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non-bento#6 “real” rice cake February 28, 2009

Posted by AnnaTheRed in bento blog (all), bento blog - non bento.
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3 comments

This isn’t a bento, but I really liked how it turned out and it was easy, so I’m going to post it!

Like I mentioned, my bento caught up with my blog, and I didn’t make bento for Saturday… So I was thinking about doing a dinner blog. But I got up earlier than usual for a Saturday morning and went to the city to shop for a new game (“Tatsunoko VS Capcom for Wii :D) today, so when I came home, I was pretty tired and decided to take a nap.

Not a good idea. orz

I wanted to cook salmon, but the fish market was already closed. So I got online and looked for an easy recipe for the dinner and found this!

non-bento #4:  Real Rice Cake
Created and eaten on: 3/1/2009

First I made a thin egg omelette and cut it into strips. (I think you can also use scrambled egg if you’re feeling lazy) Then I made beef soboro (ground beef cooked with soy sauce, sake, and sugar). The recipe says plain rice, but I had “Sushi Taro,” so I decided to use it and mixed it with rice. (“Sushi Taro” is a “gomoku zushi mix”, which you can get at an Asian grocery store.)

After the egg, soboro, and rice was ready, I took out a Springform 9 inch cake pan. I put egg in the pan first and spread it evenly. Then I put a thin layer of rice on top of the egg. Then I put soboro on the rice and spread it evenly. I put the rest of the rice on top of the soboro, and patted it tighter and tighter. When that was done, I flipped the pan onto a plate, took the outer part first, and removed the top part. (When you’re filling up the pan, the rice doesn’t have to fill up the pan, but you just have to make sure to pat the rice lightly so it won’t fall apart when it’s flipped.)

I decorated it with cherry tomatoes and scallions, and ta-da! It’s a cake made of rice!

I think this will be a great dish for a party. (though, you might want to pre-cut the rice cake to prevent the rice from falling apart while you cut it) It’s super easy, and all you need is rice (Japanese or Korean rice. Other rice isn’t sticky enough to hold the shape!) eggs, ground beef (or ground chicken or ground pork or tuna) and a cake pan!

Rice cake
– egg
– soboro (ground beef cooked with soy sauce, sake and sugar)
– rice mixed with Sushi Taro
– cherry tomato
– scallion

For more pictures of my bento, visit Bento! set and Bento details! set on my flickr page.

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bento#39 Mechazawa of Cromartie High Schoo February 26, 2009

Posted by AnnaTheRed in bento blog (all), bento blog - anime.
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2 comments

My gods! My blog has finally caught up with my current bento!! I was wondering when it’d happen when I started the blog about 3 months ago. It’s sooner than I thought.. probably due to lack of bento-ing the past month or two. I’d like to keep my bento blog 3 times a week with a how-to on Sunday, but I’m only human. So if I don’t have any bento to blog, I’ll probably blog about random stuff like my other hobbies, such as making plush, crafts and such.

When I was writing a post about Bento #36: Penny Arcade robot bento, I realized something. It was so strange that I’ve never even thought of this before, but Penny Arcade robot has a striking resemblance to a character from an anime/manga/live action show which my boyfriend also liked.

Bento #39: Mechazawa from Cromartie High
Created and eaten on: 2/26/2009

I don’t know how to describe Cromartie High. The show is a parody of other manga/anime shows which was about a men-only (not boys) high school filled with delinquents. Both Cromartie High and the one that was based on had a very similar style, and very well drawn character design. The major difference is that Cromartie High is just how silly it is. How silly? In the school, there are a character called Freddie who looks like he’s in 40’s and exactly like Freddie Mercury from Queens, a guy who eats dozens of pencils, a gorilla, and a robot. My favorite character was the robot, called Mechazawa. He looked like a garbage can in school uniform.

First I put lettuce on the bottom of a bento box. And I sliced and sauteed renkon and put the slices on the top of the lettuce. And I mixed rice with black sesame seeds and salt (see “how to dye rice naturally”) to make gray rice, and spread the rice thin in a rectangle shape on a plastic sheet. Then I put six meatballs I had made the night before on the rice and rolled the rice around the meatball. I placed the Mchazawa’s body into the bento box, and put a bit of gray rice on the top of his head to hide his meatballs. I put a little bit of rice on the top of Mechazawa’s body.

Top of his head is filled with rice...

...and you can kinda see the meatballs from the bottom.

Smoking is very bad for you, even if you're a robot!

Then I made skinny & long piece out of rice with black sesame seed and salt for his arms. I sliced and boiled konnyaku (yam cake), cut out circle shape using a bottle cap for his hands, and I sliced red radish and made a cigarette for him to hold. Then I cut open a fake crab meat stick and put it on the middle of his body as his red shirt. With the rest of rice with black sesame seed and salt, I made mini Mechazawa. (a.k.a. Mechazawa Beta) For his shirt, I cut kamaboko (fish cake) and put it on mini Mechzawa.

