Lately I’ve been making a lot of white rice with quinoa for Kid Yum’s bentos. It has the flavor of white rice that she prefers, with some of the nutrition of quinoa that I prefer, and yet sticks together nicely at lunch time. Today I got home with Kid Yum after picking her up from her Japanese language school and I had some rice still hot in the rice cooker from the morning. I had been craving sushi, so I thought I’d whip up some vegetarian sushi. I also made Kid Yum some tuna mayo sushi but it turned out she preferred plain avocado! Craziness. Anyway, for those who pause over serving just plain white rice sushi but prefer the flavor over brown rice sushi, you can try this unusual combo. We love it, especially with a healthy dash of sesame seeds on top and a splash of soy sauce.
Here’s a sample bento using this rice-quinoa mixture for “onigiri” with lettuce tops designed to look like strawberries to match the strawberry bento box. I included raw cauliflower and Kid Yum’s favorite tamagoyaki recipe. (I cut the recipe in half and use two eggs.)
2 1/2 RICE COOKER cups white sushi rice 1/2 RICE COOKER cups quinoa (I used red but regular is fine too)
4 tbsp rice vinegar 2 tbsp mirin or MORE rice vinegar (will make less sweet) 3 tbsp sugar 2 tsp salt
Nori sheets Avocado, cut into thick strips cucumber, cut into thin strips
Black sesame (or brown if you prefer)
Put your white sushi rice and quinoa in a rice strainer and rinse multiple times until the water is no longer cloudy. Put in your rice cooker and add water up to the 3 cup mark. Start rice cooker.
Next, combine your rice vinegar, mirin, sugar and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil on the stove, whisking. When all the powder has dissolved, remove off stove and let cool.
When rice-quinoa blend is done cooking and on the warm setting, remove it and put it in a large glass bowl. Drizzle and fold in your rice vinegar mixture while fluffing the rice to cool it. You can fan the rice if you are really excited about cooling it off. Do not put in freezer or refrigerator as this will harden the rice, but let it come to temperature naturally.
Prepare a bamboo rolling sheet and place one sheet of nori on it with the shiny side facing down. Cover 4/5 of the surface with your cooled rice leaving the top 1/2 inch bare. Place a strip of avocado in a horizontal line in the middle of your rice surface and roll up your sushi. Use a dab of water to seal the rolled edge together. Let it sit on the seam for a minute and then slice into rolls with a serrated or very sharp knife. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if you desire and serve with a gluten-free soy sauce or coconut aminos (for soy allergy). Enjoy!
Original Source:The contents of my brain, please do not replicate without permission.
Long time no see, dear readers!
As you might have guessed, I’ve been a little occupied since I got back from Japan. I’m writing my dissertation and the dear Kid Yum is in a busy daycare schedule. Then of course there is the DH… and our house… and kitty… Blog writing has become a luxury that I haven’t been able to afford.
I have been cooking, though, and I have been making many, many bento lunches for Kid Yum these days, and being me, I can’t resist photographing them.
So.. when I can, I’d like to share the week’s bentos with you. And if, like today, I come up with a fun recipe, I’ll share that too.
I have a new passion these days as well that I’d like to share. Along with making (mostly) vegetarian bentos, I’ve been trying to teach Kid Yum some Japanese. She attended a Japanese pre-school for six months while we were in Mutsu City, and she picked up some phrases and vocabulary, as well as a love for Japanese food and taiko (drums). When I was a kid in first grade, I desperately wanted to learn Japanese (or Chinese)… but I didn’t have anyone to teach me. So, given Kid Yum’s great start, I thought it would be nice to give her a chance to keep speaking Japanese.
Twice a week she goes to a neat Japanese language school we found. I know, it seems a little crazy for a 3 year old, but it is a really fun school with lots of songs and games. The atmosphere is also very welcoming, and the other moms are really friendly. It has a great sense of community, and I’m hoping that Kira will get a lot out of it long term. The other three days a week, she goes to her old, much-loved preschool. Her Japanese language school is designed to be a once or twice-a-week program, so she couldn’t go every day even if she wanted to. I’m happy to have her back at her old school anyway. She is really comfortable there and has even adjusted to nap-time with the help of the head teacher.
So, my new passion is playing in Japanese with Kid Yum. We play with hiragana (Japanese letter) blocks, try writing hiragana on a dry erase board, listen to japanese kids songs in the car, and get Japanese kids books from the library. We also listen to fun Japanese kids songs and watch youtube videos. I have found a new favorite blog as well, the clever Hiragana Mama blog with lots of ideas on how to share Japanese with kids.
Kid Yum seems to like it, and I’ve learned some new Japanese too. Kids Japanese and vocabulary is a little different than adult conversation, so it is a fun challenge twisting my tongue around the kids book lingo. It may be a funny fit, but I’d like to share the occasional Japanese song gem or fun book that we’re reading with you, along with the week’s bento and recipes, when time allows. I hope you enjoy getting this peek into Japanese culture and kids education!
