raw veggie rolls bento

18 03 2012

i am a new, but sure-to-be-faithful, reader of the gorgeous blog 101 cookbooks, which has some really inspiring vegetarian recipes. tomorrow’s lunch includes a few raw veggie rolls from a big batch i adapted from one of the site’s recipes. i’ve also got some wheatberry and cranberry salad based on a dean & deluca recipe; i think this chewy-tangy-nutty blend is a nice compliment. i’m looking forward to this flavorful and nutritionally well-balanced lunch.

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carribean tofu bento

12 03 2012

today’s lunch (made yesterday) came together quickly — no recipes involved, just soy boy’s carribean tofu, which is spiced so beautifully as to make a tasty meal with the addition of just nutty brown rice and a few garnishes. this lunch is totally in keeping with the tone it up nutrition plan‘s simple “lean, clean and green” philosophy!

nutritional info below.

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ruby stretching bento

15 05 2011

hey everybody, how are things in bento land?  the past couple weeks have been crazy for me — i got a sort of promotion (i think?) and have been traveling a lot more for work, which is wreaking havoc with my meal planning schedule.  then this past week i started feeling myself getting sick.  i tried to head that off at the pass, but i currently have a terrible case of laryngitis… i am mostly resting today, trying to get my voice back in time for an important meeting tomorrow.

i hope you all have been well, and i can’t wait to catch up on bento posts and tweets!

tomorrow is a day where i know i will actually be at my desk for lunch, so i layered some of my favorite spicy tofu from the korean market under brown-and-white rice sprinkled with furikake.  the back section has a tomato, steamed broccolini, some tangerine slices, two steamed brussels sprout halves, and a piece of simmered lotus root (also pre-prepared from the korean market).  for a sweet treat i have a cup of vanilla yogurt with kiwi.

on top of the rice is an egg sheet version of our dog, ruby.  whenever i put her harness on her to take her out for a walk, she does this leisurely stretch, with all four legs splayed out — so cute.  akinoichigo’s new book (which is now available on yesasia for free shipping to the US) has a similar pattern for a cat, and as soon as i saw it i knew i wanted to use it for silly ruby.

not sure when i’ll be bentoing again, so in case i’m not back here for a while, hope you all have a great week!





totoro onigiri bento

13 04 2011

have you seen anna the red’s cool tutorial on inarizushi totoro-making?  she’s full of awesome ideas, and this one might take the cake.  i have never done a totoro before, and even though i didn’t have inari on hand, i was inspired to try my hand at our favorite neighbor.

my totoro is simplified — no arms, lower body, or whiskers.  but hopefully i’ve captured his essence, including his cheshire-like grin and slightly bugged-out eyes.  i mixed rice with ground black sesame to make the grey color of his coat, and added punched nori Vs from my emoticon puncher for his stomach markings.  the white part of his body is stuffed with a vegetarian meatball, left over from yesterday’s lunch.

the rest of tomorrow’s bento has steamed broccoli with fish sausage stars, tamagoyaki rolled with nori and topped with carrot stars, steamed brussels sprout halves, a few pieces of golden-fried tofu, and a nice vine tomato.  a tangerine for dessert, and i’m all set!





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?!





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!





pikachu curry bento

19 09 2010

we had a bit of a trying weekend with a jewish holiday that involves fasting (NOT my favorite!) and a sick puppy, so just a quick and easy dinner tonight, so that we can relax on the couch tonight watching the motoGP aragon race that we DVR’d.

golden curry to the rescue!  ours has red potatoes, spanish onions, button mushrooms, carrot chunks, and cubed tofu.  i layered some in a box with some leftover brown-and-white rice (mixed with a bit of furikake), and added a piece of corn, some steamed broccolini, one grape tomato with a leaf pick, a carrot star, and two chicken nuggets (i love something breaded with my curry!).

i realized recently that in all my bentos (more than 200 over the past year), i have never done a pikachu, despite having seen so many lovely examples — for example by shoppingmum and akinoichigo.   so for decoration, i tried a simple pikachu face cut from cheese, with nori-and-cheese eyes, nori nose, mouth and ear tips, and vegetarian ham cheeks and tongue.  a lady apple on the side, and we’re good to go — hope you all have an easy start to your work week!





new miffy fork bento

28 07 2010

so, i treated myself and ordered a few things from rakuten… i’ve been slowly working them into my bento repertoire.  the new item i’m featuring today is a melamine miffy fork, it’s so adorable, and it’s not even really child sized, so it’s actually comfortable to eat with.

