Sunday, August 28, 2011

School Trip Bento

This is Yuppi's first school trip bento in months so I wanted to give her a bit more fun with a cute bento. But hey I noticed that I brought out the fact again that I stank at creating cute stuff by making this one ahaha. It seems like I need practice to satisfy myself. We'll see how my kawaii-bento skill is going in the future. Well Yuppi got shallow fried herb chicken (her favorite), a cup of mac salad, sweet tamagoyaki, and a smiling boy. She also took some snack with her to the shore where the students headed to that day.

This one contains the same foods plus spicy pickled zucchini. I topped rice with edamame and umeboshi to brighten up the bland bento.


In the meantime, we went on a biggest carny festival in the city, which I've gone every year since I was a wee kid. For those curious about it, more photos on slide show or flickr.



Hot dog skewer stall



I am praying my buddies in Hurricane Irene's path are okay please stay safe!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Crispy Chicken Bento and Magic Salt and Rusutsu Resort

Hi there! What's up with you? Our summer is almost over, sadly... Yuppi's summer break was also over already. That means making her bento. She often needs bento at school. What I fixed for this bento are crispy chicken breast, pan-fried potato stars, two Dekofuri-flavored onigiri, and a fruit cup. For crispy chicken, I sliced chicken breast, then dredged in starch generously, then shallow fried until it's crispy. And then sprinkled it with some Magic Salt.


Here is Magic Salt which I use for bento and usual cooking very often these days. For those of you who are curious what it is. It's similar to Crazy Salt, but I like Magic Salt better. The package says... It was supervised by Three-star French chef Daniel Martin, consists of natural salt, black pepper, sugar, sesame seed, tomato powder, parsley, fried onion, garlic, tarragon, and processed starch. You can use it instead of Salt & Pepper, and it's also good for salad dressing as dried herb. I think this can be a big help for simple quick cooking.

magic salt

By the way, we went to Rusutsu Resort --- a huge amusement park hotel. Had a blast with so many rides, attractions, and fireworks! More photos on Slide Show, flickr.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Easy Ice Cream


Today's post has no bento. You know what I just came up with an icecream recipe. It tuned out much tastier than I thought. This is probably the best one I've ever made so I wanted to post it before our short summer is over. Actually I think I want an icecream maker! BUT I basically eat iced sweets only during summer so maybe I'm not going to buy it, *maybe*. And as you know, I'm super lazy, always want to make everything in a simple way. This method calls for a food processor for the smooth texture, but no worries, even if you don't have those machines, you could make nice icecream, only stirring icecream mixture by hand is kind of tiring though. And this type of ice cream isn't as smooth as store bought ones, but I'm pretty sure it's worth making it from scratch. The only key point of this recipe is to pick out tasty ingredients. By the way, I thought I would try using jam as a stabilizer. Blueberry jam sounded perfect for flavoring, so yes, it worked great! However, I think you can use any sorts of jam or jelly (for bread) you like. So it would be the best way you can *rescue* abandoned jam from the fridge. I simplified the measurements (as usual) so anybody could make it with ease, (after all that's right up my alley lol). You can adjust the amounts of the ingredients depending on your taste and fridge situation. I used yogurt for improvement of the texture. So should I name this *frozen yogurt* or *yogurt ice cream*??

Simple Fruit Ice Cream Recipe
    About 1 cup of your favorite fruit jam/jelly
    1 cup heavy cream
    2 cups plain yogurt

  1. Mix fruit jam into heavy cream in a mixing bowl, then stir until thickened.
  2. Add yogurt and mix well. Taste the mix at this point. If you like it sweeter add more jam to taste.
  3. Pour the mix into a freezer bag or shallow container lined with plastic wrap. (With this work, you can easily break the hardened mix and get out of the bag or container afterwards). Then freeze until hardened.
  4. Before serving, break (or cut with a knife) the frozen and hardened mix into fit-in-foodprocessor size pieces, then smooth in a food processor.

  5. If you make this without a food processor
    Place the bowl of the mix in the freezer. After part of the mix is frozen, remove the bowl from the freezer. Then paddle or whisk well, then freeze again. Repeat this process a few times to make it smooth while freezing. You can use a stick blender if you have.

    If your finished product is less sweet than you expected it to be
    Serve it with fruit sauce, preserve, or sweetened condensed milk, etc... on it.


blueberry ice cream

Friday, August 12, 2011

Teriyaki Bonito and Harvester Yakumo

Since I got a fresh fillet for sashimi of bonito at my supermarket today's lunch came out a teriyaki bonito bento. I did a bit different thing than usual. I seasoned it with Usuta sauce (Japanese Worcester - shire sauce) in place of my usual tariyaki sauce.


