Saturday, May 7, 2016

Bento (192) - Ham and Pineapple Skewers (and a glimpse into my bento making madness)

It's been a long time since I did a bento "how to" (and really, these things would probably work out better if I planned them in advance), but as I was making today's pineapple and ham skewer bento, I thought it would be fun to give you a glimpse into my bento making madness...which is also a small confession that, while the end-product may end up looking decent most of the time, it's mostly the product of me half-panicking around the kitchen in the morning.

For those who just want the usual quick summary--today's bento was ham and pineapple skewers.  Top right is home-made salsa and pineapple with a single accent blueberry (because I'm snobby like that).  Bottom right is store-bought quinoa crackers (which are a lot like rice cakes), blueberries, and a silicone flower cup filled with almond slivers, chocolate chips, and an accent raspberry (because I couldn't let the blueberries hog all the action).  You may now ignore the rest of my blog post if you so desire.

First, I began by putting in a handful of lettuce to act as a back-drop and support for the ham and pineapple skewers.

 Next, I made sure that I had an adequate supply of cubed ham and pineapples.  Next time I might try some fancy marinating...but for today, I was keeping it sweet and simple.

 For each skewer, I applied one piece of pineapple and one piece of ham.  It helps that I have adorable animal shaped skewers, but really, in a pinch, toothpicks would do just fine.

 I kept adding additional skewers.  Note that I alternated the order of the pineapple and ham in order to add some color contrast.

 Add skewers until no other skewer can fit in the lettuce pool.  The octopus skewer proved to be too tall, so his ham and pineapple goodness was sacrificed to the maker and he was banished to the cutting board, and later a bath of dish soap followed by a time-out on the dish-drying mat.

 Here I felt rather proud of myself for finishing the main part of the bento.  This was shortly followed by the realization that I had no idea what to give Goose for sides.  When in doubt, I break out the cute silicone holders and hope for sudden inspiration (see my earlier note about trying to plan my bento before doing a "how to make a bento blog in the future).  Salsa!  I have leftover salsa in the fridge.  Then it's just a matter of finding crackers or chips!

 After shuffling through the pantry, I found the quinoa crackers...which were slightly too big.  A few minutes with a chef's knife reduced them to proper size.  They didn't turn out exactly uniform.  I make no apologies!

 Then I filled the cup with salsa...and suddenly realized that any salsa spillover would result in soggy crackers for Goose.  Given the high occurrence rate of bento tip-overs, I decided it would be safer to move the crackers to a compartment with no liquid components. 

 Of course...that begged the question of what food I could use that would survive a salsa spill and still be edible.  After a few minutes of racking my brain, I realized the salsa was fruit-based (peaches), and I HAD AN ENTIRE TUPPERWARE CONTAINER OF PINEAPPLE sitting right in front of me.  ::face-palm::

I then used blueberries to fill in all the spaces around the remaining silicone flower cup.  I figured blueberries wouldn't make the quinoa crackers soggy unless Goose managed to apply a massive amount of force to his bento (like throwing it under a car tire).  I thought the Salsa and pineapple lacked a little color, so I went ahead and threw one blueberry up top, just to be artsy.

 Then I filled the silicone cup with almond slivers and chocolate (mostly out of desperation).  Of course, once I had already filled the cup, it dawned on me that the crackers and blueberries have a very similar color scheme to the chocolate chips and almond slivers.  ::second face palm::

 I fixed it by adding a freeze-dried strawberry.  ' 

 Ta da!  >.<  A totally beautiful, put-together bento that really didn't take 20 minutes longer than I thought.  Really.

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