I’ve got three bentos to post today since I’ve been falling behind on blogging about them. In my continued love affair with Kentaro Kobayashi’s book Easy Japanese Cooking: Bento Love, I’ve got three bentos using two more of his recipes. I swear, this is hands-down the most I’ve ever used a single cookbook. Maybe it’s just lucky that I have been in a cooking mood lately, though.
The chicken karaage shown in this lunch isn’t actually from the book, the potato salad is. I made it Friday morning for Mr. Pikko and much to my annoyance, I forgot to eat the rest. I wonder if it’s still good?
The way it usually works for me is that I’ll buy things like a potato or a tray of cheap chicken or a Japanese eggplant. Then I’ll either forget to put it in the fridge or I’ll put it in the fridge and suddenly be struck by a deadly fit of cooking laziness and eventually, it becomes food for our compost worms or goes into the trash.
This time, I froze some chicken and made the rest into karaage. I fried enough for Mr. Pikko’s lunch and then left the rest to be fried for dinner on the weekend. I’ve never fried things in potato starch before and it stuck a little too much to the chicken, so I’ll have to make sure to dust it off better next time I make it. The kids ate just the rice and didn’t bother to try the chicken until I threatened deadly force and sleeping in the yard and by then, they were full from the rice. It figures.
Next up, I have a main dish from the book, but I can’t remember what it was called. Maybe Stir Fried Eggplant and Chicken? If you have the book you’ll be able to find it. It’s basically fried chicken and eggplant with basil, so once again very simple and easy to make. And have you caught on? I actually cooked the eggplant that I bought over the weekend! No eggplant death for this one!
This is my own lunch. While Mr. Kobayashi’s recipes are indeed simple, they aren’t all that colorful. I tried my best by adding tomatoes, but it still wasn’t as colorful as I’d like bentos to be. I used a relatively new kind of rice that was tested out at the Zippy’s near us called Gen-Ji-Mai rice. It’s supposed to be quick cooking and tastier than regular brown rice, yet just as healthy. We tried it out whenever we could and I have to say that I’m pretty sold on it and I hate brown rice. Whenever I order chili from Zippy’s I actually prefer the brown to the white now.
I cooked it in my rice cooker with the regular setting instead of the brown rice setting and it did fully cook in the regular 50 minutes (yeah, my rice cooker is a real slowpoke if I don’t “quick cook”) so the quick-cooking claim is valid. It’s a heck of a lot better than the 2 hours my rice cooker claims it needs to cook regular brown rice. Seriously, wtf?
Gen-Ji-Mai is not nearly as fibrous in texture as regular brown rice, which makes it taste ALMOST like white rice, but the bag claims that most of the bran is still there. It’s like a fluffy brown cousin to white rice, so I’ve got to try making sushi or onigiri with it to see how that goes. Sushi with brown rice is extremely difficult to do, so it would be nice if Gen-Ji-Mai could do it easily.
Hawaii public schools are in “intersession” right now, which is special code for “school started two months ago, but we need a break from your brats already”. In my day, the intersession came much later and was called “winter break”. Oh but wait, kids get that too. Soon the Hawaii state government will just close public schools and pass out yearly doses of “more homework” for the kids so that they can learn themselves into a good education.
Yesterday was my day to stay home with Baby Girl and rather than go insane at home with her, I tried taking her out to do things like renew my Marukai membership and do some food shopping or go see a house up in the boonies of Aiea Heights. We were in line to renew my card and she immediately starts driving me insane, demanding to know where the heck all the pens in my purse are because she just HAS to finish the card she’s making for Grandma and Grandpa. Turns out she took them out to draw with at home and didn’t put them back, yet somehow it’s my fault for not having any.
When we got to the produce section she goes bananas when she sees the bananas and immediately tries to tear one off because she doesn’t like to buy bunches, only single bananas. I told her to get one already by itself and she did, but then she decides she wants to eat it right then and there. When I told her she couldn’t, she threw it into the wagon and then proceeded to follow me around the entire store asking me when she can eat it. After a while, I started to ignore her and pretend like I didn’t know whose child was following me around asking to eat a banana, so of course she has to ramp up the embarrassment by proclaiming very loudly that she doesn’t LIKE Marukai and asking when we’re leaving so she can eat her banana.
We made it out of the store with me still sane and her not disowned, so that shopping trip was a partial success. Today is Mr. Pikko’s day with her and apparently she’s already accidentally killed one of his precious corn plants by snapping its stalk and it’s not even noon. The lesson here is never underestimate the deadly power of a five year old.
These three bentos bring me up to 396, so #400 is coming up soon. Whatever will it be? Hmmm? 😉