Japanese food is traditionally served with an artful simplicity and a sleek dramatic style unmatched by any other cuisine. How can you re-create the visual drama of the Japanese kitchen in your own home? The shokado bento box is the answer.
The black lacquered shokado bento box, covered with a lid and separated into four square compartments, is a common sight at dinner and party tables in Japan. It's also appearing with increasing frequency in American kitchens as an artful way to present everyday food. Acclaimed New York City chefs Ellen Greaves and Wayne Nish have created twelve seasonal menus for the shokado bento box, making this a cookbook like no other.
Classic and innovative Western-style dishes meet exquisite Eastern-style presentation in Simple Menus For The Bento Box. The recipes creatively balance familiar and exotic flavors, and the boxes, beautifully photographed by author Wayne Nish, are unique and attractive.
Unexpected combinations of colors, flavors, and textures abound: Seared Salmon on Napa Cabbage shares a box with Quinoa with Black Mushrooms, Spice-Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Apple and Kohlrabi, and Mesclun Salad in a spring bento of delicious subtlety. For a summer menu, Tomato and Bread Salad of Mediterranean influence is placed alongside Chicken Breast with Corn, Walnuts,and Cilantro; Japanese Rice with Bacon and Sun-dried Tomato; and Seared Tuna with Sesame Seed Crusted and Caramel Soy.
Anyone can prepare and enjoy these simple recipes; the key is to "pay attention to the food," as Wayne and Ellen advise. Although most of these dishes are wonderful enough to serve on their own, the shokado bento box is a remarkably useful device for creating spectacular culinary presentations. As Ellen and Wayne will show you, the rewards for your attention, both visual and gustatory, will be worth the effort.
Ellen Graves is the executive chef of the Tea Box at Takashimaya in New Your City. She is a graduate of Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris and the Stratford Chef's School in Ontario.
Wayne Nish is the chef and co-owner of the highly acclaimed New York City restaurant March. He sits on the advisory boards of the New York Restaurant School and the French Culinary Institute. Both he and Ellen worked at the legendary Quilted Giraffe in the 1980's.
Simple Menus For The Bento Box
By Ellen Greaves & Wayne Nish
William Morrow & Company, Inc.
Reprinted by permission.
This page created October 1998
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