Thursday, June 19, 2008

Swimming the Somen Sea

As promised, here's the first lunch in Daddy Shmoo's new bento box.

A grilled portabello mushroom fish with baby cucumber scales and snow pea eyes is set adrift on a bed of somen noodles with blanched snow peas and parsley "seaweed".

I really wanted to include a Lotus Root Salad next to the somen -- wouldn't that have looked lovely? But alas, I can't find fresh or even canned lotus root here, so I settled on roasting a red pepper and cutting it into sand dollars and little fish shapes, with fresh basil tucked here and there.

A squeeze bottle of somen dipping sauce (konbu stock with soy sauce and mirin) and garbanzo beans fill in the rest of the space in the box. I packed an orange alongside the lunch box for a sweet ending.

Verdict: "That was almost too cute to eat!" he said. "I was hoping someone would stop by my desk so I could show it off." But was it enough? "I didn't think it would be until I started eating the noodles; they were dense." So it seems it will hold enough if you focus on a filling starch like noodles or rice.

I asked him to rate the lunch on a scale of 1-5, and he thought for a minute. "I was going to say 4 stars, but I can't imagine any way it could have been better. So I guess that's 5 stars!"

19 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

I agree - it DEFINITELY looks too cute to eat!! Love it :0D

Skinny Habit said...

I want it! The fish is adorable! It looks so yummy. If only I got my boyfriend to eat like that =( No such luck!

Balabusta said...

I was thinking when I saw the box that it would be enough food if you packed it bento-style, with everything crammed together. I think the red pepper makes the lunch much more visually appealing than the lotus-root would have.

Vegan Knitting said...

So cute! I can see how your husband would think the writing is embarrassing but I guess he's over that now!

Ellie said...

It's super cute, but I think it would be a lot more filling & balanced if it had more protein - it's mostly starch and vegetables, with only a couple (looks like 6!) chickpeas.

Jennifershmoo said...

Portabellos are actually relatively high in protein (31% of calories), so I focused on the mushrooms to give some protein (and "meaty" texture) to this lunch.

Besides, my husband is not vegetarian and loads up on animal protein at almost every meal (eggs for breakfast almost every day, some kind of meat for lunch and/or dinner, and big glasses of milk between meals... we're proof that opposites attract). His system could probably use the occasional protein break!!

Paulina said...

How cute! I just love the fish, it's so creative!

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Yes, that fish is absoloutely adorable! ^_^ Great bento-ing! (who cares if its not a word.)Probably really gave your hubby something to smile for, as kiddish as bento art is. Bentos bring out the kid in us all I suppose.

jenny said...

I am so excited that you've been blogging again, I've missed your daily inspiration!!!

* spryte said...

I love the fact that your husband was hoping to show off his mushroom fish. I imagine some guys would not be so into the idea :)

veganf said...

HaHa, kyaraben for daddy, very cute.
Good idea with the mushrooms!

Julie said...

I am glad you are blogging again!

Trish said...

Very creative.

K*Love said...

I just want you to know how inspiring and creative your lunch boxes are. First of all you being vegan and super healthy is awesome, and getting the word out there, hopefully inspiring other Moms. I am just 21 years old, but yet do alot of research myself online about veganism or just healthy eating in general. I just really appreciate you and your strong will to stand up and do something like this, for your own son and teaching him this way of life, its great. Not enough mothers do that for their children. Thats great of you!! I hope you have a great day!!

jennconspiracy said...

Wow - that looks awesome! How much time does it take for you to prepare stuff like this?

Jennifershmoo said...

Well, it depends. Some lunches only take a few minutes but this one took probably an hour or so. Most of that time was the night before. I roasted and shaped the red pepper, grilled the mushroom, blanched and julliened the snow peas and made the dipping sauce all before I went to bed. In the morning I only had to cook the noodles, slice the cucumber, pick the herbs and arrange the lunch.

It also helps to lay out the lunch box the night before and write a list of what needs doing along with a little drawing of what goes where. It helps my sleepy brain not have to think too much at 5 am!

manixter said...

I'd double with the "that's too much carbs" comment. For a small space, I get really hungry if I don't maximize my protein and fat. Less pasta, more chickpeas and mushrooms! For example, the LLB is enough for me if I have (for instance) a bean burrito (a big container and small container) and avocado salad (big container) and some rice with raisins (small container)-- IF the day is short. Usually I'll have the burrito as a sidecar and the big container with avocado salad, the other big container with the rice, and fruit (and/ or cookies) in the small containers. For a long day, I'll use the zojirushi bento (supposedly sized for men-- guess I'm the only 5' man with breasts in japan) and have the rice and avocado in the two middle containers, fruit and cottage cheese in the bottom, and maybe more fruit in the top (or something else sweet).
I try to choose things with fiber as well, to decrease my gastric emptying time and avoid crashes.
For maximizing calories and minimizing space, it's hard to beat meat/ dairy. Perhaps you could move some of your husband's non-vegan eating to his lunch? The single compartment quality of the "men's bento box" you're using looks very frustrating!

veggout said...

Beautiful blog, very inspiring as I am in the process of going vegan from vegetarian (or pescatarian, i suppose, because I do eat fish).

As far as all of the comments on not enough protein or carbs... it seems to be just right, imho. The portabello mushroom would be quite filling, plus the noodles. And let's not forget... Daddy Shmoo was the one who actually ate the lunch, and he seemed quite full. So, no problems there, so far as I can see.