mitsuwa bento

28 05 2012

my sweet husband surprised me last week with a new bento box (he saw it at a store when he was looking for something else).  wanting to use it, and finding ourselves with more time on our hands than usual due to the three-day weekend, we decided to take a trip to edgewater, nj to go to the fabulous mitsuwa marketplace — a veritable wonderland comprised of a full-sized japanese supermarket as well as a food court and a number of specialty shops and stands.  more on our trip, after the jump.

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asian pantry bento, redux

2 04 2012

i know, spring has sprung, and i am psyched to try some new seasonal recipes… but i’ve been traveling like a crazy person for work, and haven’t had time to put together a blog-worthy spring lunch. until i can get around to doing that, i thought i’d share a lunch from a couple of weeks back. it was made with almost exactly the same ingredients as the pantry-based lunch i posted about here: same cannelini-rice mix (this time, with a quarter-cup of steamed spinach mixed in), same burdock namul (this time, with a purple potato flower garnish), same japanese pickles (the batch of veggies i pickled was a mix of lotus, daikon, and myoga ginger, and i’m still working my way through the jar). although this is super simple, the solid combo of carb-plus-veg-plus-protein (beans) is in keeping with the tone it up nutrition plan principles for meal 3 of the day (where meal 1 is breakfast and meal 2 is a mid-morning snack).

this came together quickly with a bamboo skewer of regular old canned black olives (leftover from another meal). the onigiri are filled with about a teaspoon each of white miso, and wrapped with a red shiso leaf from the pickle jar — these are what give my pickles the pretty pink color, although they go dark purple-ish in the jar after giving off their natural dye.

nutrition info below.

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strawberry onigiri bento

1 05 2011

tomorrow’s lunch was fairly quick and easy to pack using leftovers from tonight’s dinner: two round onigiri made from rice mixed with sauteed broccolini stems and garlic (which is how i served it the first time, not mixed especially for the onigiri), plus a few small pieces of pan-seared salmon filet.  i topped the onigiri with “strawberries” made from fish sausage, sesame seeds, and snow pea tops, using another great idea from akinoichigo’s blog.

the rest of the bento has one of the brightest red strawberries i’ve ever come across in my market, a little bit of tomato, some snow peas, broccolini tops, a takuwan rosette, and a few slices each of mini-cucumber and tangerine to fill empty spaces.  i’m looking forward to this relatively light and healthy lunch.

i hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!  i have another busy work week ahead, but can’t wait to catch up on my favorite blogs and twitter feeds when i get some down time…





totoro onigiri bento

13 04 2011

have you seen anna the red’s cool tutorial on inarizushi totoro-making?  she’s full of awesome ideas, and this one might take the cake.  i have never done a totoro before, and even though i didn’t have inari on hand, i was inspired to try my hand at our favorite neighbor.

my totoro is simplified — no arms, lower body, or whiskers.  but hopefully i’ve captured his essence, including his cheshire-like grin and slightly bugged-out eyes.  i mixed rice with ground black sesame to make the grey color of his coat, and added punched nori Vs from my emoticon puncher for his stomach markings.  the white part of his body is stuffed with a vegetarian meatball, left over from yesterday’s lunch.

the rest of tomorrow’s bento has steamed broccoli with fish sausage stars, tamagoyaki rolled with nori and topped with carrot stars, steamed brussels sprout halves, a few pieces of golden-fried tofu, and a nice vine tomato.  a tangerine for dessert, and i’m all set!





blossom onigiri bento

23 03 2011

a quick post since i’m a little bit tipsy after a few drinks with my best girlfriend…

tomorrow’s bento in a magewappa box has two onigiri filled with flaked salmon.  i mixed the salmon with chimichurri sauce (a new favorite in my household for serving with salmon — it’s so flavorful!) and mayo and then stuffed the rice, which was a blend of short-grain white and long-grain brown (texmati).  the onigiri are topped with blossoms made from cheese and steamed purple potato — they look familiar to me but i can’t place them.  cherry blossom?  plum blossom?  let me know if you have a guess!

the rest of the box has a steamed broccoli floret, a mini red pepper, a star-cut carrot, a roasted shitake mushroom, some slices of takuwan, a few pea pods, and a pretty sakura pick.

i’m trying to stick to a posting schedule of tuesdays-through-thursdays, with no bento on fridays because of a whole bagel-breakfast-which-turns-into-leftovers-for-lunch extravaganza that we have in my department on a weekly basis.  so, have a great weekend and i’ll see some of you on twitter in the meantime!





