Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Eating in a sack (or one for lunch please)

I wanted to make lunch but as luck would have it, the majority of my eaters are traveling for work or just plain not around. This of course doesn't mean I can't make lunch for my loving wife. I had her pick out some recipes and I got to work. Simple healthy lunch bagged up instead of boxed just due to the wrap being hard to shove into those bento boxes.

First up we have a wrap with provolone, red bell pepper, marinated artichokes, and spinach. I had to slightly wilt the spinach as the wife's not a big fan of raw spinach. I was going to flavor the wrap with some sort of a sauce but since I went the marinated artichoke route I let them do the flavoring. Wraps have always been difficult for me in packaging. They tend to fall apart easily or become unrolled. I ended up wrapping the whole thing in parchment paper to survive delivery. It's worth remembering that normal tape does not stick to parchment paper. In retrospect that makes a ton of sense since parchment paper is suppose to resist sticking in general. So a bit of kitchen twine came to the rescue.

Quinoa never ceases to amaze me. This is a wonderful little warm salad with shitake, feta, and spinach. The warm quinoa and roasted shitake quickly wilts the spinach. It's all tossed together with a bit of red wine vinegar and olive oil.

Just to round things out I also tossed in a package of low carb cookies so that there would be dessert for the sweet tooth.

Sack contents
  • Marinated artichoke wrap
  • Feta, shiitake, and spinach quinoa salad
  • cookies

Monday, April 14, 2008

Short intermission

I promise, a short intermission, I'm preparing for a housewarming party and the "battle plans" (i'll post more on battle plans) for the party took up this last week. Since I'm cooking this week, it will leave little room for a bento. I'm still contemplating new themes so in the mean time, enjoy some towel animals I made while on a recent business trip :) (those cruise guys are very talented, yes it took a while to reverse engineer their ingenuity) If you guys have any theme ideas, i'd love to hear them, perhaps my eaters will be fed by your inspiration!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Indian bento

I've been wanting to do this bento for a while now. The challenge is that, vegetarian does not necessarily translate into healthy. Lots of indian food is cooked in Ghee (clarified butter) and has lots of cream added, saddle that to some white rice and you really don't have a high fiber, low glycemic friendly meal. I think I was able to put a nice balance between flavor and health to come up with a bento that was still in line with Indian food as a genre and fairly healthy for you at the same time.

We start with the rice. I substituted some Texmati brown rice in lieu of the traditional basmati rice. After steaming up the rice, I tossed it together with some yogurt and poppy seed which produced a nice tangy moist rice that can really stand alone as a side dish or be paired with the other entrees that I provided. I briefly toasted the poppy seeds before adding the cooked rice so the flavor of toasted poppy really stands out to complement the tangy yogurt.

Boo I find I didn't take a picture of the Saag. So you'll have to settle with a description and the picture above. I took a short cut here and bought some paneer. Paneer is a simple cheese that can be put together rather easily. You take whole milk over the stove and pour in a bit of lemon juice to have it curdle a bit. After you collect all of the curds, you press it in a block and you have cheese. It has a bit tougher texture than firm tofu and adds a bit of protein to the mix, just to be sure I added some cubed chicken for good measure, thus making it a Saag Murgh Paneer. I substituted the usual cream and yogurt with a bit of buttermilk and light fat-free yogurt. I found that this made the recipe a bit "thin" so next time I'll cook it uncovered hoping for some better evaporation.

Next up we have a Chana Masala, this is a favorite that I'll tend to bring to potlucks and such. It's a spiced chickpea dish. It's a careful balance between sweet, hot, and spicy, the garam masala and onions help with the sweet and spicy (not hot spicy), the chili peppers contribute to the hot. It seemed to have been very popular with my eaters

I cheated with dessert again, I bought some Gulab Jamun from the local indian grocery. Gulab Jamun is best described by one of my coworkers once upon a time, "it's like a donut hole, that's been soaked in honey". More accurately, it's like a tres leches ball. Very moist and dense, one of the small guilty pleasures I bundled in this box.

I really enjoyed this box, very simple to put together (so I was able to get to bed reasonably). Enjoy!

Box contents
  • Yogurt poppy seed rice
  • Saag Murgh paneer
  • Chana masala
  • Gulab Jamun
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