…. or “How to Give a Dead 51lb Pig a Bath” This past weekend was the 2nd annual pig roast that I host with the amazing @mikeypiro. We had such a great time last year, so we decided to go bigger and better this time around. As I have written about on numerous occasions, I …
I’ve spoken fondly of my grandfather Pete on this site before. One of the things that I always remembered about his was his love of vegetable gardening. During the summer, there was always something new coming out of his garden. It usually ended up in a sauce or a frittata. My father also always had a garden. Truth be told, …
As some of you know (because I’ve talked about it in earlier posts), I’m an amateur bootlegger. Well, not really, but I do make my own wine at home. It’s something my grandfather had done for years and other members of the family still do. September is grape crushing season. The air is chilly, the …
As I’ve written about before, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It conjures up images of family and those special “once a year” dishes. A big tradition in my family is my grandfather’s stuffing recipe. I never got to make this along side him, and I only started making it on my own years after he had passed away. That is one of the reasons why this recipe for cranberry orange relish really hits home with me.
Cranberry orange relish a simple recipe that Mrs. Notafoodie’s family has used for years. When asked where it came from, my wife replied “probably an Ocean Spray cookbook from the 1950′s”. It’s simple and delicious, but more importantly, it’s become a tradition. Growing up, it was the job of my wife and her father to make the relish. Over the past couple of years that duty has fallen upon my son and his grandpa. So, if a 3 year old can make it, then so can you.
We brought this to our son’s pre-school Thanksgiving meal, and it was the only dish that did not have any leftovers. Parents were seeking us out to get the recipe. It’s simple and easy and delicious.
Cut the orange in to 8 pieces, combine orange and cranberries (peel and all) in your preferred implement of destruction (we use a meat grinder, but you could also use a food processor), Grind or process until you get a relish like consistency. Add as much sugar as your sweet tooth deems necessary Let sit for a few days because the longer this concoction marinates, the better.
It’s the end of the world as we know it. No more Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Sno-Balls, or the elusive Chocodile. Have no fear, Notafoodie will help you ge through this. I’ve compiled a few links to sites that will help you get through the pastry apocalypse.
This past weekend was the 2nd annual pig roast that I host with the amazing @mikeypiro. We had such a great time last year, so we decided to go bigger and better this time around.
As I have written about on numerous occasions, I am a HUGE believer in brining giving the meat a long salty / flavorful bath), especially when something is going to be cooked over high heat. I brine pork chops, chicken, pork tenderloin, turkey, and even beef brisket (to make corned beef). Last year we brined our smallish (35lb) pig before our roast, so I figured that we should do it again this year. Since the theme of this year was “bigger and better” than last year, our pig was about 15lbs heavier. This posed a few logistical issues.
How long do I brine the beast?
What do I use?
How does one going about making enough brine for such a plump porcine pal?
Well, here is how it went.
First, I did a little research on the porkanet. For those of you unfamiliar with this, there is a secret internet used by only pig fanatics. I would tell you where to find it, but then I’d have to kill you (and stick an apple in your mouth). From my research, I determined that it would probably take a good 48 hours, fully submerged, for this little piggy to take to the brine.
All well and good, but where do I give the piggy this delicious bath? I was fairly certain that Mrs. Notafoodie would not take kind to coming home to a pig carcass in the family tub, not to mention what my 3 year old son would have said. Luckily @mikeypiro had a 100 gallon cooler that he could spare. The porker barely fit in to his new temporary home, but with a little force, I was able to get it in the cooler. Side note: If this pig roast gets any bigger, we’re going to need a bigger cooler!
So, I had time and place all set, but what luxurious concoction would piggy be submerged in for 2 days? Since this was a fall pig roast, I decided to make an apple cider brine. I also decided that sage would be a perfect compliment to the apple, and that there should be a ton of garlic as well (since everything is better with garlic).
Why do they always smile?
