Saturday, July 31, 2010

July Bento Days (4)

I finally got the 4 tier tiffin box from Target and was excited to use it today for a family picnic outing. As we had to drive about 3 hours to get to our themed park destination, I figured that we wouldn't waste time dining in a restaurant and miss out an hour having fun at the park with the kids instead. I had never packed this amount of food and a little prep the night before is essential to give me efficiency in the morning. My family really enjoyed the food and I am ready to do it again for the next trip!

Sushi Rice with Furikake and Nori. Very quick to make with rice moulds and to prevent them sticking to each other in a compact space, I placed them each in mini aluminum cupcake liners. Rice vinegar was added to the rice prior to shaping into balls which acts both as flavoring and preservative agent. There are many information about bacteria developing on cooked rice if they are left at room temperature for too long and must be refrigerated immediately. I grew up with rice and I am not sure on how true or harmful is it about this info, but the Japanese recipes that I have did recommend adding rice vinegar and salt to the sushi rice as preservative.

Oven baked chicken strips. I used chicken breast meat and sliced them thin, marinated in cooking oil, Dijon mustard, pepper and some dried herbs overnight. I coated them in Panko and baked them at 400F for 35 mins. While they are baking, all I needed to do was make the sushi rice balls and packed them. The chicken strips must be cooled before packing to avoid condensation and getting soggy. I like using Panko better than usual breadcrumbs as it tastes lighter and because of its coarser texture, it actually coats better and evenly.

Boiled corn, hard boiled eggs and sliced tomato. All these can be done overnight and stored in the fridge. The last box contained whole plums and peaches. The contents were enough to feed 3 adults and 2 kids! Bento Lesson: You can be frugal and healthy if you want to! :)

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