Tag Archives: jars

jar lunch: deconstructed sushi

I want to introduce a new feature on the blog: the Jar Lunch! It’s like a bag lunch or a bento lunch, but the next big thing is lunch packed in a good ol’ mason jar. I have to microwave my lunch at work, so metal containers won’t work and heating up plastic has me worried. We often simply fill mason jars with leftovers, but sometimes it is fun to come up with a clever jar lunch and make a big batch. Lunch for the whole family is already packed.

I am pleased to introduce the first jar lunch; it was so much fun to make. Meet deconstructed sushi in a jar:

Might as well take advantage of the mason jar’s glass with some colorful layers. Levi is currently obsessed with all things Japan. He has been considering taking Japanese in addition to German. We sometimes splurge on the brown rice sushi from Trader Joe’s, so I figured I ought to start making something at home. The beauty of this lunch is you don’t have to achieve perfect sushi rice and you don’t have to roll it. You still get all the delicious flavors of an avocado roll. It’s perfect with a side of baked tofu.

deconstructed sushi in a jar

ingredients per wide mouth pint jar:

3/4 cup cooked short grain brown rice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar*
1 teaspoon sugar
1-2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 sheet nori, cut into 1″ X 1/4″ pieces
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup cucumber matchsticks
1/2 an avocado, diced
lime juice
pickled ginger, to taste
wasabi paste, to taste

Heat the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. While your brown rice is still warm, pour the vinegar-sugar mixture and soy sauce over it and toss to combine. Let cool to room temperature. Adding the soy sauce to the rice saves you from having to lug soy sauce to school or work.

*If you use seasoned rice vinegar, omit the sugar and heat.

You can use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to cut up your nori.

I used heaping 1/4 cups of carrot per lunch, and used two medium carrots to pack six lunches. When you prep all your veggies, place the diced avocado in a bowl and toss with just enough lime juice to lightly coat in order to prevent browning.

I watched youTube videos to figure out how to cut cucumber matchsticks, and it was surprisingly easy to use the same method. One large cucumber was enough to pack six jar lunches.

Once your ingredients are ready, simply add one layer at a time and use a spoon to level and pat down each layer. If you smudge the sides of the jar, wipe the inside with a dry cloth. I used half the sheet of nori on the bottom and half on top, and finished with ginger and wasabi to taste.

You can easily move the ginger & wasabi to your lid when you eat to add as needed. For even less mess, you can cut a larger piece of nori to hold your wasabi at the very top of the jar. Or just stir the whole thing together, if that’s your cup o’ tea.

Enjoy!

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Her name is Cherry, we’ve just met

Jess, along with our good friend Jordan, worked some sort of miracle and scored local organic cherries for $2.50 a pound, with a couple bonus pounds thrown in for free. Last night we all convened at the Bearded Lady Food Company’s (literally) sweet commercial kitchen for a cherry processing pizza party.

In case you’re wondering, yes it was amazing to be in a commercial kitchen with a six burner gas range and a wall of deep sinks to wash everything. Jess could not stop talking about those sinks.

We all donned Bearded Lady aprons, even Levi, and went to town on 22 pounds of cherries. Levi looks grumpy here, but I assure you that is just intense focus. Together he & I stemmed and pitted all the cherries in record time. That kid can be a workhorse when we get him on board a project.

Okay, for the sake of complete accuracy we pitted all of the cherries except the two pounds that became Drunken Cherries.

We used the recipe from Sherri Brooks Vinton’s Put ’em Up but threw in a little vanilla bean. Sweet cherries, bourbon, brown sugar and vanilla bean? How can this go wrong? We also made her Classic Cherry Preserves from the same book, one batch with vanilla bean and the other with black pepper. BLACK PEPPER CHERRY PRESERVES? Tell me you don’t want to invite yourself over for scones.

We always joke about cooking all the way through a book, but Jess doesn’t know yet that I hope we can actually achieve that with this book.

I’ve also got cherries and sugar macerating in an attempt to make this cherry shrub recipe happen. You may recall we enjoyed cherry shrub cocktails for our anniversary recently. Learn more about shrubs here from serious eats. We are well on our way to our dreams of a house filled with all sorts of jams and jellies and syrups and shrubs, hooray!

In case you’re wondering what we ended up with from our 11 pounds:

3 half-pint jars cherry preserves
4 pint jars cherries preserved in simple syrup
1 quart jar of drunken cherries
1 gigantic batch of cherry shrub

and one leftover pound in the fridge – I’m leaning toward a fresh salad with cherries and cheese for dinner tonight.

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Filed under canning