Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Italian Leftover Yoshi Bento

Yoshi Bento
Originally uploaded by HazelCreevy

Tonight I made some fresh pesto with Lemon basin from our garden (minus the pine nuts b/c I am allergic) for dinner. In addition to the fettuccini, I made tomato, mozzarella, and polenta drenched in balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. I got the idea to use polenta because of the recent post on Lunch in a Box. I had never thought of polenta for my charaben...duh. The only character I could think of that was remotely Italian was Super Mario Brothers (sad considering I am part Italian). Since I felt that Mario himself was too complex, I chose Yoshi. I looked up some images online and drew a few sketches. I then created this bento with our leftovers from dinner. Yoshi and the mushroom guy are made from mozzarella, tomato, and my green "imitation kamaboko" that tastes like dry air. I'm glad that I found something (the polenta) that I can mold and shape other than rice. I am not a big fan of rice, and it is a real staple in bento boxes.

What else can I mold and shape for charaben? Mashed potatoes?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Kuromi Bento

Kuromi Bento
Originally uploaded by HazelCreevy

She looks both cute and badass at the same time. She is sitting on some Microwavable Minute Rice (yuck, I don't recommend it) and some Pete's Tofu 2 Go which is full of awesome deliciousness.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Face Food - Book Review

This weekend I received a copy of Face Food - The visual Creativity of Japanese Bento Boxes by Christopher D Salyers from my cousin (Thanks Sarah!). I had heard a lot about this book, but had never actually seen a copy. The format of the book is a simple picture book with pics of some of the most creative charaben (Character Bento Boxes) that I have ever seen. I was pleased to see that many of the contributors are regulars on the Flickr Bento Boxes photo pool. The book also includes interviews with the artists and a how-to section. The answers to one question in particular floored me. "How much time do you spend creating bentos?" (paraphrased). The artists featured in this book spend hours creating charaben each morning. Although I understand that creating bentos is like any art in that it can relieve stress, you enjoy the process, and you often become so immersed in it, that time slips away, I am amazed because I couldn't imagine waking up that early! My bentos are always made the night before, and it is often in conjunction with cooking dinner.

Overall I highly recommend this book. I have already read it cover-to-cover twice, and can be seen randomly picking it up for a quick glance as I walk by about every hour of the day. I do have a small criticism though. I would love a much larger book (in size and number of pages), with large glossy photos and maybe photos of the artists in their kitchen, or in the midst of creating or eating their bentos. Maybe that will be Face Food 2.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Panda Bento

Panda Bento
Originally uploaded by HazelCreevy

The spring rolls pictured here were an experiment for me. I had spring roll wrappers and Thai marinated tofu from Trader Joe's, and I wanted to make some Thai spring rolls. Using what I had in the fridge, I threw them together and they actually came out amazing! I don't usually have any luck with experimental recipes (but I keep trying). So, here is the recipe:

Jessica's Thai Spring Rolls

1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions
1 clove chopped garlic
1 tbs chopped fresh lemon basil
1 cup sauerkraut
1 tbs chopped pickled ginger
1 tbs olive oil

Mix the above ingredients. Place approximately 1 tbs of veggie mixture on spring roll wrapper. Lay some thinly sliced Thai marinated tofu on top. Wrap up and fry in olive oil. Serve with Thai peanut dipping sauce.

I still can't believe they came out good, but my boyfriend agrees. I think the marinated tofu is the important part, and the veggies are negotiable.

Click the picture for my Flickr page with details on the other bento ingredients.