I wasn't intending to make an elaborate bento tonight, but somehow I just got on a roll.
The main dish is beef and shiitake mushroom stew, stir fried rice noodles, and pureed cauliflower.
The stew is based on this recipe. As usual, I added a few tweaks. I used flank steak instead of hanger or skirt as called for in the recipe because the market did not have the called-for cuts, and flank also comes from the diaphragm so it is similarly textured. Once again sherry was my alcohol of choice; it cooks up well in savory dishes and I usually have a bottle in the cupboard on-call. Finally, I didn't have fermented black beans, so I just omitted them. So, once again, not quite the taste of the original recipe, but a tasty dinner and leftover lunch nonetheless. It is garnished with a few tiny Thai basil leaves. The original recipe also called for fat-heavy mashed potatoes, so instead I steamed some cauliflower in fat free chicken broth. Once cooked, the whole potful went into the blender. The result was slightly sweet and matched well with the salty stew. The decoration is a few sections of diced tomato and a cilantro stem for a kind-of flower. Finally, there are some extra leftover rice noodles for a little starch.
Dessert is where I went a little crazy. The little man is sculpted out of Rice Crispy Treats. His pants are white molding chips. His feet and eyes are dried cherries, and his mouth is a section of dried cranberry. His tie is cut out of a dried apricot, and his hair is a cut-up Swedish Fish candy. To finish up, he's surrounded by a bed of fresh blueberries.