mameshiba onigiri bento

28 09 2010

for tomorrow’s lunch, i have two spicy-tofu-stuffed onigiri topped with “mameshiba” (bean dog) faces.  the faces are made from rice colored with green deco-furi, edamame ears, and nori facial features.

the rest of the box has steamed broccolini, two salmon cakes topped with a carved carrot flower, a red and a yellow tomato, two purple potato slices, a piece of takuwan that i twisted like konnyaku, and some fish sausage flowers with corn kernel centers.  for dessert, a decadent, buttery shortbread “petticoat tail” — yum!

what’s your wednesday lunch?  share the specs over at shannon’s blog,… this month, shannon is making donations to the north texas food bank based on how many lunches are posted; it’s a great cause, so why not join us!

yum-yum bento box: walruses bento

4 06 2010

today’s lunch is based on the “walruses” bento featured on p. 52 of the book “yum-yum bento box: fresh recipes for adorable lunches.”

again, i tried to faithfully copy the character idea, while substituting ingredients as necessary.  so for instance, in the book, the walruses are brown rice.  my boyfriend isn’t a huge brown rice fan, so i mix our brown rice with white rice… the resulting onigiri is a lighter color, but i think it’s still ok for a walrus!  as another example, i didn’t have the mushroom caps or lentis recommended for the walruses’ noses, so i used edamame beans.  green noses are cute too!  finally, i don’t have a nori punch that makes small enough dots for the walruses’ whisker holes, so i just used sesame seeds, pushed into the rice with the pointy sides down.  the nori eyes, cheese “tusks,” and ketchup cheeks are all just like in the book.

the point is to make do with what you have!  if you use the basic character ideas from the book and put your own spin on them, you are sure to come up with something cute.

the rest of my box contains broccoli with corn kernels (like on p. 32), half a steamed brussels sprout, two cherries and a strawberry, two pieces of vegetarian chicken, some takuwan-and-carrot rosettes, a salami rosette, and pea pods to fill empty spaces.  my brown-and-white rice onigiri are stuffed with umeboshi.  yum!

i hope you have all enjoyed my take this week on various yum-yum bento boxes, and that you’re eager to try your own interpretations of the wonderful characters and recipes from this book… have a wonderful weekend!

kitty sausage bento

24 05 2010

no, not sausage made from a kitty, a piece of sausage made into a kitty…

i guess cats are just what people see when they stare at their food waiting for the characters inside to show themselves?  this happened to pikko recently, with cute results!  in my case, i knew i wanted to use a sausage disc, and the darkish brown color made me think of using light-colored features, which led me to a pink fish sausage nose, white cheese eyes with white sesame eyelashes, a yellow cheese mouth, and pale somen whiskers.

this kitty left her paw print on a quail egg, which is packed with steamed broccoli, my last asparagus tip, takuwan slices, blackberries, a juicy tomato, some peapods, and a sweet potato blossom.  the rice is decorated with some edamame halves and black sesame seeds.  alongside this lunch i have a sakuranbo (cherry jelly), one of yesterday’s purchases at minamoto kitchoan — can’t wait to try it!

UPDATE: i found the place where i got the idea for a paw-print on a quail egg… should have guessed it was the always-genius lucky sundae!

bunny-eggs bento

31 03 2010

so easter’s not really my thing, but i couldn’t resist this very easter-ish combo of eggs (quail eggs, to be precise) and bunny ears (from this new pick set i first saw on akinoichigo-san’s blog; i don’t think they’re supposed to be bunny ears, but use your imagination!).  plus, these bunnies give me another chance to submit to hapa bento’s BOMB for this month!

these are super simple to make: just boil your quail eggs and peel (i find that using a sharp object to puncture the thick inner “skin” — in a place on the egg that won’t be seen, of course — really helps get the peeling started), and insert picks. i cut the noses with a straw from fish sausage, and punched the mouths with a face punch, and added sesame seeds for eyes.

the rest of this box has rice mixed with shiso powder and topped with peas (an idea from lucky sundae’s awesome blog), lettuce, a star-cut radish, kimchi mandoo and one edamame shumai, takuwan slices, clementine segments in a food cup, a few grape tomatoes, a few pea pods to fill in empty spaces, and some broccoli topped with fish sausage stars.

a close up of these bunnies, before they hippety-hop right into my mouth:

oh, and in case you’re wondering, these cute paper-covered kids’ chopsticks were another j-list score.  the picks came from ebay, and the flat-rate shipping from japan was actually quick compared to some other ebay sellers located there.

chirping chicks bento

30 03 2010

well, supposedly it’s spring, but it hasn’t felt like it for the past couple days in NYC — chilly temperatures and constant rain, ranging from a drizzle to a downpour.  hopefully tomorrow’s lunch will cheer up my day!

these chirping chicks are made from rice colored with the yellow deco-furi (rice powder) packet from the package of 5 colors that my sweet bento pal sent me (thanks again, you-know-who!).  they have nori eyes, edamame beaks, and the sister chick has gochujang cheeks and a fish sausage flower.  they’re in the medium size from this lovely lace cups set i got in my j-list box this week.

this tiffin-style box is pretty deep, so i put a thick layer of mixed salad greens down before i added the chicks.  then i filled the rest of the box in with steamed broccoli, a few more fish sausage flowers, grape tomatoes, takuwan slices with sesame seeds, flower-cut carrots, and a slicked chik-n patty (soy chicken). i would call this lunch vegetarian, except that i suspect the deco-furi is fish-based.  oh, and the fish sausage too, i guess.  oh well, it’s mostly veggie.

here’s a close-up of this chirping brother and sister:

wishing you all a sunny wednesday!

