Wednesday, February 29, 2012

rainy day fried rice bento

Hello! Today's bento was a quick affair for a busy day, featuring fried rice with veggies, chicken and kimchee (more on that in a moment) and a juicy sweet combo of blueberries and watermelon.

I made the fried rice with an assortment of vegetables, including asparagus, poblano pepper, shimeji mushrooms, golden yellow pepper, plus plenty of ginger (essential!) and diced garlic:

Green, willowy garlic chives and radish kimchee, along with diced chicken thigh were also added to the sizzling wok along with my pre-cooked rice. To give this fried rice an interesting flavor twist, I prepared some Japanese curry sauce (using Golden Curry brand) and poured this over the rice/veggies/chicken...yum! Korean chili oil added at the table.

The bento took about three minutes to compose--I think that qualifies as a "speed bento"! A little orange pepper heart adds more color and cheer, along with homemade butterfly pick.

Rainy wet day here, but full of the promise of winter-into-spring. A sweet dove is nesting near our front door--Jamison took this great pic of her:

Speaking of nests, our house goes officially on the market via our realtor this afternoon!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

salmon curry bento

Hi friends! Monday's bento features Coho salmon cooked with ginger, Vietnamese curry powder and coconut milk, sharing the top half of my bento set with rice, green peas, yellow pepper and zingy garlic buds. For dessert: coconut yogurt
(from Liberté--so delicious!) with watermelon butterflies.

We went shopping at Lotte Plaza yesterday, a fav place for hard to find produce (like garlic buds) and Indian sweets. I love their rich colors and succulent textures, especially coconut burfi (with almond, below). 

Happy cooking in the week ahead--we are getting closer to spring all the time!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

smørrebrød bento

Hi friends!  Today's bento features a Scandinavian-style smørrebrød sandwich with dill-mustard marinated herring, tart apple slices and edible viola. I recently came across this fantastic resource on the art of smørrebrød: hop on over for an endlessly entertaining and informative guide to this distinctive and tasty tradition, and a wealth of authentic recipes.

Arugula, radish, fresh dill and apple slices share the bento with my smørrebrød. Enjoying a balmy and bright afternoon for late February: much excited birdsong, blooming crocus and periwinkle, green tufts of spring bulbs emerging a few weeks early (a very warm winter for us this year).

Enjoy the rest of the week, happy cooking!

Monday, February 20, 2012

asparagus soba bento

Hi friends! Coming off a three day weekend, I've made a simple but energizing bento for back-to-work Tuesday. Buckwheat soba always makes me feel I've combined it with minced ginger, my fav ginger sesame dressing (Q.P. brand), asparagus, scallion, shrimp, yellow pepper and tomato.

Happy cooking this week!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

sushi shokado bento

Hi friends! Today's bento is in a traditional Shokado format. Tuna sushi, enoki mushroom-fennel stir fry (what a delicious combination!), arugula with ginger dressing and kiwi, banana and cara cara orange fill the little containers.

How was your Valentine's Day? Hubby brought me some lovely soft coral roses, two of them pictured here with a cute speckled forelle pear...

Monday, February 13, 2012

leek dumpling bento

Hi friends! Today's bento features tasty Korean leek dumplings, decorated with a scallion heart and purple Okinawan sweet potato. Herb broiled fish, snow peas and yam slices round out the top half of lunch, while a cheerful assortment of raspberries, cara cara orange slices and kiwi lend a sweet finish...

We picked up the dumplings yesterday at H-Mart...some sights from my fav market, emporium of all things Korean and delicious:



Happy Valentine's Day! May it be a day full of warm friendship and love...

Monday, February 6, 2012

love owl bento

Hi bento pals! Today's lunch features a "Love Owl" pastry filled with a tasty combo of roasted butternut squash and Gruyere cheese. This romantic birdie rests on a bed of arugula with slices of exotic green (yes, green!) radish--a very cool variety a friend found at her farmer's market and was kind enough to share with me...

A few sweet golden tomatoes and a white balsamic vinaigrette dressing accents the salad. How is Valentine's Day inspiring your bento creations?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

cozy roast chicken

Hi friends! Some images and recipes from a cozy dinner at home yesterday. The overcast mistiness of the day was perfect for warming the house with Jamison's roast chicken specialty (more on that in a minute), butternut squash gratin and brussels sprouts with pecans...

An appetizer of hummus decorated with scallion, olives, mixed olive and bright peppadew peppers:

Assembling the squash-Gruyère gratin, recipe here (I added leeks for additional color and savor)...

Sliced brussels sprouts, ready for my fav recipe:

Saute a sliced red onion in olive oil/butter until sweetly caramelized, add a sliced leek and a generous handful of pecan halves. Add sliced brussels sprouts, season with salt, freshly ground pepper, and a lavish pour of walnut oil. Cook until tender, lightly golden but still bright. Yum (I promise, sprouts skeptics)!

Now for the main attraction: Jamison's roast chicken. Preheat oven to 425 degrees for a total roasting time of one hour and 15 minutes for a five lb bird (as Jamison points out, ovens vary, so check to see if juices run clear after one hour).

Chop a variety of vegetables as a bed for the chicken: this time, Jamison used carrots, parsnip, celery, red onion. Add to a buttered roasting pan (we always use our trusty Ruffoni copper pan). Lightly season vegetables with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Meanwhile, parboil some small red potatoes in salted water.

Coat your (preferably free range) chicken with softened butter, salt lightly, season with ground pepper and dried thyme. Place bird over veggie bed in roasting pan, then drizzle some red wine over.

Adding a sliced orange to the chicken cavity imparts a nice flavor. Arrange parboiled potatoes and whole garlic heads (tops sliced off to expose cloves) around chicken. Place pan in preheated oven.

After 45 minutes, take the chicken out to glaze with dark fruit preserves:

In a small jar, mix a tablespoon of wild plum preserves, a tablespoon of black raspberry preserves, a tablespoon of BBQ sauce, a tablespoon country Dijon mustard, a liberal splash of red wine, 1/4 cup olive oil, cracked pepper, and a drizzle of balsamic or red wine vinegar. Blend well and spoon over the chicken. Return to oven to finish roasting...

The beautiful finished chicken...

Have a great start to the week, happy cooking!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

pizza heart bento

Happy Thursday! Getting into the February Valentine's theme in today's bento with a heart shaped piece of our fav pizza (marscarpone, smoked ham, arugula), romaine lettuce with orange-infused olive oil and baby yellow tomatoes.

Butter sauteed asparagus, red grapefruit and blueberries round out lunch. Enjoying the breezy thaw here today, spring does not feel so far off...