Note: I entered this bento in Bento & Co's contest to "Make a Bento For Someone You Love". It placed within the top 20 finalists, and won a gift certificate to the Bento & Co store!
Today's bento consists of what I think of as quintessential summer food: somen salad. Here are some other ways I've packed somen salad in bento: here and here. Have you had it? In Hawaii we eat it a lot when the weather is hot and humid. My dad had a method of making the somen noodles. These noodles are very thin, so you must not overcook them or they'll become mushy and sticky. As soon as they're done you have to cool them down to stop all further cooking. During this cooling step, my dad always pulled single serving size bundles of somen out of the basket and twirled each into a kind of little nest, keeping each bundle separate from the others. When they've cooled to room temperature, he stored the bundles next to each other in an airtight container in the refrigerator, with a paper towel just under the lid to absorb any condensed moisture. Then, when you're ready to make your salad, you can quickly and easily pull out as many servings as you need. Ta-daa! For today's salad, I used non-traditional toppings along with some of the usual: julienned omelet, ham, carrot and lettuce, grated purple carrot, and fresh corn off the cob. I arranged them atop the somen in a pleasing rainbow array. I chose the round tiffin because I like the way the ingredients look in a circular pattern. Plus, the stainless steel serves to keep everything cool. The top tier fits on top and is just deep enough to accomodate a variety of summer fruit: strawberries, cherries, lychee, black- and raspberries, and sliced yellow peach. The tiny blue container contains dressing for the salad. I almost forgot about the heart radish in the center; something needed to go there. Just now, as I was typing this, MisterMan walked over and looked at the picture of this bento he ate today. Immediately he said "Oh, I liked this one! I especially liked the radish heart because it reminded me how much I love you." ^_^