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On Thursday, Ascension of Jesus — a national holiday, the weather was so good we decided to take our Mexican dinner to the park. A great opportunity to use my new sakura bento!

Mexican Dinner (Picnic) Bento, 02-06-2011

I know: baaaad picture — sorry! But I was so hungry that I didn’t have the patience to make a good one… Not to mention the growling tummy of Mr Gnoe next to me. ;)

Contents: flour tortillas with chili (kidney beans, zucchini & red bell pepper), rice, salsa picante, avocado with lime and sea salt, blanched spinach with red onion and jalepeño, salad (lettuce, tomato, spring onion, gherkin, black olives) with balsamic vinegar dressing and nachos. The beer is Grolsch, which I prefer over Heineken any day.

Now it would be foolish to tell you this was supposed to be a burrito bento that I messed up, right? ;)

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A bit later than planned, but yes, I’ve started my first Bloggiesta! I’ve been looking at the challenges of the previous bloggiesta and actually carried out one of them already: I’ve analyzed my weblog in Website Grader, which was recommended by Bookish Ruth.

And I’ve scored a 89% (out of 100)! I think I’ve passed the test, don’t you? Especially since it’s about marketing for businesses — and there are some things in WordPress I can’t control. If you’re wondering what the percentage actually stands for, here’s what the report says:

of the millions of websites that have previously been evaluated, our algorithm has calculated that this site scores higher than 89% of them in terms of its marketing effectiveness

:)

I’ve picked two more out of the previous challenges that I might actually do. But I shouldn’t get sidetracked, first I need to cross off some items of my to-do list that I compiled during the week. I’m not going to share it here, because I like surprises ;) And I don’t need the stress of people breathing down my neck either LOL. But I mean to diminish my backlog (among which book reviews and challenge wrap-up posts), clean up some old posts, make an index page, a button for my Bookcrossing Releases Google Map etc.

Haven’t you heard about Bloggiesta yet? It’s a weekend of getting our acts together on our blogs… Check out the details at Maw Books Blog and join! Yes, there’s still time ;)

Now let the party begin! It’s good that I have some of those blue nacho chips and homemade salsa picante left over from last night’s dinner! :)

I didn’t have time before to update you on this week’s bento #86: Gringo Bento. Called that way because of the Mexican foodies :) Although the American Heritage Dictionary classifies gringo as ‘offensive slang’, it has a positive ring for me because it sounds like the name of my gorgeous tomcat Ringo :)

Gringo Bento #86

Don’t you love the (organic) blue maize tortilla chips?! This must be a very healthy bento because I even exceeded the five colour rule ;) How many tints do you count?

The tier on the left contains corn cob, a slice of zucchini, parsley, homemade salsa picante (recipe below), a piece of carrot and something I call an avocado gringo, because it’s neither a quesadilla nor a burrito since it hasn’t been baked or grilled afterwards like the first, nor wrapped liked the latter. It consists of four layers of multigrain wheat tortilla with guacamole, salsa, lettuce and cheese in between.

As you can see I brought some red grapefruit in another side container. The bento box tier on the right contains pepitas (popped pumpkin seeds), sour cream for the bean dish, dried strawberries as a sweet, a mix of corn salad and plain lettuce and frijoles (kidney beans) with red bell pepper, corn, onion and zucchini.

It was yummy :)

CSA (and organic): lettuce, corn salad, corn, parsley, carrot.
Organic: wheat tortilla’s, tortilla corn chips, onion.

Salsa picante

Making salsa picante is really easy!

Needed:

  • 4 tomatoes without skin & hearts, roughly cut (look at Gnoe’s tip!)
  • 1/2 onion, peeled and roughly cut
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded (or sambal, chili sauce or tabasco to taste)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 4 tablespoons of tomato ketchup
  • salt & pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a food processor and shred until smooth — or almost smooth. Et voilá!

If you don’t have a blender just cut the ingredients with a knife. This recipe is so flexible! You can use leftover tomatoes that have gotten overripe, or you could replace them by canned tomatoes, pureed etc. Instead of ketchup you can also take some tomato paste and add a bit of sugar or honey for sweetness. There’s almost no excuse not to make this salsa!

Last but not least, here’s Gnoe’s tip to undress tomatoes ;) The easiest way to peel tomatoes is to immerse them in boiling water for 1 minute after cross-cutting the skin. Drain, and immerse in cold water for about 5 seconds (or hold under the cold tab). The skin comes right off!

