Saturday, September 19, 2015

cooling rice and seafood bento

A refreshing lunch for another warm late-summer day: lightly rice vinegared rice, crabmeat. ikura, radish sprouts, Japanese eggplant pickle and a few juicy snow peas. We went to Mitsuwa in San Jose this week and had a great time shopping and eating. Delicious ramen with spicy miso broth from Santouka, co-located with Mitsuwa:
The foods of Hokkaido were featured on this visit to Mitsuwa. We enjoyed some delish crab croquettes from this special event, yum...
Sweets to celebrate the coming season:
More pretty candies, love these colors!
Happy cooking, friends!

Monday, July 27, 2015

summer snack bento

Finally back to bento after a long break! Today's bento offers cooling flavors and textures for a hot July day. Local scarlet red tomatoes, green figs and lightly dressed chilled shrimp: simple and refreshing. Here's the farm stand/market on the way to the beach where we picked up the delicious tomatoes:
Cows grazing near where we park to make our way down to the ocean
Happy Summer!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

couscous salad bento

A bright and zippy lunch of couscous salad! Here's my recipe:
Couscous Salad with Herbs and Pistachio
1 cup of couscous
1 cup water
1 cup cooked chickpeas
stemmed, chopped mint and parsley to taste
1 clove minced garlic
1 scallion sliced on bias
2 small Persian cucumbers, chopped
diced red onion to taste
large handful halved, shelled pistachios
Dressing: juice of two lemons, 1/2 cup olive oil, blended
Bring one cup of water to boil, add one tablespoon of butter and a pinch of salt. Remove water from heat and stir in couscous. Cover and allow to steam for 5-7 minutes, then fluff grains with a wooden spoon. Mix in chickpeas, herbs, onion, garlic, other veggies. Pour dressing over, add pistachios and taste, adding more salt if needed, and black pepper to taste.
In addition to the couscous salad, this bento contained endive filled with herbed cheese and a dollop of beet hummus, a cool product I just discovered at Trader Joe's, and extra feta cheese. Yum!

Monday, April 13, 2015

shiso wrap bento

Today's bento features Korean-spring flavors: kimchi fried rice wrapped in aromatic shiso leaves with coconut-oil stir fried baby zucchini and asparagus. These tasty items share the bamboo bento box with scallion pancakes from a local Asian market. Garden chives and a few little yellow tomatoes also for lunch. The soft golden rose is a variety called The Impressionist, now in pastel bloom against the sunny well-house wall. I look forward to these delicate, lush blooms with their softest tint of pink on outermost petals every spring.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

smoked salmon tea sandwiches

Today's snack with smoked salmon, cream cheese and edible johnny jump up flowers clipped from the garden. We recently had our first dinner outside since spring arrived, including prosciutto-wrapped asparagus on the grill. Here they are right before grilling, expertly prepped by Jamison:
Happy spring cooking!

Monday, March 23, 2015

spring soba noodles bento

Spring has come to vivid life here in Sonoma County: roses have started blooming, as have lilacs, wisteria, tulips. When I took photos this morning of what's emerging in the garden, I did so with ringing chorus of birdsong around me: soft-calling doves, raucous crows.
Cecile Brunner climbing rose has just started her pale pink bloom:
For lunch, healthy soba noodles layered with ginger flavors and tossed with asparagus and plump shrimp. Minced fresh asparagus went into the asparagus-shrimp stir fry, and pink pickled ginger was sliced into the cooked noodles along with some of the tart pickling liquid, along with a bit of Q-P Ginger Sesame dressing. Peppery arugula plucked from outside and some pretty radish flowers join the gingery noodles for a bright and springy meal.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thai larb bento and first lilacs

We love this spicy, tart chicken recipe with its vivid Thai flavors: Here it is bento'd with rice and Thai radish pods from the garden and some other spring's-in-the-air goodness from outside: mint and lilacs!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

breakfast sandwich bento

Today's bento was made for breakfast: sourdough bread from local Boudin Bakery with mayo and hardboiled egg, spicy Thai radish flower garnish plus orange and pineapple pieces. A cup of honey-sweetened chai, a regular feature of my weekday mornings is part of the ensemble. Both roses and camellias are blooming right now, and I love this delicate pink variety, reminiscent of apricot blossoms:
We recently checked out Larkspur, intrigued by the flourishing food truck scene it hosts close to the Ferry landing. Far and away the favorite of all the dishes sampled that chilly morning was the amazing fare from the Chairman Truck. They specialize in gua bao, steamed or baked breads filled with intensely flavored combinations of meats, vegetables, pickles. I was knocked out by the sheer deliciousness delivered by one bite of their tender pork belly, turmeric pickled daikon and green shiso number:
The Coca-Cola braised pork with Savoy cabbage and preserved yellow mustard seeds was a close runner up in edible delight. I'm already thinking about a return visit.

Some sights in and around Larkspur's historic downtown:
Here's to new cooking adventures in 2015!