Monday, March 26, 2007

Musubi Easter Eggs

Yes, yes, I know Easter is still a week away, but I've been looking forward to this lunch box for months, and besides, next week is Spring Break. Anyway, maybe this advance posting will give some of you time to join me in making adorable Musubi Eggs this Easter!

To make these eggless eggs I followed the recipe for Musubi in Vegan Lunch Box. (Also known as onigiri, musubi are Japanese sticky rice balls.) I pressed the sticky rice into a plastic Easter egg sprayed with nonstick spray to start forming the egg, then used my hands to solidify and finish the shaping. I pushed the filling in where an egg yolk would be. These are filled with cashew butter but tart, salty umeboshi plum is traditional.


To decorate the eggs I used mamenori -- thin, vegetable-dyed sheets of edible soybean paper (please note that the pink sheets are colored with cochineal and are therefore not vegan). I cut the sheets with scissors, pinking sheers, and paper punches, then set them in place with a dab of water. The mamenori tended to curl when wet but wouldn't stick without a bit of water, which was a big pain. In the end, though, I was happy with our little eggs and loved the pastel colors.

As you may have noticed if you followed the mamenori link above, these sheets cost a pretty penny, especially if you want to use an assortment of colors. I was lucky enough to work out a trade with Cooking Cute for a few sheets -- thanks, Ngoc! If mamenori is out of your price range, other options include using nori or dyeing the rice itself with natural food coloring. I even think those thin "fruit by the foot" fruit leathers I've seen at the grocery store would work.

I was also inspired recently by the fruit-filled bouquets over at Edible Arrangements, and decided try my hand at making my own tiny arrangement for Easter. I cut out a pineapple flower with a cookie cutter, used an apple corer to remove the center, then wedged a cantaloupe ball in the middle and surrounded the flower with honeydew leaves.

On the side is Sprout Salad with Mandarin Orange Dressing (also from Vegan Lunch Box). The dressing is hiding in a little plastic carrot down below, nestled next to a happy warren of jicama bunnies. A small container of sunflower seeds can be eaten as is or sprinkled on the sprouts.

Verdict: The first thing shmoo said upon seeing this lunch? "Oooh, honeydew!" Yes, melon is exciting when it's out of season! The eggs were a hit, too. Shmoo was tickled that he could actually eat the colored paper. He loves squeezing his dressings out of all these little plastic squeeze bottles, but still doesn't seem too keen on actually eating his salads. 5 stars. Happy Easter!

35 comments:

bazu said...

This lunchbox took my breath away! So much talent and detailed work. Wow. Oh, and it sounds delicious too. Your easter eggs are so pretty, the jicama bunnies, the fruit flower arrangements, just wow!

abrimmer said...

This is a beautiful Easter lunch! It would make a lovely addition to a springtime luncheon or Easter dinner too! Thanks for sharing...it's amazing!

hyphen_helena said...

Adorable! I can see why you would be so excited! The pineapple is very pretty and the eggs are so creative. Nice touch with the bunny spoon ! ;)

Uncooked Hipster said...

Cashewbutter eggs? Genius!

lux perpetua said...

oh my goodness, so adorable! and now i want to make onigiri eggs with fillings right now!

OshinkoTickle said...

That really is a beautiful lunch! I love the idea for the eggs.

I am also a Cooking Cute fan.

Reese said...

This is very cute.

I just came across your blog yesterday. I'm still processing it mentally, but I'm gearing myself up to change the ways my kids eat lunch.

Thanks.

Reese

Vincent Guihan said...

Wow, that's really intricate work (even for sushi). Very impressive! That's too bad about the cochineal.

Kimberly said...

I saw this article on Japanese bento and thought you might enjoy it. I love your site! http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/features/archive/news/2007/03/20070322p2g00m0fe039000c.html

Ngoc said...

Love the onigiri eggs! Just genius in design with the mamenori. :) I just wish that stuff were easier to work with...

Ngoc
www.cookingcute.com

deirdre said...

You are beyond ridiculously cool. You are shock and awe. I am shocked that you continue to awe me. Really --wow.

Heather said...

Aw, this is an adorable lunch! The cashewbutter eggs look delicious and beautiful... I think I could sit here staring at that box all morning. Three cheers!

Twisted Cinderella said...

What a cute lunch! I love it!

Veg-a-Nut said...

