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It's about food, restaurants, recipes and just plain eating.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Today's Bento

Finally got around to making another bento - have been having too much fun with the Crock Pot Food Warmer and a sandwich maker I also brought in.  Note to self:  when it's time to remove the sandwich ignore EVERYTHING else including water delivery or mailman or sandwich will burn.

But I still love bento and often put myself to sleep imagining the next bento I'll be making.  This one looks tasty.  The mini meatballs were on sale and I could not resist (many bentos include mini "burgers" and this way I don't have to make my own).  Bonus points - they are fully cooked and require only reheating in sauce!

So today's bento includes leftover Jasmine rice, pan fried in the pan after making my favorite one-egg tamagoyaki; mini meatballs & mini sausages glazed in a mixture of soy sauce, mirin, sake, sesame oil, a little ketchup and a pinch of hot pepper flakes; carrot & gobo kinpiri simmered with onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin and a pinch of sugar.  Gobo is burdock root and is a classic kinpira - we'll have to see if I like it.  It looks like an extremely long, extremely thin parsnip.

Also included is instant cabbage pickle (massage a chopped cabbage leaf or two with salt and squeeze a bit of lime juice over) with some red radish.  Tucked in between the tamagoyaki and the pickle is a daifuku - a sort of sweet rice cake with a dab of strawberry flavored filling.  I like them.

Sorry the picture is so bad - my camera has been giving me problems and this was taken with my less than ideal phone camera.  You get the idea.

Quotable quotes; in the category You Don't Have To Worry With Bento - It's Still Beautifully Arranged But They Use Chopsticks Instead Of Fingers!

"It's so beautifully arranged on the plate - you know someone's fingers have been all over it."  Julia Child

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Last time I blogged about this little guy.  It has certainly come in handy.  So far it has handled cream of tomato soup, cream of broccoli soup and cream of mushroom soup.  Yesterday it surpassed itself reheating some leftover barbecue pork (and will provide an encore performance today).
I have a very simple recipe for pulled pork.  I just cook it.  Well, it's a little more involved than that but not much.  I rub a pork shoulder (pretty much the cheapest cut and the best for long, slow cooking) with a spice rub.  You can make your own by combining approximately equal amounts of salt, pepper, sugar, paprika, and any other other herbs & spices you like - cinnamon, red pepper flakes, cayenne, thyme, cumin, you name it.  Or just buy a jar of your favorite rub or spice blend.

Rub the meat all over with the spice blend and lay it in a roasting pan lined with aluminum foil (for easier cleanup - optional) and place it in a 450oven.  When it starts to sizzle, after about 25 minutes or so, turn it down to 275.  After a couple hours, turn it down to  250and finally turn it down to 225.  In all, it will spend about six hours in the oven after which time it should be fall apart tender.

Of course, if it's summer or you're a die-hard grill master you can do this on the gas or charcoal grill.  Just be sure to monitor the heat and to replenish the coals as needed.  I prefer the easier oven method.  It's just as tasty albeit without the smoky flavor the grill contributes.

Shred the pork with two forks or let it cool a bit and pull it apart with your hands.  Wear gloves or the paprika will stain your fingers.  Mix in your favorite homemade or store bought barbecue sauce and you are in business.  I like to serve this on sandwich rolls.  Cole slaw and potato salad are great accompaniments, as are mac & cheese or baked beans.

Leftovers can be reheated with a little additional sauce in your lunch crock and you can have your barbecue all over again!

Quotable quotes; in the category Okay Maybe He Didn't Really Say It But Maybe He Should Have.  And If You Find It On The Internet It Has To Be True, Right?

"Barbecue is popular because it combines the maximum of temptation with the maximum of opportunity."  George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tooth Hurty!

Well, I finally had the offending tooth pulled and a bone graft to boot (necessary as I plan to have an implant later to replace the lost molar).  Not my favorite activity, let me tell you.

What I did enjoy was finding new things to eat that require little or no chewing and a freezer filled with Dove Bars and Ice Cream Sandwiches, useful both as a food source and as a cold compress to help reduce swelling after a tooth extraction.

One thing I have really enjoyed is this little gizmo. 
It's made by Crock Pot and is a lunch warmer.  It does not cook food, it warms it to eating temperature.  Fill the inner container with soup, stew or (I'm hoping) spaghetti, lasagna, mashed potatoes & gravy you name it.  Plug it in when you get to work and by lunch time your food is hot and ready and you did not have to deal with a line at the microwave (or any body's grody mess) or the high prices at the cafeteria.

There are lots of reviews of this product here.  I'll add my $.02.  There is a little ridge near the top of the inner container where the plastic lid snaps in.  I found after the first use that some of my soup had worked its way into the groove and I had to wash it extra carefully to be sure it all came off.  The container is not non-stick (and I would not want it to be) so you may want to spray the interior of the inner container with PAM or vegetable spray before filling.

The instructions tell you not to place the item on certain surfaces.  Better be sure and get a little wooden cutting board or trivet to place it on while heating.  You cannot remove the inner container while it's full of hot food, so you may wish to move the food into another container (which you'll have to wash) or just eat form the whole thing.  I'm not embarrassed - no reason to be!

I figure if I use this thing even once a week I'll have gotten my money's worth.  I don't often bring in things that need to be reheated, but when I do I hate to use the microwave.  I don't know why, I just do.  This is a great alternative.

I also bought this little guy (mine's bright yellow) thinking I might toast my sandwich once in awhile instead of eating it cold.
I'll let you know how this works out after I give it a try.  Meanwhile, check out the Lunch Crock.  You might like it!

Quotable quotes; in the category That's A Joke, Son!  (Actually, It's A Riddle)!

Q:  What time is it when you go to the dentist?
A:  Two-Thirty!