chard wraps bento

25 03 2012

tomorrow’s lunch has some super-healthy chard wraps (nutrient-rich steamed chard leaves, filled with zuchinni-eggplant-brown rice gratin) and mini lentil-cashew patties. indulging my last winter ingredient cravings before embracing the change of seasons in my kitchen… recipes and nutritional information below.

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vintage stamps bento

26 04 2011

a recent trend in wedding stationary is to use a mix of vintage postage stamps for a unique and stylized look. i think this idea is really cute, but it can be cost-prohibitive (some vintage stamps cost up to 10 times their face value!).

inspired by the trend as well as cute bentos by akinoichigo and lucky sundae, and evolving the scottie dog “stamps” bento i made a few weeks ago, i made two vintage postage stamp sandwiches for tomorrow’s lunch. each stamp sits atop a sandwich of pumpernickel, vegetarian ham, cheese and mustard. the provolone stamps are topped with fish sausage roses, as well as green pea and nori accents and hand cut 12-cent demarcations.

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





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.





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!





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!





salmon cakes bento

21 09 2010

another super simple bento for tomorrow’s lunch:  mini salmon cakes (from the frozen section at my organic market), brown rice with lentils and a black-and-white sesame seed stripe, “health salad” (cabbage, cucumbers, peppers, carrots and dill wilted in a light vinegar dressing, almost like a mayonnaise-less coleslaw), a few takuwan flowers, and a cherry tomato.  banana ooyoo and a lady apple for dessert.

tomorrow after work, i’m meeting up with joe mcpherson of zenkimchi, one of my favorite food blogs.  he’s in NYC after giving a presentation on buddhist temple cuisine, and hosting a meet-up for other foodies — we’re gonna grub down in K-town (which means bento-able leftovers, yay!).  if you’re interested in joining us, check out the facebook page and RSVP!

[posted at what’s for lunch wednesday — check it out and add your link!]





yum-yum bento box: walruses bento

4 06 2010

today’s lunch is based on the “walruses” bento featured on p. 52 of the book “yum-yum bento box: fresh recipes for adorable lunches.”

again, i tried to faithfully copy the character idea, while substituting ingredients as necessary.  so for instance, in the book, the walruses are brown rice.  my boyfriend isn’t a huge brown rice fan, so i mix our brown rice with white rice… the resulting onigiri is a lighter color, but i think it’s still ok for a walrus!  as another example, i didn’t have the mushroom caps or lentis recommended for the walruses’ noses, so i used edamame beans.  green noses are cute too!  finally, i don’t have a nori punch that makes small enough dots for the walruses’ whisker holes, so i just used sesame seeds, pushed into the rice with the pointy sides down.  the nori eyes, cheese “tusks,” and ketchup cheeks are all just like in the book.

the point is to make do with what you have!  if you use the basic character ideas from the book and put your own spin on them, you are sure to come up with something cute.

the rest of my box contains broccoli with corn kernels (like on p. 32), half a steamed brussels sprout, two cherries and a strawberry, two pieces of vegetarian chicken, some takuwan-and-carrot rosettes, a salami rosette, and pea pods to fill empty spaces.  my brown-and-white rice onigiri are stuffed with umeboshi.  yum!

i hope you have all enjoyed my take this week on various yum-yum bento boxes, and that you’re eager to try your own interpretations of the wonderful characters and recipes from this book… have a wonderful weekend!





yum-yum bento box: frogs bento

1 06 2010

over the long weekend, i received my long-awaited copy of “yum-yum bento box: fresh recipes for adorable lunches,” by pikko and lucky sundae.

rather than just doing a straight-up review of the book, which i spent a good portion of yesterday browsing, i thought that this week i would post some of pikko and lucky sundae’s bentos, recreated and re-mixed by me.  this is a great way to show how the boxes illustrated in the book are customize-able — you can take the characters from one, and use decorations or side dishes from another, etc., to end up with a creative, colorful and nutritionally balanced meal!

today’s lunch consists of two froggie onigiri, as pictured in the “frogs” bento on p. 26 of the book.  i dyed my rice green with the green salmon furikake from my five-color decoben furikake pack, and added cheese and nori eyes and nori mouths, just like in the book.  however, i replaced the nori nostrils with sesame seeds, and used a smaller mouth that i had already punched out and stored in a zip-loc bag a few weeks ago.

as far as the food, i don’t eat pork (though the pork patties in the book’s picture look perfectly yummy!), so i replaced that protein element with vegetarian chicken tenders.  instead of sesame spinach, i used steamed broccoli, and instead of carrot music notes, i used sliced baby carrots and a music note food pick.  i changed the corn-on-the-cob to a pretty corn-and-pea flower (as seen on p. 73 of the book), and added some salami-wrapped asparagus bundles (like the bundles seen on p. 62) and a hot dog tulip (instructions on p. 65).  for another cute touch, i added a molded quail egg (instructions on p. 117).  finally, i was out of baby tomatoes, so i used cherries for red color, and added some pea pods to fill in empty spaces around the bento.

accompanying me to lunch is a dancing froggie keychain/phone tassel i received in today’s mail from a thoughtful bento pal.  thanks you-know-who, it’s the cutest!


i also want to mention that this is the first chance i’ve had to use my new two-layer tiffin, my prize from the kawaii bento club’s “i love robots” contest (i’ve also got dip for my veggies in a cute yellow striped case that was part of the same prize package).  thanks again to briton for hosting this fun activity and for the generous prize!  if anyone hasn’t been over to kawaii bento club’s HQ on squidoo, surf on over for a wealth of information!





penguin meatballs bento

26 05 2010

yikes, someone reading only the titles of this week’s posts would think i have a real thing for eating strange animals!

tomorrow’s lunch has vegetarian meatballs made to look like penguins.  i cut the cheese with a toothpick, and then popped them in the microwave for 9 seconds to make it melt down around the round meatball surface.  then i added steamed sweet potato beaks and nori eyes with sesame seed details.

my penguin couple sits atop white rice, which again is applied in a thin layer over more protein (in this case, about 1.5 additional meatballs that were already somewhat mushed and crumbled in the package).  to complete the meal, i have a fish jun (korean pancake), half a hard-boiled quail egg with a nori star, some pea pods, two tomatoes, some kiwi slices, and three blackberries.  my final decorative accent is two sweet potato fish (cut with one of the cool hand-crafted metal cutters) and one fish sausage fish (i cut the details with half of a drinking straw, a trick i learned from one of pikko’s boy’s day bentos).

i’m packing a few of my wooden utensils, which i accented with removable washi tape.





mini apples bento

25 05 2010

HUGE props to sheri of happy little bento for her chili bento yesterday, which featured an adorable two-tone carrot apple in the center of her magic round box.  as i threatened to do in the comments on that post, i absolutely had to replicate that apple design, it was just love at first sight!!  i tried to make my apples just like sheri’s, except that i replaced the orange carrot with veggie ham and the yellow carrot with white cheese.  thanks for the awesome idea sheri, you rule!

the apples are the star of my lunch for tomorrow, and i added leaf picks to make them a bit more three-dimensional.  they’re sitting on top of a thin layer of plain steamed rice, which is smoothed over some pan-fried tofu cutlets (sprinkled with garlic powder for flavor).

the rest of this slender box has blackberries in a paper food cup, two beautiful cherries, a steamed broccoli floret with a few pea pods, and two flower-cut carrots.