Pork Chop Bento!

Back box: Purple Carrots from Full Circle Farms, Golden Yellow Grape Tomatoes, and Millet Vegetable Cakes
Front box: Sliced Pork Chop, Roasted Chiggoia Beets, Tomato Jam- recipe here.

Grilling weather has been few and far between this summer. While the east coast is sweltering, here in Portland, we’re doing, um, ok. Summer of ’65- degrees and light rain. So when grilling weather presents itself, you grill.

Boneless pork loin chops, make for a quick grill once seasoned, taking only about 10 minutes on direct heat, turning once. While the mister prefers his whole on his plate a la Fred Flintstone, I like to slice my meats before serving them. I’ve found it helps me a. eat a smaller portion, and b. save something for the next day’s lunch.

The millet veggie cakes were slow to come together, but started as a need to use up some veggies about near the end of road. I’ve begun to simply chop up and and all veggies on hand and toss them in a slug of olive oil, salt and pepper, then roast them at 400 degrees until they are browned and caramely. I’ll either blend them up with more olive oil to make a sauce, or toss them with cooked grain for a simple side dish. While tasty hot, cold millet clumps like oatmeal, not necessarily the most pleasant looking of things to see when your lunch box. I made quick cakes by mixing the leftovers with a whisked egg,  some bread crumbs, and frying hand formed patties in canola oil. Nom nom nom.

I’m slowly catching on to some tricks of the bento trade, but what is helping most is roasting vegetables ahead of time and keeping them in the fridge. Not only does it make Ella’s food come together with a blink of the eye, but the extras, the filler and flavorful punctuation, are less omg what do i put here?

Quick note on the tomato jam, I love this jam. I do. It is more of a chutney, and I put it on everything from eggs, to meats, to crackers with cheese. It makes lovely Xmas gifts, if you can stand giving it away.

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