15 September 2008

Catch-All

Lots of bits and bobs here, as it's been a while since I updated. Silly graduate school.

Actual content from tonight--I found some vacuum-packed boiled lotus root at Kim's last week, and I'd been wanting to try it for a while, and I haven't been able to find fresh lotus root locally, so I picked up a package. First, I drained all of it and put a cookie-sheet's worth to freeze and be portioned up for bento, and what was left over (about 9 rounds), I tried Jugalbandi's baked lotus root chips. The guide doesn't mention oil type, and I'll say this--don't use olive oil. I think the flavor's too heavy for the lotus root, and next time I'll do something a little more adventurous with the spices. I went to my go-to potato favorites: chile powder and cumin. Something lighter all around would likely be better--peanut oil, maybe five-spice. Well...if those flavors aren't exactly lighter, at least they're not what I always do with my oven-fried starchy veg. It's not to say that what I have isn't tasty--it is, and they seem to be better at room temperature than potatoes made in the same way.

Expect to see some lotus root appearing in the bento soon, too.

And with regard to bento: I've been pretty lackluster about them lately. Let's call this the highlights reel, and anything not pictured is really better that way.

Two from last week:
The usual suspects for veg, plus three mini-onigiri with sesame seeds, tiny chicken karaage bites, honey mustard sauce for dipping, a little square of homemade fudge, pomegranate arils, and a little cup of brie topped with almonds and honey for the Kavli crispbread that is not pictured. That stuff makes the best working breakfast, but it really does need a tasty topping of some kind.Again, the veg and brie and pomegranate arils, this time accompanied by dried dates, figs, and plums. Bottom tier is chicken and veggie fried rice. I think, with this one, if I had just had a wee bit of egg to chuck in it, it would have tasted like fried rice ought.
And this was today's: carrots, sunsugar tomatoes, dried plums and dates, a container of mango, and a mini mocha cupcake on the top. Bottom holds onigiri (one mixed-rice with sesame seeds and bonito flakes, the other two topped with shiso furikake and sesame seeds), with broccoli and carrots. I like the flavor of the shiso furikake, and I like that it gives me the option of turning rice a very robust pink if I were to mix it into the rice, but there is MSG in this furikake, and I am sometimes sensitive to it. I'll have to use this one pretty sparingly, I think, but I'm glad to have found it.
And this is a view of the cupcakes, one regular, one mini. They're coffee cupcakes (my favorite cupcake recipe in the world-the cake part is moist and fluffy and delicious) with this chocolate ganache frosting, courtesy of the genius that is the now-retired Cupcake Bakeshop. I made them for a grad student get-together, and, per usual, a few sweet-toothed persons zeroed in on them and loved them, while the cheese-and-crackers crowd sipped their wine and were generally undessert-ish. Pfft. Left more of my good friend's delicious chocolate cream pie (with gingersnap crust!) for moi.

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