By Jessica Roy People ask me all the time: "As a chef, what do you cook at home?" and my answer usually involves the word "bowl." I love piling lots of hearty flavors into a big bowl and digging in.

It turns out this is also a pretty popular food trend these days, especially at cafes and lunch spots. While you can throw a little bit of this or that into a bowl and call it a day, I love to take cues from Japanese "Don" bowls, which usually consist of meat and veggies over rice. Don't forget to put an egg on it- hard boiled, poached, fried, it's up to you, but the egg seals the deal for a perfect bowl.

The star of the show this week is the sweet and spicy pork, thinly sliced and placed over quinoa pilaf with a huge spoonful of sauce poured on top. I've topped my bowl with a hard boiled egg, fresh alfalfa sprouts, green onion, and sautéed spinach. Try other fresh ingredients like sliced cucumbers, avocado, radish, or roasted veggies to really give your bowl a boost.

Sweet & Spicy Pork

Ingredients

3-4 lb. pork loin

1/2 cup water

2 Tbs. dark brown sugar

3 Tbs. honey

3 Tbs. hoisin sauce

3 Tbs. soy sauce

2 Tbs. sriracha sauce (more as desired)

1 Tbs. sherry

1 tsp. salt

1 clove garlic, grated

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 Tbs. cooking oil (veggie, canola, olive etc.)

Green onion, sliced for garnish

Place the pork loin into a zip top bag. Whisk together all remaining ingredients (except green onion) in a mixing bowl until well combined.


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Pour the marinade into the bag, and gently massage into the pork. Allow to marinate in the fridge for 1-3 hours.

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F. Meanwhile, heat a sturdy oven safe pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat on the stove top. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in the pan. Remove the pork from the marinade, and brown on all sides. Once browned, pour the marinade into the pan and cover with a tight fitting lid or foil. Place the pan into the heated oven, and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until internal temperature of pork reaches 145 degrees F.

Remove the pan from the oven, and place the pork on a separate dish to rest for about 5-10 minutes. Slice pork thinly, and place back into the cooked sauce in the pan, along with any juices. When serving, garnish with sliced green onion.

Quinoa Pilaf

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

Salt and pepper

1 tbs. olive oil

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the diced onion, and cook for a few minutes until tender. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute, until fragrant. Stir in the dry quinoa, and allow to toast lightly until all grains are coated in the mixture. Stir in a pinch of salt and pepper.

Add water, and give a good stir. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to simmer. Cover the pan, and allow to cook until all water has been absorbed, and quinoa has "popped" so the grains are tender and fluffy.

To assemble quinoa bowls, top a hearty portion of quinoa pilaf with thinly sliced sweet and spicy pork, and desired veggie toppings, such as sprouts, sautéed spinach, fresh or roasted veggies, and an egg cooked by your favorite method. Spoon sauce from the pork over the top, garnish with sliced green onions and serve.

Jessica Roy is a specialty chef and caterer, food writer and chef instructor, and owner of Shiso Kitchen in Somerville, where she teaches classes. Follow her at http://blogs.lowellsun.com/yourpersonalchef.