Saturday, January 31, 2009

This little piggie went to market

Ave porcina, herbarum plena, cocta pro nobis!
How this came to pass I can't quite say. Christine asks if I'd like to cook, and next thing I know there a little piggie in the backyard, with the sweetest face. Christine tells me the farm was lovely and the pigs ran around very happily.
Alas, she did not fit on my spit, and too long for the fireplace. Nor was there enough time to dig a pit. So it had to be the oven. And she filled the entire space. Not so little of piggie, over 30 pounds!
I marinated her in lime, chilies, onion, cilantro and cumin. And a beer. Then just popped her in the oven for about 4 hours. And the flavor was truly surprising. Delicate, light. More like turkey than any pork I've tasted. Good, unctuous and moist turkey. But definitely a white meat. The skin was crackly too, yummy crunchy ears, and I even got some tail.
And the company, as always, marvellous. The Hoodies polished off maybe half. Any ideas for leftovers? I wonder if the head can be made into testa after roasting.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I think canapes are utterly underrated. A variety of savories such as these could make up a whole meal. These are crispy squares of polenta, with sauteed broccoli rabe (my favorite vegetable), grated parmiggiano topped with freshly smoked scallops. Worked very nicely because just the right combination of crisp and toothsome and chewy. And just a few bites in each.

It was the starter to a meal that got a bit out of hand, not in terms of taste, but in time spent in the kitchen. It was worth it. A whole wheat and flax seed bread, a roasted veg medley of parsnips, yellow beets, fennel and shallots. And a bizarre chicken experiment that tasted utterly luscious, but didn't quite look as I wanted it yet. Basically it was two chickens skinned, then completely boned, the meat seasoned and rewrapped in the skins so it looks like one chicken, but is solid and boneless. It was really bizarre cutting through actually. Oh, and the bones were made into a nice stock. It's the solution for how to get everything out a chicken at once. The only problem thus far is without bones it has no internal structure to keep it chicken shaped. So it looked like a flattened chicken. With 4 wings!

Then to top it off our friends brought 9, yes 9, ducks. Tiny little things. Which I hacked Chinese style across the breast with the bone in, into 3 or 4 pieces, and threw on the fire, a few others into a pot to see what would happen. Actually I think they all over cooked a bit. Tought and a little livery. But I have two left. If anyone has experience cooking a teeny wild duck, please let me know. I'm assuming it really should be very rare, but I've never cooked wild ducks before.

A lovely apple pie to end. Whole wheat pastry flour crust, green pippins with cranberries and walnuts. It was fab. And now I'm exhausted.