was plain with plenty of sweet boiled black beans.

As for the greens, boiled string beans in hot sesame dressing.

This bento seems light, but it wasn’t actually, what with the solid amount of rice!
Very satisfying and tasty!

March 30th, 2011

A Medical Check Up Bento? My, what are we going to invent these days! LOL
Actually, it is a very simple story: this norning I had to submit myself to my annual medical check up! I’m not interested in describing all the niggles my body is having a good time with, so I’ll go straight to what the Missus concocted for me!

The rice was a straight affair: steamed, that is all. But the soft-boiled and marinated egg is a creation of the Missus. The red cucumber pickles are Kyoto-style but the leaf ginger (stick ginger) pickles are peurely local and made by a Shizuoka grower (the Missus is preparing her own with the batch I brought back from the same grower!).

The Missus must have been worried about the results of my medical check up as the pictures were definitely on the dark side. LOL

The vegetables consisted of three kinds of stir-fried pimentoes, some lettuce and deep-fried kabocha.

The Missus’ deep-fried/karaage chicken, deep-fried kabocha (interetsing taste”!) and bolide sweet black beans ( my dessert?).

Very healthy and tasty. The doctor will worry not seeing me as much as he would like to!

March 23rd, 2011

When I asked this morning how I should call todays’s bento, she replied “European-style Bento”!
Now, what could be a European-style bento?

To me it looked like a “chirashizushi/Decoration sushi”!
Aright, the boiled shrimps do look foreign…
Anywa th Missus, after steaming and preparing the sushi rice mixed it with par;ey, capers, broken boiled egg and walnuts.

The sliced stuffed olives do add a Spanish note…
At least it was tasty and colorful (and well-balanced)!

The salad-dessert dish included “petit-vert”/ a Brussels sprouts and cabbage hybrid. Very tasty and crispy! Carrot salad as always, boiled black beans (sweet) and Shizuoka Ameera Rubbins Pearl Tomatoes. The latter two were sweet enough to make for the dessert!

Alright, it is European and delicious at that! LOL

March 22nd, 2011

The Missus was left with plenty of rice from last night dinner, so she prepared “Chahan”

Chahan/チャハン means “Fried Rice” as is understood in Chinese gastronomy.
The Japanese are very fond of this rice dish and prepare it in an infinite number of manners and styles.
The Missus simply fried last night night7s rice with a little oil, minced Japanese cucumber picles and shredded “kanidama/surimi”
Simple ni\ough with nice colors again and healthy. She added some Kyoto-style pickled cucumbers for extra taste.

The side dish was very Japanese in concept with an eye for balance, both in health and design.

Chikuwa/fish paste tubes filled with shiso leaf and sweet umeboshi/Japanese pickled plum. Chikuwa are popular in many manners, including oden.
“Snap Endou” or green peas in their pods. They are called “mange tou” (“eat all”) in French. Just boiled they are sweet and tender.

The “tamagoyaki”/Japanese omelette contained sakura ebi/cherry shrimps only found in our Prefecture. A great morsel! The plum tomatoes were sweet and could be considered the dessert part. Finally the Missus included her carrot tagliatelle salad.

Very satisfying!

March 19th, 2011

All these gastonomic reports for my official work at Agrigraph Japan is not always helping my health and the Missus has to think about my waistline from time to time!

Thinking of heath and balance the Missus prepared her favorite pasta/spaghetti (she is an addict!) and once the had cooled down seaoned them wit some dressing of her own.
She added smoked salmon, capers and kawairedaikon/daikon sprouts and some lemon.
Simple and colorful!

The salad dish too was simple, colorful and healthy:
On a bed of carrot salad a semi-hard boiled egg, liced plum tomatoes, cucumber and penty of cress. I added sesame dressing I keep handy at work.

Dessert? No need, really! LOL
Very, very healthy! Alright, and tasty, too!

March 18th, 2011

When I saw those two rectangular boxes aligned together i couldn’t help thinking of a square dance as I have never heard of a rectangular dance! LOL

The rice dish was simple enough in concept as the Missus steamed it with mixed beans, chopped carrots, corn and hijiki/sweet seaweed and mixed the whole together once cooked. It made for some interesting color combination and satisfying eating!

