Remember that little contest we had a few weeks ago? Yep, that’s the one…where the winning entry would have their recipes recreated and packed in a bento box by me. Well ladies and gentlemen, bento boys and girls here it is…I think it turned out okey dokey!
First let’s refresh our memories. Maria, the winner had submitted this entry:
Red – ham and walnut pasta (we had 15 people over for Thanksgiving, so we made a turkey AND a ham)
Green – a mini quiche from a recipe found on justbento.com. (I’ve been dying to make these for so long, and I just got a muffin tin last week, so I’m definitely going to give them a try soon)
Purple – broccoli, sautéed with minced garlic in a little bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Yellow – cranberry compote, which goes well with any ham recipe
Ham and Walnut Pasta Recipe:
1. Cook one 16 oz. package of pasta such as spaghetti, linguine or vermicelli.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté 3 minced cloves of garlic in 1/4 cup olive oil for one minute. Add 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts and sauté two minutes more. Stir in 1/2 pound of fully cooked chopped leftover ham and cook until heated through.
3. Drain pasta and top with ham mixture. Add 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley and toss to coat.
Cranberry Compote Recipe:
We like to joke around that this is an “old family secret” but all you need to do is mix equal parts canned cranberry sauce (whole berries, not gelatin) with canned crushed pineapple (in its own juice, not syrup). Surprisingly simple and delicious.
I closely followed all the recipes except for the Cranberry Compote. I deviated and made a Cranberry and Pineapple kanten jelly instead. Here’s the recipe:
Cranberry and Pineapple Kanten
2 cup Sweetened Cranberry juice
2 tablespoons agar-agar flakes OR 1 agar-agar bar
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup of dried pineapple chuncks
You can also soak the agar-agar first, but you don’t have to.
In a saucepan combine the juice and agar-agar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. When it starts to boil reduce heat to a simmer and continue stirring often until agar
dissolves. This takes about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool about 15 minutes. Then pour into a flat container and let cool for another 10 minutes. Sprinkle the dried cranberries and pineapple in the mixture and let it
set. You can let it cool in the refrigerator covered until you are ready to serve. Cut into whatever shape you like.
Kanten is one of those recipes that you can tweak however you want. Do you want it sweeter? Add more sugar. You like fresh fruit? Add fresh fruit. Play with the recipe and discover other possibilities. The best part about kanten is that it sets at room temperature and won’t melt at room temps like jello. It’s also a vegan alternative to gelatin.
Anyhow the mini quiches were very easy and fun to create. I used premade store bought dough, (there’s that word again) which was painless to use and for the filling I used chopped chives intead of onions. As soon as the crust started baking my kitchen immediately filled with a heavenly scent. Oh my goodness the smell was almost enough to convert me to baking. Don’t get excited, I wrote almost. And I’m still very leary of this dough business, in fact I had considered skipping the crust altogether and make a crustless quiche! But since I know very little about quiche I thought better of it and played it safe.
For the pasta, again a slight change to the original recipe by substituting Canadian bacon for the ham, and whole wheat linguine for the pasta. I also roasted the garlic first before adding to the skillet. Saba Man devoured this for dinner and he remarked how the walnuts added a nice crunch!
Broccoli was quick, easy and tasty! All the basic ingredients already in my kitchen so it was a snap to prepare.
Overall the experience was fun and I’m glad to add a couple more recipes to my repetoire! Thank you Maria and congratulations on your win! Please share your creations with us when you fill your winning bento box!