The problem with my kitchen is that, in the 80s, the owners of the house bought top of the line, fashionable, electric, black and stainless steel appliances to compliment their quality but dark, real wood, kitchen cabinets. Over 30 years later, the appliances are old, and I’ve never liked electric, black or stainless steel appliances.
In addition, the butcher block island top looks like a real old and aggressively used, third world country, butcher’s block. Trying to get the top replaced, plus fitting the new white, gas stove into the old space for the electric oven, plus replacing the leaking dishwasher has been a nightmare. Apparently, removal and installation are two separate areas of expertise and we had to schedule a remover before we could schedule installations. I almost lost the will to live.
The good news is that after a brief tryst with vegetarianism, Jade has rejoined the fold. While not discouraging her foray into non-meatitude, we continued to cook and eat all manner of beasts that smelled and looked delicious, causing understandable salivation and dissatisfaction with her healthy but meat-less meals. A little propaganda, and voila!
Where is Jamie Oliver when you need him!? Jade’s high school cafeteria could use a visit. I have started to prepare bento boxes for her lunch at her request and because I like preparing bento boxes :)
Today’s lunch was packed with furikake sprinkled inarizushi with tuna, Major Grey chutney glazed lamb meatballs, steamed and buttered acorn squash with chunks of orangesicle fudge for dessert (bottom layer, top photo), steamed ginger chicken, cherry tomatoes with vinaigrette, star and heart shaped boiled egg halves (top layer, photo just above).
With our household effects somewhere between Stuttgart and Honesdale, I bought a few bento supplies on amazon.com. I found a non-traditional, stainless steal, tight sealing , neon green box that I thought Jade would like. I have to find a matching fork, knife and spoon case for her.
Inarizushi are sweet, seasoned and fried bean curd pockets that you can buy prepared in a can. You just drain them, then pry open the pockets for stuffing. Easy.
Make some sushi rice, seasoning it with mirin, rice vinegar and sugar. Use Hon-mirin if you can find it instead of Aji-mirin. Also, be sure to read the outside of the rice vinegar bottle because I found some rice vinegar that was made with wheat. Holy Mother of God! What happened to the honesty?
When I was making the tuna for stuffing into the pockets with rice, I was a little concerned about the tuna, but Bumblebee Solid White Albacore in water is a nice tuna, although I do still miss my Petit Navire from France :)
Jade loves these! We all do, even me. This doesn’t count as rice :)
The steamed chicken thighs are simple to make. Bone or buy boned 5-6 chicken thighs, skin on, place inside a bowl and then inside of a steamer basket, then sprinkle with slivers of garlic and ginger and slices of scallion.
Pour over some soy sauce and mirin, then steam. My steamer baskets are not here yet, so I used a metal colander. A little tricky but it worked.
Skin removed and thinly sliced, this chicken reminds me of something similar I had in The People’s Republic, back in the day. Good over Thai rice noodles.
Really happy to have access to acorn squash again. I could never find these in France. Simply baked or steamed, these are delicious. Stuffed is good too :)
The lamb meatballs (lead photo) were made in a “can’t be bothered” fashion. Good though. The recipe included here is what I can remember.
Major Grey Chutney Glazed Lamb Meatballs
1 lb ground lamb
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup Major Grey’s Mango Chutney with Ginger
1-2 tbsp water
Mix together the lamb, salt, pepper, coriander, cumin, bread crumbs and egg. Form into normal size meatballs, then bake in a 350 F oven for 20-25 minutes.
Melt the chutney over a low flame with the water, then pour over the cooked meatballs, gently stirring to glaze.
Tuna and Sushi Rice Stuffed Inarizushi
1 large can tuna, drained
2-3 tbsp chopped onion
2-3 heaping tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp mustard
Salt and pepper
1 can inarizushi, drained and pockets pried open
3 cups hot sushi rice
Assorted furikake sprinkles
Mix the tuna, onion, mayo, mustard, salt and pepper together and set aside. Stuff the pockets with a layer of rice, a layer of tuna and then a final layer of rice. Sprinkle with furikake.
Steamed Ginger Chicken
5-6 chicken thighs boned, skin on
1 inch fresh ginger, slivered
1 large scallion, sliced
2 large cloves garlic, slivered
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup tamari soy sauce
Put the chicken thighs in a heat proof shallow bowl. Top with the ginger, garlic and spring onion slices. Mix the mirin and soy sauce together and pour over chicken. Put the bowl inside a steamer basket and steam for 15 minutes, covered. Baste with the soy sauce mixture and steam for an additional 10 minutes. Remove the skin and thinly slice. Serve over rice or noodles with the sauce.