Although the side dish looks a bot complicated it was pretty straightforward, too!
Boiled broccoli, boiled eggs and boiled spinach inside a double layer of inari/fried tofu pouches, boiled white cauliflower, plum tomato, boiled kabotcha and home-pickled cabbage (in amazu/sweet vinegar).

Some Shizuoka-grown Benihoppe/Red Cheeks strawberries for dessert added the finishing touch to a very healthy (and tasty) bento!

March 2nd, 2011

The Missus is back into her sushi mode!
And as her sushi rolls are always of the healthy kind, I’m always ready for them!

After having steamed the rice and prepared it as sushi rice, she prepared 3 types of rolls/maki all rolled in lettuce:

-1 plain with pepper ham

-1 where she mixed the rice with curry furikake to obtain the yellow color and rolled around fresh cress/cresson.
-1 where she mixed the rice with finely chopped Japanese cucumber pickles to obtain a greenish color and rolled around finely cut carrot salad.

The “salad” box comprised finely chopped carrot salad, boiled black nbeans, finely cut pimentos, chopped celery, baby leaves and walnuts.

Had it not been for the ham this bento would have been vegan/vegetarian!
Healthy and tasty!

March 1st, 2011

The weather has been pretty grim the last two days with the coming spring rains, but it is difficult to complain when you consider the water is needed. But it does not help with my work at Agrigraph and I have to find venues for reports away from the farms.
At least the Missus keeps me well-fed! LOL

The Missus actually complained that her bento today reflected the stae of the weather…
I know better than contradict her and told her not to wory.
Anyway she steamed plain rice and sprinkled some umeboshi/Jpanese pickled plum furikakke and sesame seeds over it.

The Missus likes shiosake/円鮭/salted salmon, but I prefer it with extra seasoning, so she fried the salted salmon in teriyaki sauce. She left the skin for decoration, but I discarded the latter.
She had plenty of various vegetable salads ready in the refrigerator, so she added her own gobo kinpira/stir-fried burdock roots salad and boiled broccoli.

Plenty more vegetables in the “side box”!

From the extreme right, simple spinach salad with katsuobushi/dried bonito shavings, carrot and pimento salad, boiled cauliflower and lettuce.

And tamagoyaki for dessert!

The weather will be fine tomorrow but I’m looking forward to the same!

February 23rd, 2011

One the Missus’ favorite ways of preparing chicken is to smoke it.
She has many recipes, but I couldn’t check this one as she did it overnight!

So after she had steamed the rice and fill a box with it, she fried slices of smoked chicken together with pieces of red pimentos and celery (stick and leaves) with a little wasabi dressing and plentyof black sesame seeds to cover and season the rice with the juices.
Simple in concept but very tasty!

More vegetables came into the second box in the shape of salad: carrots with black beans, lettuce and sesame dressing and crushed peanuts, pickles: home-pickled mini melons and daikon, and dessert: boiled violet sweet potato.
A soft-boiled egg completed the lunch for more proteins and balance.

Very satisfying!

February 22nd, 2011

Although I’m not a vegetarian I’ve wanted for a long time the Missus to concoct me an entirely vegetarian bento. Not only she complied, but she made it a sushi as well!

She first steamed the rice and prepared as sushi rice before mixing plenty of sesame seeds in.
She then proceded to cover the lot with vegetables.

She fried sliced lotus roots in spices for a hot addition to the plain boiled green peas in their pods.

Then, keeping in mind the color arrangement and the whole balance, she first added a shredded carrot salad seasoned with gomadare/sesame dressing and crushed peanuts, and next gobo kinpira/stir-fried hot burdock roots (seasoned with chili pepper and black sesame seeds). She finally topped the whole with some sliced plum tomato.

For salad and dessert she prpared a vegan/vegetarian kabocha and black beans salad to which she added fresh lettuce and Akihime strawberries from Shizuoka!

I don’t plan to be a vegan or vegetarian but my sometimes tired body can really appreciate the cuisine now and then!

February 16th, 2011

The Japanese ususally prepare their “curry” in the form of a more or less consistent “soup” that the pour on top of rice.
What they call “dry curry” has nothing dry about it. They mean that the curry, instead of a soup, will take the form of a consistent meat sauce similar to that of Bolognese sauce. In England it would be labelled a “savoury”.

The Missus had already prepared a curry of roughly minced pork and beef with chopped vegetables and plenty of curry paste and condiments of her own.
She reheated it while she steamed the rice.

