Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mediterranean Light Bento


Works been nuts, I've had the photos ready but haven't had a chance to proof read and fire off the post. So I did get a chance to cook up a bento this week, I just didn't get my post out. So my inspiration? My original idea centered around a stuffed chicken breast something to do with a horseradish cheddar and some ham. I was talking about it with a coworker and she really wanted something light to go with that. Ultimately I decided to go with a Mediterranean inspired bento. There's a terminology thing going on here and a bit of confusion, see Mediterranean cuisine isn't cuisine locked to a particular country, it involves food from a region, in this case countries around the Mediterranean sea, Turkey being one of them. At the same time Turkey is also counted in Middle Eastern cuisine (and depending on who you ask some of the other Mediterranean countries). The term Mediterranean cuisine was apparently coined in the 1975 as more of a marketing term. Anyhow, i've noticed a people get a bit confused when you toss around Middle Eastern and Mediterranean as descriptions so I wanted to get that figured out. All very interesting stuff as I was doing my usual food research. Anyhow enough yammering.

I started everything off with a Mediterranean stuffed chicken breast. The stuffing included kalamata olives, feta, red onion, basil and a bit of cream cheese to hold it all together. I pounded the chicken breast flat and rolled it all up and sous vide-ed the whole thing. Couple of awesome benefit of doing this sous vide, first awesome moist chicken breast, second sealing it in vacuum bag held the chicken together until the cooking process made it hold together by itself (usually I have to use toothpicks). A quick sear on the stove top gave me the brown color I needed to make the chicken look good. This came out great, everyone really enjoyed it and commented on the tenderness of the chicken.


Next, to keep things simple I put together this Orzo with olive tapenade. I was really trying to cut some corners by going with store bought tapenade, but after seeing how expensive a jar of tapenade was I ended up saving half the price and making it myself. Just wizzed together some capers, olives, garlic, parsley and olive oil. I cooked the orzo like a risotto slowly adding chicken broth, it really let me control how "al dente" I let the pasta get. Easy and a tasty filler.




For something crunchy and green I turned to the humble green bean. I somehow got it in my head that walnut mint pesto sounded good and that I could easily make it work with some green beans. It was going quite well and I mixed everything together and but as I was finishing and tasting something wasn't quite right. I ultimately fixed it with a splash of lemon juice to which I found complements the olive oil in the pesto.





Finally for dessert I went with a simple Greek yogurt with some honey and toasted walnuts. Kinda like a yogurt parfait. Not much to say here, everything else I found "Mediterranean" was really heavy or extremely sweet. So this was a good compromise to satisfy the sweet tooth but stay on the healthy side of things







Active cooking time only took me about a total hour. Granted, the sous vide sat for two hours and I did prep on pesto and tapenade the day before. But really this was one for the record books. I had a whole day to go and do as I please which is always nice. Thanks for dropping by. I've got a foodblogger event at Haddingtons that I'll be posting over the next couple of days, so watch for that!

Box Contents
  • Sous Vide Mediterranean stuffed Chicken Breast
  • Orzo with olive tapenade
  • Green Beans with Walnut Pesto
  • Greek Yogurt with Honey and Toasted Walnuts

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