Slice binito into easy-to-eat size pieces, then dredge in flour and pan fry.

Soak them in Usuta sauce for about 5 minutes.

Pack rice in a bento box, then put some julienne lettuce or cabbage over the rice. Then put the sauce-soaked bonito onto the lettuce rice bed. Really fresh bonito doesn't smell fishy at all so you could get much nicer and healthier teriyaki than meat. It's good as a sandwich filling as well.

I decorated the bonito with some mayonnaise, green onion, and torn umeboshi because teriyaki stuff itself looks too plain. But I don't like to use any garnishes that don't go with my dishes only to make bento look fancy.

I made scallop salad for a side box, which contains torn lettuce and shiso leaves, fresh-picked Aiko tomatoes and sugar peas, and quick-boiled scallop. Fresh shell-on scallops are available cheaply now. Who could miss it? That't why I made seafood curry yesterday.

In the meantime, we went to Harvester Yakumo, a farm restaurant located in south Hokkaido. It was originally opened under the direct management by Kentucky Fried Chicken as a experimental farm and restaurant. Now although KFC has backed out of the management, you can still enjoy the beautiful location and goodies they serve. More photos on flickr.



Lunch at Harvester Yakumo

Dessert at Harvester Yakumo


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Seafood Curry and Shiratama Shave Ice

Today I don't feel like detailing bento for some reason, but just in case some of you may be curious about these bentos I'll write as usual what I fixed for bento.

This curry contains scallop, shrimp, onion, and some sorts of mushrooms.

Hubby gets shiratama zenzai (dumplings with azuki) for a treat, which contains nata de coco and canned mikan besides them. I sent him a mini bottle of sweet condenced milk as well to make it even yummier.

Another bento, pieces of pan fried salted-salmon, scrambled egg with nameko (mushroom) sause, pork and shishitou (green pepper) stir fry. So simple but my kind of bento.

Since it's been muggy here lately I'm on a shave ice kick at the moment. It's a soothing refreshment for your burning body on a too hot day.

This time of every year, I get this old school ice shaver out of the shelf. Isn't he too cute? Yes, what I did want to write most this time was actually this!! I up it on my blog this time of every year though hehe. We call it *Kyoro chan* because his eyes roll from side to side as you're turning the handle. *Kyoro Kyoro* means rolling eyes. Though he is such adorable, he is suspected of being older than I am. I want to share this vintage cute bear-shaped shave ice maker before it breaks up by our overuse lol.

I've been craving koori shiratama (shiratama with shave ice) lately, but I don't have a place nearby that has good ones so I made it myself.

Though I don't really like Japanese sweets or matcha flavored ones, this one was delicious! I'm so happy with the result yeeey.

Hopefully I'll post shiratama in detail sometime soon.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Sammy Bento and Omu Yakisoba

It's been too hot here for the last couple of days uggggh. YES this is summer! We are having a blast going out around, and enjoying our very short summer.

I made a sandwich bento the other day. The fillings are sliced omelet with potato salad, and chicken onion salad. A bottle of yuzu (Japanese citrus) honey water for refreshment.

Yesterday I made omu yakisoba, which contains sliced green onion and spam, and I put an omelet onto the yakisoba. Omelet is good with sauce yakisoba! A cup of fruit yogurt for dessert.

Spam Yaki Udon
This one is an udon version. I like yakiudon better than yakisoba because I really like udon, and it sounds healthier than yakisoba noodles. Though the one I like the most is stall's yakisoba. The yakisoba sauce they use is pro-use and a bit different from our’s so I think I can never make that flavor without the sauce. Oh I bought a can of spam for the first time. They had cut the price at the super market. The flavor of the spam is a bit similar to canned corn beef, and the taste is much better than I thought. The nicest thing about the spam is that it contains no artificial preservatives, but I may not buy anymore because it's a bit too salty to me and greasier than my usual pork sausage.

Summer vegetable and flowers are just livening up around the house. I feel so happy!




Have a happy August wherever you are on the planet!

Friday, August 05, 2011

Noriben and Chicken Potato Sandwich and Mock Insalata Caprese

I made Noribento again! I want to make it every now and again. I guess it is like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to American people. No matter if you aren't American you have something to crave at times which brings back fond memories of childhood for you, don't you? What's food like that for you?


This one contains...
Sanma Fry --- Seasoned leftover sashimi of sanma (saury) with Magic salt, then dredged in starch, then shallow fried.
Tofu and Pork Stir Fry --- Stir fried pork slices and atsuage (fried thick tofu) slices, then seasoned with syoyu and oyster sauce.
Scrambled Edamame and Egg with Ketchup.
Zucchini Pickle.
Orange and Blueberries for dessert.