I was lucky enough to have dear, kind-hearted fellow bloggers help me with Adopt a Gluten-free Blogger pretty much the whole time I was in Japan. I would like to take back the reins and so I will be posting a sign-up sheet on December 1st. Sign ups AND Posts will be due on December 15th and I’ll try to get a round up ASAP so you can enjoy the recipes for the holidays.
For the Japanese media of the week…
Here’s a recent favorite song that we heard a lot in Mutsu at kid’s karaoke etc.
Bento 1 Japanese Vegetarian Bento (w/ pescatarian variation) Contents: Yakisoba-Inspired Fried Rice (back)
1/4 recipe of Maki’s tamagoyaki Recipe, raw yellow cauliflower from the farmer’s market [uneaten], and grapefruit pieces (front)
note: I actually made a 1/2 recipe of Maki’s tamagoyaki and Kid Yum ate 1/4 for breakfast and 1/4 for lunch. She just loves eggs.
Bento 2 Mexican American Vegetarian Bento Contents: Avocado cubes with lemon juice (do NOT make these the night before, best morning of bento), Apple cubes, gluten-free sweet potato bread (back) Refried beans (scroll down, used black beans instead of pinto), and quesadillas with homemade gluten-free corn tortillas (front)
*Note: dough mixed night before, saved in refrigerator covered with damp towel and then cooked in cast iron pan the morning of bento. If you can I’d recommend mixing the dough the morning you make the bento OR frying the tortilla the night before and then making the quesadilla freshly in the morning.
And though these pictures aren’t as pretty… just for kicks, I thought I’d show how I take my grown-up bento (or tiffin, in this case) and do a pre-school friendly version. Here’s my tiffin: Indian Quinoa Masala, Carrot Sticks, 1 boiled egg and some fried tofu cubes. And Kid Yum’s bento, made the same night:
Sugar snap peas, grapes (back two containers)
toasted jam sandwich (not Gluten-free, but easily done with a gluten-free bread), sunflower seeds, carrot sticks, CAR-SHAPED boiled egg seasoned with soy sauce, 1 heirloom tomato, and a small serving of Indian quinoa masala
Hope you enjoyed the post! I’m glad to be back. It just didn’t feel right, not sharing our Thanksgiving with you… So here’s a last yum for you of our Thanksgiving menu. Maybe it will give you some ideas for other winter celebration dinners…
Our Thanksgiving Menu:
GF French Bread, GF Spinach Pie, Baked Acorn Squash Stuffed with Portobella Mushroom filling
Baked Sweet Potato Cranberry Mash with Streusel and Meringue Topping, Mashed Potatoes with vegetarian gravy, and homemade Cranberry Sauce
Dessert included: Homemade GF Apple Pie, GF Pumpkin Pie, GF Pecan Pie, and mini gingerbread cheesecakes
sauce: 1 tsp. gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos for soy-free 1 tsp. mirin 1/2 tsp agave nectar, maple syrup or sugar 1 small knob of ginger (1/2 in) grated finely with micro-plane
Fried Rice: 2 cups cold cooked brown rice 1 tbsp. grapeseed oil 1/3 onion, diced (or 2 or 3 scallions, diced) 1/2 carrot, diced 1/2 cup slivered cabbage *optional- for pescatarian version, add katsuobushi bonito flakes
Egg: 1 large or jumbo egg, whisked 1 diced green onion/scallion salt pepper *sesame oil for pan
Special almost-yakisoba sauce* omit for soy-free: 1 tbsp. ketchup 1 tbsp. GF Worcestershire sauce* contains soy
ao nori for topping salt (if needed) black sesame seeds
Combine sauce ingredients in small bowl and reserve.
Heat grapeseed oil in a wok or cast iron pan on high. Add your onion and let soften. Then add the diced carrot and then the slivered cabbage and sautee until carrot is al dente. Add sauce to veggies and stir fry for one minute, and then remove from pan.
If necessary, rinse pan with water, clean and dry. Whisk egg ingredients in small bowl, without the sesame oil.
Add a few drops of sesame oil to your newly clean, dry pan. Heat on medium and when warm, add your egg in a flat sheet like a crepe to the pan. After 10 or 20 seconds, add your brown rice, crumbled in your hand so that it falls in individual grains on the rice. Use spatula or large spoon to fold egg into rice. Cook for a minute or two and then fold in the reserved veggies. *Optional pescatarian version- fold in katsuobushi flakes.*
Turn off heat and combine ketchup and worcestershire sauce in a small, microwavable dish and microwave on 30 seconds or until thickened but not burned. Smoke is bad. Thick and crusty is bad, too, so avoid that. Not that I’ve had any experience with overcooking my almost-yakisoba sauce, mind you.
To serve (or to dress for a bento), put in your intended dish or bento box. sprinkle with ao nori, salt if needed (taste to determine) and sprinkle with black sesame seeds.
Trying to get Kid Yum to like brown rice is a challenge, but she did like this. She found it hard to eat with a fork and a little messy for bento, though. Fine for adult or coordinated kid’s bento. I made it the morning of the bento day, using brown rice made the night before.