December 30, 2012

California Christmas Recap

Now that we're back home in chilly DC, its time for a little recap of our culinary adventures in CA.

First, there was the pig head.  After 2 days in the fridge, our roll 'o head went into the oven at 325 degrees for 5-6 hours.  We rotated it a 1/4 turn about every 90 minutes in order to get all sides nice and crisp.
As it roasted, a lot of the fat seeped out, and the porchetta really shrunk down.  Once it finished roasting, it went back into the fridge, and we compressed it from all sides to squish even more moisture out.
Once it was completely cooled, it was ready for eating!  You can see all the fat marbling through, and all the meat that came off the face.  The really thin squiggly is the ear!  All that's left to do is slice it super thin and eat!  The seasoning was spot on and there was so much flavor imparted in the meat.
And so as not to waste any part of the head, we roasted the skull, and then simmered it in water to create a really rich pork stock.  A bunch of meat fell off the skull, so we ate those along the way, but now we also have a really rick, gelatinous stock for future meals.

Next came the joong.  Justin really had a knack for wrapping them, and they made the perfect snack/lunch when we got home today off the redeye.

Now that you're caught up on how those items turned out, I'll throw some new info your way.  We had some leftover lobster meat hanging out in the fridge, so Justin & I cooked dinner  for mom, dad and grandma, consisting of a simple salad, and lobster quinoa.  The lobster quinoa was super simple...cook up the quinoa, and in a separate pan, saute onions, garlic and ginger, toss in some mushrooms, deglaze the pan with Chinese rice cooking wine, add it some soy sauce, sesame oil, and sriracha, then toss in the lobster.  It was topped with some green onions and ready to eat!  It came together rather quickly and was a great way to use the leftover lobster.

But we didn't spend all of our time eating at home.  We hit all of our favorite restaurants: El Burrito Jr., In-n-Out, and A-1.  Plus, we tried out a really delicious Polish restaurant, some great tapas, a Top Chef contestant's bar, and a burger joint in the back of a liquor store.

And finally, Christmas gifts.  We were both really spoiled this year and received a lot of items to add to our pantry and kitchen.  I have a new All-Clad pan, along with cooking utensils and a wok.  We both now have a mortar & pestle, some squid ink, bottarga, and a variety of flavored salts.  And since Justin tends to be a little messy, a pirate chef apron was long overdue!

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