Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sushi extravaganza

This week was held a ton of sushi in our lunches!  I'm not sure why it happened but Monstro and I both LOVE sushi so it works for us! 

We'll start with Friday's lunch because it was special.  Friday was "100th Day" at Monstro's school.  This is something that was entirely new to me when he started preschool.  We didn't do that in school and I don't remember my younger brothers having these celebrations either.  In my mind though, anything (well, almost anything) that keeps the kids excited about being there is A-OK!  These lunches are also special because they use a product I didn't even know existed!  My brother sent me a fantastic package of spices and other cooking goodies for a belated Christmas gift.  One of the things he went was "Bamboo Rice" and I was just super excited to try it out.  It is, as advertised, AMAZING for sushi.  The grains stuck together but didn't have any traces of slimy-ness.  One draw back is that as soon as I added water the color started to leach out and looked very swampy.  I expected it to stay that very verdant, springy color but it did fade and yellow in the cooking process.  It also has a very light scent and flavor but once you season it for sushi it was barely noticeable.  

 So, for Monstro's 100 Day lunch he has bamboo rice maki, broccoli, 100 corn kernels and 100 baby lima beans.  Yes, I actually stood and counted 100 of each!  I'm crazy that way.  The sushi has wasabi with k-rab stacked together and folded more than rolled to keep the 1 shape.  The 0's are rolled with wasabi and cream cheese stuffed chikuwa.  I sliced the rolls thinner than normal and stacked them to give plenty to eat.  After I packed everything up I snagged a grape from the colander and found they had seeds.  Blech!  I unpacked, cut open the grapes, scraped out the seeds and then put it all back together.  I guess if crazy GMO foods are the only way to keep those bitter seeds outta my grapes then I may have to reverse my position!

 I used the left over bamboo rice to make a thin maki of wasabi and fried chicken.  I put those in my lunch with the extra pieces of Monstro's rolls.  I also added broccoli, soy sauce in the little container and a top tier of grapes.  I didn't seed them before I packed them and I really should have.  I spent a large part of my lunch break trying to nibble around the seeds.

 For a non-sushi bento I wanted to use a new cutter that I got for Christmas.  Santa brought me a vehicle sandwich cutter that I hadn't tried out yet so we made a sandwich and promptly got confused about what some of the shapes were supposed to be!  The sandwich is turkey and jalapeno colby-jack with spicy mustard on whole grain white bread.  There's a side of mashed butternut squash, blackberry skewers and some carrot "fingernails."

 I'm pretty happy about the cute factor on this lunch.  Monstro wanted stelline but we didn't have our usual peas to go in it.  So for protein he has a turkey dog cut into a crab and an octopus on top of lemon-butter stelline.  The top tier has thai cole slaw (with coconut and sesame seeds!) topped with little carrot flowers and a radish mouse.  This is the first time the radish mouse has come home!  I was devastated.  I think I jinxed it when I said it's the only way Monstro eats radishes.

 This sandwich bento was a Monstro-made sandwich.  I'm still always makes me so happy when he wants to make his own food!   I did go back after he made it and pressed a little heart in the top with a cookie cutter - just a little special touch from his mama.  The sandwich has turkey and cheese on Italian bread with a side of blanched green beans, cucumber spears and a "golden egg" (his obsession with Angry Birds is waning but it's still got a few claws in) boiled tiny potato.  There's also the usual butternut squash and a couple of blackberry skewers.

 More sushi!  This was Monday's lunch for Chinese New Year and I posted it on Facebook already because I couldn't wait.  He chose from a list of "lucky" foods and told me he wanted a "salmon feast" and a "sushi feast."  We modified a few of them to work within our time and budget constraints!  I always find cheap and delicious smoked salmon trimmings at our local co-op so I used those inside a sushi roll to combine both of his feasts.  It wasn't quite a whole fish but it's still fish!  We also picked out the absolute longest collards we could find and I left them in long strips to braise them so we could get the "long life" and the "prosperity" all in one dish.  There's also 1/2 a tangerine for "gold" and I tucked a little cookie shaped pick in his squash for a sweet life.  My lunch (on the right) has the greens and maki but I also have a black sesame onigiri, some thai cole slaw, soy sauce and what I feel is the most adorable BabyBel ever!  I carved the shape of the hair I wanted then peeled the extra wax off.  I used a combo of 2 of the nori punches that Santa brought me for Christmas for the face and bow then Sriracha for the rosy cheeks.

 Finally we have even more sushi!  Some families love pizza, we love sushi!  Well, we love pizza too.  We probably love pizza as much as we love sushi but sushi keeps much better for lunch.  These rolls have left over torikatsu.  My husband makes the best torikatsu you'll ever eat!  It's better than what we've had at any local Asian restaurant.  And, as you know, Monstro LOVES "Katsushi."

For his lunch he's got katsushi made with brown rice, katsu, carrot strips and Country Bob's Sauce.  All the slices are snuggled together with broccoli and a little radish mouse is nibbling away at them in the corner.  In the top tier there are blackberry skewers.

 My lunch has the katsushi topped with a bonus strip of chicken, some extra Kewpie mayo and Country Bob's.  The center container has homemade kimchi and there's also carrots, blackberry skewers and a radish mouse.

Unfortunately, we'll be short a lunch this coming week.  Monstro has been running a fever so he can't go to school tomorrow.  But he'll be back in full force on Tuesday and I'll have some yummy Mom lunches in the meantime!

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