Sunday, June 27, 2010

mini strawberries and funny little radish flowers

Bentos aren't the only cute things around here. Today, we went to the Farmer's Market and I bought some outrageously expensive strawberries. Matthew thinks I'm crazy for buying them but they looked just like the magnificent and heavenly little strawberries that we use to bring in to Farmer's Market(the natural grocery store I used to work at, not to be confused with A Farmer's Market) for a couple of short weeks in June. We used to have people sign up for waiting lists and such, just so that they could buy flats of the sweet creatures.

Turns out, these strawberries are very, very good, although not quite as good as the ones I remember from Oregon(but then, as a true Oregonian, I think everything is better in Oregon).

So, now my only question: what do I do with them? Eat them straight? or turn them into something magnificent? my "magnificent something" could turn into a real flop, but eating them just straight seems like a very expensive snack.

In other news, my radish seeds sprouted two very sad little creatures and one incredible, giant radish "tree" that has since flowered. It isn't often that I see such a magnificent radish flower and so, I took a picture.

It really is lovely!

Please Note: I apologize for all the strawberry photos looking the same. As it turns out, the particular strawberry that I selected for photographing was not the best looking strawberry in the basket. It really only had one attractive side, hence, all the photos of the exact same side/angle. Next time I'll make my selections more carefully, and possibly (but not likely) be less lazy about going back inside to find a better specimen. At least he was the tastiest strawberry =)

Bento Practice: The wee mousey

This little fellow turned out pretty well; in fact, he was the only successful aspect of my hurried, before-work bento practice. I realized that my bento making skills really need some practice, and so, on Friday I tried to make a bento with just vegetables, a few cheese flowers and a little honey roasted ham flower. Well, it made me realize that rice is essential for bentos; it props up all the goodies and creates a clean palate for color. My bento was just a jumble of little, cute treats that rattled around in their box. Matthew was very encouraging and suggested that I could easily redeem my silly mess by calling it Mouse in the Underbrush, therefore explaining why the little mouse was almost hidden by all the veggies and such. the whole scene was actually kind of cute in a way, but certainly not worth photographing. The little mouse, on the other hand, was just too cute not to show. Admittedly, his mouth is rather large and looks more like a moustache (mouse stash) but that's still cute!

Little mouse amongst the flowers.

He really is pretty cute.

Little mouse atop a flower.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

cutie bento: first attempt

For the last few nights, I've struggled to get to sleep. I've felt restless, lying in bed thinking about tiny scraps of nori or bits of cheese, even itty bitty quail eggs and all the fun things I could make with them. Of course, I blame my dear sweet little mother. Yes, it all goes back to her! She is the one who sent me one of the cutest little bento making books I've ever seen, one that makes adorable-bento-creation an attainable goal. Never before have I felt that it was possible to do anything more than envy the talents of those who make clever little bento boxes. Now that I know better, I can't stop thinking about how very, very much I want to make my own cute lunches.

This afternoon, I finally had a chance to try my hand at this rather laborious task. I will come right out and say it, my bentos look nothing like I wish they did. They in no way look professional, and for right now, in my learning stage, I'm just copying the work of the darling ladies who wrote the book. Who knows, perhaps I'll never get to the point of coming up with my own ideas and ways to make them happen, but until then I'll enjoy the crudely copied creatures that I make and eat. It's times like these when I really wish I'd been given just a little bit of my dear mother's creativity and talents.

This was my bento. I didn't give my tiny chick feet, but she was still cute.

This was Matthew's bento. His little chick has feet which I think makes him cuter. I dyed the tiny quail eggs with turmeric and I must not have left them in the dye for long enough because they came out a little bit blotchy. The eyes are made of a bit of cheese and a mustard seed.

The stir fry left over from yesterday with a side of fresh veggies and a close up of that lopsided little chickie. The blue star squeezie bottle has soy sauce in it to freshen up the stir fry.

After I ate my bento and delivered Matthew's to him at work, I decided to make a little test Eggie. This little Eggie is copied directly from the book. Of course, mine isn't perfect but I still liked it. I will say, even after the little Eggie took a mighty tumble from atop his bowl, he still looked okay and I took the pictures anyway so there are some funny little bits stuck to him, but I'll probably eat him later and just ignore the funny bits =)

Here you can see the sad little lint on the side of his head.

Eggie's eyes aren't perfect but I hope to buy a tiny hole punch to make eyes instead of cutting them out of nori with toenail scissors.

Obviously, my bento creations need some work, but, like the title says, this was a first attempt and I had so much fun making them.