I hate cooked zucchini because of that mushy texture but LOVE pickled one! This pickle only takes like 20 minutes to finish. This time I thin-sliced a zucchini and put in a poly bag, then added Hontsuyu, salt, vinegar and chili oil, then gently kneaded by hand for like 30 seconds. Then set aside for a while. When you have enough time to pickle, it's better to slice zucchini more thickly. Of course you can substitute shoyu if you don't have Hontsuyu (Mentsuyu), or you can season your zucchini as you like. Either way pickled zucchini is yum, and good stuff as a bento gap filler.


Today I made sandwiches and mock Insalata Caprese for bento. Can you guess why it's mock? Just keep reading. By the way the bread is store bought. When I first saw it at the bakery I wanted to make baguette sandwiches so bad. I had come up with an idea for it already.


How to make chicken potato sandwiches
  1. Braise chicken tenders with a bit of water in a frying pan. Then slice and marinate in your favorite dressing (or mayo and lemon juice and olive oil, etc). You can do this process and store in the fridge the night before.
  2. Boil cut-potato, then season with salt and your favorite herbs or spices (and a little olive oil if you like). This time I used of course Magic salt lol!
  3. Stuff the fillings into your favorite bread. You can taste two flavors at the same time.


I bought a zaru dofu besides the baguette yesterday. *Zaru* means a bamboo strainer (this one is plastic though). Zaru dofu is tofu in it so it's moderately drained already. The taste is richer than normal ones, and the texture is somewhat close to mozzarella. It's tasty cold, but good for mapo doufu and tofu steak as well.


Oh yeah I made tofu Caprese salad! Using the zarudofu, fresh Aiko tomatoes and basil from our little garden, and yellow Aiko (from the veggie store nearby). I sprinkled some olive oil and a bit of salt & pepper on it.

Have a happy Friday Buddies!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Yakitori Bento

Yakitori Bento is one of very popular take-out food in our area, which is well known nationwide as one of tasty local food. But I don't think it's that good. Homemade ones are way much yummier, I bet. Luckily, I had some chicken thigh and bell pepper in the fridge. I made my version of Yakitori Bento this morning. I cut chicken thigh into bite-size pieces and dredged in flour, then pan fried and seasoned with syoyu, mirin and sugar. And I sauteed cut bell pepper, then seasoned with Magic salt. I placed them, boiled egg halves and pink ginger pickle atop rice. A super quick but filling bento is done! Whew I made it!



Salmon Chirashi and Corn Potato Pancake

Hey there! I was blowing off making bento for the entire last week. I was kind of unmotivated, but just got back on the track. This salmon chirashi is one of my throw-together bentos. I first mixed sushi vinegar into hot rice, then mixed flakes of microwaved salted-salmon, cucumber slices, lemon juice, and sesame seeds, then put julienne omelet and pink ginger pickle on top. Chirashi zushi is one of my favorite rice dishes, and this type is easier to make than authentic ones.


In the meantime, I got fresh picked corn on the cob and potatoes, so I made pancakes using both of them this morning. I cut the kernel off from the cob with a knife, then added grated potato, flour and salt, then pan-fried.

Corn Potato Pancake Ingredients
2 potatoes, peeled and grated
1 ear of corn, removed from the cob
about 2 - 3 tablespoons flour
a little salt
a little butter or oil for pan-frying


Besides the pancakes, I made mayo/cheese chicken for bento. I rubbed some mayonnaise on sliced chicken tender, then sprinkled a little of magic salt and powdered cheese. Then toasted in the toaster oven. As you see, I've recently tried to make my bentos more simple ones than before. I consider simpleness is important in everything. In cooking, yumminess is even more important though. Haa yeah you know, I'm just making an excuse to be lazy lol.


Take a look. Our Aiko tomatoes are finally getting ripe. We've been trying to give it as little fertilizer and water as possible to concentrate the taste. So I think we won't be able to get so many ones, but it's fun to think of what to make with it. I don't eat raw tomatoes but loooove tomato sauce pasta! I know that's pretty inconsistent, hehe.


We had an itsy bitsy visitor in our teeny weeny garden.


We went to the bay area to watch fireworks display this evening. Though it was somewhat chilly, we had a blast shopping around there and watching great fireworks going off in the sky. Sorry for the dull shots, my camera stinks! No it's due to my skills. It looks like it hasn't improved at all since this time last year haha! Well, more photos on flickr, check it out!