Sunday, February 27, 2011

hints of spring bento

Hi bento pals! We are enjoying a balmy Sunday with soft blue skies and breezes: perfect weather for raking up residual fall leaves and discovering green shoots emerging underneath. Hyacinth are perking above ground with their beautiful green tops.  
My fingers are crossed for the tulip bulbs planted last October, always popular with digging squirrels...we'll see what's in bloom in a couple of months!

Ivory hellebore plants at a local market today:

Monday's lunch: white wine and butter braised Coho salmon fillet with red grapefruit, Italian capers over smoked salmon pasta, mint and asparagus. An arugula salad with Sicilian orange infused olive oil, Reggiano Parmigiano cheese slivers, pistachios and more mint also in the bento:
Have a lovely week, happy cooking!

Friday, February 25, 2011

turkey pastrami sandwich bento

Happy Friday, bento pals! For deli-style lunch today: turkey pastrami Rachel sandwich, layered with Swiss cheese, homemade coleslaw, sauerkraut and Russian dressing on rye bread grilled to a toasty, buttery finish.

The coleslaw made lighter and less caloric with Greek yogurt and just a bit of mayo,  I added horseradish to the Russian dressing for extra heat and flavor. Yum!
Mini gherkins (tiny and perfect for bento!) honey-drizzled raspberries and yellow pepper saute for lunch, too.

Wishing all a happy and relaxing weekend!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

country salad bento

Hi bento pals! Quick post for today...lunch is a refreshing salad with spinach, romaine, fennel, tomato, red cabbage, scallion, tasty green olives. Lemon-extra virgin olive oil dressing.

Mini salmon cakes made with plenty of lemon, minced red onion, parsley and Greek yogurt plus a pita triangle toasted with olive oil and thyme round things out!
Happy Wednesday!

Monday, February 21, 2011

coconut curry shrimp bento

Hi bento pals! Tuesday's lunch will feature shrimp with coconut milk, turmeric and Vietnamese curry powder. The shrimp rest on a bed of rice with pineapple, coconut and aromatic Thai basil.

Baby bok choy stir fried with ginger, garlic, and fish sauce in the upper right section, accented by a kitty pick made with a favorite sticker set. Pear slices and a special treat from Cheryl, a great friend and dessert maker par excellence: lemon poppyseed cake topped with amazing tart-sweet lemon curd. Thanks, C.!

Rainy afternoon camellia

Have a lovely week, happy bentoing!

Friday, February 18, 2011

rainbow rice bento

Hi bento pals! Today's lunch is Korean-inspired: fried rice with diced radish kimchee, rainbow chard, baby brussels sprouts, orange peppers, buna shimeji mushrooms, carrots and scallions with baby tomato and watercress accents.

Sliced five-spice chicken also for lunch, along with a traditional Korean cookie in a pretty flower shape, blueberries and a blood orange slice. The fried rice has a special nutty, green flavor from a drizzle of Korean perilla oil:
An after lunch snack of Korean rice cakes, whose packaging inspired the colors in this bento...
Have a fun weekend!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

italian inspirations

Hi bento pals! This weekend we explored some reviving Italian flavors and art. At the National Gallery of Art in D.C., a new show of Venetian paintings ushered in an Italian-themed brunch menu. Some treats from the spread:
Rich, savory eggplant parmigiana:
A lovely custard with vanilla and fresh berries:

Some of paintings in the Gallery's permanent collection are like old friends, always uplifting and inspiring to see. My favorites include this beautiful Madonna and Child by Nardo di Cione:
Fra Angelico and Fra Filippo Lippi's The Adoration of the Magi is dazzling, I love its sensitive animal portraits, two closeup views, below:

Where to next? Arlington's The Italian Store, of course!
Inside, a great selection of specialties you won't find in other area shops, such as olive oil infused with oranges from Sicily (more on this great oil in a minute).

Smoked salmon pasta! I will be cooking this for tonight's dinner...
We had a fun lobster feast at home for Valentine's Day dinner. Today's bento features some reserved lobster from this extravaganza accented with Italian flavors:
sliced fresh fennel and lobster is drizzled with the wonderful Sicilian orange infused olive oil and salt-crusted Italian mini capers.

Watercress and fennel fronds for green color and flavor, ripe blueberries and pink grapefruit for a juicy, sweet finish:
A warming trend continues here with a bright and beautiful day forecast for tomorrow...spring's on the way!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

almost valentine's day bento

Hi bento pals! A quick post on Friday's lunch, which featured balsamic and garlic marinated steak, haricots verts with oven-roasted carrots, leeks and parsnips and the bonus of a delicious yogurt-basil pesto sauce made by hubby.

Little konpeito candies with hearts decorated bag from Kiteya in NYC plus two bright clementines with a homemade sparkly bead pick also in this nearly Valentine's Day bento...

Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

persian herb omelet bento

Hi bento pals! Today's bento includes some treats and culinary inspiration from the Mash Hassan Bakery and Persian Market, a nearby emporium of Persian specialties including delectable pastries, breads, nuts, conserves and hard-to-find spice blends.

I love the prominent role fresh herbs play in Persian cooking, infusing it with aromatic freshness and health benefits. Some essential herbs for sale at the market:
Cookies and sweets of many types are made here...

Persian teas, spices and more...
The sweets I brought home: flaky pastry fingers dusted with pistachio
 Pistachio nougat
Saffron rock candy
 For lunch, a Persian-style omelet made with dill, onions, basil, fenugreek and turmeric shares the bento with a yummy spinach pastry from Mash Hassan bakery, fresh mint and dill, a yellow pepper filled with tangy white cheese, romaine salad with green apples and pistachios. Dessert is a flaky sweet pastry with ripe raspberries alongside:
Have a wonderful week!

Friday, February 4, 2011

baby bok choy bento

Happy Friday! Lunch is a bento of gingery baby bok choy prepared with a wonderful recipe from the Steamy Kitchen. The baby bok choy is layered over brown rice and accompanies ginger-scallion crab salad and avocado. For a sweet finish, ripe raspberries and cute little strawberry candies from Meiji:
Wishing everyone a lovely weekend and a joyful start to the New Year of the Rabbit!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

vietnamese fennel salad bento

Hi bento pals! Today's lunch features a light bright Vietnamese fennel salad and a mini banh mi with five-spice chicken to celebrate that we've left January behind and are making progress towards spring! I added wheat grass to this yummy fennel salad recipe (the accompanying five-spice chicken recipe is a must-try, too) and decorated the banh mi with two types of vibrant pickle. Avocado and basil accents:
This weekend we visited with kitties at a Pet Smart adoption fair...I'll probably adopt eventually from the local animal shelter, where kitties do not have foster families to care for them until a permanent family is found...but it is fun to meet the sweet felines at Pet Smart right next door to our fave Asian/International supermarket on Saturday afternoons.

Here's Jamison and a darling girl called Audrey. She was super friendly, had a constant purr and the cutest neat white mittens...
Don't these two look beautiful together? This young lady was just visiting with the kitties, like us, and mentioned that she had a cat at home who was happy to be an "only child."

Afterwards we were on to H-Mart for great mushrooms, pickles and other foodie fun. I always leave with more than I intended to here! Love this beautifully packaged tea:
Bento boxes!
Cute radish and eggplant shaped graters
Bright Korean pillows
Sunny bags of citrus
Have a great week, happy bentoing!