Thursday, December 18, 2014

of critters and christmas tree farms & apple fennel salad

Images from a recent visit to Christmas tree farms in bucolic Sebastopol (Frosty Mountain Tree Farm, Reindeer Ridge and Garlock Tree Farm). The beautiful creatures at the farms were a huge highlight:



 Apple, Fennel and Toasted Walnut Salad

Bright/sweet/savory! Cut one fennel bulb and a large apple (or two small) into matchstick pieces, cut a 2x2 inch piece of Gruyère cheese the same way. Toast a handful of walnuts in a 300 degree oven for about 5 minutes. Dressing: blend 2 tablespoons walnut oil, 1 tablespoon apple vinegar, 2 teaspoons grainy Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon honey, dash of salt. Combine fennel-apple, walnuts and dressing, enjoy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

smoked paprika stir fry bento

Hi friends! Last night I made a simple but really tasty stir fry of ground turkey with chickpeas, garlic, onion, garlic, eggplant, peppers and lots of smoked hot paprika. Warming fall flavors! This bento was made for Jamison's lunch today and includes the turkey dish with brown jasmine rice, sautéed red cabbage. Garnishes: a gingko cut green apple, garden calendula petals over the rice for golden color and vitamin C.
Turkey, Chickpeas and Fall Veggies with Smoked Paprika
This yummy dish is good hot or at room temperature, making it quite bento-friendly.
1 lb. ground turkey
1 eggplant, dark and shiny, chopped
one yellow pepper, chopped (or color of your choice)
4 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1/2 large red onion, sliced into half moons
1 can chickpeas, 15 ounces, rinsed and drained
smoked hot paprika, freshly ground black pepper, sea salt
1/2 cup tomato sauce or chopped fresh/canned tomato
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
cayenne pepper to taste
In a wok or sauté pan, heat olive oil and add garlic and onions, stirring until softened and lightly golden. Add eggplant pieces and pepper slices and chickpeas, turning until coated with oil. Season with sea salt, paprika and black pepper and continue to cook until tender and aromatic. Remove from pan, add ground turkey and sauté, using wooden spoon to break up clumps. Add tomato sauce, season with paprika and salt and brown lightly. Add chickpea-vegetable mixture and raise heat. Add feta, combine. Taste, correct seasonings and enjoy!
Camellias are really glorious right now, and I have radicchio and beets perking along in the garden. The kale and kohlrabi starts have been thoroughly nibbled by some nighttime critters, however!


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

b is for bentobird

Hi friends! I was so happy to find this hand-appliqued pot holder in an antiques shop last week. It inspired this rustic bento, which contains a smoked ham and Italian cheese pastry with chopped salad, zippy radish and roasted mini peppers.

The light is turning distinctly golden-autumnal as October advances...some pictures from our recent visit to the Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, just outside San Francisco:

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

autumn owl bento

Hi friends! Today's bento features a pastry owl filled with an autumnal combo of feta cheese and sweet roasted butternut squash. Stir fried Brussels sprouts and a little skewer of Okinawa purple potato, juicy orange and the last of our garden grown raspberries fill the rest of my favorite magewappa box.
I used ready made pie crust for the owl:
Enjoying mild days here with cooler nights...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

harvest moon festival bento 2014


Happy Harvest Moon and Asian Mid-Autumn Moon Festival! With this holiday's traditional associations of love and romance, it was fun to make this bento for hubby today. Inside: savory ramen with sesame oil, Korean spicy braised chicken thighs, broccolini, and this in particular for Jamison: okra! Sautéed with garlic and ginger, finished with oyster sauce and white pepper--yum! This delicious recipe for the okra found at a tasty blog called The Big Fat Noodle. A moon-rabbit egg and some garden baby tomatoes also in today's bento. Enjoy the beautiful moon tonight, friends!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Matisse-inspired bento

Hi bento friends! A zippy, bright bento today inspired by the vibrant colors of the artist Henri Matisse. A ripe garden tomato is filled with tuna-basil salad and rests on ribbons of bright carrot lightly dressed with mayo. Edible flowers (sage, arugula, nasturtium) and spicy green sprouts also for lunch along with crisp pita cutouts based on Matisse's own!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

purple pepper bento

Hi folks! Today's bento is a mix of summery colors and flavors. A pretty purple pepper is filled with Japanese-style curry made with ground turkey and dark leafy greens. Curry made with Golden Curry brand cubes has become something of a staple dish for us--it elevates ground turkey, in particular, to savory-spicy new heights.
This time, I sautéed sliced onion, garlic and ginger in coconut oil before adding the turkey to brown, after which I shaved one block of curry roux into the wok and added enough water to make a light sauce. Blanched gai lan greens were added to the curry towards the end of cooking to keep them crisp. 
Quick-cooked snow peas and summery sliced tomatoes with a light ginger dressing also in the bento. For dessert: garden-gathered raspberries and blackberries and yummy berry filled chocolates from Daiso.
Happy bentoing!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

garden fried rice bento

Hi friends! This simple bento was designed to make the most of summery goodness growing in our main garden bed, including golden zucchini, peppery arugula and lots of pungent, delicious basil. The golden zucchini grows next to a stone frog--I think they make a great pair!

Vegetable prep for the stir fry:
Fried rice is such an easy, delicious bento meal. Here, I sautéed the golden zucchini with garlic, arugula and basil and before combining with cooked brown jasmine rice. It just needed a touch of sea salt to bring out the bright summer-garden flavors. Smoked salmon wrapped around nasturtiums was the final touch for a light lunch! 
Hope you are enjoying summer!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

summery noodle bento

Hi friends! Today's bento combines noodles with plenty of pickled ginger, golden zucchini from the garden, snow peas, thin-sliced turkey, scallion and ginger dressing. Edible nasturtium flowers and leaves for peppery color! The lovely Japanese fabric was a gift from my friend Stephanie. Have a sweet weekend~




Friday, June 13, 2014

crab ramen bento

Friday's bento was simple but full of pleasing umami tastes with ramen noodles tossed with crab, scallion, baby tomatoes and Japanese eggplant pickles along with a ginger dressing (my favorite, Q-P brand).

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

thai shrimp curry bento

Today's bento with spicy shrimp curry, rich with coconut milk, brown rice, asparagus and a couple of local cherries. Sweet Thai basil added so much flavor to this curry--yum. Happy cooking!