Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Autumn Leaves Bento Box

Autumn and roasting seem to go "hand in hand". Well, lately in at my house it does. It's quick, easy, healthy and warms up the kitchen all in one swoop. Especially if you mix and match the veggies. Today's featured bento contains some of the mix and match repeats from yesterday's lunch. But don't get discouraged, please read on, for at the end I'll tell you how I made the dry stir fried "wheat meat" which is included in today's vegan bento box. You just can't see it; it's hidden under all that yummy roasted asparagus and yellow carrots! Those yellow carrots are really bright yellow aren't they? Wow. The purple carrots are roasted too; the renkon (lotus roots) are not, they're simmered, but I'm adding these guys to the list of potential items for roasting next time. The orange "leaves" are sweet potatoes and before you ask... nope, they're baked...and lastly the plain tomatoes. These are perfect the way they are. If you look closely between the carrots and asparagus, you can see the sliced peppers that were fried with the "wheat meat". One of those slices is a purple pepper which lost it's color during the cooking process. Would of been cool, but oh well.

How to make the dry strir fry:

Slice and soak some "wheat meat" overnight in a marinade of your choice. I did the "teriyaki" thing with these. The "wheat meat" is store bought, but some day I will attempt making my own. If I ever do, I'll document my process here.
I thinly sliced peppers and onion, crushed a clove of garlic and a bit of fresh ginger.

Heat up a frying pan and add a touch of canola oil. When nice and hot, add the drained slices of "wheat meat" and stir to keep from sticking. Keep stirring while adding the remaining ingredients. The idea is to cook until the moisture is gone and the veggies cooked but still a little crisp. I like to start off with less moisture and add as needed until done. Starting off with too much liquid may cause vegetable sogginess which is not the desired affect.

I like to add some sesame seeds at the end for interest and a bit of flavor.

This dish is a nice break from animal protein and you may not even taste the difference. Have fun coming up with your own combinations of vegetables and seasonings.
Why dry stir fry? The best practice for a successful bento box lunch(packed to eat later) is not having a lot of moisture inside. You could say it's rule #1.