flowered kimbap bento

4 04 2011

i made dinner with my bestie tonight, and then we drank cocktails together on my couch while commenting on a hot episode of intervention… what can i say, i’m a girl of extremely refined tastes!

needless to say, two vodka-cranberries in, i couldn’t be too ambitious in my bento-making.  pre-made kimbap (from yesterday’s grocery run to flushing’s H-mart) to the rescue!  i quickly packed the kimbap slices in my skinny pink bento with some fruits and veggies from the fridge — two halved, steamed brussels sprouts; 4 takuwan slices; some pea pods and bamboo leaves, clementine sections and two mini strawberries — plus vegetarian chicken tenders for protein a few pink fish sausage blossoms for a pretty accent.   done and done!

in other bento news, thanks to help from sheri and mils i was able to add the “like on facebook” bento4japan badge.  are you a fan yet?  the bento4japan auctions are still going strong… i’ve got my eye on a certain newspaper-printed furoshiki, but there are lots of lovely items up for grabs, so head on over to ebay and help us continue raising money for relief in japan!





spring sailboat bento

3 04 2011

i hope everybody had a nice weekend! we finally got some nice, spring-like weather, with temperatures in the mid-50s and two days of fairly consistent sunshine.

tomorrow’s bento has a nautical theme, with a sailboat (nori and colored soy paper on cheese) and an anchor (cut from steamed carrot). i have a small piece of broiled salmon, with more flaked underneath the rice (which is mixed with seaweed and sesame seed furikake). a few steamed broccoli florets, a mini yellow pepper, and the cutest mini-strawberries round out this meal.

happy start of the week!





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.





fuzzy hedgehog bento

22 03 2011

tomorrow’s bento is a tofu hedgehog, made fuzzy with the use of katsuo bushi (dried, shaved bonito flakes).  at one of my neighborhood japanese restaurants, i love to order the cold tofu with shaved bonito — so i think this will be a great flavor combination, especially with the wakame rice underneath.

there is additional tofu underneath the rice, and the top portion of the bento has steamed broccoli florets, a vegetarian-ham-and-cheese toadstool, a broiled shiitake (get it? one fake and one real mushroom!), some takuwan flowers with pea pod accents, and a ripe tomato.

posted in “what’s for lunch wednesday” — what are you having?!





5 minute bento

8 03 2011

hi bento pals!  i know, it’s been forever since i last posted.  i won’t bore you with my excuses and the changes to my schedule that have resulted in mornings where i often throw some pitiful leftovers in a tomato-stained plastic container (the kind you get free with takeaway food) and call it “lunch” — suffice it to say i am still adjusting to the new job/commute/office situation and am looking for ways to get bento back in my life.

one way i may be able to do that is with speed-packed bentos.  i’ve gone back to the basics here, relying on some of the original tips i learned from biggie’s lunch in a box site way back when i first started bentoing.

the main portion of today’s lunch is just brown rice, a small piece of leftover salmon (i actually cut this lunch-sized portion off of the filet before i cooked the fish to prevent the jagged edge and flakiness that often happens when you cut a cooked filet — i cooked it all at the same time, and immediately refrigerated the lunch portion), and an umeboshi.  the other section has a baby pepper stuffed with egg salad, an israeli vine tomato, and a container of chimichurri sauce (what i originally served over the salmon), all sitting on a bed of arugula.

nothing cutesy here (save for the quick addition of a pick and a baran — but i mean no punching or decorating with tweezers, no faces, etc.), but i am looking forward to a yummy and semi-traditional lunch.  this is also the first time i’m using this beautiful magewappa box that a friend recently brought back for me from a business trip to japan.  it’s fairly similar to this model from bento & co., and it’s divine — thanks, yasu!





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!





mameshiba onigiri bento

28 09 2010

for tomorrow’s lunch, i have two spicy-tofu-stuffed onigiri topped with “mameshiba” (bean dog) faces.  the faces are made from rice colored with green deco-furi, edamame ears, and nori facial features.

the rest of the box has steamed broccolini, two salmon cakes topped with a carved carrot flower, a red and a yellow tomato, two purple potato slices, a piece of takuwan that i twisted like konnyaku, and some fish sausage flowers with corn kernel centers.  for dessert, a decadent, buttery shortbread “petticoat tail” — yum!

what’s your wednesday lunch?  share the specs over at shannon’s blog, bentolunch.net… this month, shannon is making donations to the north texas food bank based on how many lunches are posted; it’s a great cause, so why not join us!





“strawb-inari” bento

15 09 2010

we’re still getting temperatures in the 70s this week, but i have a feeling it’s the last dose of summery weather.  so let’s have one “last hurrah” summer bento, no?

three inari pockets filled with furikake rice and topped with beni shoga and edamame, steamed broccolini, fried chicken with a lemon slice, a baby tomato with a lovely “jewel” pick (from a sweet friend — thank you!), and a few lemon-peel swirls make a simple chilled lunch for tomorrow.  i added a few sweet, summery strawberry accents:  printed wax paper, a little berry-shaped baran, and a vintage embroidered napkin.

starting at a new job has meant a bunch of lunch dates with new colleagues over the past week, but i’m hoping to be more regular with my posting soon.





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]