Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I don't feel like doing this but... A Pig Roast


So, where do I begin? I begin with the above shot. This is what it looked like outside my window in the days leading up to "The" Pig Roast. This Pig Roast had been planned for months and months. My pals were coming in from out of town. Kathy was coming in from Washington D.C. and Amanda and her husband were coming from Pennsylvania. RSVPs were coming in and the count was in the 50 range. Not bad. Pig was ordered and all was beautiful. As the week of the event came into sight the threat of a Hurricane also arrived. Pfft. No Hurricane was going to stop this. Dr. Food and I took off of work on Friday to get ready and to go pick up our pig. This is where I say "If you don't want to see a whole pig in all states of being do not read any further.


This is one of the best babies in the world. His name is William and I fell in love with him.

Leave now if you don't want to see graphic pig shots.

So, as I was saying we picked up the pig.


Can I tell you that lugging a 100+ pound pig is not easy. Dr. Food and I really had our hands full.

Enter Friday night...

I start getting messages that there is no way that out of town guests can attend. I totally agree with them that according to the forecast they should not travel. I am heart broken that they aren't coming but ya know stuff happens and I am an adult and I need to carry on.


Saturday morning... It is raining but really no big deal at all. I carry on with preparation for the Pig Roast.


Umbrella is set up to protect the almighty pig. I am in the kitchen getting stuff ready and keeping an eye on tweets coming in. People are tweeting me that they are not going to be able to make it. I am getting pretty disappointed but I still have my game face on. Hell, we have Mai Tai's and Pig and smoked chickens and well I still feel thankful for what I do have.


Jeff (waving to Jeff! "We love you Jeff. You always there to help") helped Rich get the pig into the Caja China.

My friends start to arrive and I have to say here that I love them. They came with smiles and food and ready to eat some pork and swig down a Mai Tai or two. Amanda had overnighted these adorable name tags.


She also surprised me with Gretchen. A gal pal for Goober.


Here they are in front of a reminder of home. Jarlsberg is where their hearts are.


We have put out a sample of much of our Charcuterie for our Charcutepalooza friends. Know what? Not one of them were there. My disappointment is palatable by this time.


Pig is done and I just want to get this post over with so I am going to go fast here. Stay with me.


Dr. Food and Jeff getting rid of hot coals.


Dr. Food with a pig head in his hand.




Chickens out of smoker.


Sides that my buddies all brought.


Me with a cleaver in my hand ready to attack the pig.


Amazing Pork (which I have tons left in my freezer)


Amazing dessert with a piggy on the top of it. This cheesecake was awesome as was the flan and brownies.

So, I have to say thank you to all my buddies that came through in the rain. I don't know what I would do without you.


Note: Next day we were without power for the day and we couldn't clean up. Can you imagine what it looked like around here?


Oh and Mrs Wheelbarrow sent me enough tattoos so that I don't ever have to get a real one :--)

Again thank you Dr. Food for being such a good sport. Thank you Jeff and Cathy for helping so much. Thanks to our friends who made it through the rain to be here with us. Get ready for our next adventure because you will all be invited :--)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Channeling Jacques Pepin - Seafood Stuffed Bread


I am going to share this recipe with you because I love you all and it is one of my very favorite recipes. Do not wrinkle your nose at it. I swear it is fantastic. It is not all that hard to make either.


I baked a bread to use but it came out too small.


So, I swapped it out for this one. Shut up. I am not perfect ya know.


We are really lucky to get very fresh fish at H-Mart.


Fresh mushrooms too (even though I AM growing my own I bought these)


I made the herb butter and then spread it inside the hollowed out bread.


1/2 of the cubed seafood is put inside bread and seasoned. Then the mushrooms go on top of that. Another layer of seafood and then more herb butter.


Last the breadcrumbs made out of the bread that was taken out when loaf was hollowed.


Now ready for the oven. Meantime we gnawed on some Crawdads! Ohhh baby.


There is a reason they are called "Mud Bugs" but they were so good.


