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Peter the eater

Bentos (2009-)

288 posts in this topic

Steven, do you ever get to Mitsuwa in Edgewater, NJ? They have bento supplies including little bottles for sauces.


"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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The product description for those little sauce containers says "reusable or disposable." I take that to mean they can be washed out and reused if you don't want to throw them out.

They're definitely reusable, but generally, it takes a certain kind of person to be willing to wash them out regularly and reuse them. It's not without inconvenience, especially given the size of the holes of the bottles. I'd do it, but I don't mind doing that sort of stuff (I also reuse oil and refuse to use a garbage disposal/garburator).

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I have recently purchased my first bento box, and am looking forward to using it.

I'm trying to figure out how to get more vegetables into it, and in a way that conforms to the bento 'standard' of being attractive and inventive. I have the idea of making some faux-sushi rolls with fresh vegetables, using wide carrot strips (or maybe lettuce or cabbage leaves) to roll everything in, and matchsticks of celery, cucumber, and other vegetables in the center, with perhaps the occasional halved grape tomato. The idea is to dip these into a little bit of dressing, but I wouldn't be opposed to a solution that carries the dressing inside the roll. The hurdle I'm contemplating right now is how to make everything stick together; I don't plan to use rice - but I haven't ruled it out. A cream cheese concoction would likely work, but its high-calorie nature would pretty much cancel out the low-calorie benefits of the vegetables.

Anyone have any ideas? I have a feeling the solution is right in front of me, and I just can't see it...

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Yoghurt cheese? The only problem is that there's often still some whey that leaks out, even after draining it for what seems like forever.

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I have recently purchased my first bento box, and am looking forward to using it.

I'm trying to figure out how to get more vegetables into it, and in a way that conforms to the bento 'standard' of being attractive and inventive. I have the idea of making some faux-sushi rolls with fresh vegetables, using wide carrot strips (or maybe lettuce or cabbage leaves) to roll everything in, and matchsticks of celery, cucumber, and other vegetables in the center, with perhaps the occasional halved grape tomato. The idea is to dip these into a little bit of dressing, but I wouldn't be opposed to a solution that carries the dressing inside the roll. The hurdle I'm contemplating right now is how to make everything stick together; I don't plan to use rice - but I haven't ruled it out. A cream cheese concoction would likely work, but its high-calorie nature would pretty much cancel out the low-calorie benefits of the vegetables.

Anyone have any ideas? I have a feeling the solution is right in front of me, and I just can't see it...

Neufatchel (sp?) cheese, or maybe soft tofu? HTH!


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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Are rubbermaid containers too hard to open? They work well for us.

We had two Rubbermaid containers in the rotation (the small round ones with the red lids, pictured in various lunches above). While he could get them open, what I discovered eventually was that the force exerted in the operation too sometimes caused the contents to spill out. I withdrew them from the lineup.

I've observed school lunch a few times, and one thing I've noticed as a pretty consistent theme is that kids have trouble with containers and their parents don't know it. So I won't send PJ with a container unless we test it and he shows me he can open it and do so without spilling any of the contents. I got two new containers yesterday and this morning we were sitting in the kitchen practicing. Ellen thought I was nuts.

Empty food dye bottles can be washed and used for soysauce.

Are they glass? Even though it can be quite sturdy, glass is a no-no.

Slice up extra brisket, separate the slices w wax paper or something, and freeze. Then PJ can have brisket sandwiches whenever he wants, but not in such a continuous stream he gets sick of them forever.

This is pure genius.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Empty food dye bottles can be washed and used for soysauce.

Are they glass? Even though it can be quite sturdy, glass is a no-no.

They are little plastic things with cone-shaped caps, about 2" tall in total, in the cake decorating section of the store (inside aisles).

We use food dye to color the bathwater, so go thru it fairly quickly.

The cap color is the contents color.

picture


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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I have recently purchased my first bento box, and am looking forward to using it.

I'm trying to figure out how to get more vegetables into it, and in a way that conforms to the bento 'standard' of being attractive and inventive. I have the idea of making some faux-sushi rolls with fresh vegetables, using wide carrot strips (or maybe lettuce or cabbage leaves) to roll everything in, and matchsticks of celery, cucumber, and other vegetables in the center, with perhaps the occasional halved grape tomato. The idea is to dip these into a little bit of dressing, but I wouldn't be opposed to a solution that carries the dressing inside the roll. The hurdle I'm contemplating right now is how to make everything stick together; I don't plan to use rice - but I haven't ruled it out. A cream cheese concoction would likely work, but its high-calorie nature would pretty much cancel out the low-calorie benefits of the vegetables.

Anyone have any ideas? I have a feeling the solution is right in front of me, and I just can't see it...

Neufatchel (sp?) cheese, or maybe soft tofu? HTH!

There's also Laughing Cow (the low-fat variety). It's soft enough to spread, I think.

And you can cream cottage cheese to make it smoother.

And fromage frais. And Boursin Light. And soft goat cheese.

(edited twice to add a few ideas)


Edited by prasantrin (log)

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I have recently purchased my first bento box, and am looking forward to using it.

