Using the archetype of traditional sushi rolls, I built a bento box (Japanese lunch with compartmentalized sections of food usually meticulously presented and wrapped) with three separate courses. Instead of using seaweed wrappers (Traditional method) I used these colorful soy wrappers that Giada DeLaurentiis featured on her cooking show, "Easy Italian". (foodtv loves the word "easy"). Upon first taste these soy wrappers are dry and nasty, but once they meet moist fillings, they turn into a slightly softer texture (sort of crepe like). I also focused on using ingredients other than raw fish (since it does not have great portability) and also, decreasing the amount of rice that is normally used in sushi. Hate feeling the 3 pm crash? I think most of this "crash" has to do with eating a carb heavy lunch that makes you really sleepy in the late afternoon.
Maybe you can start the lunch with a little note, handwritten notes are nostalgic nowadays;
A sampling of soy wrappers for my mock sushi.
1st roll; Vegan roll. I decided to do a vegan roll (even though I am a meat eating and fur wearing brat) for those finicky girls and boys who don't like meat. I don't understand vegan culture and I never will. Can vegetable patties replace a fried drumstick at Popeyes?? I think not. Nonetheless, to each their own. Here I used cucumber, japanese pickled rice, green tea soba noodles drenched in ponzu sauce, grilled tofu, and soy wrappers of course.
Ah ha, one of my favorite sandwiches, Turkey Club. I used a sesami Soy wrapper sheet for this one, and surrounding the meat portion is a thin layer of white bread. Turkey, bacon, avocado, mayo...The process of making the rolls were pretty self explanatory in terms of layering and ingredients so I did not show the process.
Again, using the least amount of carbs as possible. A fried shrimp roll with chives, cucumber, soba noodles, carrots and fried egg ribbons.
Placed neatly into the bento box, with decorations. I took a romantic approach to this one.
Nothing like a little cajoling.
For the next course, I chose a Cobb salad (another one of my all time faves) and banana, peanut butter and chocolate sandwiches.
Cobb salad ingredients;
All mixed up with quail egg sliced on top. Bacon, cheese, lettuce, avocado and grilled chicken.
So since the bento box is small in nature, I had to figure out a solution to make a salad that was easy to eat. I decided I would make little salad dumplings, which is just the tossed salad mixture (without the dressing) wrapped into a bite size dumpling out of soy wrappers and tied with a chive. These are not to be steamed or boiled! Its a salad...
A childhood favorite, banana, peanut butter and chocolate sandwich. These are wrapped in soy wrappers which make it very figure friendly. How does one get a clean cut without smudging the choc and the peanut butter everywhere? Freeze it for 30 minutes ahead and then slice them.
2nd course finished.
For my last course, I decided it needed to be alcohol related. Nothing like starting happy hour before everyone else ......
Some classic *yet cheesy* cocktails, sex on the beach, mojito, blue sapphire, strawberry and champagne, kahlua and cream, dirty martini.....and so on......
But what exactly am I getting at? Am I going to pack a cocktail? I decided the best solution would be jello shots. I know, reminiscent of college boys, and sort of trashy...but I like taking trashy things and making them more elegant. Nothing new about jello shots, just improvised the Luxirare way!
Drinks following classic cocktails, made into agar agar shots (used agar agar instead of jello boxes). Do you see the one in the middle with red and orange? That one's "sex on the beach". (Shrieks)
The one in the middle with olives is a Dirty Martini, and the one next to it a Pomegranate martini with Pomegranate seeds
stuck inside agar agar like a Damien Hirst Formaldehyde piece. Dirty martinis are my favorite, extra olive juice and extra olives.
In the middle, Kahlua and cream.
Labels for your loved one.
If you're curious to know how these shots were made, here is the process. You need to get agar agar which is a flavorless
jello like liquid (when heated). Right now they are dried up bars. First soak them in hot water for 30 mins and then boil for 10-15, and eventually it will turn into a liquid.
Choose your alcohol of choice, add the heated, liquified agar agar into the shot glass, and pour in the alcohol. The more agar you put in, the stiffer it will be, but in general its best to consume when its soft and liquid like so don't pour in too much of it.
So let it cool for a while in the fridge.
Flip over your cup to test of it there is still liquid coming out. If it has turned somewhat solid, you're ready to take the shot out of your mold, and here it is, liquid turning into solid. This is nothing new and its been around in China and Japan for ages now, they use it to mummify their fresh sushi and a bunch of desserts. Japanese people love this jello like stuff; you can find it online or at a Japanese Supermarket. Crazy food chefs like Arzak, Achatz, and Adria use this stuff too. Its real easy. Before you put it in the fridge is when you can other things like fresh fruit so that it floats inside.
Okay so now you're done. You don't have to decorate, its nice to just keep it plain too as I've done with the other courses.
Again, I tried to take a more romantic approach in styling this shoot.
All stacked together.
Complimentary sauces; spicy mayo, truffle oil, ponzu sauce, and oil and vinegar for the cobb salad.
Wrap the bento box up with your favorite fabric, and send it off!