Friday, April 30, 2010

Hello Kitty Stylin' Bento

I went on a pilgrimage to San Francisco Japantown last Sunday to get bento supplies. While most of the things I purchased were very reasonably priced (even ridiculously cheap), this bento box was not. I saw it at the Sanrio store and fell in love with it. Japanese lacquer with gorgeous cherry blossom details, and the stylish gold Hello Kitty in partial profile. I had to have it! Do yourself a favor if you head to Japantown: print out this coupon for the Sanrio store.

For this bento box lunch, I wanted to make something special. Cold udon noodles with steamed asparagus and zucchini, crispy pancetta, and black sesame seeds. I dressed the noodles with soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and vinegar. In the lower compartment: a mandarin orange, cucumber slices, red bell pepper slices, a few salad greens, carrots, and half of a hard boiled egg with black sesame seed decoration. The asparagus, zucchini, and mandarin are from the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market, and the egg is from chickens raised by my coworker's daughter.

Recipe for Cold Udon Noodles
1/2 cup asparagus spears
1/2 cup zucchini rounds
1 thin slice pancetta (italian bacon)
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 small clove of garlic, minced
3 oz uncooked udon noodles
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar
pinch black sesame seeds

Steam the asparagus and zucchini briefly in the microwave (no more than 1.5 minutes). Cook udon noodles according to directions on package. In a small skillet, cook pancetta over medium heat until crispy. Remove pancetta to a paper towel to drain, but leave rendered fat in the skillet. Cook onion and garlic in the skillet for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Add noodles to the skillet, and then steamed veggies. Toss to combine, and remove from heat. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, and vinegar. Gently toss to coat noodles. Place noodles in bento box (or in a bowl) and top with veggies. Top each serving with crumbles of pancetta and black sesame seeds. Makes enough for two bento box lunch servings.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Heart Shaped Quiche

One of my favorite advocates of Sonoma County is Sheana Davis of The Epicurean Connection. She is so amazing, and if you haven't yet had a chance, check out her shop. She's got lots of wonderful products from Sonoma County, including her very own cheese called Delice de la Vallee. It's a soft cow milk and goat milk cheese, and it tastes so good. I used it in today's bento to make Heart Shaped Quiches.

In this bento box lunch: Heart Shaped Quiche, radishes, carrots, steamed broccoli, greens from the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market, mandarin orange, and grapes.

Recipe for Heart Shaped Quiches
1 premade pie crust
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk or 1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped sun dried tomatoes in oil
salt and pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons Delice de la Vallee cheese (or other soft cheese)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin pan tins with the pie crust, making 9 or so molds for the quiche. Lightly dock the bottoms of the pie crusts with a fork. Bake the crusts for about 5 or 6 minutes. While pie crusts bake, whisk eggs, milk or cream, tomatoes, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Remove muffin pan from oven, and add 1/2 tablespoon of cheese to each pie crust, using a spoon and your fingers to make little dabs of cheese. Pour egg mixture carefully into each pie crust. Lower heat to 350 degrees and bake mini quiches for about 8 to 10 minutes more, until crusts are golden brown and eggs have set. Makes 8 or 9 mini quiches. These can be frozen for up to a month!

Welcome to Sonoma Bento!

In this blog, I will share my ideas for creating beautiful, healthy bento box lunches, and ways to use ingredients from your local farmers market. You may also see a few posts about finger nail art, since I use most anything as a canvas for creativity. For the first post, I'm combining all three!
This bento contains a tunafish sandwich in a pita bread, carrots, radishes, broccoli, onigiri rice balls with slices of cucumber, greens from the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market and a local egg. The egg is from one of my coworkers who's daughter raises a few chickens. So cute!

And here are sushi roll nails I made to match my bento box lunch!

Recipe for Tunafish Pita Bread Sandwiches

1 can solid albacore tuna in water, drained
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 to 3 tablespoons wasabi paste (depending on your taste)
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon black sesame seeds
salt and pepper to taste
pita rounds

Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl. Spread tunafish mixture on pita breads. Cut into halves and serve. Makes enough for 3 sandwiches.