Sunday, November 28, 2010

thanksgiving bounty bento

Hi bento pals, hope my U.S. bento friends enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving celebration! We had a good and varied feast here--the centerpiece was a beautiful turkey that Jamison glazed with wild plum preserves:
My stuffing changes a bit from year to year, but its essential elements are toasted bread cubes, lots of sauteed onion, ground beef, celery, sauteed fennel, sherry, several types of mushrooms...and this time, whole roasted chestnuts:
Succotash with corn, lima beans, edamame, red pepper and zucchini squash:
Cranberries with port and cinnamon sticks...wonderful flavors, recipe here!
Not pictured but also part of the feast: roasted butternut squash puree with cinnamon and a hint of brown sugar, oven roasted brussels sprouts and baby potatoes (delicious from long cooking next to the turkey!), and a green salad with watercress, baby lettuce, orange glazed fresh figs and goat cheese.

We enjoyed cat-sitting for our neighbors over the long weekend and hanging out with sweet Sophie...
Monday's bento incorporates Thanksgiving's abundant leftovers with an open-faced sandwich layered with stuffing, turkey and cranberry sauce. More cranberry-port sauce is in the little jar; figs, baby greens, watercress, acorn squash and colorful radicchio also for lunch.

 Have a great week ahead!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

annangol korean bbq restaurant and grilled duck bento

Hey bento pals, hope you had a fun weekend! We went to our current first choice for Korean, Annangol BBQ restaurant today. Excellent and flavorful from start to finish!

The banchan here are really superior, so fresh and a changing blend of subtle, spicy and pungent tastes...the sesame eggplant and ginger celery were outstanding. Annangol is Jamison's favorite Korean restaurant in the area, saying it provides the most authentic taste of Korea he's had stateside, bringing back fond culinary memories from his years of living in Korea. The elegant, rustic quality of the cuisine is nicely reflected by the simple dining space at Annangol, and the service is friendly and warm as well.
Eggplant in sesame oil
Duck slices, ready for the tabletop grill:
Great aromas...
So tasty!
The authentic little touches here are so the inclusion of dandelion greens with romaine leaves, adding a wonderful bitter note to the mellow duck. Yum.

Wasabi marinated daikon slices
Mellow kongbap
This little gem is located at 4215 Annandale Center Drive in Annandale, VA in a cute shopping plaza with a French-Korean bakery and an upscale Korean deli/caterer, to complete your Korean-immersion experience!
Monday's bento includes some lovely duck from our meal and a stir fry of autumn veggies including brussels sprouts, acorn and butternut squash, rainbow chard and mushrooms. Edamame-shrimp dumplings and kongbap also for lunch.

Have a great week, guys!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

cozy cassoulet flavors bento

Hi bento pals! Yesterday was dark, rainy and windy, the perfect kind of day to be indoors and make a cozy casserole. After reading several recipe options on Epicurious, I found this one for an easy cassoulet with savory, smokey flavors...made a few changes to the recipe, omitting the lima beans, substituting organic andouille chicken sausage for kielbasa, and adding olive-oil browned chicken thighs, baby bella mushrooms and red wine.

Our kitchen was filled with spicy, warming scents as we enjoyed dinner to the sound of rain...
Sauteed fennel slices rounded out the meal--I love how they take on a sweet and caramelized quality so easily after a few minutes in the skillet.

Today is radiant, clear and mild, the air cleansed by the rain, plants and trees seem happy with all the moisture they soaked in...
Lunch made use of the abundant cassoulet leftovers, plus chanterelles for more autumn flavor! Fennel complements the smokey does an endive filled with Gorgonzola dolce, walnuts and a touch of walnut oil--yum!

Radish and baby endive, tart green apple, mango "flower", crystallized ginger and a madeline cookie with orange preserve glaze also in the bento. Edible garnishes include flowering thyme, fennel fronds, oregano and a tiny viola!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

baby tako bento

Hi bento pals! Another warm and beautiful weekend enjoyed here with deep blue skies and radiant maples, ginkgos and oaks flying their colorful leaf banners. A long walk around the neighborhood was rich with intense autumn colors...
For Monday's lunch, a simple bento with seasoned baby octopus from Hana Mart, an excellent Japanese market in D.C. we visited this weekend...
Stir-fried asparagus, buna shimeji mushrooms and yellow pepper with baby romaine and oba leaves for green contrast, and mandarin orange, blackberries and Granny Smith apple slices to finish the meal sweetly. I'm waiting for this persimmon to the prettily shaped, embossed leaves on top!
Have a super week ahead!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

golden november bento

Today's bento reflects amber-golden tones from the vibrant and mild November we've enjoyed thus far. Lunch features a curried chicken salad, bright with healthful turmeric and studded with almonds, pistachios and apples.

Thin slices of bright rainbow chard stems and edible viola blossoms accent the salad along with a "ginkgo" of tart Granny Smith apple. For more autumnal golden flavor, pureed Kabocha squash with ginger and some golden beet flowers. Yummy pumpkin-spice bread topped with cream cheese, pumpkin butter and pistachio surrounded by a "mosaic" of candied ginger and papaya pieces for dessert....

Lunch companion: a little Japanese owl!

Golden kitty reflects autumnal beauty...

Warm afternoon light shining through amber-toned trees
Have a great Thursday, friends!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

thai duck fried rice bento

Hey bento pals! Monday's bento was inspired by Debra's yummy fried rice tutorial
over at Hapa Bento. My version contains a mix of colorful peppers, rainbow chard, scallion, egg and savory diced Thai-style ginger duck leftovers from a weekend meal out.

Brussels sprouts braised with maple syrup and shoyu and a radish sit atop the fried rice, Asian pear slices, crystallized ginger and a lady apple for dessert.

Speaking of ginger, we baked some spicy and sweet "Gingery Pumpkin Muffins" from the always delish and adorable (see the awesome sheep festival  pictures!) Open Mouth, Insert Cookie blog.

Have a wonderful week ahead, happy bentoing!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

early november flowers, smoked trout and spinach salad bento

Amazing that despite some very cold nights, flowers here are persisting. On a walk through Old Town Alexandria yesterday, roses and dahlias in the Christ Church garden:

Yummy pastries at Le Pain Quotidien
I purchased some Blood Orange marmalade but am still dreaming of that pistachio treat!
Today's bento features baby spinach and smoked trout, red cabbage cooked with some of the lovely blood orange preserves, golden beet flowers, lady apple (love the flavor combination of smoked trout and apple) green beans and a wedge of pumpkin spice bread made by our friend Cheryl (thanks again C.!)

Have a relaxing and fun weekend, guys!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

chirimen colors bento

Hi bento pals! Today's bento was inspired by some lovely items shared by a sweet bento friend, especially the vibrant tones of this beautiful chirimen charm:

In the bento we have a purple market pepper filled with a brown rice, black barley and daikon radish seed pilaf (mix from Trader Joe's) with pistachios and a late golden tomato slice. Leg of lamb cooked with bourbon peaches (more on that in a minute!) with garlic-mayo dressing and fresh mint. The pretty flower-shaped wafer was sent by my bento pal, another one graces the baby spinach and snow pea top salad with sauteed chanterelle mushrooms.

For dessert, dried papaya slices and some lovely chocolates from my bento buddy.

 The chilly temperature last night inspired Jamison to make a cozy aromatic lamb dish. Spice (including star anise and cinnamon, yum) and vanilla marinated pears and bourbon peaches roasted along side a lovely New Zealand leg of lamb...a delicious meal with great leftovers for bento!

Happy November!