I AM ALIVE :(

Sorry, guys! :( I’ve just been so busy with my transfer to my new school that I’d totally forgotten that I needed to update. I’m actually in transit to my new school (staying at a friend’s house between train trips) and will have plenty of updating to do when I’m finally in my new apartment. I’m so, so sorry that I slacked off for so long. I suck so bad. D:

Hopefully, I’ll find some bento goodies to entertain you with in the meantime.

Belated Thanksgiving Special: Making a pecan pie!

Well, school’s been eating me alive. Trying to work my transfer out, studying for finals, and keeping up on my projects has kind of gotten me out of the rhythm of updating. I’m trying to be good now, I swear. Later this evening, I’m going to post my new bento gear (donated by a very, very kind reader, whose blog you should definitely check out) but I need to get some good photos first.

Welp, I made myself some pies over Thanksgiving break. After the first one turned out pretty good, I decided to make some more. Couldn’t hurt, right? Well, as you’ll see, the pies came with a lesson. That lesson is that I should never, ever listen to my mother’s bullshit cooking advice.

“That last pie was too juicy. Just put the filling in two shells and make TWO pies. :D”

As faulty as the logic sounds, I decided to roll with it in case it worked out. Never again.

Enough regret. Let’s look back to a happier time, when I was starting my pie.

Pecan pie ingredientsHere are my ingredients and workspace. Not pictured are the nuts, which are toasting in the oven behind me.

To make this pie, you will need:

  • Light corn syrup: 1 cup
  • Brown sugar: 1 cup
  • Eggs: 3
  • Butter: 1/3 cup
  • Pecans: 2 cups, toasted

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Guest appearance by my little brother’s hand, and some meat.

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Mix the butter (MELTED), sugar, syrup, and eggs in a big ol’ bowl, until combined.

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Roughly chop about 1 3/4 cups of your toasted nuts, and add them to the mixture.

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Pour the mixture into A SINGLE PIE SHELL. DO NOT MAKE MY MISTAKE.

Bake at 350 for about an hour.

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In my case, say the word “Fuck” a lot and vow never to listen to your mother’s advice again. You, though. You have a single, tasty pie.

Bastards.

Nikujaga Recipe – Meat and taters Japanese style

I love a night like this. The air is chilly, darkness encroaches earlier and earlier, and the wet, chilled weather just demands that you keep your arse indoors. It is a nikujaga night.

Nikujaga is a dish that holds a special place in my cold, blackened heart. It’s such a simple dish with no frills and a lot of good taste.  It was one of the first Japanese dishes I learned to make when I started cooking Japanese food in high school. I got the recipe from a friend, and have since modified it to my own family’s tastes. In fact, part of the beauty of a dish like nikujaga (cooked almost exclusively at home) is that almost every recipe you find is a little bit different. At its core, it’s stewed meat and potatoes. Well, most recipes include onions of some sort. It’s hard to find a recipe without mirin, and even harder to find one without soy sauce. However, every house is almost guaranteed to have its very own variation of this dish. Here’s mine:

肉じゃがです
Sennet’s Nikujaga

Ingredients:
1 pound sliced beef strips
About four medium potatoes, cut into cubes
1/2 of a medium onion, sliced thin OR five green onions, hacked up real good
1 cup (yes, an entire cup) soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
1 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
About 1 cup frozen peas

Nine ingredients. How hard is that, chowderheads? Onto the procedure! Naturally, you should chop, mince, slice, and fuck up your foodstuffs first. I won’t hold your hand for that.

Next, dump the onions and meat into a heated pot (or a large skillet, I suppose) and  add the garlic. Add a little tiny bit of oil just to lube things up. Once the meat is mostly cooked, chuck the taters in and pour the remaining ingredients – EXCEPT THE PEAS – in after them. Stir the mixture together.

Cover and bring to a boil. Once the stew boils, cut the heat down a bit and let it simmer, still covered, for about ten minutes. Then, take the lid off and let the stock reduce by about a fourth. This will help concentrate the flavors. Once the stock has reduced enough, remove the pot from the heat. Quickly add the peas and stir them into the stew. Let the stew stand for three to five minutes before serving.

