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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flowered meatballs bento

12 04 2011

for dinner tonight, we had a HUGE salad, and i’m bringing leftovers from that to work tomorrow.  because of that, i knew i only needed to pack something small for my actual bento.

the salad didn’t have much in the way of protein, so to compensate,  i took 3 frozen vegetarian “meatballs” (from trader joe’s), popped them in the microwave for 45 seconds until they were mostly defrosted, glazed them with a bit of bulldog sauce, and then topped them with cheese flowers.  i nuked them with the cheese for another 13 seconds so that the flowers melted slightly, and then stuck some peas on.  not a kyaraben, but quick and easy.

the back of this skinny tier has some steamed broccoli and brussels sprout halves, and two fresh mini vine tomatoes.  i guess it’s salad day, because i also packed myself a cute fruit salad cup (grapes and strawberries).  what are you having for lunch this wednesday?





poodles in love bento

10 04 2011

tomorrow’s lunch has two poodles in love.  the poodles are cut with a fondant cutter from hanpen, which i was able to find at my japanese grocer.  the poodles are set on a bed of rice mixed with the very last of my hana osushi no moto… for some reason i can’t find that product anywhere!  if you know of an online source for it, please share in the comments!

the rest of my lunch has some thai-basil mock duck, a steamed carrot slice, a few pieces of steamed broccoli, a few pea pods, a nice yellow tomato, half each of a strawberry and a steamed brussels sprouts, and some pretty purple japanese pickles.

have a happy start to your week, and don’t forget, the auction for the cute shinzi katoh box ends early tomorrow morning, but there are lots of other cute boxes to bid on for charity!





april showers bento

6 04 2011

the  past couple weeks have NOT been spring-like here in NYC, with the exception of this past weekend.  today it rained again, and honestly, i’m getting pretty tired of it — i want to break out cute spring skirts and shoes!

tomorrow’s lunch has umbrellas and rain drops as an homage to the current weather system.  my umbrellas are made from carrot (cut with a tiny fondant cutter), and are affixed with somen to two mixed-rice-and-ume onigiri.  the box also contains steamed broccoli, fish sausage “rain drops,” purple potato, cute strawberries, pea pods, and a silicon cup with a kabocha gratin.  i have a sesame-flavored soy milk drink for a sweet accompaniment.

hope you all had a nice wednesday, and are furiously bidding away on the bento4japan auctions, including the adorable shinzi katoh box which i relisted today!





scottie dogs bento

28 03 2011

tomorrow’s lunch has two “club-style” (triple decker) sandwiches made from health nut bread, garlic-herb cream cheese, vegetarian ham, and cucumber.  each sandwich is topped with a sort of scottie dog postage stamp.

in between the sandwiches is a steamed broccoli floret, a tamagoyaki slice, a purple potato dog bone, some pea pods, and one of the last of my israeli vine tomatoes with a yellow flower food pick.

if you haven’t done so yet, please check out the bento4japan charity auctions going on right now… i learned the hard way that i can’t bid on the cute shinzi katoh box that kir devries graciously donated and for which i’m hosting the auction (grrr)… but you can!  plus, there’s plenty of other great stuff for me to bid on!





hello kitty bunnies bento

27 03 2011

tomorrow’s lunch has two HKs wearing bunny costumes.  a sweet bento pal sent me the hats and bows pick set over the summer, and after seeing a few great HK bentos by sheri where she used these bows, i’ve been saving them up for my interpretation of our favorite sanrio kitty friend! the faces are made from cheese, nori, sesame seeds, and yellow soy paper, and the bunny costumes are made from pink egg sheet.  i used lia’s fab tutorial for making the egg sheet — straining is the key to a smooth texture!

the rest of my lunch consists of several nice-sized pieces of the battered cod we made for saturday night dinner (after a trip to a local fish market), steamed broccoli, a few steamed purple potato slices, and the usual mini-pepper and vine tomato.  there is a small container of tartar sauce for the fish that isn’t pictured here.

the bento4japan auctions are still going strong — we have raised more than $2000 since we started!  new items are still being added regularly, including generous donations from our favorite online bento vendors… like this adorable shinzi katoh snack-sized box from kir devries!   such a sweet design from a well-known japanese zakka artist… if you don’t bid on it, i just might, haha!

also, just bento’s maki recently posted about the flow of information regarding the japanese disaster, the importance of responding rationally, and ways to help.  this is a great (and important) read, so please check that out too.





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!





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!





falling ginkgo bento

6 10 2010

i recently ordered a ginkgo leaf cutter, after more than a year of admiring its use by fellow bento-makers such as debra of hapa bento and sheri of happy little bento. the funny thing is, as soon as i got it, i realized that you can accomplish the same shape with a plain old round-fluted cutter and an x-acto knife (just cut a fluted round, and then trim away the profile of the stem — that’s how i made the smaller ginkgo leaves here).

anyway, i didn’t want to miss the opportunity to participate in the last week of hapa bento’s “fall theme” BOMB challenge, and i was inspired by sheri’s recent use of orange against black rice.  so i decided to use up my leftover forbidden rice with some simple falling leaves.

there are a number of gingko trees in my neighborhood, and these leaves remind me of my morning walks with ruby, who loves to chase, lick, or chew any leaf in her path!

my gingko leaves are cut from purple potato, sweet potato, and golden beet — all veggies that really feel autumnal to me — and the back portion of this bento has two vegetarian chicken nuggets, a zebra tomato and a red pear tomato, two pea pods, two carrot tamagoyaki slices, and a steamed broccoli floret.

this is the two-tier kyo bento from bento & co; in the other portion i have some leftover chili, which i’ll mix with rice when it’s time to eat lunch tomorrow.

happy fall!





forbidden violets bento

29 09 2010

this is my entry for mademoiselle.m’s “passion bento” contest.  there are still 2 days to enter; why not join the international fun and put together a bento reflecting the things (or people, places, etc.) about which you are passionate?

this bento reflects my passions of art (including the art of bento-making itself!) and nature.

the above composition is made from a black-and-brown rice blend, purple potato (with white cheese, yellow cheese, and sesame seeds), basil leaves (from the plant on my windowsill), shredded takuwan, baby pear tomatoes, a kiwi berry, two raspberries, steamed broccolini (i used only the stems, which are tender and less woody than regular broccoli, and very tasty), vegetarian meatballs, and sweet potato.  the forbidden rice is layered on top of my favorite spicy stewed korean tofu.

i originally saw the three-petaled violet idea at akinoichigo’s blog, and decided to put my own spin on it.  this is another thing i’m passionate about — i feel so grateful to be part of this supportive community where everyone shares ideas and inspiration, and where this type of adaptation is encouraged!