Friday, December 13, 2013

cambodian beef salad bento


Hi friends! This bento features a wonderfully spicy and lime-tangy beef salad that we love picking up at our favorite Asian market here in Santa Rosa--happily the owners prepare several Cambodian dishes for take out, and this is a delight.
Crisp romaine lettuce and two mango bunnies round out the meal.
Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

french fall flavors bento

Today's bento includes a buttery sauté of mini zucchini, a mini sandwich of salmon salad atop French Puy lentil salad and a sweet French macaron combo of fig and pumpkin flavors. Our parsley is really flourishing in the garden right now, and I find myself heading outside to clip off a green, fringed mini bouquet quite often...

Monday, November 4, 2013

brie, turkey tartine bento, autumn explorations

Hi friends! Today's bento features a toasted sourdough tartine layered with turkey, brie and sharp-sweet green apple. A colorful bed of kale sautéed with garlic and brightened with a bit of lemon (our trees are full right now!) also inside.
I found this wonderful fox/kitsune figurine from a Japanese ceramicist a few years back, and I love his tawny autumnal coloring and clever little face:
So far November has offered brilliant skies and ideal weather for putting in the winter garden (rainbow chard, kale, some new-to-me Italian greens called Cavolo Broccolo Spigariello) and also Siberian iris and a few new camellias, of course--I'm addicted!
Some images from our drive to Freestone and Sebastopol this weekend, where we visited Wildflour Bakery for great breads, scones and bucolic relaxation in its always changing kitchen garden:
Apple growing on an espaliered tree
At Rose and Thorn, we loved visiting with these beautiful creatures:
See you again soon...

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

curried noodles soboro bento

Hello and happy October! Today's bento evokes the golden, spicy tones of the new season with curried noodles (more about those in a minute), grilled zucchini, harvested after becoming huge in the garden, a heart-cut pumpkin spice pastry and a mosaic of sweet grapes.
Curried Noodles with Turkey Soboro
Sauté minced ginger, shallots and garlic in canola oil, add ground turkey and shavings of Japanese curry (such as Golden Curry brand) and Vietnamese style curry powder, toss in a sliced yellow or orange bell pepper. Set a pot of cold salted water to boil, blanch carrot slices and chopped, peeled sweet potato, remove. Add noodles and cook until done, drain. Combine noodles with curried turkey, carrots, other veggies and adjust seasonings--adding more of the curries if desired and for additional heat, sriracha sauce. Toss in bias cut scallions and enjoy!
October has swept in cooler mornings and some rainy nights, and a newly ambered light even on the sunniest blue skied days...

Saturday, September 14, 2013

pasta salad snack bento

Here's a quick late afternoon pick-me-up bento with farfalle pasta blended with mayo, chives and wonderful smoked salmon from Santa Rosa Seafood, microgreens, a pesto filled garden mini-tomato and super sweet raspberries!

Monday, September 9, 2013

red rice bento

This weekend we visited a favorite Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco: Quan Bac, where we enjoyed red rice with crab and some salads, including a delicious duck-papaya salad. Both of these are in today's bento, bringing some of the savory festiveness of the weekend into the start of the workweek. Just one more reason to love bento!

Monday, August 26, 2013

mushroom flatbread bento

Hi bento pals! I like a bit of whimsy with lunch, how about you? Here, dill-Havarti bunnies and butterflies have landed on my mushroom flatbread, surrounded by ripe green figs on one side and solar orange garden tomatoes on the other.
I'm very pleased with the growth of my 'Abraham Darby' rose this summer!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

salmon avocado sandwich bento

        For lunch today: salmon salad and avocado sandwich, romaine leaves with yellow garden tomato and avocado salad. We are loving the sweetness of the tomatoes we've harvested so far this year! Several peppers are ripening as well, and some will be served with grilled turkey sausage tonight.
A raspberry macaron and tender little raspberries harvested from our vine end lunch on a sweet note. Happy cooking!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

smoked clam chowder and garden tomato bento

Hi friends! This soup and salad bento was the result of a trip to one of our favorite destinations: the town of Bodega on the way to the ocean. In Bodega is a charming deli called the Bodega Country Store which sells delicious soups and salads: the smoked clam chowder was picked up there.
In the salad portion of the bento, an under layer of grilled corn, and on top, golden Azoychka   tomatoes from the garden and Japanese cucumber picked there as well. Goat cheese and sage flower accents. We are off to San Francisco tomorrow to try a highly recommended Persian restaurant--excited!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

san francisco birthday visit bento

Hi there! It has been a while since my last post, a busy time with work projects--so I really savored taking a couple of days off as a mini vacation that included my birthday last Thursday. We spent the day in San Francisco, starting with a visit to the serene Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, and ending in Japantown. In Japantown we visited Nijiya Market where I picked up the rice-paper wrapped sushi and takoyaki featured in my bento. The postcard is "Sunny Moments in the Rainy Season" by Hoshun Yamaguchi, painted in 1966.
 The next day, we relaxed at the beach under cool and refreshing skies...


