Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Santa Onigiri

It is super COLD today, and I am wearing a scarf while I write this. Today I am featuring a bento I made about two weeks ago. I needed a Christmas-y image for my super awesome bento calendar.

In this bento: an adorable handshaped onigiri rice ball with a pink egg sheet hat with a cheese tassle, and nori facial details, slices of chicken sausage, steamed broccoli, and various cheese and egg sheet stars and snowflakes. I made the egg sheet by following tips from Lia at Bentolicious. Her tips section is really great, I highly recommend checking it out.

As I mentioned, this image is featured in my brand new bento calendar. It's filled with fun bento images and bento tips for each month. My copies arrived yesterday and I could not be happier! The quality of the paper and construction of the calendar is excellent. I really love zazzle.com and have used them multiple times for custom t-shirts, post cards, and more. Today is the last day to get 40% off of calendars, so if you want to pick up the Sonoma Bento 2011 Calendar, today is the day to do it! Use this code at checkout for the 40% discount: 40CLNDRS2011 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Crepes Bento

Today a bunch of twitter friends having a little Twitter Food Party. It's fun: we agree on a dish, and then everyone makes their own version of it. Today it's PANCAKES! You can be loose with your interpretation, like savory or sweet, and also different cultures come into play. I thought about Pfannekuchen (a German pancake with fruit - sooooo good), but I settled on crepes.

In this bento: crepes (filled with thinly sliced white mushrooms, provolone cheese, and roasted turkey breast), baby carrots, roasted brussel sprouts with walnuts from the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market and Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese, flower shaped watermelon radish slices from Wild Rose Ranch, 'rabbit' apples from Lambert's Apples, and some steamed edamame.

I got this bento box at Borders Books this past week. I saw Sheri of Happy Little Bento post some pictures of their new bento boxes (made by Paperchase) and I just had to go out and get it. This is actually the largest of 4 boxes, each nesting inside of the next. Each one has a different little xmas image on top. So darling! And I got four bento boxes (yes, the small one is pretty small) for 10 bucks! Woot!

If you are on twitter, check out #twitterfoodparty for all of the fun pancake dishes today. And join us next time for foodie fun!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Expelliarmus Bentokus!

I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 yesterday. It was pretty exciting, and I wore a temporary scar tattoo on my forehead, along with my plastic Harry Potter glasses. Yes, yes I am a huge nerd. But it's so much FUN! The movie was good, although that Harry and Hermione kiss came out of left field and made me feel bad for the 9-year-old kid who decided to celebrate his birthday at the theater. His poor little friends will be scarred for life. To commemorate the beginning of the end, I had to make a Harry Potter bento. ~8-)

This is the younger (kinder, gentler) version of Harry when he was just a little wizard at Hogwarts. Harry is made of onigiri (rice balls) with nori covering the lower onigiri, and nori for the hair, glasses, and eyes. His scar is drawn on with food coloring pens, and his mouth is part of a pink egg sheet. (It was my first try at egg sheet and it worked ok, gotta try again soon.) Harry's Gryffindor scarf is cheddar cheese and bits of red bell pepper. His wand is a pretzel stick with magical white pomegranate seeds (from De'Santis Farms) shooting out the end. There's steamed broccoli, a chunk of roasted delicata squash (from Ridgeview Farms), baby carrots, and a few Aidell's chicken teriyaki meatballs as well.

This bento also works for hapabento's November B.O.M.B. - this month the theme is Squash! I am sure I will have another bento that will fit the theme before November 30th. Check out the B.O.M.B. entries here, and be sure to submit your own.

BIG NEWS: I made a bento calendar for 2011! It's filled with lots of fun pictures of bento, and each month has a special tip to help make bento-ing easier. Check it out here! And if you buy the calendar before November 30th, it's 40% off! Use this code at checkout to get 40% off: 40CLNDRS2011

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple Bento

Oh this one was so yummy! I have been using recipes from Everyday Food: Great Food Fast - a wonderful cookbook from Martha Stewart's minions. I say that because Martha does not write these books, her people do. I still love her, but I have to be realistic about these things.

This recipe is from the fall section (love cookbooks arranged by season!) and it was really easy to make. RecipeGirl also raves about this recipe and she posted it on her site. I had some leftover slices of pineapple that I did not roast along with the pork, and those slices ended up in this bento.

Besides the slices of pork and pineapple, there's a small onigiri rice ball that used up the rice we had with the dish, some cilantro sprigs (which are super tasty with pineapple), baby carrots, and fried padron peppers from Crescent Moon Farms.

And I wanted to take a second to introduce my brand new blog! My buddy CocoCarina and I started this hilariously named blog to review restaurants. We have one review under our belts, and will be scoping out a sushi place in the near future. If you plan on dining in the North Bay, be sure to give us suggestions for places to try, and check out our reviews before you dine. Check out Two Girls, One Restaurant here!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Godzilla Polenta Bento

Rrrawr!!! Godzilla Attacks Bento! Citizens flee in terror! Actually, this bento was really cute and fun to eat as well. I wasn't scared one bit... ok, maybe a little scared.

In this bento: teriyaki chicken meatballs from Aidell's, roasted brussel sprouts with Black Pig Meat Co Bacon, baby carrots, yellow bell peppers, white pomegranate arils from De'Santis Farms, and polenta in the shape of Godzilla.

