faux strawberries bento

28 06 2010

hey!  i know, it’s been forever since i posted!  quick life update:  left my law firm job and am thinking of transitioning back into museum work; have been to las vegas, new orleans, and philadelphia (twice) in the last three weeks visiting friends, seeing art, eating tons of food, and celebrating a birthday girl and a bride; and am still exploring the new food and craft spots in my new neighborhood and fine-tuning the decor details in the new[-ish] apartment.  lots going on, but i hope to get back on a regular bento schedule soon… starting today, in fact!

this bento has two “strawberries” cut from red pepper with mint leaves and white cheese “seeds” (cut from a straw section with one end pinched to make it pointier for a tear-drop shape).  my strawberries are resting on savory quinoa salad (recipe below) topped with the thinnest possible layer of plain quinoa (for better color contrast against the red pepper flesh).  the rest of the box has steamed broccoli with two carrot butterflies, sliced radish, takuwan flowers, vegetarian ham-wrapped okra, a grape tomato cut in half, and a few blueberries.

hope you have all been enjoying your summer travels, projects, and whatever else you’re up to!

savory quinoa salad with goat cheese, thyme and mint

  • 1 cup of quinoa, 2 cups water (you can halve or double the recipe if you want, but keep the 1 quinoa:2 water ratio the same!)
  • 2 springs fresh thyme (pull the tiny leaves off and discard the woody stem)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped (i used the leftovers from cutting out the “strawberries”)
  • 1/4 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic (can be omitted for a lighter, more subtly flavored salad)
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms (i actually used some leftover stems from mushroom caps that the boyfriend stuffed for sunday brunch)
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. goat cheese per serving (this recipe makes 2 servings so i used about half of the pre-packaged cheese “log”, but you may want to add more or less)
  • mint for garnish
  1. add your quinoa and water to a saucepan, and bring the mixture up to a boil.  as soon as it’s boiling, reduce it to the lowest simmer possible, and stir every 2-3 minutes until the water is absorbed.  the total cooking time should be 10-15 minutes counting the time to boil.  (another method is to bring the quinoa to a boil, make sure it’s tightly covered, and turn the flame completely off, letting it steam for about 15 minutes until cooked.)  when the quinoa is cooked, fluff with a fork.
  2. add most of your olive oil to a small pan, and cook all your veggies until the peppers are tender and the onions translucent.  turn the flame off and incorporate the fresh thyme.
  3. in a bowl, fold the sautéed vegetables into the cooked quinoa, and drizzle the rest of the olive oil over top.  crumble some goat cheese on top (it melts into a deliciously gooey texture over the warm salad), and garnish with a mint sprig or some julienned mint.

so fast and easy… a perfect summer salad!

[as seen on more design please]


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23 responses

28 06 2010
Bentobird/Jenn

Welcome back gamene, you’ve been missed! Exciting changes afoot, all best wishes for creative and happy work/life transitions! Loved your New Orleans photos–they really captured the spirit of the city in novel and exciting ways.

This happy strawberry bento is a delight! Complete with refreshing and delish quinoa salad, a wonderful post with layers of fun and beauty🙂

28 06 2010
gamene

thanks so much jenn! glad you liked my photos, i was so happy to be able to capture even a fracture of the mood and atmosphere there. i need to catch up on your blog, can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to!!

28 06 2010
sheri

Congrats on all the life changes! I had a feeling about the law firm thing. You seem to be happily adjusting perfectly! Love the faux berries; am into the faux foodstuffs myself lately! Welcome back to bento as well. I know how invigorating a bento break can be too🙂

28 06 2010
gamene

thanks sheri! you noticed my posting schedule being different (and the excessive traveling), huh? aww, you are sweet to not pry and wait for me to make the big announcement. and yes, the break was invigorating, but i’m glad to be back on *some* kind of regular schedule (even if not the same one as before), and bento is a big part of that!!

28 06 2010
sheri

Yep, exactly those clues: posting schedule and travelbug!

Is your table teak? It kinda looks like one I got in Manayunk..

28 06 2010
Ellen

I just made a similar quinoa salad last night, but no cheese. Used radishes, cucumber, carrot and hearts of palm–oh and some roasted red pepper. Mixed with a Dijon vinaigrette. Very good!

28 06 2010
gamene

thanks for stopping by ellen! those ingredients sound absolutely delicious… luckily i have a ton of quinoa, so i can try that combo out too🙂

28 06 2010
Karina

Wow – that’s a big transition – best wishes to you. Glad you are spending some time for you with your fun travels. What a fantastic use for the mint – your strawberries look wonderful. At first I thought they were apple skins. So cute and clever.

29 06 2010
gamene

thanks so much for your best wishes karina — you are pretty familiar with big transitions right now too, huh? i hope i can proceed with the grace you have shown!!

28 06 2010
KidsDreamWork

The red pepper strawberries are so nice and creative! I like the cheese seed details so much!🙂
Seems like a lot of changes going on for you, wish you all the best in everything!

29 06 2010
gamene

thanks very much kidsdreamwork! the cheese seeds were super easy, give it a try!🙂

28 06 2010
Lia Chen

Megan, I know that you will just fine with all the transitions … you are one strong girl. Wish all the best for you! Bento work is pretty, your creativity seems never end (^.^)

29 06 2010
gamene

thanks lia! you are always so supportive, i really appreciate it!

28 06 2010
Judy

Hey there! Nice to see you again! And nice bento too!
Here’s to the summer of 2010!!!

29 06 2010
gamene

thanks judy, and cheers to summer 2010 😛

29 06 2010
Ivonne

I don’t comment your blog, but I missed you so much!
Wonderful bento!

29 06 2010
gamene

awww, that’s so sweet ivonne! thanks for speaking up!! :o)

29 06 2010
TataBonita

Hola again senorita! Miss you a lot😀. This is a really lovely bento and your salad sounds so good too. Hey, Iove your salad’s photo, you really got a good talent in capturing photos😀

29 06 2010
gamene

hola to you too tata, missed you dear! thanks for your comment, and i hope you try the salad — it was yummy and refreshing! aww, you are sweet to say that about my photos — i think your photos are stellar!

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