strawberry onigiri bento

1 05 2011

tomorrow’s lunch was fairly quick and easy to pack using leftovers from tonight’s dinner: two round onigiri made from rice mixed with sauteed broccolini stems and garlic (which is how i served it the first time, not mixed especially for the onigiri), plus a few small pieces of pan-seared salmon filet.  i topped the onigiri with “strawberries” made from fish sausage, sesame seeds, and snow pea tops, using another great idea from akinoichigo’s blog.

the rest of the bento has one of the brightest red strawberries i’ve ever come across in my market, a little bit of tomato, some snow peas, broccolini tops, a takuwan rosette, and a few slices each of mini-cucumber and tangerine to fill empty spaces.  i’m looking forward to this relatively light and healthy lunch.

i hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!  i have another busy work week ahead, but can’t wait to catch up on my favorite blogs and twitter feeds when i get some down time…





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!





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]





egg flowers bento

20 05 2010

a quick bento tonight, with may’s BOMB theme in mind:  two flowers made from hard boiled egg slices (i topped the yolks with yellow cheese so that they would be more consistent-looking), with sesame seed eyes, nori mouths, and gochujang cheeks.  i used edamame for leaves, and the flowers are on top of rice mixed with ume powder, which is layered over kidney beans for extra protein.

behind the lettuce baran is a steamed broccoli floret, a vegetarian meatball in a paper food cup, two pea pods, a tomato and some takuwan slices, and some kiwi slices with a blackberry and a raspberry.

have you entered your flower-themed bentos in the BOMB?  and have you entered my new apartment giveaway?  i’m loving all of the links and ideas people have shared with me so far!





jalapeno-fried chicken bento

21 04 2010

a while back i placed a fresh direct order, and the amount of jalapenos that was delivered was waaaay more than what i thought i was ordering!  what’s a girl to do with extra jalapenos that have been lingering in the fridge for almost too long?  how about jalapeno-fried chicken fingers, and a hearty salad topped with jalapeno-citrus dressing!  that’s what i made for dinner (recipes below), and tomorrow’s lunch includes two good-sized chicken pieces.

the rest of the bento has brown rice topped with peas and two cute bears made from two hard boiled egg slices (nori and sesame seed facial details), a beautiful vine-ripe tomato, some steamed broccoli, three butterflies cut from fish sausage, some pea pods and clementine wedges, and some cucumber and takuwan slices.

— ♥ —

jalapeno-fried chicken fingers

  • 1 package boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 package panko (japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika to taste
  • 1 medium-to-large sized jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, diced
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  1. get yourself a nice, big, and clean workstation, where you can set up three bowls.  put the flour in the first bowl, and mix in your salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika (if you haven’t made spiced dredging flour before, start with about 1/8 teaspoon of each and add more as you like).
  2. in the second bowl, crack and beat the two eggs.  add a few teaspoons of milk or water if needed to thin the egg mixture down.
  3. in the third bowl, toss your diced jalapeno with your panko.  now you have your breading station, and you should line up the three bowls so that the panko/jalapeno mixture is closest to your frying pan.
  4. cut your chicken into approximately uniformly-sized pieces — i like mine longer and thinner (like “fingers”), but you could easily do squatter “nugget” style pieces.
  5. in a large frying pan, heat the oil until you can drop a piece of diced jalapeno in and it bubbles and sizzles.
  6. once the oil has come up to temp, bread the chicken, one piece at a time, by first dredging through the spiced flour, then dipping in the beaten egg, and then rolling through the panko/jalapeno mixture.  i find it works best to use just one hand as your breading hand (just hold the chicken piece in that hand and work it through all three bowls).  that way you have a clean hand left to turn on the faucet when it’s time to wash the messy hand!
  7. once you have about 5 or 6 pieces breaded, gently place them in the oil (if you drop them with too much force, the hot oil will splatter and burn you), and fry until both sides are golden brown (about 2 minutes on the first side and 90 seconds on the second).  i like to blot the fried pieces with a paper towel and then pop them into a 375-degree oven for a few extra minutes, just to make absolutely sure they are cooked through.
  8. you will want to fry the chicken in batches (that’s why i said 5 or 6 pieces for the first go), being careful not to crowd the pan. crowding the pan will result in stuck-together pieces and non-uniform browning.

jalapeno-citrus salad dressing

  • light syrup from a can of mandarin orange slices (if you don’t have a can handy, you can make a simple syrup by combining equal parts water and sugar in a pan and stirring over a low flame until all the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is slightly thickened — the mandarin flavor is lovely here though, and worth the price of the can)
  • juice from 1.5 limes
  • 3 tbsp. rice wine vinegar (plain white vinegar is fine too)
  • 1 small to medium sized jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed
  • 1 kiwi, skin removed, cut into chunks
  • 4 mint leaves
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. in a food processor, blend about 1/2 cup mandarin (or simple) syrup with the lime juice, vinegar and jalapeno, until the jalapeno is finely ground and gives the syrup a green-speckled, slightly opaque appearance
  2. add the chunked kiwi and mint, and continue blending until thoroughly ground
  3. through the pouring hole on the food processor container, pour a thin stream of olive oil, allowing the food processor blade to emulsify the dressing
  4. season the dressing to your liking

the dressing is super simple, right?  it’s deliciously tangy, and removing the seeds and ribs from the jalapeno makes it just spicy enough to give the dressing a real kick (a bit of an after-burn, actually), but without setting your entire mouth on fire.  i like this dressing over a salad of spinach leaves, chunked avocado, kernels of sweet corn, thinly-sliced red onion, chunked (or grape) tomatoes, and some sliced jalapeno-fried chicken fingers!

speaking of those, here is a picture of the finished product:

enjoy!





froggie garden snack bento

19 04 2010

tomorrow i have a lunch meeting at work, so i only need a little snack bento.  this box combines two objectives:  a garden theme for hapa bento’s contest with japanistic, and a froggie theme to inaugurate the kawaii new box i received from a dear bento friend (thank you so much, you-know-who!).  plus, a lush and damp garden always has froggies hiding in it, so i think the frogs really are perfectly appropriate for the garden contest.

my frogs are made of cucumber (cut with a small veggie cutter shaped like a teddy bear head — just use the ears for eyes!), with cheese-and-sesame-seed eyes and vegetarian ham mouths.  the middle froggie is looking surprised, tee hee!

the rest of the box has my usual rice layered over tofu, then a layer of sliced takuwan, and then some double-cut carrot and purple potato flowers topped with white soy paper punched flowers.  to accent this garden, i added two grape tomatoes, and a bunch of pea pods to simulate the leafy area in which the flowers and tomatoes are growing.





flowered inarizushi redux bento

7 04 2010

tomorrow’s lunch is another quick one — when will i find an apartment and stop this running around?!

this tiffin contains three inarizushi pockets filled with rice i mixed with rice wine vinegar, ume furikake, and peas, and topped with purple potato flowers and leaves (sesame seed accents).  as sides, i have some steamed broccoli, three takuwan slices, a plump strawberry, a star-cut radish, and some quick-pickled carrot shavings.  all of that sits on a bed of lettuce, underneath of which is some sliced nashi.