They smile at me, then I eat them.

Spicy Crab Bento #4 November 29, 2011

Filed under: Fish — applerabbit @ 10:12 am
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Contents: Spicy crab mix, honeyed carrots, cucumber and wakame pickles.

Pardon the mess surrounding this bento, I took this photo once I got to work.  My job is helping to set up and maintain the undergraduate physics demonstrations for the college I attend.  I absolutely love my job and the people I work for, but our shared workspace tends to be a bit on the messy side of things.  Also, there had been a few rice balls in with the honeyed carrots and pickles, but someone, er, um…. okay, I was hungry and couldn’t help myself!  I make the spicy crab mix myself to replicate the goodness that normally gets stuffed into a spicy crab roll, but don’t believe for  second that there’s any actual crab in this.  The crab (and this is the same most likely for the crab in your local sushi restaurant’s roll) is actually surimi, which is a cooked fish paste that’s been colored and shaped to look like crab.  Nothing wrong with it though, it has a long history in Japan and while I would never compare it to real crab it’s darn tasty stuff.  I prefer to buy the kind labeled shredded for my mix, but you could use flake or lump depending on the texture you’re looking for.  You can even buy “leg” style, slice it into thirds, and brake it up to make your own shredded surimi.

Spicy Crab Mix

  • 1 80z package shredded imitation crab
  • 1/2C mayonnaise (Kewpie if you have it on hand)
  • 1/4t rice vinegar (white vinegar is alright, just use a tad less as the taste is stronger)
  • drizzle of sriracha chili sauce OR a liberal sprinkle of nanami togarashi

This is dead easy, just mix everything but the chili sauce together and then add the spicy stuff slowly until the mix has the heat you like.

Also if you’d like to be (super) lazy you can usually buy a little cup of spicy mayo in the sushi case at your grocery store if they have one.  One average size cup is enough for an 8oz package of surimi, but you forgo the ability to control the spicyness of the mix.


Frittata and Gyoza – Bento #3 October 24, 2011

Filed under: Egg,Vegetable — applerabbit @ 3:30 pm
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I love eggs. Such a versatile and tasty protein, they’re beloved in our household for every meal.  An often used bento recipe for me is an old standby from, Biggie’s Stovetop Mini Frittata is a great use for veggie scraps or when you’re at a loss for a protein.  Instead of cooking them in a frypan I typically toss them in the toaster oven at 325° for about 5  minutes or so until they’re set.  These had some leftover broccoli tossed in, but really they’ll hold  just about any veggie or meat just dandy.  Toss in a couple of gyoza and carrot sticks and this is a lickety-split bento for my little hedgehog kidlet.


Bell Pepper Truce – Bento #2 June 10, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized,Vegetable — applerabbit @ 7:37 pm
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Contents of bento:  Crispy shrimp and cherry tomatoes on a bed of shredded cabbage, orange segment, edamame, and orange-chili sauteed bell peppers.

So if you had asked me yesterday what my least favorite vegetable was, I would have told you bell peppers.  It’s not like I haven’t tried to like them.  They’re bright and crunchy, and if you like their flavor they’re the perfect way to lend texture and color to your recipe.  There’s just something about their taste that’s too strong for me, and if they’re mixed or cooked into a dish it seems to be all I can taste.  It always grossed me out watching the host on Iron Chef take a huge bite out of a bell pepper in the opening sequence, in fact if I were to be on one of those reality shows where you have to eat something disgusting for money I’d much rather eat a worm than have to chomp down on a raw green pepper.

I was perfectly happy with my distaste for them until yesterday.  My daughter and I were in the grocery store and in an effort to get her out of her limited vegetable eating, I let her select a few types of produce to take home and cook with. Her selections were cucumber (yay),  cherry tomatoes (picking those up if she hadn’t), and yellow and red peppers (*gasp*).  I held back my horror as she proudly placed the peppers in the cart, and immediately panicked because I had no idea what to cook them in.  I know maaaaaany recipes call for them, but anything I make on a regular basis I’ve long ago found a replacement for either the color or texture of bell pepper in the dish. I hunted around on the internet when I got home and found a few tips about preparation like making sure all the white of the ribs are removed when taking out the seeds, roasting them sweetens them, etc., but that didn’t solve my problem of only being able to taste the peppers when they’re mixed with other foods.  So then I thought, “Why mix them in?  Why not just cook the bell peppers as a side dish on their own?”

Orange-chili Sauteed Bell Peppers

2 Bell Peppers (any color), thinly sliced vertically

¼ tsp Salt

1 Clove Garlic, minced

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tbsp Orange Juice

Sriracha Sauce to taste

In a sauté pan, heat oil and garlic over low heat.  Add bell peppers and cook 15 minutes  until peppers soften and become sweet.  Add orange juice and chili sauce and cook an additional 5 minutes.

Now, I’m not saying bell peppers will become a daily part of my veggie intake, but at least cooked like this they’re sweet and lose the bitterness I dislike so much.  My daughter?  She said it was too spicy, so I’ll try again but tone down or leave out the chili sauce.


Steelhead Trout Bento #1 June 2, 2010

Filed under: Fish — applerabbit @ 2:42 am
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Steelhead Trout Bento I was lucky enough to see this steelhead trout on sale while picking up some other items for dinner.  I wish I could have fish at every meal, but in a landlocked state it’s really not a viable option.  Still, if I see a deal I try to make room in the budget ^_^ I really should have cut it in order to arrange it more neatly in the bento box, but the fish itself was so lovely I couldn’t bare to slice it!  I just tucked in a few snow peas for color and added a container of soy sauce for the rice underneath.  If you’ve never had steelhead trout, it’s very similar to salmon, and in fact if you see it raw it’s hard to distinguish between the two.  I could eat my own hand if it’s teriyaki-glazed, so naturally it was my first choice for sprucing up this tasty fish.

Steelhead Trout Teriyaki

2 steelhead trout fillets
1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 Tbsp grated ginger
3 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp mirin
3 Tbsp sake
2 tsp white sugar

Combine all ingredients except trout.  Marinate trout in this mixture for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Remove trout and reserve marinade.  Pan fry in small non-stick skillet on medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes per side, basting with reserved marinade several times during cooking.