I darkened the top of the polenta here in Photoshop so you can see the Godzilla shape a little better. I picked up the cutest little jello/custard mold at Daiso and I tried it out with a polenta recipe from Martha Stewart. It worked great! Click here to see Martha's very easy recipe for creamy baked polenta. It will firm up if you chill it in the fridge.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

In Flight Bentos

My lovely family came to visit this past weekend and we had a blast wine tasting, eating out, and shopping. It went by way too fast. But I saw an opportunity to make some in flight bentos for my mom, sis, and brother and had to do it! Debra of Hapa Bento makes them for her house guests all of the time, and I am so jealous of her guests! :) So I made these little snack bentos for my family to enjoy on their short flight from Santa Rosa to Seattle.

There's a heart shaped onigiri rice ball topped with a little spiral I punched out of nori seaweed in each box, plus carrot slices from Quivira Vineyards and Winery, red bell pepper slices, frozen Aidell's teriyaki chicken meatballs, and slices of persimmon tossed with lime juice to keep them from turning brown. The persimmon is from De'Santis Farms. I also used romaine lettuce and parsley (from Quivira) for decoration and to separate the different portions of the snack bentos.

As you can see, my family loved their snack bentos! And the meatballs had thawed by the time I presented the bentos, since I made them in the morning and then stowed them in the fridge until they had to leave for their flight. It was really fun to do, and wasn't hard to make three little bento snacks since I put them together in an assembly line kind of way. If you want to make in flight bentos for visitors as a parting gift, I suggest collecting a few disposable containers to use, so you don't have to part with a beloved bento box. I found these plastic containers at Daiso, but berry containers are great for this use, too.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Rock The Vote Bento

Whew, I am tired. We did special election night coverage last night and I was at the station until midnight, then I was so amped I couldn't go to sleep so I stayed up til about 2am. Totally dragging today. But we had a great show with lots of local politicos calling in. To celebrate, a bento made quickly with leftovers and a few stars in honor of a fun election day.

In this bento: bbq pork from G&G Supermarket, a fish container of soy sauce, rice balls with nori stars, steamed edamame, a slice of mango, a piece of parsley from Quivira Winery, grapes from De'Santis, and baby carrots. I love magic round bentos!

This bento also celebrates my win in the Food Ninja contest at lafujimama.com. It was SO MUCH FUN to put together a Food Ninja video, and I am thrilled to say that my video won in the video category. My prize: 10 Inch ManPan Saute Pan (4.5 pound) by igourmet.com! Woohoo! Also congrats to Sheri of Happy Little Bento for winning in the photo category. Thank you to everyone who voted for us. You ROCK!

This bento is also included in Shannon's What's For Lunch Wednesday blog. Check it out for great lunch ideas.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Quivira Bento

Living in Sonoma County sure has its benefits, like amazing producers committed to the land. I had the opportunity to interview the farm manager from Quivira Vineyards and Winery last night, Andrew Beedy. He was telling me about an event coming up at the winery on Sunday, November 7th celebrating the harvest and locally raised turkeys. I also interviewed a 4H youth grower, the leader of the 4H Sonoma County Heritage Turkey Project, and the leader of Slow Food Russian River. It was a packed studio! Andrew brought along some goodies from Quivira to showcase the amazing biodynamic farm there and the wonderful things they produce. I immediately started thinking about how to use them in a bento!

I decided to do something simple while I listened to the Giants game (!!) and cooked last night: frittata. So many possibilities! I used eggs, beet greens, and rainbow chard from Quivira to make this simple frittata. I also added a bit of Black Pig Meat Co bacon, because it's delicious, and topped it with cheese. I ate part of the frittata for dinner and saved the rest for today's bento. On top of the slices of frittata are a few nori flowers. There are slices of carrot and a sprig of parsley from Quivira as well. That parsley tastes AMAZING! I think I'll have to make some tabbouleh or salsa verde to really highlight its amazing flavor. There's a rice ball, a radish from Ridgeview Farms, grapes from De'Santis, pepper slices from The Patch, and an oak leaf shaped slice of pepperjack cheese.

It was nice to have this protein packed little bento so I can be fueled up for election night coverage. If there's still time where you live, GO VOTE!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fear The Sushi Beard!

Ha ha! Today is National Sushi Day in Japan and a few bento buddies are celebrating with a twitterfoodparty showcasing sushi. I have never made sushi rolls before, so this was a perfect opportunity to try it out. I have to say, for my first time, I think I did pretty well. And of course, today the San Francisco Giants could clinch the World Series in Game 5, so I had to make a Fear The Beard Bento! Two birds, one bento.

Fear The Beard refers to closing pitcher Brian Wilson and his playoff/World Series beard. It's quite the sight to behold and I am pretty sure he is dying it black with Just For Men dye.

The sushi portion of the bento has mango, coconut shrimp, and cilantro rolls, baby carrots, bbq pork from G&G Supermarket in Santa Rosa, a fish container with soy sauce, and a piece of broccoli.

The Giants portion of the bento has a Brian Wilson onigiri decorated with nori beard and ballcap, cheddar cheese bill, nori eyes, and bell pepper mouth. Also in this section: grapes from De'Santis Farms, purple bell pepper from The Patch in Sonoma, french breakfast radishes from Ridgeview Farms, baby carrots, and steamed edamame. I put a panda pick in the edamame to represent Pablo Sandoval, nicknamed Kung Fu Panda for his wicked hitting skills.