Friday, April 30, 2010

a spring walk in old town

Hi friends. Today's bento featured lemony salmon salad on a toasted whole grain toast heart, a golden beet "sandwich" with herbed goat cheese, spicy oregano from the garden, romaine, sprouts, grapefruit and a bright yellow Indian sweet. The tiny yellow flower appeared this year next to the clematis vine--cute, no?
I wanted to share the sights of yesterday's lovely walk though Old Town Alexandria with you. Many examples of 18th century neoclassical architecture ornament this city:
 One of my favorite places in Old Town is Historic Christ Church. The church and its flower-rich garden is a place of great serenity, one of those special spaces that vibrate with peace and grace. George Washington worshiped here, back in the day:
 The church yard is lovingly tended and dotted with the resting places of Alexandrians from centuries past.
Amid the calming green foliage, I found radiant flowers, including this iris:
And a magnificent flowering tree with blossoms in citrusy, tropical colors:
Lush peonies:
And roses that amazed me!
A flourishing "Peace" rose with enormous blooms:
Angelic headstone detail:
This rose variety featured multiple colors on one bush and leaves in green and what looked like cream silk:
Graceful aquilegia:
Thanks for coming along, and have a happy weekend full of relaxation and fun!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

minty banh mi bento

We recently returned to Eden Center to sate a major Vietnamese craving I'd been having (I guess it never really goes away...) So we re-visited the wonderful Huong Viet and further explored its extensive menu, this time ordering Squid with Shrimp Paste, which turned out to be easily the most flavorful squid dish I've ever had! The roasted onion and fish sauce flavors were just delectable...
Giant Shrimp with Baby Lotus Roots Salad
Special Spicy Hue Soup with Beef is a soul-warming treat:
We really like the crisp, fresh sandwiches at Banh Mi So 1. They bake beautiful golden baguettes several times a day:
Today's bento featured a Fish Cake banh mi from the lovely shop, plenty of mint, romaine lettuce, shrimp, and a skewer of kiwi and mango. I was inspired here by gamene's beautifully wrapped sandwiches:
Happy Thursday, bento friends!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

rainbow chard frittata bento

I find frittatas an excellent way of enjoying a favorite pairing: eggs and veggies. Because frittatas are so tasty at room temperature, they make great bento fare--and are so versatile and easy to make! Just sauté some of your favorite vegetables and herbs, and with the pan still warm, pour in eggs (blended with a touch of milk or water, salt, pepper, other seasonings of your choice). 

Slicing a favorite cheese over top lends additional yumminess. Cook the frittata over medium-low heat until mostly solid and set, then finish in the broiler (taking care not to burn or overcook) for about one minute.

This frittata features an entire bunch of Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped and sauteed with rainbow chard and scallions, yellow peppers, and Gruyère slices. For a picnic-y, alfresco feel, I've added a hunk of multigrain bread, green olives, baby tomatoes, pea shoots, a dill pickle, and a little heart of salmon mousse.

This weekend was beautiful and breezy, with sunshine filtered through a growing canopy of green leaves. The budding Blue Nikko hydrangea looks quite a bit like broccoli right now:
Wishing you a great start to the week, bento friends!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

shokado bento box, spring birds and blossoms

Here's the first outing for my new Shokado style bento box, filled with a variety of seafood, fruits and veggies. The Washoku site offers a lovely history of various traditional bento styles and their place within Japanese culture--an informative and engaging resource for bento enthusiasts!

There's so much in full bloom right now...romantic wisteria:
Regal clematis:
Busy bees:
Cute cardinals and robins (robin picture by Jamison)...

Today's bento contains crab shumai with chili oil, rainbow chard, avocado slices, and salmon salad made with plenty of lemon and ume nameshi rice topping (tart and yummy!), topped with pink radish pickles. Floral kiwis and mango with a tiny square of carrot cake lend a sweet finish...

The dividers are removable, so this box will be great for salads and scattered sushi. With the dividers in place, I love the variety of little ceramic dishes that can be nestled inside (another bento category to collect)!