Monthly Archives: July 2009

Quinoa salad.

 

Quinoa salad

Quinoa salad

I have been totally inspired by Mark Bittman’s genious salad article over at the Minimalist. Exactly my kind of recipes — no measuring, lots of flexibility — and so many good ideas! This isn’t one of his salads, but it’s vaguely inspired from reading the article. Random, but delicious! It’s a salad with quinoa, rather than quinoa with salad, so it’s a pretty light meal.

Serves 2. 

  • Cook 1/2 cup of black quinoa (thoroughly rinsed) in 1 cup of water with half a low sodium stock cube for about 15 mins
  • chop half an avocado into chunks
  • ditto half a cucumber
  • chop some smoked salmon
  • drain quinoa if there is still water in it, let cool or cool quickly under running cold water
  • mix it all up with some chopped cilantro
  • make a dressing from lots of lime juice, a little bit of neutral oil, some honey, some minced ginger and some chili powder
  • Enjoy!

The quinoa doesn’t have to be black, but it has more visual appeal. I just stumbled across some at the amazing health food store in Sandvika (where else) the other day. It tastes the same as the white stuff, but it looks a lot prettier!

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Bento highlights.

The only time I have had some time to post bentos lately has been on the weekends, and I was away last weekend. Hence the lack of updates. Here are some of my better bentos from the past two weeks. 

Bento #30

 

Bento #30

Bento #30

 

 

This was mostly put together the night before. There are two summer rolls that I made with smoked salmon, iceberg lettuce, carrot, coriander and sweet chili sauce, rolled up in small rice paper rounds. You wet the rice paper in warm water and roll it up like a small burrito, trying to get it tight. It’s  bit tricky and I am still struggling to master the technique, so once you pick them up out of the box they kind of fall apart…

There’s also a peach/raspberry/white choc muffin, green grapes, edamame and some sesame snacks which I bought in a Vietnamese supermarket. Light and tasty.

 

Bento #31

 

Bento #31

Bento #31

 

There is sushi rice left over from dinner (we bought Salma salmon and made loads of  salmon nigiri, which was really excellent) and some salaed (also left over from dinner) in the left side compartment. I didn’t think to actually dress the salad, so it was kind of boring….

To the right there is a peach blueberry muffin, a lentil/tofu burger, some mango chutney for the burger and a mini peach agar agar.

We’ve been making peach agar agar with the peach puree we have left over after making muffins. I nice little fruity space filler. You just boil the puree with some agar agar and perhaps a bit of sugar, I have no real idea about proportions here. You need to add a bit more agar agar than you normally would and boil it a little longer, because there is oxalic acid in the peach and it doesn’t always set properly.

Bento #32

Bento #32

Bento #32

This is another quickie dinner leftover concoction. There is a piece of pepper smoked mackerel (storebought, very cheap), some carrot sticks and some green grapes grapes.

Then there are some chickpeas, from a can, that were sauteed together with a chopped shallot that I had first sauteed with some balsamic. I sprinkled it all with some pepper and voila. 

Finally, some radishes and a peach blueberry muffin.

Sunday cooking projects.

I tend to do a lot of cooking on Sundays, to fill a week of bentos. Today I made a batch of muffins and a batch of veggie burgers.

Tofu and red lentil burgers

Since I made the tofu shiitake burgers a few weeks back I have been thinking of other options for bento friendly veggie burgers. I bought some red lentils the other day, for the first time in years, and decided to try to make burgers with them. (I made an awesome think red lentil soup on Saturday too!)

There is not really a proper recipe for these, because I didn’t keep that much track of the proportions, but here is what I did:

  1.  Cook 1/2 cup red lentils with slightly more than 3/4 cup water and salt until tender and water is absorbed.
  2. Microwave a small pack of firm tofu on high for 3 mins, turning once or twice, to get some moisture out of it. (My tofu was frozen, which helps the texture).
  3. Mince 1/2 onion along with some ginger and garlic.
  4. Shred 1/4 big zucchini and a small carrot.
  5. Sauté the onions, ginger and garlic and add the vegetables after a couple of minutes.
  6. Season generously with garam masala, curry powder, salt, pepper, some cardamom and some cinnamon.
  7. Using the “dough attachment” of food processor, crumble the tofu.
  8. Add the sauted vegetables and the now cooked lentils.
  9. Mix thoroughly, adding some oats and corn starch to make it all stick together and soak up some moisture.
  10. Check and adjust the seasoning.
  11. Make small patties and fry.

