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Archive for February, 2009

Bento #219

Yesterday’s bento… yeas, I’ve been lazy with updating this week :P
Anyway, mini maki rolls because I saw a picture of some in a bento box somewhere and thought they looked delicious! Inarizushi because they’re always delicious, a veggie dumpling, tamagoyaki, broccoli, cherry tomatos on skewers and a mochi for dessert.

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I haven’t fixed the other photos yet… slow this week. I’ll upload them later.

Just when I wrote about the Carrot and Peanut sugo this week, I happened to find another great vegetarian sugo recipe in a newspaper around here. Since I had the ingredients at home anyway, I thought I’d give it a try – and because I was craving feta, I then transformed it into an oven-baked dish with a feta crust. Yum.

The sugo is made of roasted eggplant, ground roast walnuts and tomato sauce. I personally think the walnuts were a bit strong and am going to use less next time. I think about half a cup would be enough.
I used macaroni because I love them in baked dishes, but the recipe originally served the sugo with spaghetti, which sounds wonderful – it’s a really think and coating sauce!

Eggplant and walnut sugo
1 food processor
1/2 cup walnuts
1 small or 1/2 large eggplant, diced and salted
2 Tsp olive oil (I use garlic and chili flavoured) for frying
crushed tomatoes or tomato concentrate + water
Rosemary, salt, pepper to taste

Roast the walnuts in a dry pan. Transfer to the food processor and grind to fine crumbles. Set aside.
Roast the eggplant in batches, adding more olive oil whenever necessary. I make thin slices so as much surface as possible gets fried, but I hate how eggplant soaks up so much oil. If you want to decrease the amount of fat, you can consider roasting it in the oven instead like I did in an earlier eggplant sugo recipe.
Puree the eggplant in the food processor. If you don’t like it chunky, add some tomato sauce to make it puree more evenly. Return to the pan and add the walnuts and more tomato sauce to desired consistency. Spice to taste and let simmer another few minutes (or until the pasta is done).

I had boiled macaroni in the meanwhile and distributed them to two lasagna forms coated in butter. The sauce went on top, and a layer of crumbled feta on top of that. Some more rosemary on top and off they went to the oven to bake at 250 degrees C until the cheese got a nice crust. YUM!

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Bento #218

Ovenbaked macaroni with feta on top from dinner. Romaine lettuce and tiiiiny grape tomatoes in the upper layer, plus a bottle of vinegar and a quarter of a jelly donut left over from fat tuesday (I don’t observe lent but any reason to party is good for me!).

Recipe for the pasta will be up sometime later today.

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Bento #217

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I thought I could re-use some leftover rice this morning, but it turned out that I hadn’t closed the lid all the way and it was dry and spoiled. So I went with the somewhat less traditional, but quickly prepared couscous in the upper layer :)
The lower layer has dumplings, 1-egg tamagoyaki, broccoli, celery, cuttings from the red bell pepper Dalahorse and hearts on the couscous and a 98-cal Twix.

I fear this won’t be enough food for me in the end – the bento was kind of rushed – but since it’s Fat Tuesday I trust someone in the office will bring Semlor or some other fatty food later in the afternoon!

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I recently found those lovely, huge colourful pasta tubes. I love trying out new shapes of pasta!
The only problem is that a lot of said shapes come in sizes that are, let’s face it, designed to hold Bolognese sauce – and a lot of it. Conchiglie, Cannelloni and now these tubes – they are fun, but bring a tear to a vegetarian’s eye!

Lucky then that I finally found a vegetarian Bolognese recipe that I like!

