I can’t get bento out of my mind this week. After testing out a new bento box purchase a few days ago, I made another one just because. This time I added a bit of middle eastern flair with a Lentils & Peas Salad inspired by a recipe in Moro East. I served it with flax & sesame seeds lavash, thick Greek yogurt, and almond stuffed medjool dates for dessert. I never thought earthy lentils pair so well with sweet peas. They are dressed in a classic red wine vinaigrette with shallots and mint. Another way to think about it is putting classic French lentil salad and peas with mint together in one dish. Moro’s Sam Clark is absolutely correct. Lentils and peas are meant to be together!
This bento is very typical of what I pack. There is little to none Japanese cooking yet the aesthetics of a well-balanced meal consisting of numerous courses fitting compactly into container remains. I love the visual interest created from different colours and shapes. But more importantly, I enjoy the variety of tastes. My strategy generally involves complementing dishes from my normal meal preparation with little bites of pantry staples and simple side dishes that do not require much cooking. Of course, I always keep in mind a reasonable balance between lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and fats.
A neat thing about having a collection of bento accessories at my disposal is the freedom to mix and match. For my Lentils & Peas bento, I used three boxes from my Muji set. The long thin box contains a good size serving of the salad while the individual smaller boxes can keep the lavash crunchy and separate the sweet from the savoury. I opted to use two elastic fasteners to secure the boxes as one unit. The full-size bamboo cutlery is lightweight and fits neatly under the elastics. There is nothing fancy about the boxes. Once I put them together though, there is a simplicity to its clean uncluttered look that evokes images of Scandinavian designs.
Speaking of bento boxes, I have a giveaway! This is the first giveaway I host on Dessert By Candy and I really hope it is something you like. Remember the cute bento box I showcased a few days ago? I like it so much I actually bought two sets! One lucky reader will get to keep one.
This is a two tier bento box with matching cutlery and elastic band. You can use both tiers or just one depending on how much you want to pack. The inner plastic lids have soft seal to keep liquid inside. This box is even safe for microwave. The box and cutlery are both made in Japan. You can check out more items from the same collection here (in Japanese).
To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is to leave a comment on this post before Sunday July 17, 2011 23:59:59 Eastern time. A winner will be selected at random the next day and announced at Dessert By Candy on Monday July 18, 2011. Contest is only open to readers with mailing address in Canada and the US.
So what makes you smile when you unpack a homemade lunch?