Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I'm pretty happy with this bento box. Better balance in the composition, good variety of foods. I'm getting the hang of this, but they need to take less time, that's for sure. Because of my work hours this is a dinner bento, so it has more food than yesterday's.

My standard simple fried rice starts with making a thin one egg omelet to cut into strips. Then in the same (now empty) pan saute a minced onion with finely minced garlic. Grate some ginger onto the onion and add either red pepper flakes or minced hot pepper. Add some previously cooked rice (I try to have some in the fridge all the time), a little sesame oil and soy sauce, black pepper. Add the strips of cooked egg and at the last minute some frozen petite peas, which only need to thaw. Scallions as well if you have them, which I didn't this time - except for the little scallion leaves for the flower stems. Try to do this in a fairly hot pan for the best flavor.

My duck sauce on the side is Bonne Maman's apricot preserves and cider vinegar to taste for tartness. I thinned it with a little pineapple juice, but that's optional.

This bento: fried rice, broccoli, pineapple, cucumber sticks, mushrooms, concord grapes, 3 blueberries, sun gold tomatoes. with duck sauce and soy sauce.

Local foods: onion, tomatoes, and lettuce,scallion leaves and red pepper from my garden. cucumber.


  1. That looks great. Those blueberries in particular are calling out to me. I love the composition of your Bento box.

    Do you have an Asian grocer nearby? If so, and if you haven't yet, you should totally pick up a makiyakinabe pan for making tamagoyaki! They're really cheap. You can see a little post I made that might come in handy when making your own tamago for the first time, here:


  2. Hi Max. There are only 3 blueberries (the smallest blue berries). I think it's the concord grapes that are calling to you, and well they should. These are from Michigan, so you should find them shipped to CA too. If you haven't had them before (they're basically a September treat) there's a secret to eating them. You squirt the interior out with your tongue and swallow it, then gently chew on the skins, which will taste like a better version of Welch's grape juice.

    I can hardly wait for them every year, and like having things like concords and fresh figs that are truly seasonal. (I couldn't find local ones; actually have a few in my jungle of a backyard, but the birds get to them before I do).

    Have not been to any of the 4 or 5 Asian grocery stores in the area that I found when I googled so I wouldn't be lying to you when I said we didn't have any. Had no idea we did. Fairly new, is my guess, and I'll check them out. Do you use tamagoyaki in your fried rice?

  3. Hi Kathy,

    Oh, yeah, I was totally experiencing some grape/blueberry confusion. Good call. That sounds like a very unusual way to eat them, but delish regardless--I'll see if I can get some at Sprouts tonight. Thanks for the tip!

    We live in an apt. complex, but I'd really, really love to have a fresh garden in the backyard like you do. Jen's Mom has this amazing vegetable garden going with more produce in one small backyard than I've ever heard of. She could have her own farmer's market table with the volume of output she's getting. But I'm with you on the seasonal produce--we have a farmer's market happening four days out of the week within a five mile radius, and we have Sprouts, which is this amazing farmer's market-esque small supermarket, so
    I try very hard to stick to what's in season, what's freshest, and what's local.

    If you googled to find out about Asian grocers in your area, does that mean you haven't been to any? Oh, no! C'est dommage. You've gotta check those out. Those places, for us food enthusiasts, are a lot of fun. Especially the bigger ones. There's a great Asian market here called Mitsuwa Marketplace that sells, among other things, fresh sashimi at reasonable rates--which is awesome--and has a massive food court with some great Japanese curry and ramen stands.

    Tamagoyaki is usually served nigiri sushi-style, or in a tamago maki, but you can see in the post I'll link to below that I made up a Japanese fried rice using thin omelets (or you could use tamago) that would be good hot or room temperature (as so many Japanese dishes are served).


  4. Oh, and p.s. where in Vermont are you located?

  5. Max - C'est tres dommage. It never occurred to me that we had Asian markets around here, as there are very few ethnic markets. I'm just outside Burlington, northwest Vermont. It's Burlington where the markets are.

    I think if you try to eat a concord the way you do a regular grape it's a weird experience. I'm very curious to know what you think of them. You also have to be careful not to chew the skin thoroughly, or it gets bitter.

    I'm going to get another blog started soon, which will include garden stuff - cultural info, pictures, recipes, etc. Are there any opportunities for you to garden in a community garden? Do you have a tiny deck or even large windows where you could have a pot of greens?

    (My apologies for taking so long to liberate your comments. Grabbing time to check in when I can.)

  6. Hi Kathy,

    Let me know what you think of those ethnic markets! They're usually a blast. The reason why I was wondering where in VT you reside is that Jen and I actually lived in Western MA, in Northampton, up until the end of May of this year, when we drove across the country to move out here to Redondo Beach. So when we lived in that area, we made it up to Vermont, specifically Brattleboro, on a few occasions. The whole area was very pretty. I have a friend who owns an essential oil/bath/spa store in, I think, Burlington, and from what I've heard and seen it's just a very pretty area. Sounds like a cool place to live!

    I'll definitely be sure to let you know how the concord experience goes as soon as we pick some up. Is your other blog going to be a separate site, or part of Verbento? Personally, I vote for it to be part of this site--better to have one all-encompassing site with frequent updates than two sites with half as many updates each, especially in terms of drawing a variety of readers in. Just my two cents. :)

    Oh, and we have a windowsill with some fresh herbs growing, but no deck, and apparently there's a long waiting list to get into the local community garden in the area. Thyme seems to get the most use out of our windowsill herbs.

    (Oh, and don't sweat it about the comment moderation--I do the same thing on BCC.)