ruby stretching bento

15 05 2011

hey everybody, how are things in bento land?  the past couple weeks have been crazy for me — i got a sort of promotion (i think?) and have been traveling a lot more for work, which is wreaking havoc with my meal planning schedule.  then this past week i started feeling myself getting sick.  i tried to head that off at the pass, but i currently have a terrible case of laryngitis… i am mostly resting today, trying to get my voice back in time for an important meeting tomorrow.

i hope you all have been well, and i can’t wait to catch up on bento posts and tweets!

tomorrow is a day where i know i will actually be at my desk for lunch, so i layered some of my favorite spicy tofu from the korean market under brown-and-white rice sprinkled with furikake.  the back section has a tomato, steamed broccolini, some tangerine slices, two steamed brussels sprout halves, and a piece of simmered lotus root (also pre-prepared from the korean market).  for a sweet treat i have a cup of vanilla yogurt with kiwi.

on top of the rice is an egg sheet version of our dog, ruby.  whenever i put her harness on her to take her out for a walk, she does this leisurely stretch, with all four legs splayed out — so cute.  akinoichigo’s new book (which is now available on yesasia for free shipping to the US) has a similar pattern for a cat, and as soon as i saw it i knew i wanted to use it for silly ruby.

not sure when i’ll be bentoing again, so in case i’m not back here for a while, hope you all have a great week!





twin geese bento

24 04 2011

tomorrow’s lunch has two hanpen geese with egg sheet beaks and feet, nori eyes, and fish sausage cheeks.  they’re sitting on a bed of basmati rice sprinkled with furikake i received in a surprise package from a bento pal — it’s got a combination of sesame seeds, dehydrated green bell pepper, and yuzu, which gives it a very unique, tangy flavor.  i love it!

i punched some little clovers out of fish sausage, and the back portion of this box has steamed sweet potato and broccolini, a takuwan rosette with asparagus leaves, tiny red vine tomatoes, and a cheese flower.  i think i felt like using my goose-shaped cutter because the resulting geese look like they would lay nice fat easter eggs.  did everyone have a nice easter weekend?

don’t forget that the auction for the lovely hand-crafted crane earrings ends in a few hours — all proceeds are to benefit japan relief, so get your bid in while you can!





spring horsies bento

19 04 2011

tomorrow’s lunch has some curry rice with two hanpen horses, plus steamed broccoli, a tomato, steamed brussels sprout halves, and some juicy pieces of mochiko chicken.  i made a batch using a combination of both sheri and debra‘s helpful recipes; mine came out looking a little bit different (the batter consistency was so close to pancake batter that the outside of some of the pieces actually look like pancakes), but it was absolutely delicious.

my horsies have manes made from egg sheet that i had leftover from last night’s rilakkuma creation.  i cut a slit in the hanpen and inserted the base of the fringed egg sheet strip so that the mane looks like it’s “growing.”  cilantro sprig harnesses are a cool idea i borrowed from lucky sundae, and i put my own spin on akinoichigo’s saddle idea by using soy paper in which i hand cut little hearts.

have you bid on the awesome play bento set or the beautiful crane earrings, both auctions to benefit the japan relief effort?

and — i posted my lunch in “what’s for lunch wednesday,” did you?





flying rilakkuma bento

18 04 2011

tomorrow’s bread-free lunch is my take on soboro, mexican-style: a layer of spanish rice (cooked in my rice cooker with peas and corn), a layer of monterey jack cheese, and a layer of vegetarian ground beef sauteed with cumin.  plus a bunch of fresh fruits and veggies — cuke, yellow and red vine tomatoes, steamed broccoli, pea pods, a big fat strawberry, and a few tangerine sections.

the star of this lunch is rilakkuma, cut with an exacto knife from two colors of egg sheet.  i recently bought a package of onigiri cases with rilakkuma on them, and the package had two funny/cute rilakkuma designs:  in one he is flying with cooking utensils in his hands (this is what i reproduced for my bento, without the utensils), and in another he is totally relaxing (per his name!), with one arm leisurely propping up his head.

