19 January 2009

Bento Challenge - Report of first week

Firts week Bento Challenge Report:
these are the 4 bentos I prepared for the week 1

These were my goals for the first week:

:: being a beginner, my aim is to make my bentos - simple and healthy - everyday to take at work to follow my gluten free diet smoothly and without efforts
I managed to prepare 4 bentos for the first week, more than I expected!
I have to follow a gluten-free diet so, at lunch, I cannot have sandwiches at the bar with my collegues, I have to bring my own lunch and usally eat it in the small office kitchen (we have a microwave available). I used to have leftovers from dinner - pasta or rice - and, when very lazy, a piece of cheese with gluten-free crackers and some green salad, but it is not such an appealing and filling lunch. Preparing this 1st week bentos, I managed to have, everyday, a well-balanced lunch (more than what I usually eat!) and save 5-10 minutes in the morning while preparing the bento.

:: as for the bento planning, my main focus is on using leftovers to prepare cute bentos. I often throw away leftovers and I feel so ashamed about it. I really want to improove and to get to use everything without wasting food!
For the very first bento, I had no leftovers or staple food to use, so it took a little time to prepare and I was not very satisfied with it, but in the following days things got a little better as I decided to use some chicken I had previously frozen (not for the challenge!) as well as the broccoli and smoked salmon available at home. I had to resist the temptation to go out and buy something 'special' for the challenge: these first bentos look a little bit 'boring', but at least I used things that needed to be eaten and that otherwise I would have wasted.

:: I have to follow a gluten free diet and - luckily - I do not wish to loose weight! But before dinner I usually end up so hungry that, while cooking, I eat cheese or gluten-free potato chips (not oil free, though!) . I would like to use the Bento Challenge to quit eating junk food: preparing a rich bento lunch I'm hoping to resist to pre-dinner temptations!
It worked...it worked too well, I must say! The 900 ml container turned out to be a little too much for me, so, for week 2 of the Bento Challenge, I' will use slightly smaller bentobako!


Mosaica said...

buona giornata! こんにちは :-)

It looks like you did so well your first week --it has been so much fun, and lovely to meet new friends through this challenge too.

I promised you the recipe for tea eggs that I use, and here it is.. a little late. I learned to make these from my sister-friend Min, who comes from China.

I make a dozen at a time, but feel free to make just half a dozen..

Place 12 eggs in a good heavy large pot. Cover with cold water, and bring to the most gentle simmer, and simmer them for 10 minutes or so.

If you want to have the yolks centered (which is sort of nice), then as the water heats, use a spoon to carefully roll the eggs around. This is a bit fussy, but it's just 3-4 minutes :-)

Take the pot off the heat and run cold water over the eggs until they are cool enough to handle. Take each egg in your hand and use the back of a spoon to lightly tap it all over. You're trying to make neat little spider-web looking cracks all over, but you don't want to (ideally) crack it so hard that the shell comes off.

Now back in the pot with all the cracked eggs. Cover with water plus a centimeter or so and add the following:

3-4 T loose black tea, preferably lapsong souchon, but puer or any old black tea will work. I will also use teabags if I have no loose tea

1 or 2 star anise pieces
1 small cinnamon stick
1 piece of dried orange peel (preferably organic/unsprayed!)
2 T salt
2 T brown sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce

Then I bring the eggs again to the barest barest simmer, and let them simmer on the stove for 2-3 hours, while I do other things. Your house will smell very exotic :-)

I use a capital T for tablespoon and little t for teaspoon.

I know Maki has a much simpler recipe on her site, but this is how I learned, and this is how I love them.

I keep them in a plastic container in the fridge, will shells on, and as I want one, I take the shell off, and voila. I find that they keep absolutely fine for a week in the fridge, if they last that long ;-)



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