Thursday, December 27, 2012

onigiri bento, japantown visit

Hi there, friends! This post was inspired by a delightful trip hubby and I took to Japantown in San Francisco yesterday...a part of the city that entices with so many beautiful and tasty things. After days of rain, the sky was deep, bright and very blue, adding to the pleasure of walking around.
First stop: savory roast pork ramen at Tampopo:
Jamison's shot of his ramen feast:
Crispy squid
At Soko Hardware, I was eager to find green shiso seeds as these delicate leaves are very hard to come by in Santa Rosa
Color and fun at the indoor shopping mall...
The Peace Pagoda
Golden Gate views on the drive back to Sonoma County
The bucolic landscapes along the way always amaze us...rolling hills, cows, and last night, a ripening moon:
For back-to-work Friday, a bento with an onigiri (teriyaki chicken filling) from Japantown's Nijira Market, pickled baby eggplant, also from Nijira, avocado, arugula blossoms, shiso and a mandarin orange:
Enjoy the upcoming weekend!

Monday, November 26, 2012

spiced chicken pilaf bento

Hello there! In today's bento, a tasty brown rice pilaf with chicken and persimmon, served up with garden radish and greens and a slice of roast squash from Thanksgiving dinner.
Brown Rice Pilaf with Persimmon and Chickpeas
Saute one half of a large red onion, sliced into crescents in a tablespoon of butter. Add a cup of basmati brown rice, salt, freshly ground black pepper, a half inch piece of diced fresh ginger, and dashes of cinnamon and ras al hanout to taste, then pour in two cups of water.
Add a sliced firm persimmon to the pilaf and if you feel like tipping the balance more towards sweet, a handful of dried dates, and toss in a half cup of toasted, chopped almonds. Cook, covered until rice is tender, then add torn pieces of cooked chicken (I used about 1/4 of a roast chicken--dark meat adds extra savor). Stir in a cup of cooked chickpeas, two bias-cut scallions and melt in some more butter. Taste and correct seasonings: is the dish mildly spiced, savory-sweet and buttery? You are there. Serve and enjoy! 
"Red Scarlet" radish
Lemons and pink-violet geranium from the garden

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

beautiful gift bento box

Today's bento was inspired by a lovely and exotic bento set from a friend (thank you Jennefer!) and the discovery of a savory new spot for Vietnamese fare in Santa Rosa--Kettles Vietnamese Bistro. Jamison and I had a late lunch there yesterday...
This rustic covered iron bowl contained my entree of savory rice with ginger, chicken, scallion and roast pork
Jamison's yummy noodles with seafood, sparked with tamarind
Today I added garden arugula and asparagus (yep--asparagus coming up in mid-November!), carrots, mini pepper and scallion to the leftover savory rice for a bento lunch:
From the garden a salad of mixed greens, radish, nasturtium
I love the vibrant colors and elegant shape of this bento set!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

garden gathered bento

Hi friends! A bento with several elements from the November garden, to include wild arugula and tender baby lettuce mix (from an Italian seed package), "Long Scarlet" red radish (from Jamison's raised bed of several radish varieties) with a mildly bitey mineral flavor. Sliced Porterhouse steak nestles in a little blue bowl. A persimmon delivered by a friend and pink camellia from a large tree on our property share the photo...the luscious pink camellia blooms give me immense joy.
Speaking of plants, I visited a huge nursery on the outskirts of Santa Rosa today and had to take home another camellia--could not resist the deep pink flowers and musical name. Enjoyed seeing a splendid assortment of fruit and olive trees at this amazing botanical resource (Urban Tree Farm):
Hope you are enjoying autumn and all of its vibrant-subtle-vivid stages!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

halloween banh mi bento

Hi guys! Monday's bento will feature a banh mi with marinated carrots, spicy pork loaf, mint and Thai chili sauce. Garden arugula and orange peppers will get tucked into the sammie at lunch time.
Homemade black kitty pick lends a festive Halloween spirit...
I've been busy in the garden all weekend, getting ready for the delivery of seven rose plants! Achy but it will be so worth it come spring...which reminds me, I have more spring bulbs to plant in the next few days.
To all those affected by the coming East Coast storm, stay safe and well...

Monday, October 15, 2012

french antiques fair and bistro bento

There was a definite French theme to this last weekend, spanning Saturday's visit to our favorite bistro here in Santa Rosa to a visit on Sunday to a lively French Antiques fair/Flea Market in San Rafael. Some images from a yummy dinner at Rendezvous Bistro (an establishment not making its first appearance on this blog!): barbecued oysters served with a lovely garlic butter parsley sauce:
Country pâté and baguette with grainy mustard and cornichon pickles:
Grilled salmon served with delicious French Puy lentils (must buy some for fall cooking at home!) fennel and artichokes
Jamison's hearty and tasty burger with roasted tomato, served with amazing truffled french fries and a truffled aioli:
This cozy and consistently delicious restaurant is about 15 minutes from our house, a nice walk that takes in a range of architectural styles, gardens....and cats!
Sunday's French themed market in San Rafael offered a transporting mix of objects, many French, others American...a feast of old things in colorful, nostalgic, bric a brac'd collision
How beautiful are these old French seed packets?
Love these warm colors and curvy pear shapes
Refined confections!
The farmer's market was a adjacent to the antiques fair...we admired this amazingly aromatic mint
My treasures from the antiques fair: a Victorian creamer set with one tiny tea cup, all embossed with  Japan-inspired flower and bamboo motifs:
....and a French apple picking basket that seems to have jumped from an Impressionist painting 
Today's bento featured salmon and lentils from the bistro, fennel blossoms, a tiny lemon from one of our trees, garden-grown arugula and baby tomatoes from the farmer's market:
Happy cooking this week, mes amis!