Thursday, March 18, 2010
I can tell because the Japanese maples in my garden are unfurling their delicate leaves. Each morning I check to see if they have opened yet. My green one is completely open, but my red one will take a day or two more, I think. So for this bento I celebrate the anticipation I feel each spring while I wait for my tree to awaken from its wintry slumber.
Along with Korean Chicken, I made a lettuce-wrapped onigiri of kale/jade rice adorned with pink maple leaves. They are made of satsumaimo, Japanese sweet potato, which have been "finger-painted" with beet juice from fresh steamed beet. I decided to dye them this way because then I could get varying degrees of red color for each leaf. Plus, I didn't want to overcook by boiling in the beet juice after it was already cooked. Simply steam a small piece of beet for a few minutes, and it will begin to emit beet juice immediately. I placed the satsumaimo (naturally white in color) on the beet and lightly rubbed the color on. The leaf shapes are cut with a cutter. I like how they came out. To balance out the section, I added flower-cut baby carrots, steamed broccoli and peapods. In the fruit section I slipped in blood orange slices, a halved clementine and a strawberry fan.
It was also a positively spring-like day today, which means I had nice sunlight streaming in through my "picture" window by which to take the shot. Yay! I added a sprig of my fragrant jasmine, which is currently in peak bloom right now. Every afternoon while TinySprite naps, I relax by the jasmine vine in the warm sun. It has become the time I look forward to every day. Tomorrow I think I'll bring a cup of ice tea out there with me :)