Thursday, February 26, 2009

#13 Couscous Bento

Bottom Tier: Couscous cooked in chicken stock + spices, edamame
Top Tier: English cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, 3/4 of a blood orange, chocolate square

I love using couscous, because its so versatile. I just made 2 cups of it, and ate it for several meals (a couple of times with the edamame, once with sliced hot dogs and black beans, and once just plain with some soy sauce). It keeps well in the fridge, but you have to cover it tightly with plastic, or it will dry out.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

#12 Sandwich Bento

Top Tier: Sandwich with "Philly Steak"-style Tofurky, cheddar, and mustard on 9-grain bread; almonds filling in the spaces
Bottom Tier: Pickle slices for the sandwich in the blue cup, celery, English cucumber, strawberries, blueberries

This was my first time trying the Tofurky, and, I have to say, it wasn't bad. I recommend frying it a little first for more meaty flavor. Also, I just noticed that on their website, they recommend using this flavor for stir-fries and fajitas, so maybe I'll try that soon.

Monday, February 23, 2009

#11 Stir-fry Bento

Bottom Tier: Vegetarian stir-fry
Top Tier: Three quarters of a blood orange, cherry tomatoes, roasted almonds, chocolate square

This stir-fry recipe starts with the pan-fried tofu recipe from Bento #9, and then...
Cook whatever rice you like. When the tofu is almost done (about 5-10 minutes left), toss in some veggies, in the order that you want them from most to least cooked. For example, this time I first put in some carrot slices, waited a couple of minutes, then added some finely diced garlic and fresh ginger for a few minutes, and finally put in some purple cabbage and haricots verts for a few minutes. When all that stuff is done, put the cooked rice into the pan, add some cooking oil and soy sauce, and mix everything up. Then, turn down the heat to medium-low, cover, and leave it for about 5-10 minutes. Then eat it!
If I start out with a pound of tofu, and a cup or 2 of rice, I'll end up with enough stir-fry for about 3-4 meals, and I never get sick of it. This is one of those dishes that inexplicably gets better when you reheat it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

#10 Mozzarella Bento

Top Tier: Tomato and mozzarella salad
Bottom Tier: Brocolli, the ever-present strawberries, raspberries, a chocolate square.

Salad recipe:
Get some vine-ripened tomatoes, and some good mozzarella (the kind in its own liquid). Cube both and toss in a bowl. Add a couple Tbsp. of olive oil, the juice of half a lemon, salt, pepper, and either fresh or dry Italian herbs of your choice. Cover and let sit in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. Yum

Monday, February 16, 2009

#9 Tofu and Couscous Bento

Bottom Tier: Tri-color couscous with pan-fried tofu cubes, with soy sauce and curry powder.
Bottom Tier: Laughing Cow Cheddar, broccoli, baby carrots, strawberries, and a chocolate square hiding underneath.

I love tofu, and this is my favorite way to cook it:
Get either firm or extra firm tofu. Cut it into cubes (or buy the cubed version). Drop the cubes into a pan (I prefer cast-iron for this) on medium heat, and add a splash of soy sauce, plus whatever spices you like. I currently prefer a a mild yellow curry powder, and some fresh-ground pepper. Cover the pan, wait around 7 minutes, and check on the tofu. It will have shrunk slightly from the water evaporation, and the sides should be starting to get brown. Stir and continue frying until its done to your satisfaction. Throw it on top of some rice or pasta or whatever, add another bit of soy sauce, and you're done!
I also sometimes like to add various veggies to this to make different sorts of stir-fries.