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!





monkey soboro bento

1 04 2010

i received an unusual request via flickr-mail yesterday: a friendly user (and apparent fan of my photostream) asked if i might be willing to make a monkey bento, in honor of her favorite animal.

well, i have a couple of monkey sauce cases that have been lying around since my west coast bento shopping spree back in november, and i’m always up for a challenge, so i decided to use the monkey on the sauce case as my inspiration, and figured i could achieve the brown with a soboro bento.

my soboro is made of vegetarian faux ground beef. first i made an onigiri in approximately the same shape as the monkey’s inner face, molding pink rice free-form with saran wrap. then i layered some sliced orange bell pepper and scallions in the box, added the onigiri, and spooned in my “ground beef” (which i had sauteed with some cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper). i added radish eyes, nori eyelashes, a red pepper mouth, and a dyed-pasta bow, and voila! i had my monkey (no banana, though). this was my first time trying soboro for a bento, and i wish it had come out a teensy bit neater, but it was fun and i’ll definitely keep trying to perfect this technique!

even though the monkey looks like she’s made of just two ingredients, don’t forget about the veggies layered under there — once i mix it all up (with the hot sauce i stored in the actual monkey sauce case), it will be a tasty and healthy entree. i figured i would want something sweet too, though, so i made a quick side car of kiwi slices, pear flowers, and kumquats.

here’s a close up of the sauce case (available from napa japan):

see the resemblance? ok, i used artistic license to omit the ears and add the eyelashes. i hope my new flickr pal enjoys this one, and i hope you all have a great friday and weekend!





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!





h-mart goodies bento

16 02 2010

as i mentioned yesterday, the boyfriend and i stocked up at a huge h-mart in flushing.  this box includes my h-mart goodies:  jap chae in the top right section (topped with a yellow carrot and pea pod flower), fish jun in the bottom right section (topped by two purple potato butterflies), and spicy stewed tofu in the bottom left section (topped with a fried quail egg and scallions).  in the top left section i have dessert:  slices from a baby pear from h-mart’s fab produce section, some blueberries and a kumquat, and some two-toned, sweet korean dessert balls.  these balls are a rice-flour and sesame paste concoction labeled “muffin honey rice cake” (this is a form of dduk, which is used in both savory and sweet applications).

you may also notice that i have finally found the cool, slightly-convex four-sectioned box that some of my favorite bentoists are using these days.  i got mine at banzai living‘s flushing location.  woo hoo!





red bahn mi bento

2 02 2010

i know, the bahn mi itself is not red, but this is my contribution to hapa bento’s BOMB (“best of the month bento”) challenge.  february’s theme is heart-healthy, holiday-friendly RED!

a quick and easy bento tonight with no frills — i had a bad day at work and didn’t feel too inspired.  but look, i have a red flower prop, a red box, some red tomatoes with a red flowered skewer, and even a red bento belt!  that counts, right?  and the cute mushroom paper did cheer me up a bit.

this bahn mi is from a new place that the boyfriend discovered in our neighborhood, bahn mi zon.  i like their sandwiches better than the place i had been going to previously — they are bigger, and the baguette is more tender.  this one’s filled with marinated mushrooms, tofu, and your standard cucumber-cilantro-daikon-carrot combination.

rounding out the box are a pear fan (the pear is also kinda reddish!) and two takuwan fans, some blueberries, and the tomatoes.  underneath that stuff i buried a babybel cheese and some cucumber slices.  this box is pretty deep, which is why it works for the sandwich halves, but which also means that some food items won’t be visible.

want a contest hint?   i thought so!  ok — in the country i’ll be visiting, putrified shark meat is a traditional food.  i’m pretty brave when it comes to trying new things (i ate some pretty unimaginable animal parts in shanghai), and i’ll go with an open mind, but the word “putrified” is inherently unappetizing, no?  i bet it wouldn’t look great in bento, either!





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”]





musical egg bento

13 10 2009

bento 18

top left: bosc pear, red grapes, pomegranate seeds, granny smith apple, and purple potato flower. top right: japchae with carrot skewer. bottom left: hard boiled egg with nori music notes, peapods, and soy sauce bottle. bottom right: red grape tomatoes, purplish-green mini heirloom tomatoes, takuwan flowers, and pickled radishes made with awesome recipe from maki at just bento.