faux strawberries bento

28 06 2010

hey!  i know, it’s been forever since i posted!  quick life update:  left my law firm job and am thinking of transitioning back into museum work; have been to las vegas, new orleans, and philadelphia (twice) in the last three weeks visiting friends, seeing art, eating tons of food, and celebrating a birthday girl and a bride; and am still exploring the new food and craft spots in my new neighborhood and fine-tuning the decor details in the new[-ish] apartment.  lots going on, but i hope to get back on a regular bento schedule soon… starting today, in fact!

this bento has two “strawberries” cut from red pepper with mint leaves and white cheese “seeds” (cut from a straw section with one end pinched to make it pointier for a tear-drop shape).  my strawberries are resting on savory quinoa salad (recipe below) topped with the thinnest possible layer of plain quinoa (for better color contrast against the red pepper flesh).  the rest of the box has steamed broccoli with two carrot butterflies, sliced radish, takuwan flowers, vegetarian ham-wrapped okra, a grape tomato cut in half, and a few blueberries.

hope you have all been enjoying your summer travels, projects, and whatever else you’re up to!

savory quinoa salad with goat cheese, thyme and mint

  • 1 cup of quinoa, 2 cups water (you can halve or double the recipe if you want, but keep the 1 quinoa:2 water ratio the same!)
  • 2 springs fresh thyme (pull the tiny leaves off and discard the woody stem)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped (i used the leftovers from cutting out the “strawberries”)
  • 1/4 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic (can be omitted for a lighter, more subtly flavored salad)
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms (i actually used some leftover stems from mushroom caps that the boyfriend stuffed for sunday brunch)
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. goat cheese per serving (this recipe makes 2 servings so i used about half of the pre-packaged cheese “log”, but you may want to add more or less)
  • mint for garnish
  1. add your quinoa and water to a saucepan, and bring the mixture up to a boil.  as soon as it’s boiling, reduce it to the lowest simmer possible, and stir every 2-3 minutes until the water is absorbed.  the total cooking time should be 10-15 minutes counting the time to boil.  (another method is to bring the quinoa to a boil, make sure it’s tightly covered, and turn the flame completely off, letting it steam for about 15 minutes until cooked.)  when the quinoa is cooked, fluff with a fork.
  2. add most of your olive oil to a small pan, and cook all your veggies until the peppers are tender and the onions translucent.  turn the flame off and incorporate the fresh thyme.
  3. in a bowl, fold the sautéed vegetables into the cooked quinoa, and drizzle the rest of the olive oil over top.  crumble some goat cheese on top (it melts into a deliciously gooey texture over the warm salad), and garnish with a mint sprig or some julienned mint.

so fast and easy… a perfect summer salad!

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