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Archive for October, 2010

Bento #321

This was supposed to be a pink-ish bento, but the colours didn’t really come out so it’s just a bento with a prevalent red hue. Maybe I’ll try again later.
Rice with some beetjuice and umeboshi furikake, papaya slices, veggie burger (I have no clue how it tastes, it’s a new mix), cherry tomatos and beets.

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This isn’t a proper bento at all, just some breakfast for a train trip – but I just had to post it, because I’m sooo going down memory lane with that one.
I used to get Kinder Milk-Slices (not my translation, that’s what’s written on the packet!) all the time when I was a kid. I haven’t had one in ages – I didn’t really think they existed here before I found one in the supermarket, where I was idly looking for some quick and cheap yoghurt to bring on the trip. When I saw it, I knew I had to make a blogpost to gush about it. *grins*
I wonder if it will still taste like I remember it? Or will it be one of those things that make you wonder about your tastes as a kid?

Of course, the thing that goes best with a Milchschnitte is a beautiful red apple.
And yoplait lemon yoghurt is also definitely awesome, though I didn’t have it that much as a kid maybe – I remember it being a rare delicacy or possibly something you got on vacation.
There’s Muesli in the plastic box which is my own addition. With chocolate and nuts, my favourite type!

The only thing I wish had existed when I was a kid was the smoothie I’m bringing on the side – smoothies are great! Why weren’t they invented yet then?

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Bento #320

Big box (foreground): bell pepper stuffed with feta, olives, cherry tomato, chocolate, mouhammara, eggplant spread and some parsley and lettuce as decoration.
Small box (background): Tabbouleh, more olives, feta with black pepper and another cherry tomato.
Iranian flatbread on the side.

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I have to admit: I’m actually not the grain fanatic in my family. That would be my mother. She’s the one who always brought home interesting new grains to try instead of rice and still does. Now that I no longer live at home, I still sometimes get some strange new sorts of grain from her (when I visit, or in a packet…). And recently, I’ve also started to go from my usual “oh-no-boiling-rice-woud-take-too-long-let’s-have-pasta” attitude over to tasting more healthy and delicious sorts. There really is so much more than rice and wheat! (Nothing wrong with the two, though.)

So, it’s with pride I announce a new series on WereRabbits: Grain reviews!
Each episode will review a different type or variety of food grain, some of its background, my own opinion and my favourite recipe for it.

So let’s start with… (drumroll please)

Bulgur!
Something simple and not too exotic for the first installment of this series.

Made from durum wheat, Bulgur is a staple food in most middle eastern countries. The whole grain is parboiled, then cut, and the bran removed (except in the case of wholewheat bulgur, which I will review separately when I get my hands on a packet). Usually, you can get several different cut sizes, and any supermarket I’ve been to that has a middle-eastern section has at least a coarse and a fine variant.

Like couscous (which is actually pasta and therefore not a proper grain at all), Bulgur can usually be prepared by adding salt, boiling water or stock and a bit of fat (butter or olive oil). However, some of the variants I have encountered (looking at you, SaltĂ„ Kvarn!) are somewhat tougher and actually need to be boiled for a few minutes to start soaking up the water properly. When that happens, what should you do? My tip: Just toss the bowl in the microwave for 1-2 minutes and you’ll be fine.
I am also informed that for salads, Bulgur is not supposed to be boiled at all but instead soaked for several hours. Call me a philistine, but I don’t have that kind of patience. My salads taste just as good with boiled Bulgur :)

So my opinion?
Bulgur is a great replacement for couscous in a lot of middle-eastern dishes if you want to add a bit more of that whole-grain healthiness. Sadly it also adds somewhat more dryness and crunchyness to the mix. If you are good with not having to balance that up with a lot of calories, power to you!
I like Bulgur in my bento boxes because it is a lot more filling than couscous while just as quick and no-frills to prepare. It’s also very cheap and readily available almost everywhere.

And my favourite recipe with Bulgur?

Tabbouleh!
Probably the middle-eastern salad, Tabbouleh is tasty, refreshing and overall delicious. I’ve seen varieties that went from mostly bulgur to mostly parsley and everything in between, so I don’t think you should run with set amounts on each ingredient. Just try combining them and see what works for you.

This tabbouleh, which works just fine for me, was made with:
3/4 cup of medium-grain bulgur, boiled in saltwater and butter (yes, yes, I know)
1 big handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1 sprig of fresh mint, chopped
1 handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 spring onion, finely chopped
2 Tsp. lemon juice and 2 Tsp. olive oil.

Just combine everything in a bowl and knead, yes, knead the ingredients together so the flavour gets rubbed in. Let it rest for at least 10 minutes, preferably in the fridge. Serve.

When I have this stuff in my bento boxes I usually up the bulgur ratio a lot and pack it in tight so I bring enough filling carbs to last me the day. When I serve it with lots of other foods on a meze table, I put in a lot of refreshing parsley and mint.

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Bento #319

Bibimbap – quick-pickled zucchini with kurkuma, fried carrots, steamed spinach, omelette strips and fried tofu on rice. Chogochujang sauce in the little elephant container, heart candy for dessert.

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Bento #318

I made a huge batch of oven-roasted veggies for dinner, enough to bring some as leftovers. Red beets, potatoes and carrots all baked in the oven, some fried Halloumi, pickles and yoghurt with chives as dip. (Sourcream would probably fit better but… I don’t like sourcream all that much.)

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