Thursday, November 29, 2007

March comes early

Yeah, I could have saved this bento for March and St. Paddies day, but corned beef is good any day of the year. I've been on a kick to try to make it easier in the kitchen to churn out 10 meals in a night. Whereas preparation is definitely key and important, I'll say that the crockpot is the hardware lynch pin in making that happen. Anyhow, It's getting cold and I needed some hearty food to warm up my eaters. I'll confess the menu this time was a bit difficult to come up with. Irish food tends to be on the starchy side so trying to stay with the low glycemic was difficult, but I think I found some good alternatives to being somewhat low carb and glycemic index friendly.

First up, we have the corned beef, this is one of those no brainer dishes. I love cooking up a corned beef brisket in the cooker it gives me something to munch on through the week so it was an easy choice to deliver as bento. I usually punch it up a bit by stewing it beer, but I didn't know how that would go with the sauerkraut being cooked with it, so I settled with beef broth.


To give me the nice 2 for 1 cooking I put in some sauerkraut with the corned beef. I was a bit hesitant but to my surprise, by cooking the sauerkraut with the corned beef, it cut the sourness of the kraut and infused the beef with a bit of tang I don't normally get.


This is where it got hard, I had to find something to pair with the corned beef. Quick searches for irish / corned beef menus turned up a lot of roasted veggies, really hearty potato stews or other potato sides. I branched out a bit and did a search for stews that I could use. I ended up with this great red bean and barley stew. It was a nice blend of texture and taste that was reminiscent of a typical red beans and rice. You got that heartiness without the fat and wasted carbs you normally would get.

I get a lot of inspiration from the web. One of the food blogs I frequent had a feature on Cauliflower Cream. Yes, I know it looks like mashed potatoes, and it can fool lots of people. This particular side turned out to be the big hit of the box. I ended up taking this to a family potluck with the wife, it was initially met with some skepticism but ended up being cleaned out after folks tasted it. It's a perfect alternative to the starch laden mashed potato and visually looked the part to fit in my Corned beef bento.

Anyhow, great easy to make bento this time, I need to repeat this if I'm to continue in the new year. I know many bento blogs are about how to quickly manufacture lunch that's tasty and good looking. I guess my own adventures have branched out more towards food experiments and testing my photography skills, I need to take more notes from my fellow bloggers to make my life more sane. Ok that's it for now, thanks for tuning in.

Box Contents
  • Corned Beef brisket
  • Red Bean and barley stew
  • Sauerkraut
  • Cauliflower Cream

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