This will be my first Vegan Easter and I was wondering what to do about eggs. Yours are wonderful. As a vegetarian I would dye eggs, but rarely eat them. Now as a Vegan I can't fathom even cooking and dying them with my vegetarian daughter and Omni hubby. These eggs are incrediable! Thanks for sharing!

Anna said...

Cute lunch!

Have you visited this website for stainless steel lunchboxes and food containers?

http://www.pearlriver.com/v2/FramesCat.asp?iGroup=333

Jennifershmoo said...

Yes, and right away I broke down and bought another beautiful lunch box that I totally did not need. That site is DANGEROUS! :-)

Nana said...

just saw this article about artful bento boxes in my local paper and online: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20070322a4.html
reminded me of this blog, and since i don't have any other way to contact you, i posted here. Nan

Nana said...

from article previously mentioned, the website in the article is:
http://www.e-obento.com/main-Frame-set.htm
pictures of artful bento, by month. it is in japanese with some english, but pictures are great.

Beecharmer said...

Jennifer- how very creative. We are not vegans. We do however eat vegetarian at least twice a week. We have a small organic farm in your area. Not sure if you grow your own goodies, but if not we are experimenting this year with square foot gardening practices and should have plenty enough for a small CSA if you are interested.

littlepumpkins said...

Jennifer,

Where did you buy the little carrot that holds the dressing?? And how do you reccomend easing into becoming vegetarian??

mommyof2pumpkinfairies

sfshaza said...

Another great lunch! I might have to do the onigiri eggs this week. (Though I don't have the pastel nori.) And WHERE did you get that cute bunny fork? I like it's diminutive size.

Jennifershmoo said...

>>WHERE did you get that cute bunny fork? I like it's diminutive size.

Isn't it adorable? It's my Peter Rabbit fork from the set my mom bought for me when I was a baby. I still have the fork and the knife. Lost the spoon, though. :-(

>>Where did you buy the little carrot that holds the dressing??

From BentoTV.com, where fantastically cute lunch box accessories are born. It even comes with a little flower-shaped dropper for filling the carrot.

>>And how do you reccomend easing into becoming vegetarian??

Jump right in, the water's fine! Seriously, there are lots of great books out there so I would start with a trip to the library or bookstore. There is even a book called "Gradual Vegetarian" that takes you into it one step at a time. Good luck! :-)

lovelines said...

I love the "eggs"! They're adorable!

Jennifer said...

I've read your blog off and on for a while and finally today bought your recipe book. I've been going through the archives and everytime I read the words "in Vegan Lunchbox," I want to jump out of my seat! I can't wait to get the book! Keep the great ideas coming!

Bethany said...

Wow... you have outdone yourself. I wish I had seen this before I needed to send an "egg" with my son for his school's Passover Seder. Last year, we sent a boiled potato. This year, we forgot to send anything :( My poor deprived boy.

Fiona said...

This lunch looks beautiful. Looking forward to creating some great lunches for my children after looking through lots of yours. I do have a question though. You often use the cute little bento accessory sauce containers - like the carrot bottle in this lunch. I have found where to get these, but I am wondering about cleaning them and reusing them. Are they a single use item, or how are they washed?

Jennifershmoo said...

>>how are they washed?

Fill them with warm, soapy water a few times, then with warm, clear water a few times to rinse. Leave out to air dry. I think they probably do wear out after several uses, but we haven't used them that often yet. I think BentoTV did a segment on how to fill and clean them.

HipWriterMama said...

This is absolutely beautiful! Thanks for some fun ideas.

Tracey said...

Wow!

I linked one of the posts in my blog to your blog. And I stuck one of your lunch box pictures there, too. Can I do that?

Judi Finneran said...

Too cute for words is all I can say!

Cheers,

Judi

'River' (aka Beanvegan) said...

Absolutely breathtakingly beautiful! Thank you so much for a wonderful idea - and the directions to make it come to be! Bunnyhugs!!

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Angie said...

Love the vegan Easter eggs so much, I blogged about them my a post about soy wrappers and linked to you from my blog. I'm not a vegan, but I am a dietitian and I'm all for eating vegetarian a few times a week. Thanks for the great ideas!

Helmine said...

I don't know if you'll ever see my comment, years after your original posting! What a darling lunchbox, as ever... I came here recently and have been working through the archives.
Anyway, just wanted to say that you can get a new Peter Rabbit spoon to match your fork on eBAY! I searched and there were several. Made by Oneida, same pattern.
Take care~ E

Jennifershmoo said...

Omg thank you so much! I never thought of checking ebay! :-)