FFXI Art Contest Bento (267)
This will probably be the weirdest blog entry I make because I’m going to describe the making of a bento for which I will not be posting any pictures. Read on for more on that.
First I’d like to announce that MY CAMERA CAME IN! YaY! I have to read the manual and take more pictures and stuff, but so far it seems pretty crazy. The detail is insane and the size of the files nuts as well. So far I’ve only taken pictures of food using the food scene mode, so I don’t yet know how well it performs for other things. I was totally stalking the box. I saw on Amazon that the package was in Aiea but it didn’t appear to be at the house. I called up the parcel service and they said it got delivered to “the local post office”. The local post office is the Aiea one, so after dropping off the kids I went there and was like “GIMME MUH CAMERA!” and the lady looked in the back and came back empty handed. *sob*
The parcel service called me back to say it was at the Pearl City post office, but that it was already out for delivery. Figuring it would be at the house that afternoon, I asked Mr. Pikko to look for it. After class, I went on an epic journey for ingredients, figuring that with the camera here, I could go buy all the stuff I needed. I first stopped at Whole Foods at Kahala Mall, thinking of course they’d have to have everything I needed. This turned out not to be so, but they did have the little baby carrots with leaves that I was looking for, so that wasn’t a wasted trip. I also bought the smallest Valencia orange I could find, sugar snap peas, baby salad greens, and corn. Then I headed to Safeway on Kapahulu, hoping there would be tiny grapes and enoki mushrooms, which were not at Whole Foods.
I ended up buying a huge pumpkin at Safeway for carving my FFXI pumpkin. I saw a great bag of black grapes that had little tiny grapes, just what I needed! Unfortunately, these were freaking $4.99 a pound. I’ll never understand this about markets. If you grapes go on sale for $1.48 a pound, do you just let the $4.99 a pound ones rot in your store so that NO ONE buys them? There’s probably a good reason for it, but it still seems stupid. I got some small vined tomatoes here then left to go to Don Quijote since there were no enoki mushrooms at Safeway either.
DQ had enoki mushrooms, much to my relief. I was pretty sick of market hopping already. I found grapes here on sale at last and I picked a bag that had a good amount of little ones. I also picked up the inarizushi tofu skins that I needed for the onigiri as well as a pomegranate. I’m SO happy these are in season again. I’ve eaten two in the last two days. On the way home, Mr. Pikko asked me to stop and get bread at Costco. I asked if the camera came in and he said it wasn’t in the mailbox. I was so bummed! But that guy, he had it on my chair! I literally gasped out loud when I saw that the gigantic pomegranates were back in stock at Costco. I bought a tray without hesistation!! Costco was insane, by the way. Apparently it was published in the paper that Costco had the cheapest gas on the island at like $2.65 or something, so everyone was there trying to fill up.
Anyway, the reason I can’t post pictures is that it states in the rules that once you submit an entry, that entry becomes the property of Square Enix and you can only display it privately. If anyone wants to see the image, you’ll need to comment with your email address so that I can send you the link to look at it. (You do not need to include it in the comment, just fill in the e-mail field and I can see it) It’s a mandragora and a lycopodium with various fresh fruits and veggies from Vana’diel!
I started at about 10 PM. I’d initially intended for this bento to be pretty small, but decided instead to use one of my bigger picnic bento boxes because the carrots I bought were small, but still pretty big. The corn was big, the grapes were big, the tomatoes were big. I had to go bigger. I lined the box with lettuce first, then shaped the onigiri by hand. One turned out fatter than the other so I had to remove some rice. I stuffed it with canned salmon so that I could call it a Salmon Rice Ball. I cut the black part of the mandragora’s faces out of nori freehand, using a printed picture as a guide. I went to get white cheese from the fridge and found none, so I panicked and used plain white paper instead. This really bothered me, but I managed to fix it later on when I realized that I could use the white pomelo skin for the eyes instead!
The leather part of the mandragora is the tofu skin. The inarizushi piece ended up being PERFECT for this. I cut the bottom and one side off so that I was left with a long strip. I cut a little ‘v’ in the middle for the groove and then using a thin straw, cut out little holes in the skin. I’d sauteed some of the enoki mushrooms in soy sauce and mirin to turn them brown and make them pliable. I washed off the sauce and then used the mushrooms to “thread” the skin to create the leather look. I folded down the skin and secured it with half toothpicks. For the mandragora, I used baby spinach at the top of his head. For the lycopodium I used pomegranate skin! I didn’t even intend to use it this way, but it was the only pink thing I had around. I’d originally meant to do a Korrigan, which is a black mandragora, but after looking at pictures I decided he would only creep up what was supposed to be a cute bento. I cut petals out of the skin and poked them on with a toothpick covered in spinach.
The corn is supposed to be millioncorn. The grapes are San d’Orian grapes, the carrots are San d’Orian carrots, the tomatoes are Mithran Tomatoes, the orange is a Saruta Orange, and the sugar snap peas were meant to be Blue Peas. I tried pulling the peas out and boiling them in blue dyed water, but the peas refused to turn blue. How rude. I printed the little Windurst flag and taped it to a toothpick. All done!
I asked how I should submit it since entries in the Crafting category are supposed to be sent via postal mail to Square Enix. I’m still waiting on confirmation, but the initial response was that I should submit pictures and then recreate it at Fan Fest. I about died laughing at this. Imagine me making this bento in my hotel room! That would be so hilarious! Hopefully I get picked as a finalist and they do let me enter this way. Bentoing on the road would be quite an experience!!
Tags: aburaage, Bento, carrots, corn, FFXI, grapes, nori, Onigiri, spinach, sugar snap peas, tomato