Last Saturday marked the 2nd Anniversary picnic of Kalye Pinky, our local Pinky:ST collectors group. For me however, it signaled a totally different thing. It was the perfect excuse to break-in my brand new 3-tier Jyubako! A jyubako is a multi-tiered serving box traditionally used for New Year’s feasts. While it’s not New Year’s, nor was it a feast, I figured a picnic bento was a good enough excuse to start using it.
Because it was a snack picnic, I devised a menu where everything is practically finger food or could be handled with picks. For the first tier, I prepared small onigiri made with steamed Koshihikari rice and sakura denbu (Ground Seasoned Codfish). Adding sakura denbu to the rice adds a sweet flavor and pink appearance to the onigiri. In the same tier, I added quail tea eggs, basically, quail eggs steeped in a mix of tea and spices. Tea eggs are sold as street food in China, however, it can easily be made in advance and stored for future use. (Yes, a tutorial is forthcoming).
In the second tier, I placed mostly meat. I prepared bifteki, Greek-style meatballs with Feta cheese inside, and fried chicken marinated in patis (fish sauce) and calamansi (Philippine lemon). Unlike in my previous recipe for the fried chicken, I rolled the chicken breast pieces in cornstarch before frying. While this lessened the spattering as I was frying, I should’ve skipped the coating part because I miss the crisp texture of chicken meat that made direct contact with oil. In the middle, I cooked some adobong mushrooms. Normally, I use bigger mushrooms than these but I had no way of knowing before opening the can.
Adobong Mushrooms v. 26 January 2008
1 can button mushrooms
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp liquid seasoning (Knorr or Maggi)
2 Tbsp garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp brandy
1 pc. Bayleaf
1. Heat oil and butter.
2. Lightly sautÃ© garlic.
3. Saute mushrooms
4. Add the rest of the ingredients then let simmer for a few minutes, occasionally stirring, until mushrooms are infused with the various seasonings.
For the last tier, I opted for easy to put together things as I was already running late! I threw plans of making veggie rolls out the window and opted for things that required no cooking. So, I threw together some Genmatcha Chocolate sticks, kiat-kiat or miniature oranges, and tuna salad in cherry tomatoes.
Tuna Salad Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes v. 26 January 2008
tuna flakes in oil or vegetable broth, drained
1. Slice the tops off the cherry tomatoes, then carve out the insides, to create little tomato cups.
2. Mix together tuna flakes and kewpie mayonnaise. Add a small amount of mayonnaise at a time, just enough to make the tuna fuse together. You don’t want a liquid-y mix. If you can’t get kewpie mayonnaise, you can use standard mayonnaise but you’ll have to season the mayo with salt and pepper.
3. Stuff the tuna salad mix in the tomatoes.
It took me roughly four hours to put this bento together from scratch. It would’ve been faster, had I started at least the quail eggs the night before, but I fell asleep. Despite the tiring preparation, I felt jubilant in the end. It was my first full-fledged picnic obento! And in a Jyubako at that. Because I didn’t have bento belts that big, I simply riffled through my craft boxes and picked out two pieces of large bright colored ribbons to secure the boxes together. Cuteness!
After I got to the picnic however, I realized that I packed too much food! We had a never-ending supply of food, so I ended up with lots of leftovers. Still, I dub it a success, leftovers notwithstanding. Now, I need more excuses to use the Jyubako more often—these picnic-style obentos are very addictive to plan, cook and put together!
Want a Jyubako of your own? Check out the
selection of Jyubako, bentos and bento accessories at Jlist / Jbox.com!