Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dinner tonight, lunch box tomorrow.

This recipe is a staple at our house: Tofu burgers. It is pretty much crumbled tofu, some ground beef or pork, chopped cilantro, frozen veggies that you mix, form into little balls and sear it. My daughter likes to eat it with catchup or a squeeze of lemon. My husband and I eat with sambal sauce or sriracha sauce. Very yummy. (Recipe was originally learned from Harumi Kurihara's cookbook - great English translation available)

Onigiri face

Onigiri (also known as omusubi) is the generic term for these rice balls that are typical in bento boxes. They assume all kinds of shapes. You can hand mold them or use special molds to make them in the shape of mini-cylinders, triangles, hearts, stars, etc... There is a deeper meaning to onigiri in Japan. My mom used to tell that her aunt often taught her that a mother's love and thoughtfulness are transferred to each grain of rice as she presses and shapes the rice ball into a traditional triangle shape. No matter if it is still warm or cold for being eaten hours later, it always tastes good. I always heard the story and was touched by it and it has stuck with me. I guess that is why an onigiri always has a special meaning for me.

Brazilian lunch

Here is a dish my daughter loves: Brazilian black beans and rice. So, I dedicate this post to my beloved comfort food of beans and rice, Brazilian style. A bit of bacon, bay leaves, garlic.... hum...Amazing how food can take us back in time. Growing up in Brazil, this is a staple in the nation's kitchens and very close to the national dish of Brazil: feijoada (black bean stew filled with all kinds of cured meat and sausages). Que saudade!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The cutest gadgets from the Japanese dollar store - Daiso

It is amazing how Japanese people put so much thought into these little gadgets that are specific for bento making. It is a variety of cute animal skewers, little containers for sauces, plastic separators so one food doesn't touch the other, etc... I remember my mom using leaves of Bibb lettuce or mulberry leaves picked fresh that same morning from our backyard to separate the different items she would pack in the obento for my sister and I every morning.
There is a Japanese dollar store chain that opened a few stores all over California called Daiso. They have all kinds of "kawaii" things,  everything cute you can imagine is there... Stationery, houseware, clothes, bags, crafts, etc...  They have a special section just for obento where I could spend hours... Next time I go there, I will try to take a photo of the section for a post...
For now, I am posting some of the recent obentos I have made using these little trinkets...

Aren't these disposable forks cute?

Veggie shape picks for fruits and tomatoes. I also love these cupcake liners printed with images of asparagus and shredded red cabbage.

This is my latest find from last weekend at Daiso: monkey face shaped sauce containers. You twist the banana handle to open and use the spoon to spread the sauce, in this case mayonnaise.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Some more bento boxes...

There are heart shaped onigiris (Japanese rice balls) with salmon flakes and umeboshi center (pickled plums). I also added some white bean yokan...

The rice on this one below came back without been eaten... I was told by my daughter she wants the rice in the onigiri format... The tofu was a big hit.

These are cylindrical onigiris (there is a mold for it) along with apple cake courtesy of Grandpa, papaya and kiwi pieces.

I finally decided to start blogging...

I have been thinking about blogging and posting photos of the bento boxes I have been making since my daughter started kindergarten...
I hesitated, thought it over, reflected a bit more... One more thing to do on this sea of chores: motherhood, full time work, family, taking care of the house, etc... But, I decided to give it a try.
I love reading blogs of others so why not share all the fun I have been having making the "obentos" every morning for my princess? So, here is a sample of some bento boxes I have made since the beginning of the year.... I hope you will enjoy them!