Here's my version of a cherry blossom viewing bento for 2012. I packed my regular bento side dishes with a little more variety than usual. I hope this may be of help for the bento for cherry blossom viewing parties, school trips, and sports festivals.
・Daikon radish and sakura blossoms pickles in sweet vinegar
including the leaves from the daikon radish
・Kara-age (fried chicken)
・Pork rolls with green beans and carrots
4 (slice each of the 2 rolls into halves)
・Miso tsukune (chicken patties) with lotus roots
・Asparagus rolled with bacon
cut into a heart shapes
cut into sakura shapes
・Cherry tomatoes & lettuce
for decoration and adding color
・Simmered komatsuna and crabsticks
I prefer combining crabsticks with komatsuna over deep-fried tofu
・Sweet potato simmered with lemon
with orange peels
・Nanohana dressed with Japanese mustard
I overboiled mine...
・Strawberries (I use the Amaou variety)
・Dekopon (Siranui citrus fruit)
To make the daikon radish and sakura blossoms pickles in sweet vinegar: Combine the daikon radish and the salted sakura blossoms without removing the salt. Rub them together and let sit for a while. Gently squeeze the excess liquid, then simply soak in sweet vinegar.
Take some sakura blossoms from the daikon radish and sakura blossoms pickles in sweet vinegar, pat dry the excess moisture (using a paper towel) and decorate the bamboo shoot rice onigiri to give a beautiful touch.
For the main dish box: For the tsukune patties, finely mince the chicken breast meat, firm tofu, lotus root, and shiso leaves. Season with ginger, sake, and miso. Coat the tsukune with miso after they are cooked.
I used a special miso from Nagoya for the miso, so there was no need for me to add any other seasonings! I coated the tsukune patties with the miso dissolved in a bit of water after they were finished cooking.
For the side dishes: I added homemade orange peels which I stored in the freezer to my usual sweet potato simmered with lemon recipe. Refreshing.
The "Nanohana Dressed with Japanese Mustard" recipe is "Nikoniko-poo"'s recipe. (Recipe ID:1378587)
Here's a bird's eye view.
Story Behind this Recipe
I wanted to use the new picnic lunch box that I got from my mother.
I always make too much and my stomach gets too full, but the amount was just right this year.
It turned out to be a charming, delicious, and pleasing cherry blossom viewing bento.
If I were to add one tip, the sakura on the bamboo shoot is just for decoration. It adds a touch of the cherry blossom viewing flavor. This amount for lunch is a little more than usual, so it should make your tummy feel moderately satisfied. Even usual side dishes will taste more delicious when you eat them outdoors.