The idea came to me in a Thai restaurant of all places. Trying their delicious peanut sauce I had the idea – why not use peanuts as a ground meat replacement for Bolognese?
After a few tries I’m now sufficiently convinced I’m on to something here. So here’s the recipe:

Vegetarian Bolognese sauce with peanuts
1 food processor (don’t do it without! Really)
1 cup unsalted peanuts
1 carrot
1 red onion, peeled
1-2 stalks of celery
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 red chili, chopped
Tomato concentrate
Olive oil and/or butter
Salt, pepper, herbs (e.g. Thyme, rosemary, oregano), sugar to taste
Optional: Mushrooms, bell pepper, crushed tomatoes for the sauce

I’m doing all the chopping for this recipe in the food processor. This saves me time but mostly it’s quite easy to get the right size for bolognese in that manner. I’m going for a random spread of particles of 0,5mm length in average. Some of it can be finer – that’s not a problem, it’ll all end up making a delicious sauce. But I want the peanuts and carrots to feel like “proper” bolognese, so I’m looking for something in between “pulverized” and “chopped”.

Start out by pulsing the peanuts in the food processor. Put them into the dry pan and roast them until they begin to smell – careful they don’t burn! Put aside.
Next, pulse or chop the onion. Fry with garlic and chili in olive oil.
Pulse the carrots, celery and optional veggies and add them. Fry for a bit.
Add the peanuts, herbs, water or tomato sauce and a good dollop (2-3Tsp at least) of tomato concentrate paste. Boil for at least 5-10 minutes, ideally at least 30 minutes, adding water whenever necessary.

Serve on al dente pasta with parmesan cheese, butter and wine. I’d recommend a nice red one, maybe a Cabernet.
Cheers!

This will be submitted to Presto Pasta Nights hosted this week by Theresa at The Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine.

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Bento #216

This is a somewhat uncharacteristic approach to spam musubi – no spam involved. Instead I fried a spelt burger, added it to a rice patty and wrapped it in nori to keep it together. We’ll see how that works out…!
Then there’s purple and yellow potato oven fries, a bear container of mustard, homemade coleslaw, a mochi and some veggies as stabilizer and for extra healthiness and colour.

The BF wasn’t so fond of the veggie patties and gets falafel instead. I found his bento somewhat uninspired though (despite the pawprint I made with four falafel and a rice ball) so I won’t include a photo…

I figured out why my lighting has been so bad this last week! Weirdly enough, it was lacking the greenish tinge of a lamp that I never even noticed was off, so everything was a little redder than usual even with white balance correctly applied. Hmm.
Still can’t wait for natural light, though. :P

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Bento #215

This is the BF’s bento. 2 zucchini mini-quiches, leftover carrot kinpira, broccoli and nori, olives and bell pepper on rice.
Bonus points for anyone who can recognize the quiche-hungry creature:

My own bento has a creature made out of a spelt burger that I wanted to try. The creature didn’t get all that nice :(

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Bento #214 – Jiji bento

I originally planned this bento for Friday 13, but real life got in the way. So here’s my black cat (Jiji!) bento for Monday instead!
Jiji is nori, lettuce and bell pepper on rice. Then there’s asparagus, two fishsticks cut in half, carrot kinpira, a bear cup of ketchup and a pink heart-shaped mochi for dessert.

BF gets the same, but he gets some leftover bearnaise dip instead of ketchup.

Nori is so annoying to photograph! I had just cut out those when they already started to shrink, even with room-temperature rice. The photo didn’t quite do the cutouts justice either. I do pride myself on being good at papercuts, but this is just impossible! :P

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Bento #213

Two feta and tomato mini quiches on lettuce, purple potato and carrot flowers.

BF gets exactly the same. More purple potato is hidden underneath the lettuce!

I made more mini quiches for my freezer stash yesterday – but more on that later as I’ve promised that article to Maki from Just Bento as a guest post first!

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Bento #212

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I found those spiral-shaped rice noodles in an Asian supermarket and just had to try them…
Rice pasta with dry peanut/carrot sauce, zucchini quiche Lorraine, lettuce, cherry tomato and a mint.
The ratios are probably way off in this one but I felt like a bigger bento today. I was quite hungry after coming home from class yesterday…

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BF gets the same, with a bigger portion of pasta.

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