She then mixed the hot rice with curry poder for a beautiful yellow color.
AS she placed it in the bento box she formed a “well” to be filled with the minced meat curry. She then topped it with a soft-boiled egg broken in small pieces before putting the last touch with kawaire daikon/daikon sprouts and fancy stuffed olives.

As for the fibers and vitamin she preapred a simple salad of baby leaves, boiled Brussels spouts, plum tomatoe, small pieces of cheese and alnuts.

Very hearty and delicious!

February 15th, 2011

I had to call this bento, “St. Valentine Bento” because the Missus, although one day late, couldn’t help introducing a couple of little hearts in today’s lunch!
Can you see them?

The rice was plain steamed rice but she seasoned it with umeboshi furikake/梅干振り掛け. “Furikake” in Japanese means “sprinkle”, and they come in many varieties in Japan! Actually people make their own in the countryside. For example, Shizuoka is famous for wasabi furikake!
The Missus thought of the color combination when she added home-pickled mini-melon and red daikon!

I must admit that the “side dish” box was pretty elaborate.
Actually, I didn’t request for a bento yesterday and won’t either tomorrow in all probability. That could explain the Missus’ inspiration!

The “white end” consisted of daikon and scallops salad with pink pepper seeds, mini-tomatoes, lettuce and the Missus’ specialty, deep-fried chicken in sesame seeds.
The seasame seeds were coated on the chicken “sasami/fillets” with cornstarch and seasoning before being shallow-fried (“deep-fried” in shallow oil). Very tasty!

The “green end” consisted of boiled broccoli, a half “onsen tamago/温泉卵, that is, a semi-boiled egg which had been later marinated for extra seasoning, fried slices of lotus roots and boiled carrot hearts for the Saint Valentine!

Note that there is no dessert, but I took a batch of mandarines with me!

February 8th, 2011

Usually “kabayaki” is for eels/unagi/鰻, but the same recipe can be applied to conger eel/anago/穴子!
“Kabayaki” basically means “broiled in Japanese sauce”.
Needless to say, I know little about the Missus’ sauce recipe!

Although the steamed rice was plain, the Missus added some zip to it by seasoning it with her own home-pickled hapanese pepper seeds/sansho/山椒.
She first cooked the conger eel fillets in the oven before frying them in a sauce of her own design and placing them atop the rice with their sauce.
She finally placed chopped chives on the conger eel for extra taste, colour and balance.

She used the same new rectangular boxes as yesterday making full use of the partition.

As for the greend and fibers she inserted plenty of boiled rape flowers/na no hana/菜の花 seasoned with sesame seeds dressing and boiled black beans.

For more fibers she added some fresh mini radishes and her own pickled green and red daikon.
For dessert, the Missus’ specialty: plain tamagoyaki/Japanes omelette/卵焼き!

Great balance, very tasty and plenty of it!

February 7th, 2011

The Missus has acquired a new bento box set!
Like two others we have, it comes from the north of Japan in Akita Prefecture, It is rectangular, a shape we didn’t have. Moreover it comes it comes with your name lacquered on top (on order!)!

She steamed the rice separately and later mixed it with na no hana/菜の花/rape flower (strange name, if there is one!) she had lightly boiled and goma to ume furikake/dry sesame seeds and umeboshi seasoning mixture.
Simple but very effective!

The set is provided with a separation bar of the same wood (almost completely hidden by the lettuce. Look at the “corner” where the kabocha salad has been introduced.)
The egg is a marinated boiled quail egg.

In the corner formed by the separation bar is filled with the Missus’ special kabocha/南瓜/pumpkin salad which included their green skin and cheese.
The separation bar is almost competely (on purpose) concealed by lettuce.

The meat part was provided with soft pork slices (twice for better taste) fried in breadcrumbs and later seasoned withh BBQ sauce.
More vegetables came in the shape of boiled white asparaguses and Brussels sprouts. Ameera Rubbins tomatoes made for the finishing touch with more vitamins.
More of these came with Shizuoka-grown Benihoppe strawberries.

I know there exists a triangular bento box somewhere… I wonder if I could tempt the Missus…

February 2nd, 2011

Today’s bento was certainly very healthy with all those vegetables!
But the Missus had been experimenting for that particular one!