bibimbap onigiri bento

8 11 2010

tomorrow’s lunch is leftovers from tonight’s dinner, slightly rearranged:  instead of just packing the leftover black-and-brown rice into the tiffin (or a section thereof), i shaped it into two triangular onigiri, which i then partly coated in sesame seeds, and partly wrapped in sesame leaves.

i put a little bit of each of the namul (radish, carrot, mushrooms and pickled cucumber, plus some sprouts, ferns and sesame spinach buried underneath), and then fried up a few little quail eggs instead of one the big hen’s egg we used for each bowl at dinner.  finally, i packed some gochujang in a tiny mayo container, and added a vine-ripe tomato for color.

rearranging normal, eat-at-home dinners (whether using mini-versions of ingredients, or mini-portions) is one of my favorite bento past-times!





little post, big news

1 11 2010

hey everybody!  my apologies for going off the grid during the past couple of weeks… i was on a crazy wedding diet, and i couldn’t eat delicious bento, so looking at all of your mouth-watering creations became torture for me, and i had to just bow out of the bentosphere for a little while.

i’m back, and i’m a mrs.! woo hoo!  my stomach is still regaining its full capacity after the home stretch of basically starving myself to try to fit into my wedding dress, so i’m still packing fairly small lunches this week.  but it’s so nice to have carbs again!  rice, pizza, noodles, potatoes, yum!

tomorrow’s lunch has two brown rice onigiri mixed with vegetable furikake and topped with takuwan maple leaves, as well as a vine tomato and some mixed fall veggies (eggplant, pumpkin, and mushrooms).  we saw so much beautiful fall foliage on our mini-honeymoon this past weekend, so the maple leaves were inspired by those views.   i hope to be able to post some city hall wedding and hudson valley honeymoon pictures soon!

p.s. HOLY SH!T GO GIANTS!!!!





octobre rose bento

11 10 2010

october is breast cancer awareness month.  like those of my fellow bento bloggers, my life has been touched by this disease, and so i was moved by bento blog’s invitation to participate in a “pink october” awareness-raising project. check out the lovely themed bentos by jenn of bentobird, susan of hawai`i’s bento box cookbook, lia of my bentolicious, debra of hapa bento, and chantale of skinny mini kiki. did you participate? if so, please add a link in the comments!

my “octobre rose” bento is simple — two pale pink onigiri (the rice is mixed with ume vinegar powder, and each one is stuffed with an umeboshi) topped with breast cancer ribbons (made from the outer layer of a kamaboko log), a stamed broccoli floret and purple potato flower, two pieces of veggie tamagoyaki, two pea pods, a vegetarian chicken nugget with a cheese heart, and a two-tone tomato pick with a pink flag.

i should note that the ribbons were inspired by pikko’s cool egg sheet ribbons from her breast cancer awareness bento last year. thanks for the bento-spiration (as always) pikko!





fall hens bento

10 10 2010

yet another quick one — tonight we were busy watching the giants-braves game!

tomorrow’s lunch has two onigiri (made from rice mixed with vegetable fried rice seasoning mix, each stuffed with an umeboshi), some steamed broccoli, a yellow tomato, pea pods, simmered pumpkin (topped with chili flakes and sesame seeds), and a purple potato hen (with radish beak and cockscomb).

all packed in my new, lightweight bamboo box, which i’ll close with this cute cross-stitched hen napkin (used like a furoshiki).  plus a cute mini-pear for dessert!





giants pennant bento

3 10 2010

WOO HOO!  in their last regular-season game, against their division rivals, the padres, my boys clinched the pennant.  we’re headed to our first post-season since 2003!

in the bottom half of my new iro-iro argyle bento box, i packed two panda-shaped onigiri, waving orange flags (black and orange are giants colors).  the pandas have nori stripes and facial features, cheese arms, and black bean ears.  this box also contains two vegetarian chicken nuggets, two pieces of carrot tamagoyaki, a lotus-cut baby carrot, a zebra tomato and a baby pear tomato, some steamed broccoli florets, and a slice of star fruit.

the tightly-sealing top half of this handy new box (not pictured) contains a little bit of pad ka prow with mock duck, leftovers from thai food we ordered this weekend.

everyone getting ready for the work week ahead?  hope you all had a fabulous fall weekend!

[as seen on cute food]