farm sandwich bento

4 11 2010

did i mention how excited i am to eat bread again?!

this past weekend during our hudson valley jaunt, we visited the farm center at blue hill at stone barns, where we checked out turkeys, hens, pigs and sheep, and ate delicious open-face sandwiches at the cafe.  the crisp autumnal setting and seasonal farm-to-table fare at the cafe inspired this farm-style lunch.

my sandwiches are made on some hearty whole-grain/pecan bread, with farm-grown tomatoes (which we picked up at stuart’s fruit farm), frilly lettuce, and thick slices of creamy brie.

alongside this rustic sandwich i have a petal-cut deviled egg half, and a cute baby apple with a lemon slice.

happy weekend everybody!

milk bread bento

27 09 2010

have you ever heard of milk bread?  well, i hadn’t — that is, until last week’s visit to paris baguette, a new bakery in koreatown.  i saw the softest, fluffiest loaves of bread ever, labeled 우유식빵, literally, “milk bread.” the green loaf has green tea in it, and tastes slightly sweeter, but both are like a more decadent, moister, thicker version of wonder bread.  growing up, my mom never stocked our house with white bread, so occasionally it’s a real treat for me.

i cut two slices of white and one of green each in half, and made three half-sandwiches with some basic egg salad (just boiled eggs, mayonnaise, gulden’s deli mustard, salt, pepper and garlic powder) and, in the white halves, frilly lettuce.  this box just barely holds these puffy sammies, but there was room for four pretty pear-shaped baby tomatoes.

a sidecar filled with red and yellow raspberries, a halved lady apple, and kiwi berries completes this super simple work-day lunch.

pikachu curry bento

19 09 2010

we had a bit of a trying weekend with a jewish holiday that involves fasting (NOT my favorite!) and a sick puppy, so just a quick and easy dinner tonight, so that we can relax on the couch tonight watching the motoGP aragon race that we DVR’d.

golden curry to the rescue!  ours has red potatoes, spanish onions, button mushrooms, carrot chunks, and cubed tofu.  i layered some in a box with some leftover brown-and-white rice (mixed with a bit of furikake), and added a piece of corn, some steamed broccolini, one grape tomato with a leaf pick, a carrot star, and two chicken nuggets (i love something breaded with my curry!).

i realized recently that in all my bentos (more than 200 over the past year), i have never done a pikachu, despite having seen so many lovely examples — for example by shoppingmum and akinoichigo.   so for decoration, i tried a simple pikachu face cut from cheese, with nori-and-cheese eyes, nori nose, mouth and ear tips, and vegetarian ham cheeks and tongue.  a lady apple on the side, and we’re good to go — hope you all have an easy start to your work week!

two bunnies bento

7 09 2010

hey bento friends!  it’s been forever — my bad!  after a long summer “off” (and full of great stuff — an old friend’s lovely wedding, a fun surprise camping trip, a milestone birthday, and our adoption of a new puppy), i’m back to work this week at a brand new job, which also means back to bento.

adjusting to my new work schedule has left me completely exhausted, so just a short post tonight to get me back in the swing of things.  for tomorrow’s lunch, i have two wasabi-salmon onigiri topped with cheese bunnies and trimmed in nori.  i thought i was being clever, and modeled the facial features after what i remembered marshmallow peep bunnies as looking like, but it turns out i forgot their noses — oh well, next time!  (this cutter really is perfect for peep bunnies, so i’m sure you’ll see it again come easter.)  also in this box are champagne grapes, a cute tiny lady apple, some bamboo-shaped baran and carrots cut into a similar shape, steamed broccolini and corn, and two colorful tomatoes with carrot picks.  the bunny and flower-shaped cutters, as well as the carrot picks, were gifts from a sweet bento pal — thanks dear!

i haven’t been as active in the comments sections of all my favorite bento blogs, but i have been quietly enjoying all the fabulous “back to school” bentos — as usual, you bento ladies are full of great decoration tips and healthy, delicious meal ideas for your lucky kids.  thanks for inspiring me, as always; i hope i can “get my act together” and make my “back to work” bentos as fun and appetizing!

