Friday, November 27, 2009

Bento Escapades, vol. 2

Just wanted to include a shot of the latest bento attempt, put together on Tuesday. I love making these things SO much! And Bob has even officially sanctioned my new hobby of construction food art for the purpose of consumption.
Firstly, here is my latest construction for him:
There are a lot of things going on here. He has cantaloupe on skewers, kiwi fruits cut out in sakura blossom shapes, Star fruit marinated in orange juice lining the back, carrots, a cup of edamame hummus for dipping stuff in, broccoli with some nori furikake seasoning sprinkled over it, a container of Greek yogurt with honey, and a small side salad consisting of couscous, feta, pine nuts and pomegranate seeds. I was damned proud of this setup. You can see the use of my new furikake seasonings and the blue silicon cup for holding sauces (at least until I get sauce and mayo containers)

Then I made my own. And was equally proud of it:
It consists of virtually the exact same things but with a few differences. First, it's in my official Okinawan Hello Kitty bento box. Secondly, I have no broccoli or star fruit but I do have more kiwi fruit. Thirdly there is a little silicone heart-cup filled with asiago and artichoke spread for dipping the carrots in to. And finally, you can see that my cantoloupe was impaled on picks with adorable little animal heads and off to the side for the very slippery kiwi fruit I included a bunny-topped plastic pick-fork. I gave myself the same salad, and I tossed in a clementine orange to eat with everything else.
Every time I do this I am incredibly excited about it, I love how it turns out, and I think of new creative ways to work with what I've got, along with what I'd need to pull things off in the future.
Tonight I went out and purchased what are called oshibori or small cloths that are used while hot to wash ones hands before and after a meal. At some of the more authentic Japanese restaurants and sushi bars, you've probably received these. I also grabbed a few bento boxes specifically for hauling onigiri triangles around. They're so disgustingly easy to make that I decided they would be a good default lunch staple. I can't wait to make some up for Bob.
And just to confirm that I am a complete addict and do not intend at any point in the future to give up my habit, I bought a craft supplies box with lots of small boxes and drawers to store things like food picks and forks and sauce containers and cookie cutters. I'm hoping to consolidate all of it somewhere that will be easy to get to and not take up a ton of valuable shelf space.
One final thought before hitting the hay, I have discovered a website called BentoTV, which has several hundred short videos about setting up, storing, cooking and separating food for your bento. The host is the cutest person I have ever seen, and I say this with no exaggeration. Her voice and demeanor are adorable. I'm sure she capitalizes on this, in fact. It's a wonderful website, though, and I intend to go back to it for more tips and tricks on how to do this stuff.
I love creating food artz. I can't wait until I've got everything I need to set it up properly and move forward! There's something almost meditative about choosing foods based on taste, texture, health, and color... then setting that off by picking a theme or choosing a way to arrange the food that looks attractive. Those Japanese, you must love their dedication to being complicated in their simplification of things!
In the near future I am looking forward to the arrival of several new bento boxes, some furoshiki (the cloths you use to create a "bag" for the meal so its easy to carry) and a few final tools to round everything out. To the left here is Bob's new light blue furoshiki and the Hello Kitty bag I bought to contain my Hello Kitty bento box. The furoshiki is tied in a traditional manner, but looks like a huge lump because I was trying to balance tupperware, a short dish, and a weirdly shaped yogurt container. Normally it would look a lot more streamlined.
I'm exhausted. There will be more about Thanksgiving tomorrow. Adieu, world! Bon soir!

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