I eyeballed the cooler to determine the volume and decided that I would buy 5 gallons of cider and start there. My methodology for making the brine made me appreciate the math classes that I was forced to take in high school, but the real heavy math work was done by the great Michael Ruhlman’s “Ratio” app. I use this app a few times a week, and I think it’s the greatest cooking tool I have. The app stated that a good brine should be 20 parts liquid to every one part salt. I dumped my 5 gallons of cider directly on to the pig, and eyeballed that probably need another 3 gallons of liquid to cover “The Notorious P.I.G” (one of the many nicknames we had for the beast). Using the ratio app, I figured out that for a total of 8 gallons, I needed 1.5 kilos of salt. Since 5 gallons of liquid were already in the cooler (assuming the pig wasn’t thirsty), I took my garlic, sage, some peppercorns, a few bay leaves, and my 1.5 kilos of salt, and made a nice little soup on the stove. I heated my concoction until the salt had mostly dissolved, let it cool, and then added it to the cooler. It is EXTREMELY important that the brine be cool before submerging any meat in to it. Warm water and meat are a breeding ground for all sorts of grossness. That’s why I’m not a big fan of the public jacuzzi. Ewww.
With the brine made and the pig submerged, all I needed to do was keep it cool. I had 5-6 bags of ice still sealed, floating around in the cooler. I made sure to check them every 12 or so hours to make sure there was no melting. Then I put the cooler in the yard, made sure there was always a bunch of weight on top of it, so nothing could get in (bears, squirrels, nosey neighbors, etc.). Forty-eight hours later, the pig was in the roaster ready to go.
My only note for next year is to wipe the brine off of the skin of the pig before roasting. It got a bit charred and I think it’s because of the sugar content on the brine. Next year, I’ll wash down the skin with water and make sure it’s completely dry before the pig takes the long trip to the roasting box.
I’ve spoken fondly of my grandfather Pete on this site before. One of the things that I always remembered about his was his love of vegetable gardening. During the summer, there was always something new coming out of his garden. It usually ended up in a sauce or a frittata. My father also always had a garden. Truth be told, it never was that great until he retired and had the time to devote to it (now, by the en of the season his basil bushes are the stuff of legend… you can get lost in the forests they create). That’s why this past spring I decided to take a trip to the store with my son and buy some plants for our mini garden in Queens, NY.
Our backyard is tiny, so we have to be extremely choosy with our selection. We opted for a couple of tomato plants (one heirloom, one not), some basil, and as we were leaving, I decided that I wanted some pepper. Having done absolutely no research, and in the company of a cranky 2-year old, an infant, and a wife who was already on the checkout line, I grabbed the first plant that I saw. When I got home I realized they were hot banana peppers.
As the summer progressed, I was shocked at how that little pepper plant flourished in our big city backyard. Once or twice I stuffed them for an appetizer, but they were multiplying like tribbles. The peppers’ growth could ALMOST keep up with the rate that our son asked to pick them (which was 2-4 times per day).
Substitue me for Shatner, and banana peppers for “tribbles”, and you’ll get the idea.
By the end of the summer, we had a quite the peck of peppers. So I decided to break down and buy a canning starter kit from Amazon and some jars to attempt to preserve them. I did some research, and created a brine based on what I saw. Some part of me remembered sweet and spicy pickled peppers on a sandwich that I had eaten somewhere.
Side-note- It amazes me that I need 20 reminders on my iPhone to tell me to do almost anything, yet i can remember the exact taste of sweet and spicy picked peppers that I had eaten at some point in the 38 years that I have been consuming food.
I sliced up a dozen or so yellow peppers and got to pickling / canning.
From my research, I learned that I should probably wait a couple of weeks before sampling the goods. As part of my continuing effort to turn my kitchen in to the storefront of an Italian Deli, I put them up on a tall shelf and stacked them with some jars of tomatoes.
Welcome to the Notafoodie Deli! How YOU doin’???
After 2 weeks that seemed like 2 years (I am an impatient person), Mrs. Notafoodie and I cracked open the jar and were blown away. They were delicious; sweet, but with a great little kick. I wish I could tell you what dish to use them in, but we’re finding it hard not to just munch on them straight from the jar.
As some of you know (because I’ve talked about it in earlier posts), I’m an amateur bootlegger. Well, not really, but I do make my own wine at home. It’s something my grandfather had done for years and other members of the family still do. September is grape crushing season. The air is chilly, the leaves are turning, and the smell of juicy grapes fermenting in a tub in the basement fills the house (something Mrs. Notafoodie could do without).
Anyway, last year we made a couple of bottles, but I wanted to share the label that I designed in honor of our newest edition. The wine is called Eleanor Rose,. It is a fruity Barbera that is fairly drinkable.
It passes the NotAFoodie test of not making you go blind after you drink it. So, there’s that.
This site is not about snarky restaurant reviews (unless I'm feeling snarky). It's not about other people's food-porn photos (unless I feel like posting them). It's about food, and my adventures as a wanna-be culinary rogue.