just a reminder: the fabulous play bento set — consisting of adorable, hand-crafted fabric food items traditionally found in a bento box — is still up for grabs on ebay.  the bento4japan charity auctions are winding down, but this item is like a grand finale!





hello kitty bunnies bento

27 03 2011

tomorrow’s lunch has two HKs wearing bunny costumes.  a sweet bento pal sent me the hats and bows pick set over the summer, and after seeing a few great HK bentos by sheri where she used these bows, i’ve been saving them up for my interpretation of our favorite sanrio kitty friend! the faces are made from cheese, nori, sesame seeds, and yellow soy paper, and the bunny costumes are made from pink egg sheet.  i used lia’s fab tutorial for making the egg sheet — straining is the key to a smooth texture!

the rest of my lunch consists of several nice-sized pieces of the battered cod we made for saturday night dinner (after a trip to a local fish market), steamed broccoli, a few steamed purple potato slices, and the usual mini-pepper and vine tomato.  there is a small container of tartar sauce for the fish that isn’t pictured here.

the bento4japan auctions are still going strong — we have raised more than $2000 since we started!  new items are still being added regularly, including generous donations from our favorite online bento vendors… like this adorable shinzi katoh snack-sized box from kir devries!   such a sweet design from a well-known japanese zakka artist… if you don’t bid on it, i just might, haha!

also, just bento’s maki recently posted about the flow of information regarding the japanese disaster, the importance of responding rationally, and ways to help.  this is a great (and important) read, so please check that out too.





blue elephant bento

17 02 2010

a while ago, i ordered this cute blue elephant cutting board from fred flare, and then i promptly forgot about it.  well, tonight i went out for dinner (with the fab crew of sean, tabor, jesus and jason — hi guys!), which meant resorting to my last-minute, no-leftovers bento gameplan of grilled cheese.  plain old grilled cheese on wheat bread can be pretty boring to look at, so i decided to jazz it up with a blue elephant theme to match the cutting board.

the blue elephant on my sandwich is made from egg sheet (egg white, cornstarch, and 2 drops of blue food coloring), and i modeled him after the blue elephant baran you see in between the two sandwiches.  the grilled cheese has pepper jack and provolone in it, and i cut two mini-sandwiches out of one bigger sandwich, using the crinkle-cutter tool from this set.  the baran is from napa japan, although i don’t see it on their website right now (the cute froggie baran i used yesterday is still available on their site, though.)

to fill up the rest of the box, i added a bit of steamed broccoli, some yellow carrots cut in lia‘s famous style, some steamed sweet potato stars and grape tomatoes, a few baby pear slices, some pea pods, and a few blueberries.  i actually added more blueberries after i took the photo, but i didn’t want to block my elephant sandwich!





year of the tiger bento

11 02 2010

i have seen so many wonderful tiger bentos in the past two months — some of my favorites are at mothering corner, hawai`i’s bento box cookbook, just bento, bonito’s cooking wonderland, and happy little bento — but i have been biding my time, brainstorming my own perfect tiger bento for the lunar new year. 

well, best-laid plans aside, this week was pretty busy (what with unpacking from iceland, catching up on work i missed, and various social engagements), and while i did manage to dye my orange rice in advance, the bento didn’t turn out exactly how i sketched it — i think it looks a little disorganized and haphazard (though it is nicely colorful!)  oh well, hopefully i’ll have more time for a better CNY bento in 2011, year of the rabbit!

my tiger cub onigiri is made from rice (2 drops of red food coloring and 2 of yellow – it came out REALLY bright, maybe just one drop of each next time?) with nori stripes and facial features, and kumquat ears.  he’s stuffed with wasabi salmon (tigers eat fish, right?).  the “2010” is made from blue egg sheet layered over cheese and then cut with my x-acto blade.

the rest of the box contains broccoli (underneath the “2010”), purple potato slices (steamed and salted, as the purple potatoes i can get in NYC aren’t sweet-tasting), a veggie croquette fried lightly and cut in half, grape tomatoes, strawberry halves, a clementine in a blue silicone mini-food cup, snow peas, yellow carrot sticks, and a lettuce border.

and i saved my cute japanese tiger candy for this bento, as promised!

wishing all my bento friends a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

[as seen on bentoboxlove]