today’s bento has a cheese, radish, and nori miffy, on top of a mixed rice batch from my cuckoo pressure cooker — i used near east’s lentil rice pilaf, as well as some brown nishiki.  some baby cucumber slices also accent the rice, which is separated from the rest of the food by a strawberry-wax-paper divider.  the top section has baked tofu (recipe below), carrot flowers, steamed corn, a tiny yellow tomato and three tiny sweet peppers (from various brooklyn rooftop gardens), and steamed broccolini (which i love because it has a more delicate look than regular broccoli).

yummy baked tofu

  • 1 package firm tofu or tofu “steak” (i like house foods’ garlic-pepper tofu steak)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic or garlic paste
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  1. preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. cut the block of tofu into 4 pieces, cutting the long way.
  3. line a baking sheet or brownie pan with tin foil, and place the 4 tofu pieces on the foil with at least 1″ of free space around all sides of each tofu piece.
  4. in a small sauce pan, bring glaze ingredients (honey, garlic, soy, sesame oil, pepper flakes) to a simmer so that everything combines.
  5. using a basting brush, evenly coat 5 of the 6 sides of each tofu piece (don’t baste the bottom side right now). bake for 8-10 minutes, then re-baste those same 5 sides, and bake for another 8-10 minutes.  if any water has leached out of the tofu, carefully (e.g. with pot-holders) drain that liquid into your sink — we want a dry roast, not a steam!
  6. flip the tofu so that the un-basted side is on top; baste and bake for 8-10 minutes. re-baste and re-bake.
  7. are you getting the picture?  keep basting and turning, until the tofu has been in the oven for a good 60-70 minutes (we’re using a low heat , so don’t worry about the tofu burning).  once all sides are sufficiently glazed (they should be a deep, sticky brown), the tofu is done.  you may want to run the top side (or top and bottom sides) under the broiler for an additional 30-60 seconds, to get the glaze even darker and bubbly-caramelized.
  8. cut into even slices (the inside will still be pale, gradating out to the lovely brown crust), and if you wish, garnish with sesame seeds or chopped scallion.

has anyone noticed that almost all of my recipes involve soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and pepper flakes?  well, i guess i know what i like…

want to see more fab wednesday lunch bentos, or add a link to your own?  check out “what’s for lunch wednesday” at bento lunch!

[as seen on japanistic blog]





hot pink bento

27 05 2010

i got this chic black furoshiki as part of my last bento & co. order, and i’ve been waiting to use it because i think it requires an equally chic and “adult” meal. this was my attempt at the required level of sophistication: three ume-furikake onigiris with ooba leaf wrappers, roasted asparagus and brussels sprouts (layered over pan-fried tofu), carved beet flowers, an oribenishiki from minamoto kitchoan, and a couple of blackberry skewers.

i know it’s the wrong season for roasted veg, but i wanted to stick to a limited color palette of hot pink and bright green.

phew, thank goodness tomorrow’s friday. and it’s a long weekend here in the US, too! hope all my bento pals and readers have a good one!

[as seen on love and trash]





shikai maki bento

23 05 2010

thank you all for sharing so many wonderful links in your contest entries!  i had a wonderful time this weekend browsing through them — some took me to blogs i already know and love, and some took me to totally new sites i had never even heard of.

tomorrow’s bento has a few sources of inspiration:  one is the luxirare shikai maki bento that brenda posted in the comments, and another is the beautiful work of my good bento pal jenn (bentobird).  i tried to echo the natural elegance that her boxes epitomize, and it seemed fitting to incorporate her style into this meal, since her boxes often include sushi.  for the sushi component, i tried my hand at this interesting square-format sushi (using a handy how-to video on youtube!).  my roll contains shiso rice, kiwi strips, cucumber, and fried tofu… i need some more practice (the kiwi layer, in particular, didn’t hold its structure because the kiwi was so slippery), but i have the general idea and am sure i can improve!

another source of inspiration this week was a long-postponed first trip to minamoto kitchoan, the fine purveyor of gorgeous wagashi (japanese sweets) located on manhattan’s chi-chi 5th avenue.  here is a photo from their display case (these are plastic, but do look just like some of the items they are selling):

alongside tomorrow’s box i have a shobumochi packaged to look like a beautiful iris.  this will cap off my dessert fruit section (kiwi slices, pomegranate seeds, two juicy blackberries and one ripe cherry), which will in turn balance my veggie section (peppery arugula, a tiny sweet red pepper, two asparagus tips, two carved takuwan flowers, and a quail egg). to fill up the empty space in the box, i placed a bottle of soy dressing and a pair of disposable chopsticks (both decorated with washi tape in complementary colors).  the box is packed in a pretty red-patterned furoshiki that i received from another sweet bento friend.

— ♥ —

getting back to the contest… i edited the entry comments in order to number them, and then used the random.org website to generate a random integer from 1 to 95:

the winning entry, number 79, is abby of totoro bento!  congratulations!  please get in touch with your mailing information and i’ll mail your prize package right away.