I don't know why I didn't think of doing this before. Maybe its one of those epiphanies that happen at a certain point in a home cook's life, and mine just happened right now. I think it all started with the discovery of Chef Chris Consentino's roasted pig's head at Cockscomb. And wanting to make a baked crispy pata at home. Those reasons and I wanted to make something extra special for my birthday party. So I guess pig's head+pata(legs)+special party= roasted sucking pig.
To make this, I've been referencing this detailed blog post (thank you, Serious Eats!). And of course, Julia Child's video (see below). I only had to find a source for piglets. Golden Gate Meat Company here in San Francisco is an awesome source and their staff were super helpful. I've bought from them twice so far and they only needed a few days notice. The only caveat is that they cannot guarantee that you will get a piglet close to 20 lbs. The most important thing I've learned is that the weight is everything, as anything larger than 20 lbs WILL NOT fit in a regular sized oven. Besides GG Meats, I have yet to find a convenient and reliable source for pigs in the Bay Area.
Another source that I've had success with is buying through the internets. SteaksandGame.com was able to provide me with almost the exact weight that I specified and arrived when I needed it (a weeks notice). The only thing is you will get a frozen meat that you'd have to defrost for at least 3 days in the fridge. I researched where they got the pig and found that it came from Lynch BBQ in Iowa, which appears to be a responsible company specializing in swine. I felt pretty good (ok) about purchasing from them but I would really prefer that it was closer to home. As far as cost, it was the same as ordering from GG Meats.
The prep was pretty simple. I seasoned the cavity with a liberal amount of salt and pepper and stuffed it with rosemary, thyme, onions, lemons, lots of garlic. You can also use lemongrass or pretty much anything you would normally use to stuff a chicken. Sewing the belly shut was a little challenging but can be done with a leather needle and butcher's twine (Julia's trick turned out to be the easiest to do but might freak out your guests to see carpentry nails). And then I pat the skin dry and rub with even more salt. Cover ears with foil and stuff the mouth to keep it from closing during roasting. Off it goes to the preheated 275 degree F oven for about 3 hrs (best to stick a meat thermometer) until the meat is 165 C and then blast the oven to 500 C for another 30-45 mins to crisp the skin. You want the skin to be pretty red, not just brown, in order to get the crackly skin.
In the end, I had a great bday party because of this piglet. There were also lots of leftover pork meat, that ended up becoming pozole (omg the drippings from this make such a powerful stock!), sisig and pupusas. I would definitely make this again after I find a good local source.
Thanks for reading! As Julia says... "Don't be afraid!"
We were invited to a potluck at our friends' house and I volunteered to bring dessert. Nowadays we always have to keep in mind that people may not eat certain foods, whether its due to allergies, diet, religious or social reasons. For this particular party, it has to be dairy-free! So I immediately have to cross out the crowd-pleasing Pavlova and figure something else out.
The decision to make Ube roll came down to what I had in the pantry: ube flavoring, flour, 4 eggs and sugar. I only had to make a Trader Joe's run for coconut oil. The final product was a super soft sponge cake and not too sweet coconut icing. I modified a mamon recipe and a swiss meringue buttercream recipe for this. So here's how I made it:
- 1 and 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup separated
- 1/2 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp ube flavoring (I used McCormick's)
- 4 eggs (yolks and whites separated)
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp solidified coconut oil
- 1/4 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9 X 12 inch pan with parchment paper. Sift together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, mix egg yolk, veg oil, ube flavoring and water. Fold flour mix to this mix. In a stand very clean stand mixer, whip egg whites until bubbly at low speed, add cream of tartar and gradually increase the speed to medium high. Slowly add sugar and whip until stiff peaks. Fold egg yolk+flour mixture to egg whites until uniformly purple. Pour into pan and bake for 20 mins until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from pan and let cool but while still warm, start rolling it up. It's better to roll while warm to keep the cake from cracking if you try to roll it up cold.
For icing: Combine egg whites and sugar in a bowl and place over simmering water. Whisk continuously until sugar is dissolved and egg whites has become runny (about 5 mins I would say). Let cool slightly (about 5 mins I would say) and put on a stand mixer to whip at medium high speed until thick and doubled in size and cool to touch (about 7 mins I would say). At this point you would normally add butter but I substituted with coconut oil (that became solid due to cold weather) out of curiosity, and, well I had to make this dairy-free. I added the coconut oil little by little until incorporated. It ended up just deflating the meringue and was runnier in texture than a traditional buttercream. I mixed in the coconut flakes and this added a more workable and stable texture to this icing.
Unroll the cake, spread the icing thinly and roll it up again. I decided to keep the surface unfrosted to cut back on the sugar.
And there you have it! I wish I had taken more pics but now it's too late. Next time!
It's saturday around 2pm and you are not that hungry but should eat something. You probably also want it to be simple and fast. This shrimp and grits recipe only has a few ingredients and turned out super good!
- 1 cup ground corn (better if your grind it yourself using this kitchen aid attachment)
- 4 cups water
- grated parmesan cheese (1/2 cup)
- butter (1-2 tbps)
- salt (1/4 tsp)
- rock shrimp (0.5 lb)
- Old Bay seasoning
- cayenne for some heat
- green onions (garnish)
Boil the ground corn in the water and salt, stirring occasionally. After 20 mins, test if cooked then add cheese and butter.
In another pan, on high heat add a pat of butter, throw down the shrimp, sprinkle some old bay and cayenne 'til the shrimp is done (about 2 mins).
Put grits on a bowl, add shrimps and juice on top and garnish with green onions.