First of all she had wanted to make Scotch eggs for some time.
But chicken eggs being too big for a bento, she used (high quality) quail eggs she had first boiled and marinated in soy sauce, sweet rice vinegar and I don’t know what.

She first steamed rice with finely chopped carrot and broccoli and mixed it once ready before filling the first box with it once it had cooled down.
She put boiled half-cut Brussels Sprouts in the middle before topping the lot with half-cut quail scotch eggs.
The meat around the eggs is minced pork seasoned with nutmeg and other spices.
She put the last finishing touch with some black roasted sesame seeds.

The salad was kept simple and healthy: on a bed of lettuce. mini-radishes, cut celety, yellow frut tomatoes, cheese and boiled black beans.
I seasoned the lot with sesame dressing I keep handy at work!

Healthy, wasn’t it?

February 2nd, 2011

The Missus used one of her favourites for bento, namely oiled smoked oysters.
It sounds a bit of a conflict but the oysters are really smoked before being preserved in oil.
They come in tins in Japan (not cheap) and their whole contents can be used to great effect!

The Missus steamed the rice with the oysters but kept the oil aside for a start.

After she had mixed the rice and oysters once steames, she further seasoned the whole with the rest of the oysters oil and home-pickled sanshou/Japanese pepper/山椒. She finally added thinly sliced boiled snap green peas (meaning eaten with their tender pods) for improved balance.

As for the side dish, the Missus concentrated again on balance between colors, ingredients and nutrients.

Boiled broccoli seasoned with gomadare/sesame dressing and powdered sesame seeds, “ameers rubbins” mini-tomatoes (really sweet, a real dessert by themselves!), yellow fruit tomato and lettuce.

Of course my favourite tamagoyaki! This time plain and sweet, as for a real dessert!
More lettuce a shredded carrot and walnut salad to top it all.

Once again, very tasty and fullfilling!

January 26th, 2011

The homey art of bento, like major gastronomies in Japan and France, is not so much the art of coming up with all kinds of creations and new ingredients, but to accomodate what’s available in an elegant and delicious manner. (Never complimented the Missus so much! I will have to tone down my comments! LOL).

So, after a good look in the fridge and in the pantry, the Missus prepared “mazegohan/混ぜご飯/mixed rice” with a small tin of high-quality scallops preserve a friend had brought some time ago, and some soy sauce, Japanese sake and dashi/Japanese soupstock.

Once properly steamed she mixedthe whole to uniformity, and filled the first box, topping it with tobikko/とびっこ/flying fish roe and finely chopped ciboulette/French chives. Great colors!
The pickle are home-pickled wasabi stems and leaves.

The Missus complained she should have introduced more colors in the side dish, but it was fine by me!

The red turnips/kabu/蕪, Brussels sprouts/mekabetsu/メカベッツ, white asparaguses, “snap green peas in pods and rape flower/na no hana/菜の花 are simply boiled.
The shuumai were (home-) madewith minced pork, “oba” perilla, and sesame oil.

For dessert, separated from the rest with lettuce, tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette/卵焼き with boiled black beans inside!
They look as so many eyes…

I certainly needed all that for a long work day!

January 21st, 2011

The Missus said this morning as she woke up that she would have to tackle other ways of preparing my bentos and came up with the idea of introducing tako/蛸/octopus.
The first thing I told her was to serve it in as small as possible bits, but I might have made a mistake!

The accent was very much on balance and color once again!
“Don’t make any mistakes when you explain my reciprs!” she warned me… Now, I have found a way to unveil her “secrets”! LOL

The rice was first steamed with thinly chopped carrots than mixed with chopped parsley, sliced rice vinegar-pickled octopus and cucumber (they come out great home-pickled together!).
She topped the lot with thinly sliced red pimentoes, pimento-stuffed black olives and lemon and more parsley.

The side dish included both salad and dessert as I consider tamagoyaki/卵焼き/Japanese omelette as such although it was not sweet.

Now, the tamagoyaki had a foreign accent as it included ciboulette/French chives, cheese and kanikama/fake crab.
Absoultely delicious!
The green leaves are ice-plant, a vegetable which has recently received recognition here.

Now, for the salad:
the two daikon, one gree and the other red, were picj\kled by the Missus with amazu/甘酢/sweet rice vinegar.
The greens are boiled na no hana/菜の花/rape blossoms seasoned with two French mustards, one plain and the other including the seeds.
The Missus added some walnuts for much needed oils, fibers and other nutrients.

