Monday, May 3, 2010

Under The Sea!

This bento box lunch is rather whimsical. I wanted to try my hand at octopus wieners, 1) because they are cool, and 2) because it is fun to say "octopus wieners." Then I had to keep the theme going with underwater creatures like fish and seastars. The wieners are cut about 3/4 of the way up the wiener into eight "legs" and then cooked in a frying pan. Their eyes are soy paper and black sesame seeds. The fish is a sauce container with some sriracha sauce inside (spicy!), and the three stars are made from steamed sweet potato, steamed purple potato, and watermelon radish on a bed of rice (painted blue!). I also used a bit of garlic scapes that I picked up at the Sebastopol Farmers Market. I cut the scape in the same way I cut the wieners, but then I put it in a bowl of ice water so it would curl and fan out.

These are garlic scapes from the Sebastopol Farmers Market. They are the stem of hard necked garlic, and they taste great: garlicky and green at the same time. They are delish in pesto.

My hubby thought I had gone off the deep end when I told him I needed food coloring to finish my bento box lunch. Yes, I "painted" the rice blue with food coloring to make a watery bed for my sea creatures. I wonder what my mouth will look like when I eat this?

It turned out great! Not pictured, but in the lower compartment of this bento box, I had some steamed edamame, a few slices of kumquat, and a mixture of dried cantaloupe and walnuts. The cantaloupe and walnuts are from the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market.

And, my brilliant friend Coco said that because this is Sonoma Bento, I should recommend a wine pairing for my bento! I love it! Not that I am going to break out the booze at work, but I think this whimsical, nautical bento box lunch would go well with some bubbles. The richer flavors of the wieners, and the spicy sriracha will benefit from the lighter pairing. And the walnuts, dried fruit, and bold citrus kumquat flavors will also pair nicely with bubbly. My go to choice for sparkling wine is Korbel Natural, made with Russian River grapes. It cuts heavy foods and works well with citrus.


  1. A really cute creative bento--and your post about it is infectiously fun! I'm so looking forward to our local farmer's market starting for the season this weekend (I'm in the Mid-Atlantic/Northern VA area) and also find the seasonal delights of the market to be a major bento inspiration :)

  2. Thanks bentobird! We are so lucky in Sonoma County to have year round farmers markets. I try to shop there at least once a week. BTW, my lips did not turn blue after eating this bento, thank goodness!