Friday, September 28, 2007

Rules of engagement

Obviously I'm cooking for a crowd, and no I'm not independently wealthy. This brings to mind the few ground rules I set for my little adventure into Bento boxing:
  1. $6 per bento (on average). The idea is to keep the average price of a bento down to $6. This makes the meal still accessible while at the same time allowing me to be frugal on some meals to pay for that fillet minion on another
  2. Low Glycemic index: I wanted to try to keep to foods that have an even burn rate for my eaters. This is a new challenge for me as I'm usually one not care much about the health effects of my cooking. Basically foods having a low glycemic index take longer to break down thereby keeping your energy levels from spiking and crashing
  3. Portioning: Although the box i've chosen looks small, I've got to make sure for the $6 everyone has a satisfying lunch
  4. Make the menus interesting: if my eaters wanted PB&J they would have brought it themselves. This also gives me my chance to flex my culinary muscles again.
  5. Prepping and scaling: If I have to be up 2 hours earlier to prepare the food that morning then it's not going to work for me. Learning the art of prep-work, freezing, and corner cutting will be a fun lesson for me.
  6. The boxes have to be pretty: Yes, I'm a guy, and I said it, pretty. The art of bento boxes is just as important as their culinary content. Besides, I'm blogging this effort so that means I've got to make it photogenic
Ok I think those are it. I promise more pictures and bentos on the way. It's slow getting started.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

My first bento

Chinese bento! Ok i'll admit, I *really* wanted to do a traditional Japanese bento to start, but this might have worked out better for me. Starting with Chinese food allowed to me work with recipes I was already familiar with and concentrate on the portioning as well as the logistics of launching lunch to 6 people.

For the lunch itself I went with some basic comfort foods as I was growing up. For the main entree Moo Shu Pork with a scallion brush for the hoisin sauce. Hot and Sour soup (my dad's recipe) on the side. A chicken fried rice, unlike the fast food variety, the fried rice I had growing up was a lightly pan fried rice with very little in oil and no soy sauce usually topped with a thin omelette. For desert we have a sweet almond "tofu" (it's actually more like gelatin) mixed with a light fruit cocktail.

Everyone seemed to enjoy their lunch and they're still wanting more so I guess I did something right.

Things I learned:

1) Prep time is important don't count on the morning of to do anything
2) Find ways to economize
3) Remember that your diners are not eating this straight out off the stove, they are re-heating. (I usually cook for big dinner parties that I can count on the food being hot)
4) Still need to fine tune portion control. I think this one was a little excessive, I underestimate the lunch box.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It begins with a grain of rice.

Well, here I am with my very own first blog. Who am I? As it pertains to this blog? Foodie, Home cook and amateur photographer extraordinaire. See I got inspired surfing through some of the other food blog sites on the topic of bento boxes. I love the idea, and growing up that's what my mom would pack me for lunch. I wanted an excuse to get back into cooking and what better way than to cook for my new wife. Of course she's pretty excited by it and tells her coworkers. I believe the quoted response was, "Gee I wish someone would make me a bento lunch". Well one thing lead to another and here I find myself making 6 bento boxes twice a week. Couple the bentos with my newer interests in macro photography and you get this blog.

There are plenty of blogs out there that can tell you all about bentoing, I plan on posting photos and descriptions of my bentos as well as things i've learned along the way (first thing is how to prep so that I'm not up an hour earlier than I need to be). And of course I'm going to be refining my blogging techniques as I've never done this before.

So welcome readers I hope you find my blog entertaining and informative.