The lovely http://missmylin.wordpress.com/ commented on my blog yesterday about liking lunches to heat up, so this blog post is for her. While bento is traditionally eaten at room temperature (made hot in the morning, cooled to room temp, wrapped, and taken to work/school), I often think of two-tier bento boxes as having the potential for a ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ tier when making lunches, or I go for foods that can be enjoyed cold. Miss Mylin also referenced food safety concerns with heating bento boxes. My feeling is that everyone has a different comfort level on the heating plastics continuum. Other than cute plastic bento boxes, I use glass and metal cookware most of the time, just using plastic boxes with nice seals for keeping food in the fridge or freezer.
I promised Miss Mylin that I would make a bento designed to be heated up, and here it is! I have cooked pearl couscous and cubes of smoked tofu tossed together in a red pepper sauce. I lightly steamed some broccoli, so that when the florets are reheated, they won’t be soggy and overcooked (blech!). To up the cute factor, I kept the broccoli as a sea of green and added some sesame seeds for contrast. I also love hot pickled peppers, so put two in a silicon cup to be removed before heating my bento tomorrow at lunch. Snack is a chocolate banana bread recipe that I love, made with cocoa powder instead of chocolate chips, but it’s currently baking, so I don’t have a photo of that.
I used a Pyrex glass container that comes with a flexible plastic lid. To avoid heating plastic, I will remove the lid and cover with a piece of paper towel – the sides are deep enough that there is no risk of spattering the inside of the microwave – yay!