＃10 - 108_CRF_springbento.jpg
In my area, summers are dry and golden-brown; our winters are wet and gray. This last winter was more dramatic than usual -- every time we thought there would be a turn in the weather, the clouds descended from the mountains, bringing more rain to slog through and more cold air to chill us. When the first days of spring weather came back, the difference was noticeable -- the sun spilled out from the sky onto the trees and tender, young grass.
Shortly after that first day of spring weather, it was my little sister's birthday. To celebrate her birthday and to remind us that we have a brief few weeks of green grasses and blossoming trees, I offered to make a picnic bento for my family. My goal was to provide a vibrant and colorful spread, which was both healthy and flavorful. Additionally, I tried to include as many organic, fair trade, and local ingredients as I could, since my family (and my sister especially) places a lot of importance on being conscious of our planet and our health.
This picnic bento served four people and included the following:
-Steamed broccolini, sprinkled with red pepper flakes
-Watercress salad, valencia oranges, oven-roasted golden beets, avocado, and a home-made orange-shallot balsamic vinegar dressing
-Plum-blossom shaped onigiri, made from a mixture of purple jasmine rice and short-grain glutinous white rice. Each onigiri had a plum-blossom shaped golden beet pressed into its center, was sprinkled with black sesame, and was wrapped in a shiso leaf.
-Fruit cups with fresh raspberries and blackberries