Time for bread to come out of the oven. Damn, this was just as good as I remembered.

Seafood Bread
Jacque Pepin

1 large, round country-bread loaf

1/2 cup herbs (I used tarrigon, basil and thyme)
3 large cloves garlic
3 Tbs sliverd almonds
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 TBS dry white wine
5 oz haddock, cubed
5 oz tuna, cubed
5 oz salmon, cubed
7 oz squid, chopped
1/2 pound wild mushrooms
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut off the top of the loaf of bread and remove. Remove interior of bread for bread crumb mixture. Do not tear bottom or sides of loaf in removing interior. Leave approx 3/4 inch of sides. Whir up bread in a food processor to make 2-1/2 to 3 cups of bread crumbs. Set aside.

For the garlic-herb butter: Put the all herbs, garlic, and a pinch of salt atop in the food-processor and chopped ingredients fine. Add almonds, softened butter, salt, pepper, and white wine. Process until well blended. Using a spatula, coat the inside of the hollow loaf with about a third of the garlic-herb butter.

Cut fish fillets into 1-inch pieces, squid into strips, and slice the mushrooms. Put half the fish in the bread. Put all of the mushrooms on top of seafood. Add the last of the seafood. Add a layer of garlic-herb butter. Top with the breadcrumbs patting into butter. Sprinkle with wine.

Place entire loaf on a ridged cookie sheet and bake for about 1 hour.

Let the dish rest for 10 minutes after you take it out of the oven and cut it into large chunks or smaller pieces for an appetizer

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Blanket of Comfort

I don't really know where to start. This isn't about food and I don't have words how to explain. There are so many things that are hard to put into words here. First off is the matter of "friends" on the internet. You know. Friends that you have never met face to face but that you swear that you know. The kinds of friends that send you surprise packages of fun things. The kinds of friends that listen to you. Maybe you don't know but I swear that I do. Some of my favorite people are people that I met on a computer eons ago (ok, 25 years maybe...waving to Tabby and Lee). I digress. The matter at hand is one of sadness. I woke up to a tweet that Jennifer Perillo, someone that I admire just lost her husband. So young. The girls are very young. It struck too close to home. I sat frozen because I didn't know what to do. There was a blog post For Mikey asking the blogging community to make Mikey's favorite Peanut Butter Pie. I couldn't do it. I hate peanut butter and I can't bake worth beans. Mikey would have hated it (I just know this) What is it that I can do? Jennifer and the girls are going to be in a tight spot. So #AFundForJennie* has been created and this is one of the fundraisers that this nonprofit, Bloggers Without Borders started by Shauna Ahern and Maggy Keet is running.


When all else fails I knit. No, I don't cook. I knit. I started a blanket for Jennifer to wrap around herself in days to come. Then I started reading about the situation and realized that if I could sell the blanket the money would help Jennifer and the girls more than the blanket itself. So please bid. I am starting off with a minimum bid of 100.00. This blanket is made out of Noro Silk Garden which is a silk and wool blend. I am knitting now and it is soft. Leave your bids in the comment section. If this is too much for you please consider making a donation through PayPal.

Donate to Bloggers Without Borders

On a different note, I am making a Bobbka for Mikey today.


Ok, so it isn't that pretty but it tastes really good and THIS time it will be pretty damnit!


It kinda fell last time but it tasted really good. I will keep you posted.

Now go bid on my blanket. Please. Highest bidder will be announced on Tuesday August 30th.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Charcutepalooza Binding and I love Bahn Mi


I have to say that this month was a long road from ingredient to finished product. We were going to make the headcheese (again) if it killed me. Finding a pig head was no easy matter this time around. I am stubborn. We drove 2 hours away to a farm. We bought and brought back. We conquered.


