Monday, January 31, 2011

Bento (126) - How To Bento

To continue the bento insanity . . . I didn't have time to bento in the morning, so I stuffed a grocery bag with ingredients and took a paring knife to work : ^.^ Then it dawned on me that if I was going to make a bento at work, I might as well photograph the step-by-step for the curious. Admittedly, I had a rough idea of strawberry spinach salad and skewers when I stuffed the bag, but then I had to spread out the ingredients and put some thought into it.

Step 1: Ingredients

We have store-bought fried chicken (they were out of everything else), leftover fried udon noodles, leftover deli pasta, pickled plums, half a cucumber, spinach, strawberries, mozarella cheese, various picks (since I knew I wanted skewers), a sauce container with vinaigrette, and an empty bento box with silicone cupcake holder. Observe the joy of bento!! MU HA HA.

Step 2: Pasta Salad

Stuff cupcake holder with pasta salad. Leave a small depression for pickled plum.

Step 3: Pickled Plum

Wash and dry spinach. Tear off a small piece and use it to cup the pickled plum and to keep the flavor of the plum separate from the pasta salad. Stuff plum and spinach leaf into salad.

Step 4: Spinach Salad

Lay down a bed of spinach leaves. In this case, I loosely "rolled" the leaves which made them look fluffy and left open spaces to stick strawberries in later.

Step 5: Strawberries

Cut strawberries in quarters to make cute little triangles. EAT ANY EXTRA . . . this is very important :P
Make one layer of strawberry tips to cover where the spinach meets the cupcake holder. Stuff strawberries, small point out, in the rolled leaves. Scatter a few extra torn spinach leaves to make the spinach look "leafy."

Step 6: Bed of Noodles.

I knew I would need something to support my skewers, so I laid down a bed of leftover udon noodles. . . though this bento was light on protein, so I probably should have used extra chicken meat instead.

Step 7: Garnish!

Add a few spinach leaves to the noodles to provide a background contrast and keep the skewers separate from the noodles.

Step 8: Sauce Container

Add the sauce container while there is room (since it is rather rigid and non-squishable).

Step 9: Skewers! Cucumber Chunks.

And now for skewer construction. I cut a one inch thick piece of cucumber.

Then skinned four sides to leave some dark green coloring.

And cut it into quarters to make nice thick square chunks.

Step 10: Skewers! Chicken and Cheese!

Once the cucumber was ready, I peeled the skin off the fried chicken and did my best to tear off large skewer size chunks of meat. I also opened the mozarella cheese and rolled it into soft little white balls. (Cheese is slimy. Just sayin'.) If I had thought about it, I would have sprinkled salt on the cucumber and let it set while I did this step. Consider that an optional step 9.5. ^.^

Step 11: Skewers!

Now that all the ingredients were prepared, I created skewers by poking a cute animal skewer through cucumber, chicken, and cheese. The next skewer I did chicken, cucumber, and cheese to switch up the order and make them seem a little different.

Step 12: Places, Everyone!

Once the skewers were made (notice how messy the plate was - skewers tend to require a lot of ingredients since half of them fall apart!), I place them side by side in the bento box, on top of the udon noodle bed.

First skewer:


Step 14: Detail Work

I took a moment to look at the box and decided to add an additional strawberry tip and some mozarella cheese to make a small strawberry flower above the sauce container.

Step 13: Enjoy!

And stared at my lunch for a good five minutes before consuming. OM NOM NOM!!!!!!

Happy bento-ing, All!

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