I'm trying to figure out how to get more vegetables into it, and in a way that conforms to the bento 'standard' of being attractive and inventive. I have the idea of making some faux-sushi rolls with fresh vegetables, using wide carrot strips (or maybe lettuce or cabbage leaves) to roll everything in, and matchsticks of celery, cucumber, and other vegetables in the center, with perhaps the occasional halved grape tomato. The idea is to dip these into a little bit of dressing, but I wouldn't be opposed to a solution that carries the dressing inside the roll. The hurdle I'm contemplating right now is how to make everything stick together; I don't plan to use rice - but I haven't ruled it out. A cream cheese concoction would likely work, but its high-calorie nature would pretty much cancel out the low-calorie benefits of the vegetables.

Anyone have any ideas? I have a feeling the solution is right in front of me, and I just can't see it...

Neufatchel (sp?) cheese, or maybe soft tofu? HTH!

There's also Laughing Cow (the low-fat variety). It's soft enough to spread, I think.

And you can cream cottage cheese to make it smoother.

And fromage frais. And Boursin Light. And soft goat cheese.

(edited twice to add a few ideas)

How about hummus? Or peanut or other nut butter, depending on the veggies (might be nice with a carrot/celery/raisin mixture)? Or a nice thick yogurt dressing like tzatziki?


Patty

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I'm doing a piece about a local tortilleria/taqueria and was there today to have lunch and do some background work. While there, I went through the entire store looking for the hard-to-find list up-topic: nada. I'll try again in Tucson.....


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Okay I give up. How do you fill the little soy sauce plastic fish bottles? There is no funnel in the world small enough, a dropper doesn't do the trick, and dip-squeeze-suck only gets them about half way full.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Tried a cajun flavor (marinade) injector? Besides, how much soy sauce does a 5 year old need for his 'sushi' ? :rolleyes:


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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Put the soy sauce in a bowl. Squeeze the air out of the fish with your fingers. Submerge the tip of the squeezed-out fish into the soy. Release, and suction should pull the sauce into the fish. This will get it half-full; yes. But - gently squeeze again, so that the air is expelled, and then dip again. A few squeezes should fill it up. You get the hang of it pretty quickly.

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That only gets the little containers about half full though. And they hold very little so half is half of very little.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Right. They only fill up halfway on the first squeeze. Then you need to squeeze them again so the remaining air goes out, but the initial soy stays in. Then suck up some more soy. Keep doing this a couple of times until it's entirely full. I find I have more success if the fish is horizontal rather than perpendicular to the soy. It's fiddly, but it eventually works.

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Why doesn't a pipette work then? Too slow?


Best Wishes,

Chee Fai.

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From the photos we've seen you just don't get a good sense of how small these things are. I don't think a pipette would be small enough to access the bottle's mouth, which is basically a pinhole.

I never thought of a second squeeze. That's what I'll try for version 2.0. For today I packed two half bottles.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Why doesn't a pipette work then? Too slow?

Too small. I fill my containers like they are the tiny bulb at they end of a tiny pipette. A conventional North American soy sauce packet from a restaurant would fill half a dozen.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I use the same method nakji does.

That's also how they get rinsed out.


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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If you roll the container (think toothpaste tube) rather than just squeeze it, and make sure the tip is fully submerged, you should be able to get enough soy sauce in with just one go.

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Yes, two squeezes.

Give it the first squeeze to make it half full, then turn the mouth side up, and release air by squeezing it again with your thumb and index finger, turn it down while keep squeezing it, and release your thumb and index finger to make it full.

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This was the last ecologically incorrect lunch I packed:

IMG_0041.jpg

I had set out to pack a waste-free lunch, but the combination of the way the containers fit in the bag and the available inventory of containers meant that in the end I had to resort to a plastic bag for the cookie.

I then made some new acquisitions. First, these two small rectangular containers from The Container Store. They're made in New Zealand.

IMG_0044.jpg

PJ is able to operate them and two of them fit side-by-side in his lunch carrier. They vary somewhat in shape from the Lock & Lock containers: they are a little flatter and the lids have a dome aspect. So they're better for a different set of foods.

And these are the littler-than-expected sauce things:

IMG_0043.jpg

I was able to deploy the new containers immediately. There was no opportunity for sauce until the following day.

IMG_0048.jpg

At the top right, those are checkerboard sandwiches made with white and wheat breads and cream cheese. They're a real pain to make and these didn't come out very well, but he loved them. A closer look:

IMG_0050.jpg

On Friday we did sushi. On Thursday night I stopped by the restaurant across the street and got an inside-out avocado roll. It came in a foil-and-plastic container. The soy sauce came in a plastic container. Everything came in a paper bag within a plastic bag. I transferred the avocado maki to a reusable, environmentally sensitive container so my son could avoid ostracism as school, and I threw all the original packaging in the trash.

IMG_0053.jpg

(Next time maybe I'll bring the reusable container to the restaurant and ask the sushi chef to pack the maki right in it. I'm not sure if that will be allowed. We'll see. All the more reason I need to up my sushi-making game and rely less on the professionals.)

IMG_0054.jpg


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I was on lunch duty today. Bebe and I concocted this strangely healthy meal together:

Bento Oct 29.jpg

Apple, Cheez-Its, Vlasic gherkins, roasted chicken, and some Japanese jellies she saw at a store yesterday. The little rolled up items with the chicken are sliced rings of chicken skin: when she saw me feeding some skin to the dog, she said, "Where's mine?!?"


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I'm woefully behind on posting lunch photos, but as pertains to a discussion earlier: this is how they store the lunches; this is why the containers need to seal up well...

P1000626-1.jpg


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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