“woman in a hilltop teahouse” bento

21 03 2010

tomorrow’s lunch is my entry for the japan society’s virtual bento box battle.  i chose to imitate “woman in a hilltop teahouse,” a beautiful woodcut by japanese artist utagawa kuniyoshi.  click here to see the woodcut (image 10 of 26), part of the japan society gallery’s display entitled “graphic heroes, magic monsters:  japanese prints by utagawa kuniyoshi from the arthur r. miller collection.”

i chose this image because the lovely woman is dining… although it’s not a bento box on the bench with her, it could be, and she’s very much enjoying her peaceful and relaxing meal, as i hope to enjoy this lunch!  her bench is made of vegetarian ham, and she is made out of cheese and nori, with food coloring mixed with a few drops of water for a watercolor painting effect.

in the background i have broccoli, flower-cut carrots and a few pea pods, asparagus tips, a purple carrot skewer, takuwan slices with sesame seeds, a few grape tomatoes, a perfect little mini-plum (labeled “prune plum” in my market), and some blackberries, almost hidden behind the sesame leaf baran.  the teatime lady and her bench are layered over white rice, which is itself layered over stewed tofu for the protein component to this meal.

entries for the bento box battle are being accepted through wednesday, march 31, so there’s still time for you to make one if you haven’t already!

UPDATE:  the judging is over, and this box was selected for first prize!  take a look at the other winners over at the japan society’s website, and my congratulations to all who participated, especially lia, lucky sundae, pikko, and laura bento, all of whose entries were gorgeous and proved very stiff competition!





flowered omurice bento and contest winner!

15 03 2010

a simple one tonight, since last night’s was so involved.  i find that omurice is a great way to use up scraps from bento projects, like the leftovers from cutting flowers.  the filling of this omurice has, well, rice (duh), fried up with some leftover sweet potato scraps, a chopped vegetarian hot dog, some chopped leftover steamed broccoli, one of my last baby sweet peppers, some scallion and gochujang.  i decorated with some simple cheese, sweet potato and purple carrot flowers, with pea pod “leaves.”

the fruit and veggie section is also simple — a few grape tomatoes, a piece of broccoli and some more pea pods, some clementine slices and blackberries with a food pick.  easy, breezy lunch in less than 20 minutes (compared to last night’s 3 hours!).

[as seen on iyoupapa]

— ♥ —

i so enjoyed reading all the contest participants’ GRE vocabulary sentences — you guys came up with really smart and creative uses for those tough words!  i wish i could award extra prizes based on my favorite sentences, but it’s a recession y’all!  so for the winner, i turned to the random.org site, which generated a number between 1 and 67 (there were 67 entries):

the winner is… tami!  some of you may know her as ABQ bento mama on flickr — she does really fun work.  tami, holler at me with your address so i can get this prize package out to you!





go kart bento

15 02 2010

my valentine’s day present to the boyfriend was a trip to grand prix new york, a karting complex for kids and adults in mt. kisco, new york (about an hour away from NYC).  he is a huge formula 1 fan, and karting was a fun treat and a great way to get excited for the upcoming start of the F1 season.

we don’t own a car, so when we take trips like this to the hudson valley we rent a zip car, and since renting a car is pricey, we try to get more bang for our buck by hitting some of the fantastic outer-borough restaurants and supermarkets that we normally would be too lazy to take a long subway ride to.  tonight we visited an H-mart in flushing, queens that was significantly larger than the one in NYC’s K-town, and picked up a few goodies you’ll see in my bentos over the next few days.

this one has some yummy jap chae, topped with a nori-and-cheese go kart — it’s a little, um, abstract!  karts are hard to depict!  i kept the rest of the bento simple, filling in with some pea pods and broccoli, purple carrots (this variety has yellow centers, creating a cool effect when i cut them into sticks like this), tomatoes, kumquats, and blueberries.  at H-mart i also found some cool gummy letters, and used those to spell out the words “CARS” (i wanted to spell out “SPEED,” but didn’t get a “P” in my package!).

a couple pics of the boyfriend karting:

serious fun!  (and isn’t he handsome?!)

hope you all had an amazing long and holiday-filled weekend!  can’t wait to catch up on everything i missed on flickr, twitter, and the blogs…





winged heart bento

9 02 2010

i have seen some beautiful naturally-colored rice this week (two great examples are sheri’s pink heart and mils’ love hearts), but — call me a cheater — this week i will be using good old fashioned food coloring to add some holiday spirit to my bentos.

tomorrow’s lunch has a winged heart onigiri (the strawberry fans look like wings to me — go with it!) seated on a bed of pomegranate seeds (with a tomato heart accent on the front) in the red section.  the yellow section has baby yellow carrot sticks, kumquats, and takuwan flowers.  the green section has two different kinds of veggie dumpling, with a few pea pods.  finally, the blue section has purple potato “chips” (roasted in the oven) and purple carrot discs.

in the center hole is some dipping sauce for the dumplings, the container for which is topped with a cool valentine’s sticker a generous bento pal sent me.  are you digging how i matched the food to the compartments?  that was an idea shared by multiple participants in hapa bento’s last 4-compartment-box giveaway!

[as seen on love and trash]





portobello slider bento

15 12 2009


yummy leftovers from dinner tonight with the boyfriend at counter, a vegetarian restaurant in our neighborhood.

top portion: portobello slider with rosemary mayo on a tiny cute poppy seed bun. purple carrot skewers, cherry tomatoes, and olive skewers, and two carrot-cheese flowers. bottom portion: leftover confit fingerling potatoes, red quinoa-and-fennel salad, roasted eggplant with pom seeds and cumin, and red saurkraut. topped with a few carrot music notes and cheese stars.

doily, kids’ chopsticks, and the last gummy cherry candy.





flirty empanada bento

6 12 2009

the boyfriend was sick all day today, so i picked up a quick dinner from ruben’s empanadas to cheer him up — breakfast for dinner always does it! he had sausage and egg, but this leftover for tomorrow’s lunch has a spinach filling.

her eyes are cheese and nori, her mouth is nori, and her hair bow is a pasta bowtie.  she’s surrounded by — clockwise from top right — purple carrot sticks, a starfruit slice, pomegranate seeds in a food cup, half of a deviled egg, snow pea pods, an orange-and-red grape tomato skewer and an olive skewer, some nashi slices and a few more pea pods.

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





bahn mi bento

29 11 2009

tomorrow’s lunch has another bahn mi from nicky’s vietnamese (2nd street between A and B) – the spicy/sweet tofu, carrot, and pepper slices are just outrageously good.  in the sandwich tier i added a purple and yellow carrot skewer.

in the fruit and veggie tier:  star fruit, pomegranate seeds, shimeji mushrooms, kumquat and grape tomato skewer, cherries with leaf picks, pea pods, and another purple and yellow carrot skewer.

this bento is using some of my new accessories from daiso:  the green square silicone cup is part of this set; the orange oval cup is part of this one, and the heart picks come in a pack of 20 similar to this one.

i’ve received tons of great contest entries so far — keep ’em coming, and i’ll be announcing a winner on tuesday morning!

glad to be back and bentoing… hope everyone had a lovely holiday!