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Bento!

Sorry for the radio silence! I took a little vacation to NYC to visit my dearest friend E! It is my second time out to NYC this year, sounds flashy, I know, but before my last trip, I hadn’t set foot in the big apple in, two-three? years? Too long.

Packing a lunch for the flight out I really wanted some protein. “You aren’t putting that in your lunch, are you?” Matthew asked me as I skilfully arranged a gorgeous citrus glazed piece of salmon into my bento. “You are going to stink up the whole plane!”

And stink it up I did.

When packing lunch for the plane make judicious use of your grocer’s deli case. A little variety in a 6″x6″ square box speeds up a long flight, and I promise it will cost less, and be more gentle on your body than anything you’ll find in terminal A, B, C or D.

 

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No, that isn’t a typo. I didn’t mean to spell Bi Bim Bap, the popular and colorful veggie and rice bowl iconic to South Korea. But don’t feel bad for thinking so. This blog is full of engrish.com style spelling and typo mistakes. I like to think if my writing isn’t amusing to you, at least you’ll get a good chuckle from my ipad’s autocorrect.

Ah, I digress. Bi Bim Bap was my foray into Korean food. A vegetarian living in Seoul, cooked vegetables over rice became a fast friend those first couple years.

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Today’s bento is a play on Bi Bim Bap, featuring a finely chopped kale with lemon tahini dressing (from Whole Foods Market), pinto beans cooked with miso and fish sauce, and creamy avocado. Oh, and a wee bit of salsa. Let me say this about finely chopping the kale, this makes it much, much easier to mix up with the rice and beans. Give it a try.

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I don’t fly too often these days. Thank god. Is the any other place where bad behavior is acceptable; shoving in line, smashing people’s personal belongings with a way-too-big-for-overhead-bag? Do we really think since we’ve shelled out a few hundred clams we’re entitled to the royal treatment and act like a royal pain if we don’t get our way?

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Today I have a little bento surprise for you. If you’ve been visiting here for the past year or so, you’ve likely noticed that most of what I get around to doing with any consistency is posting pictures of my baby, and posting photos my bento lunch.

Some of the feedback that I’ve gotten on these posts are, “I’d wish you’d post a recipe for your bento boxes.” Message received.

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In the box on the left I’ve nestled kiwi and grapes with collard green wraps filled with sliced turkey, spinach pesto, shredded carrots, and baby spinach. On the right, two bento building blocks: roasted cauliflower with cumin and dry cured olives, and roasted beets, dressed with lemon and olive oil.

Everyone in my family likes beets, and they like them diced and with a touch of acidity to cut thought their sweetness. I roast my beets at 400 for 1hour 20 minutes, depending on their size. I like to buy them loose, pick’em small, roast them in a foil pouch poked with a fork a few times to let steam escape.

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Once they are roasted through, I pull the pouch and let the beets cool, before removing their skin and chopping them into a medium dice. They find their way into a mixing bowl with lemon zest, good olive oil, and a pinch of fancy pants sea salt. For this salad, I like to use a zester, not a micro plane to remove zest, for something a little meatier to bite into. I mix that together and, ka-pow, a side for dinner, and bento blocks for a few lunches to come.

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