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!





octobre rose bento

11 10 2010

october is breast cancer awareness month.  like those of my fellow bento bloggers, my life has been touched by this disease, and so i was moved by bento blog’s invitation to participate in a “pink october” awareness-raising project. check out the lovely themed bentos by jenn of bentobird, susan of hawai`i’s bento box cookbook, lia of my bentolicious, debra of hapa bento, and chantale of skinny mini kiki. did you participate? if so, please add a link in the comments!

my “octobre rose” bento is simple — two pale pink onigiri (the rice is mixed with ume vinegar powder, and each one is stuffed with an umeboshi) topped with breast cancer ribbons (made from the outer layer of a kamaboko log), a stamed broccoli floret and purple potato flower, two pieces of veggie tamagoyaki, two pea pods, a vegetarian chicken nugget with a cheese heart, and a two-tone tomato pick with a pink flag.

i should note that the ribbons were inspired by pikko’s cool egg sheet ribbons from her breast cancer awareness bento last year. thanks for the bento-spiration (as always) pikko!





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!





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!





tofu keys bento

23 02 2010

tomorrow’s lunch was inspired by the new key-shaped cutter lucky sundae recently showed off.  i fell in love with the shape, but since i don’t have that cutter, i did it by freehand with a small paring knife.  i dredged my tofu keys in a bit of garlic and flour, and then pan-fried them until they were crispy and brown.  then i halved a scallion stalk and steamed both halves, making them pliable enough to loop through the keys.

i mixed my rice with some marumiya brand wakame, ume, and sesame furikake (the texture of this packet is chunky and actually contains some little bits of dehydrated ume that rehydrate when you mix it with steaming rice — yum!), and added broccoli (with a few sesame seeds), pea pods, carrots, grape tomatoes, and quail eggs to round out this bento.

it was a little rushed (and this picture is a little crooked!), but this week has been bonkers between client meetings, a brief going out the door thursday night, and my mad dash GRE studies.  can’t wait to catch up on everyone’s blogs and tweets this weekend!





nugget bears bento

15 11 2009

bento 41

just a quick and simple little kyaraben tonight, it’s been a long weekend and it’s going to be an even longer week getting a brief out the door by friday…

veggie section:  kiwi slices (with a pinwheel food pick), snow peas, strawberry slices, tamagoyaki slice, red grape tomato, reddish-purple grape, broccoli, purple cauliflower, yellow wax beans, and baby carrots.

main section: more leftover indian food (spinach and mushroom with basmati rice layered over it), with two soy chicken nugget “bears” (nori and cheese eyes/nose, umeboshi ears).





panda pizza bento

2 11 2009

bento 29

happy november!  (no more halloween bentos, but still plenty of cuteness, hopefully.)

3 mini pizzas (from the freezer section in trader joe’s), with a cheese and nori “panda” face on the top pie (umeboshi cheeks), and a hot dog “flower”  (green pea center).

red plum fan, snow peas, blackberries in a silicone food cup with a yellow beet butterfly, blueberries and cookies in a flower-shaped silicone food cup, and a chocolate leaf (wrapped in copper-colored foil).

[as seen on chow, the chowhound blog]