pink piggies bento

11 03 2010

soooo exciting… i got to work this morning and a totally unexpected package was waiting there for me! a super-sweet bento friend sent me some of the colored rice powders i have been lusting after! the one i used in this bento is mizkan brand, and is made of delicious distilled vinegar and dried plum. omg soooooooo good! after mixing with some rice, i half-filled my onigiri mold and popped a plump ume into each onigiri, and then i filled the rest of the mold. so these onigiri are DOUBLE plum, or should i say double yum!

my pink piggies have fish sausage ears and noses, with sesame seed nostrils, and nori eyes. they’re surrounded by some steamed and salted broccoli florets, carrot flowers with edamame centers, strawberry halves, pea pods, quail eggs, clementine slices, and a mini yellow pepper.

for accessories i’m using one of my cool felt doilies, an home-made eiffel tower flag pick, and a cute strawberry fork i grabbed on my trip to flushing’s H-mart. isn’t this a happy bento to start the weekend? hope you all have a great one, and don’t forget to keep entering your creative GRE vocabulary sentences in the contest — entries can be submitted through sunday night.

[as seen on books and shoes, stdandme]

inarizushi garden bento

27 01 2010

lia over at my bentolicious has a sushi theme going this week, and she inspired me to whip up some inarizushi.  the brand of skins i buy is actually korean (manufactured by daerim corporation); you can see it in the top row of products on this page.  i like this particular product because a) it comes with tiny packages of furikake and vinegar for mixing into the rice, and b) the actual aburaage are triangular shaped corners, which makes for a cute stuffed final product.

in march 2009, maki posted great step-by-step instructions for making this dish over at just hungry; i followed her exact instructions for cooking the aburaage, but the possibilities for flavoring the rice itself are endless!

my inarizushi pockets are topped with cheese-and-nori flowers (sesame seed centers) with pea pod leaves, and the fruit and veggie tier has broccoli, baby carrot sticks, tamagoyaki slices, grape tomatoes, blueberries on a skewer (i like how the wooden ball looks like a blueberry, too!), and edamame shumai.  i topped the shumai and broccoli with a few extra sakura petals to tie the two tiers together.

can’t wait to tuck into this one!

oh, and if you like the little felt flower shape my chopsticks are resting on, stay tuned… i’m planning a giveaway, and will be posting details some time next week.

twin mice bento

7 01 2010

my bento for tomorrow’s lunch actually came together pretty quickly and easily… the stars of this round box are obviously the twin mice, made from vegetarian hot dogs (hot dog slices for ears, cheese and toothpick nose, sesame seed eyes), peeking out from behind two takuwan-and-edamame flowers.  one-and-a-half veggie croquettes are sliced and placed to the left, with some edamame skewers and some (non-roasted, tonight) grape tomatoes.  the mice are sitting on a bed of sprouts and lettuce.

in the fruit section of the box we have slices of cucumber (not really a fruit, but so mild in flavor that i think it goes well enough), segments of one of those itty bitty (satsuma?) oranges, some blueberries, and a nice strawberry.

i should note that, other than the fruit and veg i already had in my fridge, everything in this bento (croquette, soy dogs, and edamame) came from my freezer “stash” — that’s why it came together with so much less effort.  with stash items, you likely have techniques or characters you’ve been meaning to use, and you aren’t constrained by the food’s original purpose (which i often find to be the case with leftovers from dinner, for example, tonight i had fish tacos and i ate them all because i’m a piggy, but if i had one left, it would have taken up half the box and determined everything else that could go in).

another note — while putting the bento itself together took me only 20min or so, i’ve been having serious flickr/picnik problems lately… it’s taking FOREVER for pictures to load up to the editing platform, or for the “save” to process once i’ve made my edits.  so frustrating!  anyone else having problems?

in happier news, has everyone checked out pikko’s new site bento central?  i think this will prove an excellent resource for sharing tips and ideas… many thanks to pikko for generously hosting!

“brothers and sister” bento

1 12 2009

the top tier of this bento got a little cluttered, as i didn’t sketch in advance.  all i knew was that i wanted to use this new onigiri mold from daiso (makes three mini face-shaped onigiri), and then i kept adding more and more random stuff from the fridge and all of a sudden it was crazy.  oh well, at least i wasn’t drunk this time, haha!

top tier has two brothers and a sister (plain brown rice, too small for filling, nori hair and sesame eyes, cheese bow on the sister’s hair) sitting on top of some spicy korean tofu that’s completely hidden, and, clockwise from top left:  yellow cauliflower with cheese and veggie pepperoni flower, carrot sticks and baby orange tomato, red tomato half, tamagoyaki slices, and two edamame skewers on top of fried veggie dumplings (ajinomoto brand), and more carrot sticks (plus one more red baby tomato half to prop up brother #2’s chin!).

simple dessert tier has:  pomegranate seeds in a heart food cup from daiso, chocolate-covered almonds in a square food cup from daiso, asian pear fan, starfruit slices, kumquat slices and a cherry.

i’m really enjoying all of my new picks and cups from my trip to the west coast — this bento is a daiso bonanza!

spooky cat onigiri bento

30 10 2009

bento 28last halloween bento, as we are away this weekend for a friend’s wedding…

another salmon-and-wasabi mayo onigiri, this time in the shape of a spooky cat, with purple-food coloring-dyed egg sheet, cheese head, takuwan-sesame eyes, and nori nose/mouth.

from top left: carved jack-o-lantern mini pepper, simmered kabocha squash with edamame on a pumpkin food pick, two fish pajun (korean pancakes), carrot-sesame flowers, “BOO” quail eggs (nori letters), snow peas, and purple broccoli in a silicone food cup.

[as seen on just bento]