“before and after” bento

26 04 2010

one night last week, i was tweeting with some bento pals when debra of hapa bento showed us the first bento she had photographed and posted online, a full year ago. we all dug up our first bento posts, and remarked on how fun it was to see the evolution of our bentos. then debra had the great idea of us all doing a “before and after” post, to show how we would use the same ingredients from our first bento in a different way.

my first bento was pretty simple — some homemade kimbap rolls (with tofu, carrot, egg and spinach in them) laid over a leaf, with a separate tier of kiwi slices and a checkered apple and takuwan flowers. the checkered pattern was one of the first decorative techniques i learned, and the soy sauce bottle and flower cutters the extent of my bento equipment! here’s a picture of that bento:

to revamp the same ingredients this time around, i chose a similar box (unfortunately my original box suffered an unfortunate dishwasher incident; this one is also slender and pink, though), and filled it with slices of a simplified kimbap roll (just egg inside) over some shiso leaves. modifying an idea from hawai`i’s bento box cookbook (“hotdog sushi bear,” p. 35), i used the eggy centers of the slices as the bear’s muzzle, and added nori details for eyes, nose and mouth. then i cut takuwan ears and attached them with toothpick ends.

instead of a checkered apple, this time i have some apple “coins” with teddy paw-prints carved into them. to use the other ingredients that were inside the kimbap roll in my first bento, i breaded and fried two tofu chunks, and topped them with steamed carrot flowers and washi-tape flag picks. i filled the empty spaces in the box with some more takuwan, and my final original ingredient, kiwi (this time in wedges instead of slices).

what do you think? nori, rice, egg, carrot, tofu, takuwan, apple, kiwi, and leaves — all there. my arrangements have gotten slightly neater and more character-focused, but i would like to think my bento “style” hasn’t changed that much.

check out some other great “before and after” bentos from some of my favorite bento artists:

if you ask me, these ladies were just as talented then as they are now, and their “before” bentos show how accessible this hobby/art form really is… if you are just starting out, you don’t need a ton of fancy tools to develop your own signature style, just some practice and imagination!

cold soba bento

11 11 2009

bento 38

quick box based around my leftover soba noodles (from terikyaki boy).  top tier: two slices of last night’s hobak jun, three slices of tamagoyaki, a row of pea pods and carrot slices, the yummy soba (topped with a takuwan and sweet potato flower), and three red grape tomatoes.  bottom tier:  golden plum fan, apple fan, pomegranate seeds, foil-wrapped chocolate “leaf,” yellow wax beans, cucumber sticks, broccoli, and one beautiful ripe strawberry.

three rolls bento

19 10 2009

bento 22three different kinds of rolls for lunch.  main box, from left to right:  slices of kim mari (glass noodles wrapped in nori and deep fried) with takuwan flowers, row of tomatoes, slices of egg-and-frank rolls, carrot and pickled radish sticks, slices of veggie kimbap. apple-shaped sidecar (top), clockwise from top left:  mango fan and apple fan, purple cauliflower, sliced grapes, raspberries.

musical egg bento

13 10 2009

bento 18

top left: bosc pear, red grapes, pomegranate seeds, granny smith apple, and purple potato flower. top right: japchae with carrot skewer. bottom left: hard boiled egg with nori music notes, peapods, and soy sauce bottle. bottom right: red grape tomatoes, purplish-green mini heirloom tomatoes, takuwan flowers, and pickled radishes made with awesome recipe from maki at just bento.

deconstructed bibimbap bento

12 10 2009

bento 17

top tier:  white rice with, from left to right, spicy tofu, carrot, bean sprout and egg strips, pickled cucumber, sesame spinach.  (not pictured:  small container of gochujang to mix it all up with.)  bottom tier:  apple fan, fig, grapes and kiwi, with broccoli, yellow and purple beans, and tiny orange pepper.

[as seen on epicute]

anpanman tofu bento

7 10 2009

bento 31
bottom tier, clockwise from top left: kimchi in silicone cup, takuwan flowers on kimbap roll (store bought), anpanman tofu (simmered in dashi broth) on a bed of broccoli, a few extra kimbap pieces and another broccoli floret

top tier, clockwise from top left: granny smith apple bunnies, concord grapes, golden raspberries in a silicon cup, slices of prickly pear (first time i have seen/used this; it has smooth outer skin and BRIGHT magenta, juicy inner flesh), orange grape tomatoes, and a bottle of dipping sauce for the tofu that’s in the other tier.

[as seen on the blog]