Surprise It's Fall Bento

What's the surprise? Well down here the first day of fall is usually still a hangover of sweltering heat from the last days of summer. I was pleasantly surprised by a beautiful week last week (actually starting on the first day of fall) into a wonderful weekend of bike riding. In honor of the awesome weather I immediately retooled my plans and scrambled for a fall inspired theme. I did a lot of browsing through my large backlog of food magazines and managed to cobble something together.
Edit: I forgot to mention this box is gluten free.

So, due to some unfortunate circumstances, my one of my lights for my light box got broken. I've been doing photos for some time now with, "just get by" gear as I didn't know how long I'd be able to keep this blog going. Well, now that you're reading post 112 I decided to go ahead and get the macro lens and flash. Yay! New toys, hopefully you'll see improved photos. Still got lots of manuals to read but I digress, back to our main entree. We have a nice butterflied pork chop stuffed with ginger basil rice (again, thank you aerogarden). The rice actually makes use of some hoisin sauce which goes well with the pork. The picture you see at right was right after my sear just prior to finishing in the oven so no, I didn't serve uncooked pork.

It *looks* like creamy mashed potatoes, it tastes like creamy mashed potatoes, but it's actually creamed cauliflower with a hint of truffle oil. I really like this dish, it's one of those "fool people into being healthy" kinda dish. Everyone usually double takes when they take their first bite, most claim they usually hate cauliflower. With no empty starch carbs of a potato, feel free to take a few bites. Had to really be careful with the truffle oil it has a tendency to overpower stuff, there was a lot of drizzle, taste, drizzle a little more, taste to make sure I didn't go overboard.

So, my experiments in bacon making have finally concluded. My pancetta finished air drying just in time for me to make this bento. What better way than to throw them into a side dish. We have a nice rosemary with cannellini beans. I rendered the pancetta and sauted a bit of onion and garlic then simply stewed the beans until they were yummy and delicious from the pancetta goodness. I think this might have only been improved had I used dry beans as they would require even more cooking to break down giving the beans even more time to absorb the flavors.

Last but not least, I have a Roasted Butternut squash soup. I picked this one up from Martha Stewart's magazine and I thought it was unusual to have shitake mushrooms in the recipe. Surprisingly, the earthy tones of the mushroom added to a nice complex flavor profile. Very simple to put together, just roasted up some butternut squash with onions and shitake mushrooms, dump in some stock and immersion blend, boom you're done. Lots going on with this soup and it's pretty good for you. No additional fats other than a tiny bit of olive oil to help the roasting process along. I think I only diverted from the original recipe by adding a bit of nutmeg, it seemed like the right thing to do.

My second bento for my new audience. Hopefully it goes well. I've had enough demand that I've opened the bentos up to twelve. We'll see if I can churn out lunch for twelve in a Sunday afternoon and not burn myself out. I have a slight break before I start the madness (office move and a visit out of town), but I plan to keep you entertained with some of my side adventures. Thanks for stopping by!

Box Contents
  • Pork Chop stuffed with ginger basil rice
  • Creamed Cauliflower
  • Rosemary with Cannellini beans
  • Roasted Butternut squash soup


Unknown said…
Wow. It looks delicious. For the cauliflower, did you puree it to get it creamy? Did you use white or black truffle oil?

How did your co-workers like it?

Thanks for the bike ride on Saturday.
Ironjack said…
:) Thanks for checking in.

Easiest answer is to post the recipe for you:

Creamed Cauliflower
Big pot of salted water
1 large head cauliflower
Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 - 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 chicken bouillon cube, crushed

1/1 cup Light sour cream

Salt & white pepper to taste
White Truffle oil to taste
Dash of nutmeg

Bring the salted water to a boil.
Cut the florets off of the cauliflower. Drop into boiling water, cooking til soft, about 10 - 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a small skillet add a bit of Oil (I use extra virgin olive oil). Add the onion, garlic and bouillon and let cook til onions are just beginning to turn brown. Stir constantly to keep from over cooking the onion

Combine the onion mixture, cooked cauliflower and sour cream in a food processor and process til smooth. Add a dash of nutmeg and mix well.

Drizzle in truffle oil to taste.
Ironjack said…
I have both black and white truffle oil. I found that black truffle was a bit too heavy handed. White allowed me to make smaller micro changes without going overboard, so yes I had to use more.
Laura Bush said…
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