The Superb Steak Bento

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If you look to your left, you will see bites of steak on top of an otherwise dull, yet colorful salad. I should learn to not insult my food because self-deprecation has its place and this should not be it, but the steak is the shining star of this bento. It is the best steak I have ever made and I want everybody to know how to do it!

To Make the Perfect Steak (click here for original recipe inspiration)

Position an oven rack in the top slot of your oven and preheat to 450. Put your trusty cast iron skillet in there as it preheats to get it super hot. While the oven is preheating, get out your juicy ribeye with its beautiful marbling and brush each side with butter (I highly recommend Kerrygold Irish butter), salt and pepper. Since your oven is probably still heating up at this point, I also suggest opening a few windows and turning on the fan(s) because it may get smoky. Nothing guarantees someone scalding themselves than them trying to remove hot things from an oven while frantically trying to remember how to turn the smoke alarm off.

Once the oven has preheated, carefully remove the skillet with a reliable oven mitt (I use a sturdy kitchen towel) and put it on a burner. Set the burner to medium-high heat and spoon out a tablespoon of ghee into the skillet.

CAUTION: Wonderful, distracting smells are going to occur!

Take some tongs and ease your hunk of meat into the pan. Sear for 30 seconds, turn over, and then sear for another 30 seconds. Then take the whole skillet (with your mitt because it’s still wicked hot) and put the whole thing in the oven for 1.5-2 minutes, flip it, and then in for another 1.5-2 minutes, depending on how you like it.

I usually plate it and start hurriedly looking for a knife and fork right after, but you could leave it a bit to cool off if you are a more patient individual. It took a lot of self-control to even allot pieces for this bento.

If you’re not into seafood and feeling a bit anemic, this is your prescription. And as much as I love dietary diversity, one could not possibly make a cauliflower steak taste this good, so I do not believe there is a vegetarian alternative. Go forth and embrace your inner Ron Swanson!

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The Vegan Confetti Salad Bento

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While the main course of this particular bento is a Mahi Mahi burger on sprouted bread with red onion and greens, I would like to draw your attention to the quinoa salad on the right. This salad is absolutely phenomenal and allows for you to use a lot of vegetables you may have in your fridge that are waiting ever so patiently in little sticky produce bags to magically turn into a pile of brown, indistinguishable sediment! It has the potential to become a solution to this first world problem.

On the Trader Joe’s website, the recipe is called “The Edamame Energy Bowl.” I made it for a potluck tea party because it’s savory and colorful, making it a nice contrast with cakes and cookies that are almost always in excess at a potluck. I wanted to make something vegan that could feed a group of people because my friend Jill, the hostess of the tea, is vegan and I wouldn’t want to exclude her from eating something in her own house. Her favorite thing in the world is confetti and upon looking at the gorgeous colors of all the veggies in the salad, I realized that it had the same panoply of shades one would find in confetti! So I changed it to a more appropriate descriptor and it was enjoyed by all (at least to my knowledge).

The Edamame Energy Bowl or The Vegan Confetti Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 package frozen shelled edamame
  • 1 cup red quinoa, cooked (Any quinoa will do; I had a mix of red and white)
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 tbsp Italian parsley
  • 1 gala apple, diced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds

Dressing ingredients:

  • 1 medium lemon (juice only)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

Prepare edamame and quinoa in separate pots according to instructions. Chop celery, green onions, parsley, apple, avocado and carrots; set aside. In a small bowl mix together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper to taste. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and sprinkle almonds on top. If preferred chilled, refrigerate an extra 20 minutes before serving.

Jill and I discussed the salad after the party and pitched the idea of using different beans in the salad due to growing concern over the questionable effects of soy. As I know some people have become wary of its possible side effects, replacing the edamame with garbanzo, black, or cannelini beans might be a tasty alternative. Make this salad, clean out your fridge, and go be creative!