 

Tofu and red lentil burger served with mango chutney.

Tofu and red lentil burger served with mango chutney.

Pear/Raspberry/White chocolate muffins

These muffins are not really that sinful, although they taste very decadent. They turned out a bit “wet”, due to the moistness of the raspberries and also the stickiness of the white chocolate. I didn’t put all that much white chocolate in them, but it is a nice touch.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup wholewheat flour (I used 1/2 cup plain whole wheat and 1/2 cup of a fiber blend which also had rye)
  • 3/4 cup wheat bran
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup mashed pear (I use pears from a can and mash with an immersion blender. I suppose it could be subbed with apple sauce)
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 3/4 cup frozen raspberries, broken into smaller pieces if they are big
  • some chopped white chocolate (I had vegan white chocolate on hand, and I must have used between 40 and 50 grammes)

Mix all the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients. Fold in raspberries and white chocolate. Bake at 180C for about 15 mins. This makes about 12 normal/small muffins.

 

Pear raspberry white chocolate muffins.

Pear raspberry white chocolate muffins.

Some bentos.

I never seem to get around to posting bentos during the week anymore, but here are some of last week’s bento lunches. I am making bento boxes pretty much every day, but I don’t always remember to photograph them..

Bento #27

 

Bento #27

Bento #27

 

 

Sometimes I am amazed at how much food this little box can actually hold… This was certainly more than enough to fill me up!

In the left compartment there is a brown rice onigiri, some broccoli and a peach agar agar.

In the right side compartment is a piece of salmon left over from dinner, two leek dumplings, some carrot sticks and a vegan carrot cupcake with cream cheese frosting (also vegan). My roommate made these to bring to her coworkers, but they kind of collapsed and were not quite presentable, so I ate most of them… I made my first ever vegan cream cheese frosting with Tofutti pretend cream cheese plus margarine and powdered sugar, and it was totally amazing! I was eating the stuff by the spoonful….

Bento #28

 

Bento #28

Bento #28

 

 

This one is less interesting, being made up all from freezer stash.

The left compartment has a still frozen peach and blueberry muffin, carrot sticks and some green grapes. I found some decent priced ones the other day.

The right compartment has some of the leek dumplings and a lot of broccoli. I steam the broccoli and rinse it under cold water to cool, and then I sprinkle it with salt and some sesame oil. 

 

 

Bento #29

 

Bento #29

Bento #29

 

 

I decided to test how it would work to use this sort of lock&lock container from Åhlens, which holds 530 ml. It’s sort of deeper than the normal bento, which makes the space more difficult to fill, but which can also be helpful for example when the muffin is too tall to fit the other box… I made use of some silicone muffin liners as separators.

Clockwise from top left: Shredded carrots sprinkled with sesame oil and sesame seeds,  two slices of smoked trout, a still frozen peach blueberry muffin, and sliced raddishes resting on top of two still frozen leek dumplings.

This worked OK, but due to the depth of the thing there was a bit of extra space on the top and the raddishes and carrots shifted around a bit. A slight sesame oil aroma to the muffin….

Bento #26

I had a really nice bento today! I had left over stirfry from yesterday, which was made with zucchini, onions, chicken, some spinach and soba noodles, seasoned with some sy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and ginger. There was also a chicken parmiggiano burger that needed to be eaten.

In the other compartment there was an excellent peach blueberry muffin which my roommate made, some peach agar agar (using the left over peach puree from the muffins), some carrots and some raddishes. It was tasty and colorful, and kept me full all day long 🙂

Bento #26

Bento #26