Whoever thinks leftovers are depressing isn’t doing it right. When stored properly, reheated and jazzed-up to look pretty, leftovers offer as cheerful a lunch alternative as freshly cooked food.
Last Saturday, we had a Greek-themed cookfest. Happily, our experiments all turned out yummy (even if my hummus was too peanutty). Still, we overestimated our appetites so we ended up with leftovers. Our host, Naomi sent us off with baggies of leftovers. One of the leftovers, a Greek Shrimp & Feta Stew stars in Tuesday’s bento. Crappy leftover? Goodness no! (Note: Greek cookfest coverage to follow.)
â€¢ Reheated Greek Shrimp & Feta stew. Nao added a bit of chicken to the mix. It was a welcome addition as the chicken added extra meatiness and texture to the shrimp stew.
â€¢ Couscous! I ladled the stew directly on the couscous, ala donburi. Freshly cooked that morning, it helped keep the stew warm for lunch.
â€¢ Tropical fruit cocktail. This canned mix contained pineapples, papaya, nata de coco, and cherries.
â€¢ Flower-shaped tortilla. Little single-bite cut-outs made with tortillas and handy dandy vegetable cutters.
â€¢ Hummus. More leftovers from our Greek/Mediterranean Cookfest.
â€¢ Babybel Emmental Cheese. I was about to grab my usual bag of Original Babybel–
Light still eludes me–when bags of the yellow variety caught me eye. Not having seen the yellow Babybel before, I quickly grabbed a bag. I love cheese but I am not exactly educated, variety-wise. Cheddar, Gouda, Edam, Blue Cheese, Feta, Kesong Puti and Mozzarella were often more than enough to keep me happy. It turns out I’m not a big fan of Emmental. I love the soft texture, but as something to snack on, the mild flavor with what I perceive as a fruity-sweet undertone doesn’t really appeal to me. I still have a couple of mini-wheels left. It’s either I develop a taste for it, or use it for cooking instead. Experiment time!
Bento Box Review: Thermos Thermal Lunch Kit
Volume / Capacity: 300ml thermal compartment + 2 x 130ml side compartments
Price: 1,199 PHP (Roughly $25)
Brick & Mortar Store: SM Department Store (also seen at Rustan’s)
Online: So far, spotted only on Ebay
In my quest for a thermal lunch set, this, as well as a Ms. Bento-style lunch jar from Thermos were the two sets that were vying for my attention. My main requirement? The set should allow me to bring Korean Beef Stew to work and keep it warm enough to stay yummy and not turn into a coagulated gunk of fat.
After much deliberation however, this set’s relatively smaller size and ability to keep both cold and hot lunch elements in one bag won. So far, I’ve used it twice, and have been pleased with the results. Since I don’t fill the thermal compartment with soup or anything too liquidy, spillage isn’t a problem. However, I’m thinking that if I do decide to put soup in it, I’ll probably reinforce the seal with Press & Seal or cling wrap.
The thermal lined container that holds the lunch jars has a tight, snug fit so you’re assured that your lunch won’t go tumbling about. Unless you swing your arms wildly, of course. The handle is comfortable, so carrying your lunch about isn’t a hassle. Plus, it’s still loose enough so I can slip it on my wrist, should I need my lunch-carrying hand free.
Thermal performance, however, is a bit iffy. It keeps lunch warm, yes. In fact, the set comes with a small chart that shows how warm it keeps it with the corresponding hours. (Durn, I knew I should’ve scanned it. Will edit when I get home.) It was successful in keeping Tuesday’s couscous & stew warm. Still, I wonder whether it can keep items that can be heated to 100 degrees (the max temperature according to the container), like soup, adequately hot 5 hours later.
Right now, I’m happy with this set. It keeps my food warm, is easy to use and clean, and I find it really cute. However, this set still needs to be tested further, particularly, with soup and my deal-breaker, Korean Beef Stew. Will update once tested.