Well, what a week or two I’ve had.

It’s definitely been a busy couple of weeks for me. Between exams, preparing for my transfer, and appeasing my family, I’ve hardly had any time to contribute to this blog. But never fear, the backlog is here!

October backlog bento 1

My most recent bento is… appallingly simple, actually. Fried rice with peas, an egg roll (home made, even), a chocolate cupcake, and some nappa cabbage and radish slices. When I made this, I was tired, tired, tired.

Batty Bento!

This batty, pickly, spammy horror was far more delicious than its contents would have you believe. The spam and pickles in the top tier aren’t important, but I do like the rice on the bottom. Night-purple rice with a cheesy moon, a FruitaBu bat, and a little rice ghosty.

Fruit bat bento

Mmmm. Beefy, batty, fruity bento. Bean-sprouty, too.  This was made by essentially cleaning out remnants in the refrigerator and slapping them into a box. The fruit salad is mandarins, peach chunks, and pineapple. And bats. Always bats. I’ve also got stir fried beef and pineapple, bean sprouts, and fried rice.
Detail of batty fruity bento

UGLY

This bento is ugly. I don’t wanna talk about it. :(

Spooky bento, part one!

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Friday’s bento featured teriyaki chicken (the recipe for which I’ll be posting shortly) and something indicative of the season:

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A carrot bat!

At least once a week, until Halloween, I will be creating a bento that somehow incorporates the spooky spirit of the season. Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday, and I thought that it deserved a little more attention from me this year.

 

So, what else have I got? Well, there’s the miso rice, the steamed veggies, and the teeny tiny peach cobbler. The miso rice is my way of using up shiro miso soup mix that I can’t really use for soup. I don’t care for shiro miso soup, but it’s great mixed into fresh rice!

 

The vegetables (carrot, peas, broccoli) were steamed by placing them in a covered bowl, on top of a wet paper towel, and nuking them for about a minute. It made the broccoli such an awesome green!

Sausage Bento – NWS?

Well, I’m finally back in the swing of things, and I made a tasty bento yesterday. It features two of my very favorite fall foods: pecan shortbreads, and spicy beef sausage.

October 10th bento

Here’s a detail shot of the shortbread cookies, for they are quite attractive. More attractive than ground, pressed cow flesh, at least.

October 10th bento - combo

Top tier:

Skewered hot sausage slices on a bed of peas and tomato chunks

Pecan shortbread cookies

 

Bottom tier:

White rice

Stir-fried mushrooms

Pickle slices and tomato chunks

One of my favorite autumn foods – Pecan Shortbreads

As some of you already know, I live in a little slice of Hell called the American south. Autumn in the south is really just a sort of mild summer that lasts roughly three weeks. However, autumn in the south presents one pleasant thing: pecans. Oh, pecans. You taste so fucking nice. You’re especially good in shortbread cookies.

Here, as per usual, are your required materials:

2 cups all purpose flour (NOT SELF-RISING), sifted
1 cup butter (salted or unsalted, margarine may be substituted), soft
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped*
An oven pre-heated to 350F

That’s it. No, really. That’s all you need. Now, let’s get started. Cream together the butter and sugar. What that means, of course, is to dump those two things in a big bowl and mix them together until fluffy.  Once that’s done, slowly add the flour and pecans. Once it’s all together, just roll the dough into small one-inch balls and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Smash them down a bit and put them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until the bottom’s are a little brown.

*Now, about those pecans. Does anyone here know that nuts do not come off the tree pre-toasted? If you do, you’re a step ahead of many people. If you don’t know how to toast them, read on.

Required materials:

Nuts
Cookie sheet
Oven, set to 250F

Spread nuts of sheet (UN BLOODY GREASED). Stuff in oven. Leave until nutty smell escapes oven. Remove, cool.

Problem solved.  Unless you burned the nuts.

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