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how to make sweet n’ sour pickled radish May 31, 2009

Posted by AnnaTheRed in how-to (all), how-to - decorations/basic stuff.
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My boyfriend and I were supposed to go to Boston for his niece’s 2nd birthday party this weekend, but we had to cancel it because his sister had another baby girl! We are so excited for his sister and her family. 🙂

Since we weren’t going to Boston, we were able to attend the birthday party of one of my old friends from my art school. The party was at McCarren park in Brooklyn. The weather was nice, and it was very nice to see my old friends. Understandably, there were a lot of people besides us at the park, but we didn’t expect to see zombies. Yes, there were dozens of zombies at the park. Apparently there was a zombie crawl (not a walk, but crawl) in Williamsburg. I guess zombies are hip this summer.

We came home late from the park, and didn’t have the time to do a full how-to today. So I decided to show how I store leftover veggies. Sometimes, I use radish for my kyaraben. The candle on the cake for Portal bento, a cigarette for Mechazawa in Cromartie High bento, mushrooms for the Totoro parade bento, etc… Radish is a good ingredient for solid white things in kyaraben, like the snowflake I’ve made before. I usually just eat leftover radish raw, but if there’s a lot leftover I make sweet pickled radish.

[Basic measurement for this recipe for sweet n’ sour radish pickle]
Rice vinegar – 4 TBS
Sugar – 1 and 1/2 TBS
Salt – a pinch
Lemon juice (if you have any) – 1/2 TS

You can just double, triple, quadruple the measurements according to how much radish you have.

1. Don’t peel the skin of the radish, and cut it in four pieces. *Its shape doesn’t really change the taste of pickled radish, but I was told it’s crunchier this way.

2. Sprinkle salt (not in the measurements) over the radish, put it in a ziploc bag and try to remove as much air as possible from the bag, let it sit for 30 minutes in the fridge. (if you don’t have a ziploc bag, you can put in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap) *This process will remove water from the radish.

3. Mix all ingredients in a glass bowl or jar. If the sugar doesn’t dissolve, you can simmer or microwave the mixture until the sugar dissolves, but don’t over cook it! The vinegar will lose its acidity if you cook it too much.

4. Take the radish out of ziploc bag, wrap it with paper towel and squeeze it to remove excess water.

5. Put it in a jar, and your sweet n’ sour pickled radish will be ready in about an hour at the earliest, but I let it sit in the fridge at least over night. As you can see, radish’s skin will dye everything inside the jar, and it’s very pink and cute. I also put daikon (Asian radish) in there. The sweet and sour taste is soooooo good.

I probably tripled the ingredients to fill up the jar, but I don’t think you need to stick to the exact measurements. 😛 You can add more or put less sugar if you want. Radish stays crunchy for a really long time. I made this jar of pickle about a month ago, and it’s still yummy.

How to make sweet n’ sour pickled radish on my flickr

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

If you have any questions about any of my how-to’s, please feel free to leave a comment or email me!

non-bento#15 quail egg prinnies May 30, 2009

Posted by AnnaTheRed in bento blog (all), bento blog - non bento.
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When I made the Prinny bento, I had prepared some food to put in the bento, but I couldn’t used it because I ran out of time. I didn’t want to waste it, so I just put it in our regular bento.

Non-bento #15: Quail egg Prinnies
Created and eaten on: 5/29/2009

Before I started making the Prinny bento, I chopped purple cabbage, and microwaved it in a bowl with water. Then I boiled quail eggs, peeled them, and let the eggs soak in the cabbage juice. (see “how to dye eggs naturally”) I wanted to make a couple of Prinnies to put in the background of the bento, but I didn’t have enough time to finish it.

So, the next morning, I took the eggs out the cabbage juice and gently washed them with water. I sliced the side of the eggs, cut cheese with an oval shaped cutter and put it on the egg for the stomach. I cut cheese into a diamond shape for the beak. For their eyes I cut out cheese with a straw, and put black sesame seeds with tweezers. I put a couple of layers of cheese and cut it into a cube for the pouch.

Then I remember what my boyfriend said about Prinny bento. He said that I should put a word bubble and put “Dood” in it. In the game, Prinnies use the word “dood” as an interjection. So I sliced kamaboko (fish cake) and cut it into a shape of word bubble. And I cut seaweed to make the word “Dood.”