First off I have to start at the beginning. I am not good at doing that. I usually just blah blah blah without any real coherent stream of thought. Ok, I will breathe. Asafoetida. No, I didn't sneeze. It is one of my favorite Indian spices. From Wikipedia:

"Asafoetida (Ferula assafoetida), alternative spelling asafetida,( /æsəˈfɛtɨdə/)[1] (also known as devil's dung, stinking gum, asant, food of the gods, giant fennel, hing and ting) is the dried latex (gum oleoresin) exuded from the living underground rhizome or tap root of several species of Ferula, which is a perennial herb (1 to 1.5 m high). The species is native to Persia (Iran) and India[2]. Asafoetida has a pungent, unpleasant smell when raw, but in cooked dishes, it delivers a smooth flavor, reminiscent of leeks."

What? unpleasant smell? No way. I love the smell. No matter that it is also called devil's dung. Ok ok, I need to move on because this post is going to be long enough as it is.

So here is where the warning comes in. Leave now and don't scroll down if you are offended or grossed out by pictures of pigs heads and livers and stuff like that.

{Waving wildly to my baby Parker} Hi little Parker. Grammy loves you!


Starting off tame here. These are chicken livers.


I made a Terrine out of it. It is one of my favorite recipes that I have made many times before. It is a recipe from Vij's Indian Cookbook.


It is pretty straight forwarded. It is made with kale, chicken livers, onions and lots of Indian spices. It is spicy but oh so good. I did change it up a little to make a terrine out of it. Normally it is more of a pate.


I served this to friends (waving to Matt and Marj and of course Sam). I don't think they loved it but that is ok because Dr. Food took the rest of it to work where I think it got eaten. Not everyone loves chicken livers.


It is also really hard to make it look pretty but I did the best I could damnit!


Ok, so there ya have it. You really do have to try it.


Here is Dakota. I will give you one more chance not to look. You are about to see a pig's head in all states of being.


As I said, we drove to Adams Farm to pick up the pigs head. When I called I said "Do you by any chance have a pigs head?" and she said the words that were so sweeeeet. "I just put one in the freezer". Bingo. We drove there the next morning and got it.


Um, yeah. This one got to me. It had such a cute face. The last one we had that we butchered wasn't so cartoon looking. Hm. It did bother me more this time than the first time. The first time we made straight up headcheese. This time I wanted to do something different and seeing that I adore Vietnamese food I decided that that I wanted to make Gio Thu or Vietnamese Head Cheese to go on Bahn Mi.


I saw a couple of recipes online but I ended up winging it. I did loosely follow the recipe on The Ravenous Couple but I added my own stuff to it to cook the head. Lots of ginger, and garlic, Shaoxing wine, and other stuff I can't remember.


Meat done and now time to sort through it for the tasty stuff to be made into headcheese.


After the meat was collected we put it in a pan to heat up and incorporated a few other ingredients.


We actually found fresh woodear mushrooms at H-Mart. I love H-mart because they have everything you could possibly want for Asian food.


We kept the broth for other uses. I am sure we will find other things to use it for.


We then added some scapes, garlic, and the mushrooms. As I learned on Ravenous Couples website cans are lined with plastic bags and packed full of the meat.


We then put weight on it to compact it further as it sat overnight.


I used my blood orange jam to do this since I really don't eat jam anyhow.


Next day we took out of the cans.


I had told my manicurist (shut up, I do get manicures) that I made this. I thought she was going to cry. I promised to give her one of them. I wrapped hers in Banana leaves.


So I was armed with Kewpie Mayo, Maggi Seasoning sauce, homegrown Cucumbers, Daikon and Carrot Pickles that I made, and cilantro and jalapeno. I was ready to make the sandwich. I thank Viet World Kitchen for teaching me how to make the ultimate Bahn Mi.


Luckily the Brazilian market near us sells the perfect roll. They were still hot when I bought them.


I wish I could describe how good this was. I wanted to cry when I tasted it.


But WAIT, there is MORE! So, I had a dream. The dream was putting the headcheese in a won ton wrapper and frying it up.


We bought the won ton wrappers. Give me a break. I was tired. We used the first headcheese we made and also the Vietnamese headcheese we made this time.


We did the obvious. Wrapped and fried.


We only made a few for demonstration and testing purposes.


Were they good?