To nourish your mind as well as your body

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.

-Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Popeye Bento!

Nutritious and delicious, the Popeye Bento consists of high iron and protein dishes in moderate portions to give me the energy to be strong and resilient and energetic through a weekend of rehearsals. Here's what's in it: Blackened Sea-caught Tilapia, Spinach and Tomato Salad, and Spinach and Lentil Soup. (Did you see where I got the Popeye name from?)

Blackened Sea-caught Tilapia
(2 servings)

Two filets of sea-caught tilapia (if you can only find farm-raised, substitute this with cod)
juice of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1/2 lime
~2 tbsp paprika
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp black pepper
3 tsp sea salt

Combine the spices and juices in a flat bottom dish. Coat each filet on both sides with the spice/juice combination and set aside for about twenty minutes to let the fish absorb the flavors. Warm about 1/2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and pan fry the filets; it should take about 3 minutes on each side, but the main thing is to keep an eye out for the blackening and test the fish with a fork when you think it's done. If the filet flakes, you're good to go. (The neat thing about this - I got this idea from my dad's apple pie recipe actually - is that the white pepper gives you a heat sensation without tasting "spicy", so even if you eat this fish cold - I did - it's still "warm" and delicious.)

Spinach and Tomato Salad
(8 servings)

10 plum tomatoes, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Combine elements in a bowl and toss. I only used the pepper, but it's a matter of preference at that point. Yum!

Lentil and Spinach Soup
(8 servings)

4 cups low sodium organic chicken stock (if you're veg, use vegetable stock)
3 heaping handfuls baby spinach, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1.75 cups dried lentils, rinsed
1 tsp thyme
~3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
fresh ground black pepper
5-6 pinches Erbe Salle (This is a wonderful herb ground sea salt I adore. If you can't find this, use regular sea salt, about 5 turns of the grinder.)

In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté the chopped onion in a little olive oil until translucent. Add garlic, thyme, and 2 pinches of your salt of choice and sauté ~1 minute.
Stir in lentils. Make sure you really mix up the lentils with the onions and garlic. It should be smelling simply wonderful at this point.
Add the stock, tomato paste, and 1 cup of water. Raise heat to high, bringing the pot to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover partially, and allow to simmer 20-30 minutes. Add your spinach, simmer until wilted, about 2 minutes.  Serve hot or cold.
For the bento, I have an awesome little soup-storage container that retains the heat in the soup for about 3 hours. That said, I ate some of this cold the next day and it was still delicious, so go for it. Enjoy!


  1. Hi, I've been following you privately for a while but decided to join now that you're back. But it is a real pain to join this blog, as you have to create a blogspot file or a gmail account first unless I am missing something. Too complicated. But I really like the quality of your information and deliciousness of your recipes. I just think you have a lot more followers than you know. (I have several friends who share your recipe).

  2. First of all, thank you for your kind words. I'm glad that you and your friends are enjoying the recipes and discussions! I know that following the site is complicated, but I haven't found a suitable alternative as yet. In the meantime, I think you can subscribe via the RSS links on the side panel beneath the FoodBuzz button. I might not know that you're there, but you would at least be getting the new articles sent directly to your inbox. :)

    Second, yes. I am. But I don't do all too much food discussion on there. That twitter account has more to do with my rehearsal/every day life.

    Hope you're enjoying the new recipes!

  3. I'd be interested in following your other twitter too but it did not go through. I see other posters with the same comment. Are you not accepting followers from this site?

  4. Hmm.... I'm not sure why it wouldn't. I do have to accept followers on that twitter account and I don't check the Follower Requests too frequently. I just went through and accepted all the waiting requests, so hopefully the issue has been resolved. If not, please let me know. :) Cheers!