I made them all generic Prinnies, but I suppose you can slice a cherry tomato and remove seeds, and wrap it around the egg to make a hero Prinny.

I think this is also great for non-Prinny fans. Remove the pouch on his stomach, it could be a regular penguin. It’s so easy I don’t think I need to do a how-to on this. If you find putting a black sesame seed on cheese difficult, you can make it with a regular egg, and use a hole puncher with seaweed for the eyes.

– quail egg dyed in cabbage juice
– cheese
– black sesame seed

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

bento#50 prinny May 28, 2009

Posted by AnnaTheRed in bento blog (all), bento blog - video game.
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My boyfriend is still playing Patapon 2 on his PSP the most of times, but just the other day, he was trying out a new game.

Bento #50: Prinny
Created and eaten on: 5/27/2009

Prinnies are penguin looking characters that first appeared in Disgaea. According to wikipedia, “a prinny is a small, usually blue, pouch-wearing penguin-like creature with disproportionately small bat wings and two peg legs where feet would normally be. When thrown, they explode on impact.” Prinnies gained such popularity, the game company decided to make a game of Prinnies, and “Prinny: Can I really be a hero?” was released for PSP in February this year. The game is an action platformer, but with 1000 lives to spare. Nothing that complicated but looks very fun.

I thought of re-creating the scene from the actual game first, but then Prinny would be very tiny… So I decided to just steal the design from the game package. Of course, I didn’t think I could make complicated enemies in the background, so I drew the daikon (Japanese radish) from a stage in the game.

First I put sauteed renkon (lotus root) at the bottom of a bento box. Originally I was going to just put soboro (see “how to make soboro”) for the ground, but I used soboro recently in the Patapon bento, and it’d be a bit boring. So I cut up chicken breast into squares, put panko on (Japanese bread crumbs) and fried it in a pan and made tiny chicken cutlet bits. (it’s slightly healthier than regular chicken cutlets because it doesn’t use egg and flour) I put it together to make the stone pavement Prinny stands on. It was tedious, but it worked out better than I imagined.

I made the basic shape of Prinny with rice mixed black sesame seed and plain rice, so I knew exactly how much rice I could use to put above the stone pavement. After I used all the rice, I put boiled broccoli above it. And I cut daikon into a shape of small daikon, microwaved it (to remove the bitterness), put it over the broccoli and made a daikon leaf with broccoli.

For Prinny’s beak and the belt I cut cheese and put a black sesame seed on his beak. Then I cut seaweed for his wing, put it on cheese, and cut the cheese around it.
For the pouch, I carved a potato into the shape of the pouch (two parts) the night before.

Carved potato

Back of the pouch has no side.

For the peg legs, I cut potato into skinny triangles, and I fried them. Then I cut a small piece of cheese for the logo on the pouch.

I was going to use fake crab meat for his red scarf, but I wasn’t sure if it’d stay wrapped around his neck, so I decided to use some red pepper I had in the fridge.

To make his sword I cut konnyaku (yam cake) and kamaboko (fish cake) and used leftover fried potato. For his eyes I sliced and cut out kamaboko with a straw and put seaweed I cut out using a hole puncher.

To make Prinny more Prinny-sh, I made a sweat drop with kamaboko and put it on his head.

Originally, I wanted to put more characters and items in the bento, but because I changed my plan and used cooked chicken cutlet, I was running out of time, and could only make a strawberry shortcake with cheese and tomato skin…

I should’ve definitely put something on the plain rice part in the background. Because both daikon, rice and the blade on the sword are white, it makes the bento look very washed out. Also his legs and the chicken cutlet are almost the same color, so his legs are barely noticeable. Arrrgh, only if I had a little more time… =/

– rice mixed with black sesame seed, and plain rice
– red pepper for his scarf
– seaweed on kamaboko for his eyes
– cheese and a black sesame seed for his beak
– seaweed on cheese for his wing
– fried potato and cheese for his pouch and belt
– fried potato for his legs
– kamaboko for his sweat drop

– daikon and broccoli

Strawberry short cake:
– cheese and tomato skin

Other food:
– renkon
– rice
– broccoli
– chicken cutlet

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