Showing posts from March, 2009

Pantry Raid! Gluten Free Style.

As I said last post this bento is all about economizing and making due with what I have on hand. Hopefully, you'll find my creations entertaining and fun. This certainly was a challenge for me to make some creations from a mish-mash of stuff in my pantry. As you can see my pantry is a mess, there's foodstuff from every cuisine I've ever dabbled in. The picture to the left is only the top 2 shelves, there's another two and a floor (and yes, they are packed to the brim, and yes, there's only two of us right now).

Minus the stuff I rummanged from the fridge and freezer this is what I ended up choosing for my challenge. Peanut butter, coconut milk, some rice, GF flour, some canned goods, and some obscure goodies I bought once upon a time in a japanese market. Yes there's more, but those are the highlights that got me some inspiration. My biggest problem was the lack of fresh ingrediants. All I had in the fridge was some green onion, egg and frozen chicken. Everythi…

Recession Bento

I'll admit, my goal of $6 a bento is pretty hard to match at times. Recent bentos have exceeded that goal, but as I stated in my rules, I can splurge if I find myself in a surplus. Also, food prices have been soaring since I first started this blog so $6 for the amount and variety I provide is pretty hard to accomplish. With today's bento I set about "far exceeding" this goal and seeing exactly how much I can squeeze.

This would have been termed a Gluten Free Recession Bento had it not been for the condensed cream of mushroom I used for the Stroganoff. Had I found a good substitute, this menu would have been gluten free.

One more note: With the exception of spices used, I bought everything else just to see how much I can squeeze and still have a good bento. Wanna guess the final cost? I'll tell you at the end of the post.

Let's start with Beef Stroganoff. Ground beef has been a staple of cheap cooking. Yes, 80/20 ground beef is significantly cheaper than 93/7 le…


To prepare for a couple of my future bentos (Recession bento and Pantry Raid!) I present you an impromptu meal. My wife and I are grazers, not having kids yet lets you get away with no preset meals. We tend to cook in bulk and graze on whats in the fridge as we get hungry. Usually, while I'm churning out a bento, I'm also boiling up pasta or tearing apart a roasted chicken so we have some "ingrediants" to quickly put something together.

This week, my wife had some pasta and a bottle of pasta sauce sitting on the counter and I offer to put together a big pasta dish we can munch on for the week. I thought to myself, this isn't a healthy balanced dish I'm about to put together. So, I opened up the fridge and freezer to spy what I could do.

Ah! some vacuum sealed chicken I had frozen. What else do we have? Oh, half a crudite platter i've been chomping on (I had a hankering for some raw vegetables) perfect! What's this? ooh, a chunk of parmesian. Good to go…

St. Paddy's day Bento

In celebration of St. Patrick's day I got a nice reminder from Recipezaar chock full of good ideas. I picked my favorites and put together this week's bento. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the bento, "I totally cleaned my plate. err... box" so my eye for recipes must have been pretty good.

We begin with our main course: Guinness corned beef with cabbage. What kind of St. Patrick's day would it be if you didn't have corned beef and cabbage. It just can't be done any other way. Someone posted up a Guinness mustard sauce that I could resist trying, it sounded a little weird but it worked really well with the corned beef. The sauce consisted of Guinness paired with 3 types of mustard and some brown sugar. The brown sugar really cut the sauce from being too "beery".

Next we have a Irish Dublin Prawn Cocktail. I'm not sure what is so irish about this dish, but it was a good excuse to take advantage of the special they had running at the grocery sto…

Foodblogger event: Fino

I got invited to another foodblogger event this time at Fino, it's a delightful Mediterranean tapas restauarant and favorite of ours so I was delighted at the invitation. Again it was great having a chance to mingle with other food bloggers and get a chance to see some of the highlights from the restaurant's wonderful menu.

Be warned long post and lots of pictures to follow, the folks at Fino were very generous and shared a lot of dishes and cocktails with us: (I'll keep the descriptions short)

We'll start with drinks (from left to right):

Strawberry and Mint Sangria: lovely light local strawberries and mint with a nice trio of white wine, brandy and prosecco. Very light yummy and a great way to start the tasting. This was my second favorite. And it packed a bit of a pow.

Bee Sting: It's a honey vodka with black pepper simple syrup, I eye'd this drink with a bit of suspicion, but I'll have to agree with one of my fellow bloggers, this is what a bee sting would…

Bento Interior Mexico Style

My wife and I were having lunch last weekend and she had commented on not knowing much about the food of interior Mexico, things like differences between a Mole and Adobo sauces etc. That, I was able to answer, but I figured this would be an opportune time to look up and understand some of the foods you don't see in our heavily Tex-Mex laden city. This one is actually slightly not 100% gluten free (there was a bit of wheat in the pre-packaged mole) had I done this from scratch the whole meal would have indeed been gluten free.

First we start off with a Mole Poblano de Pollo, or Chicken in Mole sauce. For those of you that haven't had Mole, when folks here say Mole they specifically mean Mole Poblano (there are several types of Mole sauce most do not contain chocolate). Mole sauce has a complex rich smokey sweet flavor from the various dried peppers, nuts and of course chocolate. The process of making a proper mole sauce takes hours. I unfortuneatly do not have that much time so…

More Italian Gluten Free

Well, we have italian coming back up in rotation. I'm having trouble with coming up with new themes. Maybe we've been at it long enough that I'm exhausting my themes. Maybe, I need to be more creative. I tried to cull through my backlog of recipes that sounded interesting to produce a theme bento, but I'm stretching for a "theme". The other thing bothering me is that food costs have gone up, it's harder and harder to fit inside my $6 lunches. I'm frequently running over and I'm not quite sure what to do. I've not done a reset to compare food cost when I started, I might need to really economize better or simply charge more.

Anyhow enough whining. here's what I got.

We start off with an eggplant parmigiana GF style. I saved some of the calories and fat by baking the eggplant and using fat free mozzarella. The texture of the GF breadcrumbs we're a bit undercooked tasting. Appparently the re-heat went fine for the eaters. So maybe some o…