“summer chill” quinoa salad bento

28 06 2012

quinoa — which is actually a seed, not a grain — is a superfood that i’ve used before (see exhibit A and exhibit B).  but since getting on the tone it up nutrition plan, which requires me to avoid starchy foods in the evenings, i’ve been turning to it more frequently as an accompaniment to lean proteins or as the base for refreshing salads.  the salad in today’s lunchbox is a perfect “summer chill” concoction, full of fresh seasonal veg and piquant flavor — i made it for some girlfriends coming over to hang out and drink wine on my roofdeck.  click through recipe and nutrition info.

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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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confetti rice bento

8 09 2010

tired work nights call for quick, easy meals; it’s no surprise that fried rice is one of my favorites. this batch has everything but the kitchen sink (leftovers from the last few weeks of summer produce): red and yellow peppers, serrano chiles, mushrooms, kosher hot dogs, spanish onion, kimchi, and zucchini, plus freshly-ground black pepper, soy sauce, gochujang, and a bit of sesame oil for flavor. the boyfriend hates peas and carrots, so i added a few of those, plus some takuwan strips, on top (rather than mixing in, which would mean he couldn’t pick them out) — i think the scattered effect looks a bit like festive confetti.

the rest of the box has steamed broccolini, cucumber sticks sprinkled with black sesame seeds, a fried quail egg, and a grape tomato. for dessert, i have a sidecar with green and champagne grapes, plus beautiful early-fall raspberries from my CSA share, garnished with a bit of mint.  that’s it; no fancy decorations this time (save for one pick), just a quick transformation of leftovers into a reasonably appealing lunch for tomorrow.

i need to take ruby on one more walk tonight, and then i’ll probably fall asleep watching the giants game.  g’night bento pals!





spring bunny bento

22 03 2010

has everyone seen hapa bento’s announcement about this month’s BOMB (“best of the month bento”) theme?  what a fun one!

here’s my contribution… he’s not an easter bunny, just a goofy spring bunny with his own carrot.  he’s made of cheese, cut with a toothpick using a stencil i found online.  i applied some orange soy paper for the patches on his belly and ears.

he’s plopped down on some pesto primavera pasta (also springlike with its fresh and light veggies — recipe below), and will make his way past the carrot baran to the garden patch of sweet mini yellow pepper, grape tomato, strawberry, pea pods, blackberries, and mini plum.  there’s a halved portobello soy burger in there that i’m hoping to beat him to!

here’s a close up of my bunny, and then the recipe…

pesto primavera pasta

  • 1/4 box tricolore fiore pasta
  • 1/4 box tricolore bowtie pasta
  • 2/3 bunch asparagus
  • 1 small zucchini
  • about 20 grape tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp. pesto (i used pre-made from a jar, but here’s a great simple recipe i use when basil is in season and bunches are cheap)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped parsley and grated parmesan for garnish
  1. put a big pot of water on to boil.
  2. while the water is boiling, halve your grape tomatoes and set them aside.  bend a “test stalk” of asparagus to test where it’s pliable and where it’s woody; cut the entire bunch on the line where that stalk breaks.  discard the woody ends, and then cut the remaining stalks on the bias into approximately 2″-long segments.  slice your zucchini into rounds or mezzalunes.
  3. when your water has reached a rolling boil, salt it (about 2 tbsp. kosher salt).  add your bowties first — these are bigger and will take slightly longer to cook than the fiore shape.  after about 2 minutes, add your fiores.  when the pasta is just slightly too all dente, throw your chopped asparagus and zucchini into the pot.   when the pasta is done, turn off the flame and drain the whole pot with a colander.
  4. add the pasta, asparagus and zucchini back into the cooking pot, but keep the flame off.  add your halved tomatoes and your pesto, and mix thoroughly.  season with salt and pepper as desired.
  5. top with a bit of chopped parsley and parmesan cheese.

that’s it!  super, super simple, but also super fresh and springy tasting.  you can substitute other veggies to turn this recipe into a fridge-cleaner-outer, too.

i’m in miami for a business conference tomorrow evening through friday evening, so no bentos for me until next monday.  see you on flickr and twitter, though!





cold soba bento

11 11 2009

bento 38

quick box based around my leftover soba noodles (from terikyaki boy).  top tier: two slices of last night’s hobak jun, three slices of tamagoyaki, a row of pea pods and carrot slices, the yummy soba (topped with a takuwan and sweet potato flower), and three red grape tomatoes.  bottom tier:  golden plum fan, apple fan, pomegranate seeds, foil-wrapped chocolate “leaf,” yellow wax beans, cucumber sticks, broccoli, and one beautiful ripe strawberry.





granny choe’s bento

10 11 2009

bento 37
tried a new brand of kimchi tonight – granny choe’s – SO YUMMY!  tangy, stinky, delicious, just like the website said it would be.

used their recipe to make kimchi pajun (pancakes) to welcome my boyfriend home from a business trip to london with some comfort food.  you can see two of them in the bottom right corner of the veggie portion, and there are several more propping the veggies up.

also in the veggie section: 호박 jun (another simple and traditional korean dish; egg-battered zucchini), red farmer’s market carrot skewer, last of my snow peas, yellow wax beans, a twist-cut cucumber, purple cauliflower, a strawberry and a blackberry.

rice section has spicy tofu underneath a layer of simple steamed 밮 (bap – rice), with granny choe’s logo cut from 김 (kim – seaweed)!

[as seen on granny choe’s blog]





soondooboo bento

3 11 2009

bento 30
this bento was very inspired by sherimiya’s beautiful round ones!

leftovers from my favorite korean restaurant, seoul garden: veggie fried rice with pea pods and sweet potato-purple potato flower, and soondooboo (also spelled “sundubu” soft tofu stew with zucchini, mushooms, onions and scallions), topped with red and yellow grape tomatoes.

fruit section has red plums, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, blackberry, kiwi slices, and grape halves, with a purple pinwheel food pick.