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PrincessFiona60 02-06-2011 11:36 PM

Bento Boxes
 
While I was wandering the Internet looking at Sushi I stumbled onto a Bento Blog...yeah, bought the cook book, couple of odd items and ordered a Bento Box from Japan. This one: Kasuri Purple Flower 2 Tier Bento Box & Elastic Band

Anyway, is there anyone else around who is interested in Bento (yes, I know Kathleen is:lol:) I am very interested in Traditional and non-traditional ingredients. I want to learn techniques and recipes.

I'm hoping to use Sushi and Bento as weight loss and healthy eating strategies.

Ideas, I want your ideas and hopefully some companionship on this culinary journey.

Kathleen 02-07-2011 12:22 AM

I'm totally in with this idea! I've been looking for someone to share ideas for giving this a try. I'm getting the laptop lunch system because I have seen websites where people have posted pictures - which may give me ideas. Here is the one I chose. Currently I have a School House Rock lunchbox, but never was able to find good containers to rig it for Bento-style meals.

I cannot wait for great ideas and seeing what you make, PF.

PrincessFiona60 02-07-2011 12:39 AM

I found a couple of little (1 inch) cookie cutters I want to use for cutting out red and yellow peppers. I also found a set of prep bowls that go from 1/4th cup to 2 cups. Mostly because of the shape of the bowls, nicely rounded for shaping Onigiri (rice balls). Handheld mandolin and a couple of knives from Kuhn Rikoh.

From what I have read, you want to prepare your Bento fresh everyday, so having the right prep equipment is a big help. I'm clearing out a gadget drawer tomorrow for these things. My Bento box will be awhile getting here...a couple of weeks.

What ideas for your box do you have, Kathleen? I plan on some traditional for a while.

I better buy batteries for my camera!

Kathleen 02-07-2011 12:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PrincessFiona60 (Post 966815)
I found a couple of little (1 inch) cookie cutters I want to use for cutting out red and yellow peppers. I also found a set of prep bowls that go from 1/4th cup to 2 cups. Mostly because of the shape of the bowls, nicely rounded for shaping Onigiri (rice balls). Handheld mandolin and a couple of knives from Kuhn Rikoh.

From what I have read, you want to prepare your Bento fresh everyday, so having the right prep equipment is a big help. I'm clearing out a gadget drawer tomorrow for these things. My Bento box will be awhile getting here...a couple of weeks.

What ideas for your box do you have, Kathleen? I plan on some traditional for a while.

I better buy batteries for my camera!

Er......um....eh....my goal is going to be to fill all of the little boxes and have them still look edible when lunch arrives. :biggrin:

I know that one should have variety in types of food and colors. And that there should be 3 parts rice/pasta/bread, 1 part protein, and 2 parts fruits and veggies. I think I may resurrect the sesame seed noodles with some protein like poached salmon or chicken...or shrimp! Mmm. I love veggie sticks. Perhaps some no sugar yogurt or pudding. Clementines, if they are still in season. Grapes..

Frank often packs my lunch. Getting him to cut my sandwiches into fours is a challenge. But I'm sure he will be totally on-board with making me small flower-shaped sandwiches! :lol: I did buy a small rice mold and an egg mold just because they were so cute!

I seriously cannot wait! My system will be here in a week or so. :smile:

spork 02-07-2011 02:36 AM

There's just one tiny Japanese grocery store within driving distance (that's struggling in this economy) which prepares daily bento boxes for sale. I'll take a pic next time I buy one...

The most basic, most traditional is hinomaru bento - rice with a red, sour pickle of plum in the center - looks just like the Japanese flag.

Most modern bento boxes are made with compartments. If yours isn't, I would get some stuff to separate the food - common are decorative green plastic sheet dividers, miniature cupcake tinfoil, etc.

I promise to post a few good recipes, but honestly, you can take bento boxes wherever your imagination leads... variety and portion are good working rules.

potsnpanties 02-07-2011 04:20 AM

The bento box diet is a pretty neat variation of portion control. I have had a longstanding obsession love for bentos ^_^ Silicone cupcake wrappers are a really great tool for bentos as they're reusable, good portion space and the flexibility of the material means they fit into things quite nicely.

I was reading a passage on bentos recently in Hideo Dekura's "Japanese Cooking At Home", this is straight from the book -

"Lunch, as well as other meals, usually consists of rice alone with small portions of tasty, cooked morsels. When lunch is taken from home, it is conveniently carried in a small box known as o-bentō.
The desire for people to have such conveniently portable and attractively displayed lunches has led to a thriving industry in Japan. Of course, some mothers still prepare o-bentō for their families, but an endless variety of o-bentō can be purchased relatively cheaply from almost any store where food is handled.

