Sunday, January 31, 2010

Broiled Salmon and Green Washi Bento

For Monday's lunch, broiled Coho salmon with smoked paprika, olive oil and sea salt, served up with radish sprouts, lemon slices, baby romaine, snow pea tops, baby yellow peppers, enoki, blackberries and a kiwi flower. Not pictured: a garlic-ginger-mayo sauce for the salmon.

Picked up most of the fruits and veggies at H-Mart today. I'm in love with the butterfly tendrils on the snow pea tops! The background is Japanese washi in tender greens and tune with my late-winter dreams of spring!

Have a great week bento friends, "see" you soon!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Mozart Bento

This bento is made from elements of last night's Italian-inspired dinner: we enjoyed white roughy baked with fennel in a white wine, butter, and fresh thyme sauce, served with a side of asparagus. "Casarecce" pasta in a light olive oil, garlic, green pea and parsley sauce, topped with reggiano-parmesan rounded out the menu. The subtle, buttery-wine infused flavors were in tune with the wonderful Mozart-fest we enjoyed during our meal!

The upper left square contains a roughy filet decorated with a fennel frond; in the large rectangular section we have a mixed green salad, fennel with thyme, a tartlet filled with wild mushroom pâté, and pasta with peas and green peppercorns added for color and piquancy.

In the sweets section, a chocolate mousse and berry cup, blood orange slices, and a violin-playing kitty in celebration of Mozart's birthday!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Thank you sherimiya, Angi, Token, and Kashmirkat for sharing the Happy 101 award with me! You each have such a unique approach to bento; visiting your blogs is a favorite part of my day.

This award asks that you:
Copy the award image into a post.
List 10 things that make you happy.
Tag 10 bloggers who brighten your day
Put in a link to their blogs.
Notify the award receivers.
Recipients can link back to the sender's blog if they wish!

10 Things That Make Me Happy

1. Being married to my best friend, who makes me laugh every day and shares in foodie adventures!

2. Everything related to food, cooking, and bento: shopping for new and interesting ingredients, especially at Asian and farmer's markets, dining at international restaurants, reading cookbooks, trying new recipes,  delving into the rich inspiration of the online foodie community, collecting bento items of all kinds, and of course, the great creative fun of bento-blogging!

3. My friends and the wit, joy and insight they bring to my life.

4. Spring: intoxicating breezes, emerging green buds....and flowers!

5. Cats.

6. Reading--mostly non-fiction: history, cultural criticism, travel, politics, spirituality, food culture.

7. Hot chai with cinnamon, ground cloves and honey.

8. Art museums--favorites include the Met (with Cloisters) in NYC, and the National Gallery and Sackler-Freer in D.C.

9. The ever-changing sky, day or night.

10. Being appreciative of all of the good and joyful things in my life.

I'd like to share this award with the following talented food bloggers:
Sarah Jayne of  Weekend Carnivore
Margot of  Coffee and Vanilla
Flying Lily of  BentoBabe
Marisa of  All in Good Food

Finally....Thank you Lia of Bentolicious for sharing the "I Love Your Blog" award with me! I love your beautiful bento blog, Lia! Your bento art always astounds and delights :)

Happy bentoing!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lamb Tagine Bento

This bento for Monday contains leftovers from an exotic feast we made for friends on Sunday afternoon. I used several recipes from the capitvating cookbook Moroccan Modern by Hassan M'Souli. The vibrant, healthy, flavor-rich recipes in this book are amazing, including Sweet Lamb Tajine with fresh ginger, prunes, cinnamon and honey. Here is part of the preparation of this dish; we used free-range Icelandic lamb:

A recently opened deli in Herndon, Hi-Buy Tehran Mart, features wonderful home-cooked Persian specialties. This green vegetable and herb custard, or "kuku" was a melting, buttery treat--the kind of taste and texture perfection that haunts until you can indulge again:

A bouquet of soft magenta blooms brightened our living room:

Lemons featured in many of Sunday's recipes:

Also from Moroccan Modern, a delightful recipe for asparagus in a walnut-yogurt-lemon dressing:

From Tehran Mart, truly the most luscious, cardamom-rich baklava I've ever tasted:

Monday's bento with asparagus, kuku, lamb tagine, blood orange slices, baklava, pita heart, eggplant dip with black olive garnish:

Wishing you a great start to the week, bento friends!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Winter NYC Visit and Bento

Over our recent weekend visit to NYC, we concentrated on Chinatown and nearby Delancey Street on day one, and the Art Deco glories of midtown on day two.

It was warming fun to start each morning with a big coffee shop breakfast: eggs, home fries and of course, lox and bagels:

Hopping on the subway down to Delancey Street, we were delighted by these beautiful aquatic mosaics by artist Ming Fay. As Fay explains, "Shad Crossing details two giant shad fish "swimming", along with another wall mosaic of blue waters. In the late 19th century, these shad were found along the Hudson River when new immigrants came to New York, most of them settled on the Lower East side."

As a steady rain picked up, we navigated over to Chinatown. New Year's decorations were everywhere on display, with gold and red tones full of bright cheer and confidence:

These elegant ladies decorated an herbalist's window:

Bright produce and flowers glowed in the rain:

Lovely hints of spring:

At Aji Chiban, a colorful selection of candies and sweet-salty-gingery treats:

The next day, we explored Midtown, including Kinokuniya's rich assortment of Japanese books, stationary, decorative papers and small but sweet selection of bento boxes. My last post touched on delightful discoveries at this shop; today I used my new Kutusitanyanko bento set for the first time:

In the blue box, a mix of baby salad greens, yellow peppers, avocado and daikon heart garnish; in the yellow, crab shumai with mixed vegetable pickles, chrysanthemum greens and a purple grape skewer; scallions and enokis in the little ivory box and for dessert, apple slices glazed with honey and almond slices, and a Mozartkugeln chocolate.

We found these lovey-dovey pigeons in Bryant Park: (photos by Jamison)

Some current street food selections:

Close to Grand Central Station, the Gothic details on this building reminded me of architecture I loved in Italy:

Close by, a distinctively New York architectural expression: the Art Deco skyscraper. The diverse influences of this style--Far and Middle Eastern, organic and linear, ancient and machine age--combined into something so unique and beautiful. These details seem to surge and radiate with a refined, urbane vitality:

At the Chrysler Building, one feels inside a temple of modernism, a lost age of the

After all this time travel, we were hungry for lunch. I suggested the Oyster Bar in the lower level of Grand Central as we are both seafood fanatics, and it was close by. I've always loved their fried oysters; Jamison ordered scallops and lobster in a rich, creamy, paprika-laced sauce:

The view of the station's famous celestial ceiling from our table:

Grand Central is a cornucopia of edible treats, to include a wonderful food hall with any number of delights:

Near our hotel in Koreatown, a view of the Empire State Building at night:

As Korean food lovers, this was a great location. The haemul dolsot bibimbab at Han Bat had the most deliciously crispy rice and savory seafood. Yum!

 Looking forward to our next visit!