Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Unicorn Bento

Unicorn Bento
Originally uploaded by JB Doodles

I had a very hard time photographing this bento. Too much light washed out the details on the unicorn. She was supposed to be the "Last Unicorn" character, but that isn't obvious. Also included is Trader Joe's vegetable bird nests (which I overcooked a bit), some brown rice with ginger and wasabi, and some tamagoyaki, and an airplane cookie.

The unicorn is daikon radish which I cut out with a small knife. I used a picture that I downloaded of the Last Unicorn as a guide. Her eye is nori. I had a hard time keeping the pieces together; I used Mayo to hold them in place, but they were a mess by the time I ate lunch.

I visited A Dong grocery in West Haven CT recently. For Connecticut Bento-ists, this place is a must. It doesn't sell bento boxes, but it has rice molds, lacquer ware, rice cookers, utensils, etc. There is also a great selection of food. I bought a tamagoyaki pan and a bunch of fun cookies and candies, including the airplane cookies featured here.

Does anyone know of good Connecticut stores that may sell bento boxes, or other rare food items?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Recipe - Spinach Bites

8/13/08 Bento
Originally uploaded by HazelCreevy

This bento features some home-made spinach bites. They are really filling and super yummy. The pickle, veggies, and chocolate were thrown in there to fill the bento, but the spinach bites were definitely enough food.

Recipe: Spinach Bites

2 Cups fresh spinach, chopped coarsely
1 egg, beaten
1 tbs cornstarch
oil for frying

Mix the egg, spinach, and cornstarch in a large bowl. slowly add flour until the mixture thickens. Note: the mixture will still be sloppy, don't add enough flour to make it doughy. Using two spoons, roll spoonfuls in breadcrumbs. Pan fry until the mixture is brown on both sides.
A few notes: Until the mixture meets the heat, it will be sloppy. You may want to put them in the freezer for a few minutes to make them easier to handle. As soon as you put them in the pan, the egg will thicken up and they will be easy to flip. Simpler variation: Instead of coating the bites with breadcrumbs, you can simply stir the breadcrumbs into the mixture, and just drop spoonfuls into the pan.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Twilight - Bella Bento

Since I began making bento boxes, I have scoured the net looking for how-to and tip blogs. I found a few great ones Lunch in a Box, Vegan Lunch Box, Just Bento, to name a few. The one thing that I haven't found a lot of is charaben tutorials or instructions. So, I winged it based on the few that I found. Today, I decided to show the step-by-step process of making my charaben.

First, I decided on a theme. Twilight! I love the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. I recently finished reading Breaking Dawn which was fantastic in my opinion. The image for Bella (the main character in the series) is based on the Japanese translation of Twilight which features illustrations. I googled the images and found one I liked.

The key to character bento is planning. I first decided on the food, leftovers! I knew that I was making fake chicken (by quorn), mashed potatoes, corn, and stuffing for dinner. I decided that the mashed potatoes would be a good background because it is similar to rice in that it is white and you can mold it. Whilst I was cooking dinner, I prepared Bella. I first traced the image onto wax paper, cut it out, and cut my media (cheese, tofurkey, nori) around these shapes.

I then assembled the parts on wax paper

The hardest part was Bella's facial features. I decided to again trace her eyes, nose, and mouth onto wax paper and, after laying it on top of nori, used an exacto knife to cut the intricate details. It seemed to work well, although I think I will invest in a pair of tweezers to dedicate to food use. They would have helped in placing the small pieces. I then put Bella in the freezer. I ate dinner, watched Jeopardy and waited for the leftovers to cool. I then filled my bento with the food, and put the frozen (and therefore stuck together) Bella on top.

I decided I needed more, so I added a wolf howling at the moon to represent Jacob. I cut the nori using the same technique described above.

For some finishing touches, I added an Apple cookie decorated with a nori apple, some chocolate, and a Morningstar Farms veggie breakfast sausage. I also added some red flower re-usable ice cubes and a red toothpick to add a bit of color.

So, in conclusion, I LOVE Twilight, I hope my step-by-step helps those who are interested in charaben, and this is longest blog post EVER.

Happy Lunch!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

LOL Cat Bento

more cat pictures

I absolutely adore lolcats. I couldn't resist sharing this one :-)