Department stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, railway stations, small kiosks and shopping malls all sell a huge selection of lunch boxes with flavors to suit all tastes and budgets. You can even order o-bentō from a choice of set menus in restaurants. The boxes are usually divided into small compartments, so the rice is kept separate from the other ingredients, which include a selection of cooked foods and pickles."


I know it's not giving you specifics but hopefully the information gives you at least an idea that well... almost anything could be put in a bento. I've seen more Japanese related cuisine bentos consisting of things (outside of just sushi maki) like onigiri (rice balls/triangles), inari-zushi (tofu pouch sushi), tamago-yaki (Japanese omelet), korokke (croquettes) plus various rice dishes.

Hopefully I didn't just push bunch of info you already know of your way :lol: so I hope this helps, Fiona!

garlicjosh 02-07-2011 08:29 AM

I'm a total Japanese nerd..I spend the time that I am not cooking, watching Anime, hanging out on a Japanese culture forum, listening to J-pop and whatever else..so yeah..I have a couple of bento boxes around here.

I really like to do simply stuff for mine, fried rice, fried tofu with veggies, soy sauce. a miso dipping sauce, rice balls, burrito variations. Mostly stuff that is easily reheated or can be eaten at room temp..such as soba noodles tossed in which ever asian sauce variation I am feeling that day.

Katie H 02-07-2011 11:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PrincessFiona60 (Post 966803)
While I was wandering the Internet looking at Sushi I stumbled onto a Bento Blog...yeah, bought the cook book, couple of odd items and ordered a Bento Box from Japan. This one: Kasuri Purple Flower 2 Tier Bento Box & Elastic Band

Anyway, is there anyone else around who is interested in Bento (yes, I know Kathleen is:lol:) I am very interested in Traditional and non-traditional ingredients. I want to learn techniques and recipes.

I'm hoping to use Sushi and Bento as weight loss and healthy eating strategies.

Ideas, I want your ideas and hopefully some companionship on this culinary journey.

Hey, PrincessFiona60, check out posts made by member "grumblebee." She's posted quite a bit on them, but not for a while.

NAchef 02-07-2011 01:18 PM

I almost bought one a year ago, seems like it would be nice and maybe keep me eating a bit better.

I liked the Zojirushi bentos, Zojirushi

PrincessFiona60 02-07-2011 01:44 PM

So cool! Lots of Bento folks. Thanks for the replies and offers. All appreciated!

I'm going to be buying some umeboshi today, I was hesitant when I was gathering my Sushi supplies, but now that I know how to use it, it will make it's way into my stash.

I have found a site that as recipes for homemade Furikake, so will be filling up with those ingredients, too. And I have been practicing tamagoyaki. Next up is practicing onigiri, my rice cooker should be here tomorrow.

I do have a Zojirushi Mr. Bento, I've been playing with that. I have some condiment bottles and silicone cupcake wrappers coming along with the Bento book I ordered.

Shrek is shaking his head...I just remind him about the new mandolin (music) he bought! No wonder he was so generous yesterday!:lol:

Janet H 02-07-2011 06:03 PM

I am also a bento fan and last year got some of these as gifts for friends - you can nuke em and do clean up in the dishwasher. Amazon.com: Kotobuki 2-Tiered Bento Box, Silver Calligraphy (Bishamonten): Home & Garden

They are high quality and very cool :)

I initially ordered some others but returned them as I found they were too small. This model is just perfect.

PrincessFiona60 02-07-2011 06:44 PM

I am sure after I get this bento box, I will likely buy more boxes from Japan or Amazon...where ever I find ones I like. I am hopeless when it comes to collecting neat things. Bento includes boxes, ingredients, equipment, books and recipes...I'm in heaven.

I managed my store crawl and have made room for everything so I can get started. Tonight is teriyaki chicken and udon noodles, steamed veggies. I'll be setting up a spicy miso soup ball, noodles, chicken and veggies in my Mr. Bento with mandarin oranges as dessert. All I will need is hot water for the soup.

Waiting for the onigiri when I get my rice cooker.

spork 02-08-2011 05:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PrincessFiona60 (Post 966923)
I'm going to be buying some umeboshi today, I was hesitant when I was gathering my Sushi supplies, but now that I know how to use it, it will make it's way into my stash.

Umeboshi is way too sour and salty for most palates. It'll make your saliva glands weep. A very common way to tame it is: take the pit out of one, take a good handful of dried bonito flakes, and chop 'em up together to make a paste, adding more bonito flakes to taste.

