polka dot birdies bento

2 07 2010

i’m still catching up on all the bento blog posts i missed during my break, but one of the things i saw recently that inspired me was this adorable polka-dot bird at e-obento.  too cute, right?  i put my own spin on it by cutting a bird template from paper and tracing two birds out of cheese with a toothpick, and then applying polka dots made from orange and green soy paper, along with little cheese-and-soy-paper wings (cut with my smallest teardrop cutter).

i used my birds as toppers for two tea-sized club sandwiches (“club” only in the sense that they are three layers each of bread, and two of filling) — vegetarian ham, cheese, and mustard on dark pumpernickel bread.  the rest of the box has a steamed broccoli floret, the last (phew!) of my okra, a grape tomato, a piece of steamed corn, two pea pods, and some blueberries on a pick.

for more polka-dot inspiration, check out piewacket, food gal, and oh joy!, as well as etsy, where there are tons of great finds (including this bird headband that served as another model for my sandwich toppers).  wishing you all a wonderful weekend!





baseball bears bento

1 07 2010

last week i received an unexpected package from a kind and thoughtful friend — it contained picks galore!  i wanted to use the cute baseball cap and flag picks, and it’s baseball season (almost all-star time, in fact), so i put together a baseball bears bento.

i root for the san francisco giants, whose colors are orange and black… but these adorable caps were blue, so just use your imagination!  certainly the sentiments on the flags (やったね translates to “you did it!” and がんばりましよう translates variously, according to my japanese-speaking twitter pals, as “go get ’em,” “hang in there,” “keep trying,” “work harder” or “give it your best shot!”) apply to my team… it’s been a rocky season so far, with some great moments (posey’s brilliant debut; beating the hyped-up red sox), and some not-so-great moments (getting swept by the dodgers; the shameful and disgusting decision to trade loyal veteran and mentor catcher bengie molina mid-season).  um, keep trying, brian sabean. work a little harder, tim lincecum. sigh.

anyway, sorry for the baseball tangent, and thanks for the picks you-know-who, i love them!

i made these bears from a chicken egg and a quail egg, soaked in hot water with 4 drops of red food coloring.  i cut the eggs in half the long way, and added ears/muzzles made from fish sausage and eyes/noses/mouths made from nori.  my bears sit atop turmeric-dyed rice, which is layered on top of my favorite spicy stewed tofu.  i have a butter lettuce “baran” to separate the rice from one vegetarian chicken tender, a vegetarian-ham-wrapped okra pod, two grape tomatoes, more CSA blueberries (plus two lovely golden raspberries, also from my share), and a few pea pods.

GO GIANTS! (and go bengie, even if you’re on the rangers!)





fruit and onigiri snack bento

29 06 2010

just a quick one today, as i’m running around preparing for a dinner party tonight (and will be munching while i cook!)…

three small onigiri made with my favorite chunky ume/sesame seed furikake, and wrapped with ooba leaves; three vegetarian chicken tenders and a piece of okra wrapped in vegetarian ham (you’ll be seeing a lot of that until i run out of my okra!), a bit of steamed broccoli with a clown pick, red grapes, and some perfectly plump blueberries…

the blueberries are from a GINORMOUS bucket of blueberries that we got (along with a small carton of precious golden raspberries) as this week’s share of the CSA we joined when we moved to williamsburg.  tonight i’m making blueberry crisp, but i’m in the market for other blueberry recipes (especially bento-friendly ones), so holler if you’ve got ideas!

[as seen on fada moranga]





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]





spider muffin bento

27 10 2009

bento 26

top left: kabocha sqash made with maki’s delicious recipe, recently posted on at “just bento”, topped with some fiore pasta.  top right: hard boiled egg ghost with red grape tomatoes.  bottom left: jalapeno-cornbread muffin with spider nori accent.  middle right: purple cauliflower and vegetarian “ham”-cheese-okra rolls.  bottom right: pickled radish (from another maki recipe!) and checkered apple.

[as seen on murdered secret and if you were a booger, i’d pick you first]