While I am deeply grateful for the chance to sit and eat a home cooked meal with all of my immediate family this year, I find I am also chafing at the wretched excess I found over the past weeks as I wandered the the food blog interweb.
The hype around this one meal has outdone the H1N1 virus in terms of reaching fever pitch. I am reacting to it as I would any holiday incarnation of a toddler caught mid-tantrum. I long for nothing more than the chance to gently lead my holiday back out of the public eye, calm it way the hell down, and reduce the histrionics until it is manageable and enjoyable again, for both our sakes.
That out of control sense is (cough!) probably coming from inside out, so rearranging my own attitude will be just what the doctor ordered.
With that in mind, I am heading into the kitchen with renewed determination to be more wabi-sabi as I put together the reasonably simple sides and desserts my family designated as "required".
So for the moment, while I head off to wrestle with my perfectionism demons, let me leave you with something of an Anti-Turkey post and rather share with you another recent foray into the realm of Porky Wonderfulness.
Cochinita Pibil is a family favorite I was determined to reproduce at home.
2 cups orange juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground pepper
pinch ground cumin
pinch ground coriander
(I added a pinch of cinnamon)
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt to taste
Marinate seafood, pork or chicken from 3 hours to overnight. (printable version here).
Day one was to make the marinade according to the Madrecita packaging and let it sit overnight for the flavors to speed date, fall in love, and hastily marry.
Day two I cut a Niman 2-3 pound half pork bone in shoulder roast into four smaller chunks and placed it into the marinade for an overnight steeping.
The third day, I made a half recipe of the pickled onions, refrigerated them, then put the meat and the marinade into a dutch oven for a long slow cook at 325 degrees.
As advised by ChefSon, I put a bit of water into the pan to make sure the liquid level came 3/4 quarters of the way up the meat.After several hours in a low oven the meat was fork tender as required - all ready to go. I siphoned off as much of the fat as I could out of the pan, shredded the pork and spooned the defatted pan liquid on top. It can hold in a warm oven at that point until needed.
Pickled Onions, or Cebollas Curtidas
4 large (about 1 1/2 pounds) red onions, peeled and cut in half 2 cups fresh lime juice Salt
Thinly slice the onions (this can be done using a food processor fitted with a thin slicing blade). Scoop the onions into a heat-proof, non-reactive bowl. Pour boiling water over them, wait 10 seconds, then pour the onions into a large strainer. Return the drained onions to the bowl, pour on the lime juice and stir in the 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Cover and place in the refrigerator until serving time. Before serving, taste and season with additional salt if you think necessary. (printable version here).