Sunday, January 17, 2010

Building a Better Bento: Poking at a Theme Bento

Date of Creation: 3/16/09

Ingredients: Top - Sushi rolls made with cucumber and smoked salmon, wasabi on cucumber. Bottom - Slices of green apple, green pepper, and cucumber. White Mint chocolate square on the side.

I made this bento for St. Patrick's Day, which was a bit of a change. I don't usually do theme bento (unless the theme is "yummy"!), so some of the specific tricks, like dying rice, was new to me. The slices in the sidecar were really excellent, but the top part was less than stellar.

Improvements: Lesson number one from this - CUCUMBER DOES NOT WORK TO HOLD WASABI! Cucumbers are fairly watery, which meant that my wasabi dissolved in the cucumber juice and then spread across the bottom of the box. Mm. Wet, wasabi/cucumbery sushi. Yeah, not. When I look back at this picture, the main thing I remember from this lunch was the taste of wasabi overpowering everything else in the sushi roll. Now, when I use wasabi as a condiment in a box, I'll put it either in a little condiment container or in a little silicone cup.

Also, the sushi rolls could have been done better. I'm not sure if I had a sushi mat at this point or not, but better rolling technique would have helped. Now, 10 months later, I'm still trying to get a passable roll, so I know I still need practice on this. Since I was going for a visual impact of green, I should have centered the salmon a little better before rolling up the roll. It would have looked better if I had the pink salmon totally encircling the cucumber pieces. Lastly, the green food coloring in the rice is not working. I'm pretty sure I did a good amount of mixing, but it still ended up blotchy. I've read about people using actual food and spices to dye rice. It may have been worth it to do some research on what to use to get a green color.

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