This paste is also a common center ingredient for onigiri rice balls.

Kathleen 02-08-2011 10:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PrincessFiona60 (Post 967001)
I am sure after I get this bento box, I will likely buy more boxes from Japan or Amazon...where ever I find ones I like. I am hopeless when it comes to collecting neat things. Bento includes boxes, ingredients, equipment, books and recipes...I'm in heaven.

I managed my store crawl and have made room for everything so I can get started. Tonight is teriyaki chicken and udon noodles, steamed veggies. I'll be setting up a spicy miso soup ball, noodles, chicken and veggies in my Mr. Bento with mandarin oranges as dessert. All I will need is hot water for the soup.

Waiting for the onigiri when I get my rice cooker.

We need a group! Oh...wow...we have a group! I went crazy at this site to get a few items to better play with my food that I will put in my Bento box. Don't go there, PF. It's more alluring than the (20) Dollar Store. :wacko:

Quote:

Originally Posted by spork (Post 967204)
Umeboshi is way too sour and salty for most palates. It'll make your saliva glands weep. A very common way to tame it is: take the pit out of one, take a good handful of dried bonito flakes, and chop 'em up together to make a paste, adding more bonito flakes to taste.

This paste is also a common center ingredient for onigiri rice balls.

As the resident Bento newbie, you two need to translate for me. Onigiri? What is it? :huh:

~Kathleen - who now has rice molds ordered. :smile:

potsnpanties 02-08-2011 11:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KathleenA (Post 967288)
As the resident Bento newbie, you two need to translate for me. Onigiri? What is it? :huh:

~Kathleen - who now has rice molds ordered. :smile:

Kathleen, Onigiri are rice balls/triangles which are hand molded or done in plastic molds, usually with Umeboshi (pickled type of plum/apricot) in the middle, or whichever filling the person desires (chicken, tuna, vegetables, salmon, etc). Here - when all else fails, Wiki it :lol:

Kathleen 02-09-2011 12:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by potsnpanties (Post 967328)
Kathleen, Onigiri are rice balls/triangles which are hand molded or done in plastic molds, usually with Umeboshi (pickled type of plum/apricot) in the middle, or whichever filling the person desires (chicken, tuna, vegetables, salmon, etc). Here - when all else fails, Wiki it :lol:


LOL....I am almost embarrassed. At least you did not do this! Thanks!!!! :rofl:

potsnpanties 02-09-2011 01:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KathleenA (Post 967335)
LOL....I am almost embarrassed. At least you did not do this! Thanks!!!! :rofl:

:rofl: That's utterly brilliant. I think I'll need to use that quite regularly for one of my beloved and lazy brothers. Constantly asking me things and all I can reply with is "...you're talking to me online, why don't you just Googlize it?!" :lol:

Either way, you're welcome ^_^

PrincessFiona60 02-09-2011 02:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KathleenA (Post 967288)
We need a group! Oh...wow...we have a group! I went crazy at this site to get a few items to better play with my food that I will put in my Bento box. Don't go there, PF. It's more alluring than the (20) Dollar Store. :wacko:



As the resident Bento newbie, you two need to translate for me. Onigiri? What is it? :huh:

~Kathleen - who now has rice molds ordered. :smile:

My rice cooker showed up! I had to go see the site...will be ordering some rice molds for onigiri. I haven't braved the ume, yet. I have the day off tomorrow, after rehab, will be playing then.

Got some miso paste today so I can work on making "instant" miso soup balls.

And a Hello Kitty water bottle to take to rehab!:angel:

taxlady 02-09-2011 09:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KathleenA (Post 967335)
LOL....I am almost embarrassed. At least you did not do this! Thanks!!!! :rofl:

I have bookmarked that site. That's hilarious.

taxlady 02-09-2011 10:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by potsnpanties (Post 967348)
:rofl: That's utterly brilliant. I think I'll need to use that quite regularly for one of my beloved and lazy brothers. Constantly asking me things and all I can reply with is "...you're talking to me online, why don't you just Googlize it?!" :lol:

Either way, you're welcome ^_^

My sister is the opposite. We will both be on the phone and she won't tell me URL of the page she is looking at; she'll tell me what to Google. Then she is amazed when my search results aren't in the same order. o_0

When I eventually find her search result, she will tell me how to navigate the site to the page which she wants me to look at.

I noticed that Kathleen used a "tiny URL". That gives me an idea. I will send her the URL for the "Shorten with bit.ly" add-on for FireFox and then she can just click a button and have short URL to tell me. Might work.


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