The Meaty Dates Bento

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For this bento, I made sweet potato hash with a fried egg and some sliced avocado. I added some vibrantly green roasted Brussels sprouts. When roasting Brussels sprouts, I try to pick out a bag of small ones so I don’t have to cut them up to have them cook evenly. Since I buy them pre-bagged most of the time, I will open the top of the bag as gingerly as possible (kitchen scissors really help) and pour in some olive oil with a fairly generous dash of salt and pepper. Holding the top tightly, I will then shake it to evenly coat all the sprouts and then roast them in a pan at 400 for 20-25 minutes so they get nice and crispy. I wouldn’t eat Brussels sprouts for the longest time because they would always turn out bitter and funky, but this has helped transformed them into something much more palatable.

The true stars of this bento are the chorizo-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon! I tried them at a local restaurant in Decatur and they were phenomenal. And like all things I try when I go out to eat, I immediately wanted to try making them at home! I bought some freshly sliced bacon, a pound of chorizo, and two small containers of dates at the Dekalb Farmer’s Market. I followed this recipe but made a few changes. When wrapping the stuffed dates, I tried to place them down on the ends of the bacon so that they would be somewhat secure and I wouldn’t have to bake the toothpicks. The first time I made them, I closely followed the recipe and I am pretty sure that those tiny wooden sticks that I put in my very hot oven caused a lot of smoke and smell (as I probably should have thought about beforehand). I also did not brush them with maple syrup because I thought the dates would make them sweet enough.

It is recommended that you serve them hot, and while they are absolutely incredible that way, I don’t really mind if they are cold or room temperature when I pack them for my lunch. The texture may be a little tougher, but it still retains the sweet, spicy, and smoky flavors that make these little piggies a treat!

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