bento #90: boneless short ribs

bento 90Boneless short ribs are quickly becoming a bento staple, especially for those weeks when I’m a little short of funds. I can get enough for a whole week’s bento for about $5.

  • Boneless short ribs marinated in ponzu shoyu. There’s a little bottle of ponzu shoyu, too. I would probably eat an old shoe sole if you poured enough ponzu shoyu on it.
  • Underneath is some fried rice and edamame.
  • Sidecar has a sliced white peach and some panda shortbread cookies from Sogo Bakery (they supply 99 Ranch’s bread, cookies, and cakes).

panda shortbread cookies


fish heads aren’t actually that roly poly, now that i think about it

It sure seems like everyone is griping about the time change this year. Am I the only person who likes it? I mean okay, yes it throws off my sleep patterns something awful (I woke up at 4:30 Monday morning and couldn’t go back to sleep) so I’m stumbling around more asleep than awake for a few days. But I enjoy having more light in the evening. The days get longer on their own, obviously; but I’m in favor of hurrying the process along as much as possible. For one thing, walking/cycling home while it’s still light out = less chance of getting run over. For another, there’s more chances for photography.

And that was my terrible segue! I’ve been meaning to take photos of 99 Ranch’s live seafood department for months, but people are so weird about photographing in stores and public places in the last few years. Although what nefarious purpose there could be to taking a photo of a tub of catfish heads, I’m sure I couldn’t say. So anyway, I was trying to be fast and all on the DL, so these aren’t that great. I need to sack up and go back and do it justice.


I’m pretty sure that one floating upside down isn’t “live”.


bento #71: rolled boneless short ribs


A lot of this is “freezer stash” — most bento hobbyists have staples than can be made ahead of time and frozen, for whenever you need a quick lunch, haven’t had time to go to the store, or just don’t have any inspiration that week. My freezer staples are bags of frozen dumplings, meatballs, and rice in both pre-molded onigiris and loose. Whenever I make rice, I put at least half a cup in a ziploc and stash it in the freezer. Defrost it, and it makes great fried rice.

  • Fried rice with a little broccoli I had left from last week’s bento.
  • Mushroom gyoza with ponzu shoyu
  • Boneless short ribs, rolled up and picked to save space. I found these at 99 Ranch for only $3.50 a pound!
  • Grape tomatoes and cucumber flowers with ranch dressing.
  • Honey tangerine.

Does anyone else think this has been an excellent year for citrus? Tangerines, oranges, tangelos, mandarins, grapefruit — they’ve all been exceptionally juicy and sweet since around Christmas.

tricky geisha, shady characters, and the providential arrival of bread at the asian supermarket


geisha-with-parasol-wip-11I don’t usually abandon one project to start another one, but I got bit with the bug to start this this weekend. This is something I worked on (or tried to) in Louisiana, but it’s a kit, so the colors aren’t labeled. There are 5 shades of pink and I kept getting them mixed up. After the 4th or 5th time I realized I’d made a huge blunder and would have to rip out a bunch of stitches, I saw red and threw it in the trash. But I really liked it (geisha designs are a sort of sub-hobby of mine), so I bought another kit last month. I’m being veeeeery careful not to fuck it up again.

My weekend was uneventful, but I got my bicycle fixed. Yay! It was easy, the problem was that when I put the rear wheel back on, I re-attached the bracket that connects the wheel with the coaster brakes in the wrong position, so it was pushing the wheel out of alignment and causing it to rub against the fender. I just had to unscrew it, move it, and screw it back on. It’s very satisfying to be able to fix problems yourself.

When I was doing that, some random guy wandered by and offered to buy my bicycle for $8. Umm, WTF? He was all “That’s what I would pay at a flea market!” I was like “So go find a flea market and buy yourself one. This bicycle cost me $250 and is my only vehicle.” There’s no reason why shady characters should be wandering our neighborhood, which is way off the main cross street in a cul-de-sac, so I made sure to lock my bicycle up, which I rarely do.

I didn’t get my paycheck this week, because corporate has started a new mailed-to-home policy, in the interest of further complicating my life and making a huge pain in my ass. My boss was late signing off on my timesheet, which is probably the problem. Luckily I have this habit of always having way more food in the freezer and pantry than I could possibly need in any given month, so I won’t starve.

Also, 99 Ranch started carrying ordinary sandwich bread — it’s from their own bakery and kind of a weird size, but it’s really yummy and makes great toast. My point being: There is no longer any reason for me to shop at Safeway instead. Unless I need like, tortillas or something. Something not Asian OR Caucasian.

Let me end with a word of friendly advice: If someone without a car politely declines your offer of a ride, please just graciously accept it. Do not keep them standing in the rain arguing with them about it, so that they miss their bus and are late to work. Look, when I started this, I made a vow that I wasn’t going to rely on other people or go crying to someone with a car every time a drop of rain fell from the sky or the temperature rose above 76 degrees. I neither want nor need your help, KTHNXBYE. Besides, you aren’t actually helping me; you’re just creating a situation where I now need to find a ride HOME. Or walk it.

asian groceries, power issues (as in electricity), and the arrival of autumn

All done! Well, mostly; it still needs a border.

This weekend was weird. The power went out for a couple of hours over a huge section of Fremont early Saturday morning. I have no idea what caused it, but one of our neighbors drove around to see how far it was out, and he said even the other side of the freeway was dark. (And it’s strange that the power going out should wake me up when it’s still dark.) Luckily it came back on before the food in the ‘fridge spoiled. I just went grocery shopping the night before.

For some reason the stupid dish was having trouble re-acquiring the satellite signal (it finally got it together later in the afternoon), and I like to have the television on when I cross stitch. I was sitting there kicking myself for not haveing replaced my broken DVD player yet, when it suddenly occurred to me that I’d never checked to see if the audio/video jacks were reversed. They’re color-coded white and yellow, so it’s easy to get them mixed up. So I looked, and sure enough, that was the problem.

Yay! Now i can watch Season 2 of Dexter. I don’t know anything that happened, so NO SPOILERS! I read the book, Dearly Devoted Dexter, but I don’t think the show follows it all that much. The first season/book went on pretty different paths. So I re-watched the first season all weekend to refresh.

It also went out this morning when I turned on my hair dryer, because the other housemate (who just moved in) had literally everything she owns that plugs in, turned on. So of course it blew a circuit breaker. Luckily that’s easily fixed. Usually she’s long gone by the time I get up; she works at a grocery store and gets up at like 3:30 in the morning. Maybe she’s only working half a day today.

I’m trying to save money, so I’ve been doing more of my shopping at 99 Ranch. All the staples are just a little cheaper there. Plus it’s fun trying new things. My dinner this week is kind of funny: Korean short ribs, Chinese snow peas, and Japanese curry. It’s Vermont Curry, which always makes me laugh when I see it. Because New England is known for spicy and exotic food? (I know, they call it that because it’s flavored with honey and apples. Still funny.) Serving potatoes over rice kind of horrifies me, but that’s how they eat it. There must not be many diabetics in Japan. We always associate seafood with Japanese food, but the truth is that they love meat and potatoes as much any Midwesterner, even if they don’t eat it as often. Curry is actually sort of an unofficial national dish. Usually the meat is in the curry and it’s a sort of one-dish meal, but I had my eye on those ribs.

It rained a little on Saturday morning, and it finally felt like fall. It was windy when I went out to run errands, and the air had that freshly scrubbed feeling to it that just makes you want to breathe deeply.