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Simple Menus for the Bento Box by Ellen…
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Simple Menus for the Bento Box

by Ellen Greaves

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0688142044, Hardcover)

A bento box is a lacquered square divided into four equal compartments. Japanese cooks use the bento box for serving carefully orchestrated, beautifully arranged meals composed of four dishes. While Ellen Greaves and Wayne Nish designed their 12 seasonal menus to be offered in the elegant setting of bento boxes, the food is still remarkable served conventionally, so do not let the idea of using an authentic presentation keep you from enjoying their book. As long as you present the four dishes in a menu simultaneously, the choreography of flavors, textures, and colors will come through. Equally important, the recipes really are simple and easy, and most require familiar ingredients. The fall menu of Arugula Salad with Parmesan and Pickled Shiitake Mushrooms; Ratatouille; Pasta with Raw Tomatoes; and Poached Shrimp with Beans, Celery, and Saffron proves the point. It also shows the heavy Mediterranean influence in Greaves's and Nish's fusion cooking. Short-grain Japanese rice is probably the only Asian ingredient you'll have to pursue. Perhaps the one caution is that high-quality ingredients are essential for optimal success in this kind of minimalist cooking. If this is a problem, you can always feast your eyes on the exquisite pictures in this slim volume. They may even inspire you to contact the mail-order sources provided so you can collect some of the tableware lovingly photographed by Nish. --Dana Jacobi

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:25 -0400)

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