Recipe courtesy of Eethuis Iris

Vanavond een favoriet gerecht op het menu: Frijoles. Dit Mexicaanse bonengerecht komt regelmatig bij ons op tafel omdat het:

  1. zo lekker is,
  2. snel te maken,
  3. je er álle kanten mee op kunt!

In tegenstelling tot wat ik zaterdag aankondigde maak ik de bonen niet met verse kapucijners… Dat bleek een slecht idee omdat ze meer op erwten dan op die bruine bonen uit blik lijken :\ Ze gingen dus in een zomersalade en dat was heerlijk!

Vanavond gebruiken we gewoon een blik nierbonen volgens het oorspronkelijke recept van Eethuis Iris in Eindhoven, uit het kookboekje Feestmenu’s, verrukkelijk & vegetarisch. In de loop der tijd hebben we de hoeveelheden daarvan wel wat aangepast en bouwstenen toegevoegd ;)

Nodig voor 2 personen:

  • 1 blik rode bonen (of andere, voor meerdere personen kun je ook bonen combineren; belangrijk is dat de bonen gaar zijn ;)
  • 1 fijngesneden ui
  • 1 teen knoflook, fijngehakt
  • 1 (ruime) tl sambal of 1 schoongemaakte en gesnipperde rode peper
  • 2 el olie
  • kruidenmengsel van telkens 1 tl: komijnpoeder, paprikapoeder, kurkuma (geelwortel, of kerrie als je dat niet hebt) en korianderpoeder
  • 5 el sojasaus
  • half blikje tomatenpuree (evt. te vervangen door 2 el gezeefde tomaat, tomaat uit blik of verse, ontvelde tomaat)
  • zout (of bouillonpoeder) naar smaak

Bereiding:

Olie verwarmen en daarin de fijngehakte ui, knoflook en rode peper/sambal glazig bakken. Kruiden toevoegen en even laten meebakken (blijf roeren om aanbakken tegen te gaan). Sojasaus en tomatenpuree toevoegen en al roerend enkele minuten bakken. Dan de gare bonen in de pan doen, omroeren, deksel op de pan en zachtjes laten doorkoken. Het gaat erom dat de bonen goed warm worden en de saus wat indikt, maar pas goed op dat het gerecht niet aanbakt; doe er evt. een klein scheutje water bij als het te droog wordt. Op smaak brengen met zout.

Een simpele avondmaaltijd vormen de frijoles met rijst (en natuurlijk een salade of maïskolf als groente), maar die kan worden uitgebreid met — of vervangen door — maïschips of een nachoschotel van chips uit de oven met tomaat, olijf en geraspte kaas.

Andere keren gebruiken we de mexicaanse bonen als vulling van taco’s, enchillada’s of burrito’s — bijvoorbeeld als we bezoek krijgen :) Meestal in buffetvorm, met diverse bijgerechten: zure room (of creme fraîche), guacamole, salsa picante, geraspte kaas, pepita’s (geroosterde pompoenpitten), olijven en lente-ui.

Minder feestelijk, maar wel net zo lekker, zijn de bonen als chili sin carne: met paprika, courgette en evt. maïskorrels toegevoegd. Ik zei het al: je kunt met dit recept echt álle kanten op!

Bij de simpele doordeweekse versie vinden wij zure room en een beetje geraspte kaas eigenlijk wel onmisbaar. Yummy, ik krijg nu al trek!

Ever since I saw my kawaii Japanese picks I have been dreaming of a mexican bento lunch. It didn’t come out exactly the way I wished, but it was nice anyway ;) I present: bento #14.

Mexican dream bento

Left tier: homemade enchilada rolls with cream cheese and chives, salsa and guacamole – held together by my new food picks. Cucumber divider, frijoles (mexican beans) on a bed of whole grain rice and topped with grated cheese. All leftovers from the night before!

Tier below: mixed salad in cup, light La vache qui rit cheese wedge (almost invisible next to the salad), organic chili tortilla crisps and container of homemade salsa picante.

On the side some seedless grapes and part of a camera-shy corn cob.

Baking the enchilada’s seemed easy but turned out ‘just OK’. I also had a hard time cutting the rolls – I really should find a way to sharpen my knives! I have some really frustrating memories of sharpening utensils that didn’t work, but I can’t just throw all of my cutlery away and buy some new, can I? How do other people take care of that?

Anyway, if I would have had just a little more time and energy I would have roasted some pepita’s (pumpkin seeds) to fill up the gaps.

As it turned out I didn’t take this bento to work because I was home sick. But this way at least I could take good care of myself! ;)

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

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