For my bento yesterday, I took a page out of Grandma’s book and packed pohn pa and rice. Pohn is a Lao dish, made of fish and eggplant… sort of like a baba ghanouj with chunks of catfish, salmon, or tilapia. It can be spicy or not, and is really nice and light. I ate boiled cauliflower and carrots with it, and had a packet of Petit Beurres for dessert with some coffee. Yum!
Bento #9: Tohm Kim and Pickled Cauliflower November 19, 2009
Tohm kim is a Lao version of a Vietnamese caramel clay pot. Generally made with braised pork belly and eggs, it is a hearty, stick to your ribs kind of dish. The caramel consists of a few spoons of sugar added to the braising liquid which usually has galangal and various salty condiments–it makes for a really nice, comforting, rich sauce. I paired mine with half a salted duck egg today. If you’ve never had one, they are GREAT. The yolk becomes a creamy delicious center to offset the salty, dense egg white. They’re really good with rice porridge too…
The top tier of my bento held some more of my pickled cauliflower (now “fixed” with more sugar in the brine) and sesame oil, and some chopped up red papaya. Once again, I supplemented with some yummy strawberry yogurt. Oh, and I’m drinking Coke Zero out of my limited edition New Moon collector’s cup from BK. Hahahaha… I can’t wait to see that tomorrow morning!
Bento #8: Faux osso bucco and Cantalet November 18, 2009
Today’s bento consisted of faux osso bucco, bread and butter, some Cantalet cheese, and I supplemented with a strawberry yogurt.
The osso bucco is less than authentic because I used beef shank instead of veal, and I didn’t make a proper gremolata. Instead, I put the parsley in as a finishing touch and I forgot to buy a lemon to zest. 😦
The Cantalet was the last of my weekend cheese-tasting. I like to go to Whole Foods after the market for a croque madame or Eggs Benedict. I’ll usually stop by the cheese case and get a couple to try. This week, I chose 2: a Tomme de Chevre Bois Noirs (terrible–made me sick… really… it had to have been off when I bought it) and a really nice Cantalet. artisinalcheese.com says it is an ancestor to British farmhouse cheddars, and I can definitely see the connection. Cantalet is very nice and smooth, with a tiny bit of a bite to it (it is French, after all). It went very well with Honeycrisp apples, and I was a little sad to eat the last of it today.
Bento #7: Macaroni and Soupe Jaune November 12, 2009
Today’s bento was a quickie: leftover soupe jaune and some macaroni that I made the other night. Gram’s diet is limited to soft things that aren’t too spicy, so I made a sort of khao pyek sehn for her using macaroni instead of rice noodles. The meat is some braised pork belly, and I cracked an egg into it at the end, a la egg drop soup. Not the prettiest thing in the world, but it’s yummy!
Bento #6: Soupe Jaune and Super-sour pickles November 11, 2009
Bento #6 features soupe jaune, a Haitian favorite of mine. Traditionally eaten on Sunday as lunch, it is a thick pumpkin-based soup full of beef, noodles, and vegetables. Very hearty and delicious on a rainy day like today.
The top tier holds some sliced cucumber and very sour cauliflower pickles that I made with a gargantuan white cauliflower and a pretty purple specimen. I think I need to drain it and doctor the brine with more sugar… it will definitely take your breath away the way it is now.
Bento #5: Salade aux Gesiers November 5, 2009
Today’s bento featured Salade aux Gesiers… something I had last winter in Paris and now crave every month or so. On top is a little mustard vinaigrette, just right for the wimpy spring mix I used as a base.
The bottom tier held the last of the chicken ragout and some white rice. Not too spectacular, but comforting. Matches my sweater/skirt/tights combo this sunny fall day.
Bento #4: Chicken Ragout November 3, 2009
Ragout is a slowly simmered French stew. The version that I remember is tomato-based, with potatoes, carrots, and peas. It can be made with beef, chicken, or pork, and is eaten with bread and butter (my favorite) or white rice (how we ate it in Haiti). I’m taking care of Grandma for the next month, so a mild chicken ragout was the first dish I made to keep her happy this week (potato soup is up next).
Bento #4 features chicken ragout with white rice, a perfectly crisp persimmon, and a smidge of sauteed Chinese greens from Peking Gourmet. Sounds strange, but everyone was over at Mom and Dad’s tonight, so dinner was a hodgepodge of takeout, what I was making, and lunch leftovers. Hmmm… my bentos generally have quite a bit of red and orange in them!