Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Adventure Continues: Bento #2 Asian Salad Tribute

Bento #2 Asian Salad Tribute.

Today I made a bento with all Asian Salad Tribute (based on bento no. 28 from Just Bento).  It is a cold bento, and needs to be refrigerated since it does have eggs and mayo in it. 

Let's start with the bottom of the bento.
This is my tossed Asian salad.  It is made of a pre packaged Dole salad mix, Asian Island Crunch Kit, and boosted with little things to boost color and flavor, I also increased the bulk of the salad with out adding much fat or carbs by adding some left over spring roll veggies.  I added to the mix (which is a variety of lettuces, red and green cabbage, shredded carrot, pea pods, and dried pineapple) shredded Napa cabbage, Julianne cucumber, Julianne carrots, and green onion.  It was a great way to deal with leftovers that may have otherwise not been used.  I also added 6 grape tomatoes for color. The dressing is a sesame ginger dressing, some from the salad mix, and some pre made Kraft dressing to fill it out.

I also added a small container of crunchy things I did not want to get soggy by adding it to the salad before eating.

This container has the salad proteins and carbs.  I like a little bit of nuts on my salad.  this is a mix of slivered almonds and crisp chow mein noodles.  About an ounce of both.

On to the top of the bento. 
The main part of the top compartment is a Japanese potato salad.  Japanese potato salad is commonly eaten on a sandwich from what I have read.  I put a leaf of Boston lettuce if Lara wanted to make a sandwich (as I did with my lunch).  Japanese potato salad is a mayonnaise based salad and is not tart and vinegary from mustard.  I added a splash of unseasoned rice vinegar and a little lemon juice to suit my palate.  This can also easily be made vegan if you omit the egg and use a vegan mayo.  I based my version on the Just Hungry web site's (a fantastic website for info and recipes for Japanese food and home cooking) Japanese Potato Salad and made some adjustments to make it my own.  I added 1 hard boiled egg for added protein.  There are a few tricks to make a perfect hard egg that is not over done, so the yolk is a beautiful golden color and super moist - not runny and creamy.  Far from dry, hard, and green.  For pointers on how to make a hard boiled egg, I went to Simple Recipes website and followed their tips on the How to Make Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs I get perfect eggs every time!  I also make sure I use old eggs (about 5 days old), they peel better.  I also peel them under cold running water (I have a garbage disposal, If you don't make sure the drain cover is catching your shells.  Bad for your plumbing).  Lastly, I put a cup of huge, super sweet red seedless grapes in.  Make sure you always was your produce.  I worked in the grocery store industry for about 15 years, and believe me, if you have seen some of the things I have, you would never put unwashed produce in your mouth EVER again.  It is only as clean as all of the strangers that touched it.
Here is how the finished bento looked before I added the bread package and closed the lid.

Not too bad. 
Since I used red potatoes I wanted a little extra carb.
On top of all of it I wrapped 1 slice pumpernickel bread cut in half for a potato salad sandwich wrapped in wax paper so it will not get soggy from the potato salad. 
Here is how I wrapped it .

#1 cut the bread in half.  Then tear off 2 pieces of wax paper large enough to triple over the bread. I put them at a opposing angles. 
#2 Then I fold the first layer, I fold the bottom flap up, then each side after right then left, then finally the top flap gets folded down. Then I flip it over so you have a little package with one layer and the bread easy to see through the paper.

#3 Then I fold the bottom in the same way. Then I tape the package closed with tape, all though a cute sticker, note of encouragement/love would be awesome here for a child's lunch.

I included in this picture the products I used. Then you should have a little package of double wrapped bread. Safe from the Curse of Soggy Bread.

I put the little wrapped bread package on top, and closed the lid.
Voila!  Lunch for less than 600 calories!  Using a pre made salad and left overs cut down on prep time and clean up time.  Really, the only time consuming part was waiting until the potatoes and carrots cooked, and waiting for the onions and cucumbers lost some of their liquid (Important step if your salad is made ahead of time.  Otherwise, they will loose their water in your creamy salad, making it and everything else watery).  Also, the potato salad recipe made 4 portions.  Make sure you only use 1/4 of what you make. If you don't, portion control is lost and making a healthy lunch has gone out the window.

It is about here that I would like to state my policy on posting any recipes.  Whenever possible I will give you the link to the original recipe.  I plan to start posting how I altered the recipes to make them my own on the weekends when I may not be making a daily bento.  Comparing mine to the original is highly recommended.  I really want to give credit where credit is due, so my policy on recipes is to always site the original for use (you really should read them anyway for little tips and tricks learned by making the original) and not to repost their hard work here, confusing it as something I created.  If I can not post a link, I will try my hardest to find the original or site the book and/or person I learned it from.
 I find that I agree with the ethics of Makiko Itoh of Just Hungry and Just Bento.

"I didn’t copy down the original recipe there, since it’s my policy never to do that with someone else’s recipe that’s online (or indeed offline)." 

With that said, PLEASE, take the time to look at Just Bento and  Just Hungry.  They are both AMAZING sites packed with all kinds of info and tips!  I have learned TONS from them.
So bento #2 is done! And it looks like Lara is just as excited about her lunch as I was to make it!


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