raw veggie rolls bento

18 03 2012

i am a new, but sure-to-be-faithful, reader of the gorgeous blog 101 cookbooks, which has some really inspiring vegetarian recipes. tomorrow’s lunch includes a few raw veggie rolls from a big batch i adapted from one of the site’s recipes. i’ve also got some wheatberry and cranberry salad based on a dean & deluca recipe; i think this chewy-tangy-nutty blend is a nice compliment. i’m looking forward to this flavorful and nutritionally well-balanced lunch.

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anpanman bento

18 01 2010

tomorrow’s lunch features anpanman, the beloved japanese cartoon character.  i made my anpanman out of a vegetarian “chik’n” patty (i like boca brand’s spicy flavor), with a cherry nose, strawberry slices for cheeks, and nori for the eyes, eyebrows and mouth.

the patty is on top of some rice that i sprinkled with shiso furikake, and filling up the rest of the box is some roasted baby bok choi (made in the toaster again, with just salt, pepper, olive oil, minced garlic and gochu garu), enoki mushrooms, sweet potato hearts (made from two teardrop shapes each), cherries and pea pods.

— ♥ —

i know i usually stick to bento on this blog, but i wanted to do a quick restaurant review since i had the day off from work today (for MLK day) and took the opportunity to eat some dim sum in chinatown with friends.   this time we tried jing fong, which gets mixed reviews food-wise but has the classic ambiance we were looking for:  a huge, bustling banquet hall with tons of carts (as well as a hot buffet).

here are some shots of the hot buffet line:

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and here are a few of the goodies we ordered from carts:

from the top:  various dumplings, other savories (stewed tofu, fried tofu with shrimp, and eggplant with pork) and sweet sesame pastries.

overall, the consensus of internet reviewers was pretty spot-on, in that the experience was lively and fun, and the food was ok.

as you can see from the menu card at the left, we stuffed ourselves (with no less than 21 dishes), until we felt like we needed to be rolled away in wheelbarrows!!! it was a fairly good bargain, at only about $16 per person, tax and tip included.  that said, i preferred the food at ping’s (where the eggplant is so divine i featured it in a previous bento). if choosing based on food alone, i wouldn’t necessarily go back to jing fong (after all, there are still many more dim sum places for me to try!).

— ♥ —

finally, i wanted to pass along an award i received from two lovely ladies, lia of my bentolicious, and tata of bonito’s cooking wonderland.  thank you so much lia and tata, i’m honored!

there are no rules to this award, so if i’ve passed it along, please don’t feel obligated to keep passing or to post on it or anything — but i thought it would be a nice chance to give a shout-out to my favorite blogging bentoists.  so, debra (hapa bento), sheri (happy little bento), pikko (adventures in bento making), and susan (hawai`i’s bento box cookbook), plus lia and tata, here’s to you!  i ♥ all of your blogs!





new birdie bento

14 01 2010

all japanese flavors in tonight’s bento… clockwise from left, going in a spiral:  two pan-fried gyoza (studded with fish cake flowers), carrot sticks, some steamed broccoli, enoki mushrooms, two pieces of tempura fried sweet potato, cherry tomatoes with two steamed sweet potato stars, miso-sesame-honey eggplant made with a variation of hapa bento’s excellent recipe, a sesame mochi, and some kamaboko slices.

on top of the steamed broccoli is a beautiful takuwan bird, cut with a new handmade cutter, which was a present from my pal sherimiya — thanks so much sheri, i love it!  i think i’ll try cutting something thinner next time, so that the intricate shape of the cutter is reflected more crisply (this was my first time using it, so any flaw in the bird was with my technique, NOT the cutter!!).

i’m looking forward to the the end of the workday tomorrow… i filed a massive brief this week, which had me up working late several nights, and i’m exhausted.  hope you all have a wonderful and restful weekend!





bunny bahn mi bento

11 01 2010

most of you probably know how tasty bahn mi sandwiches are, and for those of you who are lucky enough to have a vietnamese sandwich shop in your neighborhood, they are usually pretty cheap and easy to pick up.  because of the convenience factor, i fall back on a bahn mi bento every couple of weeks — it’s a great “fill in” on nights when i don’t cook dinner or don’t make enough to produce bento-able leftovers for the next day.

today, in an effort to showcase the versatility of this lunchbox item, some of my favorite bentoists and i have put together a variety of bahn mi bentos!

my bahn mi bento is geared towards my relatively physically inactive lifestyle (i pretty much sit at a computer all day!).  in order to tailor the lunch to my nutritional requirements, i simply added a lot of fresh fruits and veggies.  the bahn mi already has fresh carrots, cilantro, and cucumber in it, as well as tofu for my protein element.  but because the yummy baguette is a processed carb (it’s plain white, not whole wheat or anything), i do need to be careful not to add other carb elements to the meal. the fruit is even pushing it, because it has so many natural sugars. to keep my body working to process those sugars, i will pace myself over the course of the day, eating part of the fruit section as a mid-morning snack.

the bunny decoration is made from mozzarella and american cheeses, with vegetarian ham and nori accents.  in the bahn mi tier i also have a steamed sweet potato flower, three takuwan-and-beet flowers, some enoki mushrooms, pea pods, and grape tomatoes.  once i eat the sandwich i will probably rip up the lettuce leaves and eat the rest of the veggies mixed with the lettuce as a small salad.

my fruit tier has nashi and plum fans, with a baby orange in a food cup, some strawberries in a food cup, blueberries in another food cup, and grapes and raspberries to fill the gaps.  both sections of this 2-tier ccomotti box are pretty deep, so the food cups are propped up on additional slices of nashi and plum.

for other ideas on how bahn mi sandwiches fit into various lifestyles (with various nutritional needs), please take a look at these other gorgeous bentos:

  • sheri over at happy little bento, who makes lunch for her son and his big appetite, made a bahn mi bento focusing on balanced nutrition for a full and active school day.
  • debra of hapa bento is a vegetarian, and her post discusses enjoying a bahn mi in nutritional moderation.
  • finally, susan over at hawai`i’s bento box cookbook makes lunch for her cutie-pie daughter paige, so she made a bahn mi bento focusing on incorporating veggies into a kid’s diet.

in the comments, i’d love to hear about your favorite bahn mi sandwich shop, or your favorite accompaniments for a bahn mi bento!

and many thanks to debra for coordinating this fun exposé on bahn mi bentos!





onigiri bear bento

3 11 2009

bento 32

top tier:  pomegranate seeds, foil-covered chocolate leaf, pear fan, plum fan, takuwan cloud, purple potato and sweet potato leaves, blueberries in silicone cup, and grape halves.

bottom tier:  onigiri (salmon and wasabi mayo filling) with sweet potato muzzle/ears and nori eyes/nose/mouth, tamagoyaki slice with tiny green tomato, takuwan flower with red tomatoes on a bed of enoki mushrooms, spicy korean tofu with scallion garnish.

[as seen on “cute food – the adorable, edible art of kawaii cooking”]





jack-o-lantern onigiri bento

29 10 2009

bento 27

onigiri stuffed with salmon and wasabi mayo, topped with an orange-food-coloring-dyed egg sheet and nori cut-outs.  surrounded by yellow wax beans and yellow tomato, enoki mushrooms, radish “mushroom,” veggie croquettes with carrot-takuwan-sesame flower accents, purple broccoli and purple cauliflower, edamame in a food cup with takuwan and red grape tomato on a spider food pick, and snow peas in the bottom right.

clickety click chopsticks and a strawberry-choco lolly for good measure.