Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bento Of Shape

I am bent out of shape by these amazing BENTO BOX creations by Lucky Sundae!
Here is what Lucky Sundae has to say about her work:

"I'm into making Charaben(kyaraben). Charaben( the bento which designed the character of the cartoon or a picture book ) is getting popular in Japan recently. Many Japanese mothers try the cute and funny bento box for their children. I make such a kyara ben for my boy twice a week. It's 4 years custom. I learn English for a long time, but have no chance to output. Please let me know what you think about my bento and tell me when my English was wrong :-D."

Really amazing stuff! It would be tough to eat it, it's so beautifully designed!

BUT WAIT: Check these out, by Sakurako Kitsa!

She is another bento artist with bonkers stuff. Check out her Flickr here. I find the green mayonaisey mask on the woman's face sooo weird and disturbing but soooo awesome at the same time! I originally saw her work on Poppytalk. That pale, pale thinly sliced ham is reminding me of my cousin Christopher's FAVORITE dish at Cambodian Vietnamese restaurant Phnom Penh in Vancouver, Vietnamese ham!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Terrible New Discovery

I discovered rather recently how much I enjoy crunching on delicious chips. Chips such as Kettle Chips brand salt & pepper ripple chips. Each chip is like a meal. They are very thick, crunchy and deliciously salty and peppery. They are therefore deeply evil, as they are not the best snack to eat for those trying to watch their 5"6 figure but not watching very hard.

Chip bags! Check them out! Crazy times! The top bag: I can't decide which one is me. Far left is too insane. Middle seems too drab. Right is drabber. Actually I guess I'd probs be the lady in the middle. Double denim. Also, it's definitely worth a click on the top pic for a close-up view. Ladies, you can learn some things from these Homegirls... !

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

This Is How We Do It

Montell Jordan anyone? As a family growing up in Vancouver in the 1980s and 1990s and even today (though now I do much of the family special occasion baking!), major holidays and events always culminated in a gorgeous spread of dazzling cakes and fine pastries from Bon Ton. Nothing said special occasion better than a full-on buttercream and rich-pastry-attack Diplomat cake, with beautifully piped bright red buttercream roses atop layers of flaky buttery pastry. Everyone wanted the slice with the rose when we were kids, with a side of cream-filled chocolate eclair or a perfect jam puff! I remember stories my grandma and aunties would tell me of lining up there on Christmas Eve to get log cakes and special holiday cakes for Christmas Day.

I am sad yet happy to see they have updated their website... ! I love random websites that have no design sense, quickly put together by an uncle who read a book on Web Design For Dummies because someone told them they needed to step into the 21st century with a "web presence." But now, their site is really cute, dragging refined Old Lady Bon Ton into the world of modern, stylish, confectionary-crazed urbanites with Bon Ton's classic, ornate, and now ironically, vintage-looking cakes (they've been doing it this way since 1926! Of course they look vintage-- they are!), buttercream filled petit fours and chocolate eclairs.

I love the look of the white cakes with the single bright shiny red maraschino cherry in the center. Looks kind of like these modern retro confections, no? Yes, I love vintage look cakes and treats... but I've also always loved Bon Ton, thanks to family memories... Marzipan scrolls with "Merry Christmas", or "HappyBirthday" piped in chocolate... I snapped the above pics on Christmas Eve dinner 2008. The top two pics are from Flickr.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Nisshodo Mochiya Chichi Dango

In Honolulu, Hawaii, there is an amazing little factory in a nondescript building called NISSHODO. There, if you go during business hours, you can buy straight from their little counter in the front of the factory, CHICHI DANGO in 1 pound boxes, or soft, scrumptious peanut butter mochi, red bean filled mochi, etc, etc.

What is mochi? Mochi is a soft, sweet, slightly chewy and delicious Japanese "candy." Dango, however, according to the book "The Food Of Paradise" by Rachel Laudan, is boiled dough balls of Mochiko rice flour and sugar. So a different form of mochi! I wonder if this is the method that Nisshodo follows? My next goal is to interview the wonderful folks at Nisshodo Mochiya. Perhaps on the next trip to Hawaii, or via email... !

While I wrote about Chichi Dango in a previous post, my Auntie goes to Hawaii every year for a few weeks and asked me if I wanted her to bring anything back... so of course I said my favorite mochi, Nisshodo Chichi Dango!!

I also have included a recipe I found online for basic sweet mochi. I haven't tried it yet but I thought I would share it with you. Then you can read the ingredients of what is involved in mochi!!

Basic Mochi, using Mochiko flour (Japanese rice flour, available at Fujiya in Vancouver)

  • 1 1/2 cups mochiko, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  1. Place mochiko and salt in a large bowl and stir until thoroughly combined.
  2. Combine water, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  3. Make a well in the center of the mochiko mixture and pour in the sugar syrup. Stir until all flour is incorporated. Immediately turn dough onto a work surface lightly floured with mochiko and knead until smooth and elastic, about 4 to 5 minutes; dust with more mochiko as needed to prevent sticking.
  4. Pinch off tablespoon-size pieces and, using a floured rolling pin or your hands, flatten into 3-inch circles about 1/8 inch thick.
  5. Dust rice cakes with mochiko and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator or freezer, or use as desired.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...