Friday, July 12, 2013

july shōkadō bento

I enjoyed using elements of my Japanese ceramics collection in composing today's shōkadō style bento. A light meal for a breezy, bright Friday: soba noodles tossed with stir fried shishito peppers, snap peas and garlic chives, drizzled with a mirin-soy dressing. Garden picked and lightly minty shiso leaves wrap around salmon salad in the upper right quadrant. A tender, sweet mochi and juicy watermelon "flowers" were a refreshing finish.
Right now the tomatoes are growing larger and more colorful on the vine and I'm watching the vigorous coilings of three French melon varieties as they bound beyond the limits of their raised bed. Several dahlias are in bud and I cannot wait to see their colors...this is a flower variety I'll be collecting for sure. In fact, I just came home from a favorite vegetable stand/garden nursery with a huge-blooming orchid-pink-lavender specimen!
(Montana, it was great seeing you yesterday and it will be so fun to check out Japantown together soon!)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

spanakopita bento

Spinach and feta spanakopita, lamb-chickpea-dill stew and honeyed green figs with pistachios are for lunch amid a very, very, very warm week here in Santa Rosa. The purple-blue butterfly bush is covered in blooms at the moment and attracting many hummingbirds and butterflies...
Happy cooking!

Friday, June 28, 2013

cooling noodles bento

Today's bento is made to counter the heat wave we are having currently in Santa Rosa: chilled rice noodles with shallot-chili dressing, shrimp, snap peas and shitake mushrooms. Local green figs and super sweet cherries for dessert.
Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, June 21, 2013

hello summer!

Excited that summer is here! Bright veggies and cavorting cucumber pups in today's bento.
Check out the artichoke plant, looking regal in our vegetable garden:
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

green papaya salad bento

Hi friends! We've been having fun with different versions of green papaya salad this week--Jamison being very handy with the peeler and julienning piles of supple papaya slices...and I've been experimenting with dressings that vary the proportions of fish sauce, lime, chilies, basil and shallots. Today's bento features a bed of tart-spicy salad topped with peanut and shallot flavored shrimp. Brightly colored and fun rice crackers from Mekong Market, our fav local spot for Vietnamese cooking needs, add their texture to a light and refreshing lunch.
Happy cooking!

Friday, June 14, 2013

simple sandwiches bento

Happy Friday! Celebrating the soon to arrive weekend with a picnic-y bento: egg and salmon salads, watermelon and cherries. Happy cooking, friends!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

thank you bento&co!

Today's bento celebrates a beautiful box I received this week as part of the Bento&Co 2013 Bento Competition--was thrilled to open a box of carefully packed, beautiful bento items. This stylish box by Hakoben is probably my favorite of the lovely items shared. Thanks so much Bento&Co for sharing generously and promoting "bento love" through your very fun and well-organized event!
Inside the bento: brown rice, steak slices tastily marinated in a garlic-soy-yuzu sauce, daikon flowers and garden-picked shiso and Japanese cucumber, along with pink ginger pickles. A donut peach ends lunch on a juicily sweet note.
Happy bentoing, friends!

Friday, June 7, 2013

dill blossom bento

Happy Friday! A Scandinavian-inspired bento with open faced sandwich featuring chived cream cheese, smoked fish, and garden dill and sunny dill blossoms. Young Gravenstein apples have started to fall from the large tree in our and very tart. We look forward to a harvest later in the summer of sweet ones, reputed to be wonderful for baking.
Have a lovely weekend....

Friday, May 31, 2013

mini wonton and garden zucchini bento

Hi and happy Friday! I had a beautiful moment in the garden yesterday, when just at the instant I noticed the spiky huge leaves of our artichoke plant (a sort of centerpiece of the main bed) had issued its first purple tinged artichoke, a hummingbird hovered into view, just about two feet away and looked at me in a brief, piercing way before flitting off. I never tire of seeing them! As I write this post, two hummingbirds are jousting/playing and squeaking near the tall pink roses....
This bento features a little leaf shaped dish of chicken-cilantro mini wontons from Trader Joe's, pink Japanese ginger pickles, avocado sakuras and sweet golden tomatoes, and in the blue dish, just picked zucchini sauteed in butter and lightly dusted with sea salt--simple and sun flavored.
I have several varieties of morning glory planted which I hope to see climb up the far garden wall and more are coming into bloom each day. Have a relaxing and beautiful weekend!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

two cooling salads bento

Cooling salads bento for another hot day here in Santa Rosa...avocado/romaine with ginger dressing and chilled rice with chopped beef bulgogi, scallions, cukes and mint, tossed in drizzle of nam pla sauce. Really enjoying the silky and sun-radiant poppies blooming right now!