After I made both Mechazawas, I boiled some broccoli and put it in the bento. Then finally, I cut seaweed for Machazawa’s school uniform and mini Mechazawa’s pants and put it on them. I used a straw and a plastic bottle cap to cut out cheese for the button of Mechazawa’s school uniform, mini Mechazawa’s pants, and their eyes. I wasn’t going to put the text on Mechazawa’s shirt, but I thought this bento was too simple as is… So I decided to just cut out small & thin strips of seaweed and put them together to spell “Kon Jou”, meaning “Guts” (as in “guts to fight”), using a tweezers. This wasn’t a very good idea… Because seaweed itself was too small, and while I cut carrots into star shapes, the seaweed absorbed moisture and shrank and warped. T_T I wish I could’ve made the background a little more interesting than star shaped carrot since Mechazawa itself was quite easy…

Anyway, this was my first bento at our new apartment! Even though I haven’t done setting my new kitchen yet, my new kitchen definitely has more counter space than my boyfriend’s old place, and I’m very excited to make bento in there. 🙂

Mechazawa:
– rice mixed with black sesame seed and salt
– meatballs
– cheese for his eyes and the buttons
– seaweed
– konnyaku (yam cake) for his hands
– red radish for the cigarette

Mechazawa Beta:
– rice mixed with black sesame seed and salt
– kamaboko (fish cake)
– seaweed
– cheese for his eyes and the buttons

Other food:
– renkon (lotus root)
– lettuce
– broccoli
– carrot

For more pictures of my bento, visit Bento! set and Bento details! set on my flickr page.

bento#38 Paya-tan from Dai Mahou Touge February 24, 2009

Posted by AnnaTheRed in bento blog (all), bento blog - anime, stuffed stuff.
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2 comments

“Dai Mahou Touge” aka “Magical Witch Punie-chan”, is an anime show made by and for super anime nerds, yet even if you aren’t an anime nerd, you’ll still enjoy it. My boyfriend likes this show so much that he even did a review on this show before.
His favorite character in this show is Paya-tan. Looks like a cute mascot in any magical girl anime shows, but so NOT.
I’ve always wanted to make a Paya-tan bento, but I couldn’t think of any good way to make it because Paya-tan was the only non-human character in Dai Mahou Touge.

I think I’ve mentioned this before but, there are so many characters I want to make bento of including Paya-tan. Coming up with a character I want to make isn’t that hard, but finding something to go with the main character is. Then I remembered my favorite episode, about curry at a food stand at a school festival. This particular episode was about a school festival, like any other anime. But instead of showing the drama or trouble between students, the majority of the episode was focused on curry at a particular food stand. The curry at the stand was so popular that Punie-chan’s rival and her gang went to find out what the secret was. There they witnessed a horrifying ceremony held by the vegetables for the curry.

Bento #38: Paya-tan from DaiMahouTouge
Created and eaten on: 2/11/2009

In this ceremony, a potato takes a peeler and starts to peel his skin off by himself. It was as if he was committing harakiri. (part of the samurai honor code, it is to die with honor) After he peels himself, he jumps into a pot. All the vegetables had a face and they were talking and all very serious. It was just sooo dramatic that it was hilarious.

I decided that I want to make the curry scene with Paya-tan the night before and asked my boyfriend to cook curry that night. 😛 He didn’t know what I was making for a bento, but I just told him that I wanted to eat curry. (What can I say. His curry is darn good!)

The following morning, I put lettuce down in a bento box and put curry on right side of the bento on top of the lettuce (so it wouldn’t dye the bento box). Then I mixed rice with curry powder and ketchup (see “how to dye rice naturally”), I put a plastic wrap on my drawing, and put the rice over it. Then I shaped Paya-tan’s head and torso using a plastic wrap. After I finished shaping the body and head, I put it on the left side of the bento box. Since the other pieces on Paya-tan involved seaweed, I decided to make the mini-vegetables before putting seaweed on Paya-tan.

I cut potato and baby carrot, broccoli for the mini-vegetables first. Then I cut the pink part and white part of kamaboko (fish cake) and seaweed for their eyes, eyebrows and mouth.

The potato in the center lives by the code of the samurai.

Finally, I cut seaweed for Paya-tan’s eyes and ears, put it on cheese and cut around it. Then I cut seaweed for “Pa” in Japanese and put it on his stomach. I cut cheese for his horn, and I was going to finish it here. But Paya-tan didn’t look like him at all… so I made a knife with konnyaku (yam cake) and kamaboko (fish cake) for the blade and cheese for the handle.

Even though this anime show isn’t mainstream most of our friends have seen it and appreciated the details on the veggies. 😀 I still didn’t think that Paya-tan looked anything like the real Paya-tan at all… I think his head was too big, and his body was too stocky. Some seaweed pieces (Paya-tan’s eye brows and “Pa” letter) shrunk because of the moisture on the rice. I’ve made a plush of Paya-tan for my boyfriend before, and I think it looked so much better than my bento. 😛

PAYA!! (Paya-tan plush I made for my boyfriend. This is the "cute Paya-tan", and the other side is the "serious Paya-tan")

Paya-tan:
– rice mixed with curry powder and ketchup (see “how to dye rice naturally”)
– seaweed on cheese for his eyes and ears
– seaweed for “Pa” on his body and eyebrows
– cheese for his horn
– kamaboko (fish cake)

Potato:
– potato, seaweed and kamaboko

Carrot:
– baby carrot, seaweed, kamaboko and broccoli

Other food:
– chicken curry
– broccoli
– lettuce

For more pictures of my bento, visit Bento! set and Bento details! set on my flickr page.