Who said I’m lucky? LOL

January 19th, 2011

The Missus said this morning as she woke up that she would have to tackle other ways of preparing my bentos and came up with the idea of introducing tako/蛸/octopus.
The first thing I told her was to serve it in as small as possible bits, but I might have made a mistake!

The accent was very much on balance and color once again!
“Don’t make any mistakes when you explain my reciprs!” she warned me… Now, I have found a way to unveil her “secrets”! LOL

The rice was first steamed with thinly chopped carrots than mixed with chopped parsley, sliced rice vinegar-pickled octopus and cucumber (they come out great home-pickled together!).
She topped the lot with thinly sliced red pimentoes, pimento-stuffed black olives and lemon and more parsley.

The side dish included both salad and dessert as I consider tamagoyaki/卵焼き/Japanese omelette as such although it was not sweet.

Now, the tamagoyaki had a foreign accent as it included ciboulette/French chives, cheese and kanikama/fake crab.
Absoultely delicious!
The green leaves are ice-plant, a vegetable which has recently received recognition here.

Now, for the salad:
the two daikon, one gree and the other red, were picj\kled by the Missus with amazu/甘酢/sweet rice vinegar.
The greens are boiled na no hana/菜の花/rape blossoms seasoned with two French mustards, one plain and the other including the seeds.
The Missus added some walnuts for much needed oils, fibers and other nutrients.

Who said I’m lucky? LOL

January 18th, 2011

It seems we are going through an unusual cold wave these days in Shizuoka Prefefecture. Even Hamamatsu and Shimada Cities woke up under snow! Mind you, it will take a bit more for snow to fall on Shizuoka City, but the day it does, we will be able to say that it is really cold as Central Shizuoka Prefecture is the “mildest” region after Okinawa in Japan!

This time, the Missus prepared one of her favourites: Karaage Chicken/唐揚げ鶏肉/Japanese-style deep-fried chicken.
To tell the truth, I can’t remember the last time I ate deep-fried chicken in one of those notorious eateries.
The point is that the chicken, after being sprinkled with “a bit of this and a bit of that” (the Missus’ secret that I am not even privy to! I know it includes panko, conrnstarch, sometimes eggs, but she has many recipes!), has to be deep-fried into two stages to keep the meat soft, tender and juicy, even after it has cooled down.
So, after after steamed plain white rice she filled the main box with, she placed the karaage chicken on top of the rice and and seasoned each piece with a little wasabi dressing, roasted yellow and black sesame seeds, and some cress/cresson (Shizuoka-grown).

As for the side dish she aimed at combining ingredients and colors.

The little white “blobs” are boiled 百合の根/yuri no ne/ (edible) lily bulbs! Very tasty, seasoned with gomadare/胡麻ダレ/sesame dressing. The soft-boiled eggs had been “pickled” overnight for better taste (hence the brownish color of their whites) and sprinkled with black sesame seeds. The (Shizuoka-grown) red daikon had been pickled in amazu/甘酢/sweet rice vinegar. Some lettuce was used for the partition and more vitamins and fibers.

More fibers, vitamin C and iron were contributed with Shizuoka-grown (raw) plum tomatoes and (boiled) Brussels sprouts.

More welcome nutrients and colors with green kiwi fruit (Shizuoka City) and Red Pearl Benihoppe strawberries (Fujinomiya City)!

Perfect bento before going out into the cold again!
January 11th, 20111

Today’s bento was not only the frist one of the year, but it could have been called the “’11/1/11” Bento too for being the 11th of January 2011!

Once again, the Missus made a good use of what she could find inside the fridge:
She steamed the rice with sakura ebi/桜海老/cherry shrimps (they are found only in Shizuoka Prefecture!) she later mixed with some sesame seeds. She seasoned the whole with home-pickled wasabi stems (from Izu Peninsula).

As usual, plenty of colors with the main dish!

Carrot tagliatelle, black beans and celery leaves salad with home-pickled violet daikon and more lettuce.

As for the meat she prepared slices of pistachio soft ham in tonkatsu style! A little lemon, a great trick!

For dessert, a home-made compote of apples and kiwi fruit!

Simple and healthy, and delicious!

2 thoughts on “Bento/Lunch Boxes (2011)”

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