Sunday, February 22, 2009

Porkapalooza Weekend

This past December, one of my favorite websites, Serious Eats, was running contests where you could win awesome prizes- every day was a different giveaway- one day it would be chocolates, one day a whole ham, and then there was the Praise the Lard prize. My love of bacon and pork products is immense, and when I saw the prize, I had the Wayne's World "It will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine" moment. So I entered to win, and for some other prizes, and I did not win, (sadly). and then December was over. But then! They had some extra prizes, and so they had a giveaway on the first and second of January, and I got an email telling me that I won!

(insert embarrassing dancing around my apartment here)

So I thought, I can spread this joy of pork deliciousness all through the year, or.... I can cook it all in one fantastic, porky, insane weekend of fooding. And to do it, I invited down from Jersey my sister Jackie, my cousin Kate, and my friend James, who is also Kate's fiance, and shares my all consuming love of pork. (because if you're cooking that much pork, you need to have company- for the artery clogging goodness.)

Plus, I figured that I could invite some more of my friends (Katie, Lisa, and Julie) for a five course- dinner on Saturday night, and have an awesome dinner party, and cross number #13 off my list!

So they got here late Friday night, and we chilled out, and headed to bed, because we were getting up at the crack of dawn (because that's the only time there's not a two hour wait for breakfast) at the blue moon.

After our breakfast, we came back to my place and hung out some more, taking naps and reading and relaxing. And then it was time for lunch. The first food that I made for porkapalooza was BLTs- I figured, there's really not a better way to showcase awesome bacon, than a BLT. and with the Benton's bacon, they were truly amazing, and delicious. When opened the package of bacon, the smoky, bacony smell knocked me over- and that's before it was even cooking!

So then, we played some wii fit, and watched some food network, and I began to prep stuff for dinner.

First, I baked off the no knead bread that had been rising all day long.
It was the second time I've made it, and while I was definitely happier with it this time, I still feel like missing something, I feel like it should be rising more, I think.

So the menu for the dinner was:

Cheese and crackers and horseradish hummus
(no pictures of those, but the crackers were pita crackers, the cheese was a raw milk cheddar, and the hummus horseradish was Trader Joe's and awesome)

An amuse bouche of Bacon Candy
Which was fantastic- and a great party item- as my friend Lisa said- "this is so good, I should not know that this exists." and that's completely true. it's definitely going on my party menu for the next party that I have- it does the crispy, sweet, salty thing to a T.

Spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette
Also, no pictures of this because... I must have forgotten! but it was this recipe.

A Choice of Soups:

Chorizo Chickpea Soup
when I was looking for porkapalooza recipes, I stumbled across this one from Chow- and it was great- the chorizo gave it a smoky, rich flavor, and the beans made it a good, hearty soup.
Moroccan Chickpea Soup
(My sister's favorite soup, and the option for the non pork eaters)
I've made the Moroccan Chickpea Soup a bunch of times- and it's a sweet, spicy, comforting soup. I especially like the wilted spinach in it.

Bacon pepper bread
No knead bread and butter

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes
But instead of the cream cheese frosting, I made a Ganache with Bailey's and cream, and frosted them with that. It was like a chocolaty irish car bomb!
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So the dinner was a ton of fun, lots of playing with my cat, Earl Grey and eating delicious pork products. And watching This on youtube. I need to teach my cat to do that, because it is HILARIOUS.

And then, on Sunday morning, I used, what I think was the best item in the box. The Kentucky Broadbent Smoked Sausage, was a smoky, savory salty, deliciously crispy sausage, that I turned into...

Biscuits and Gravy.

There are few foods in life that make me happier than good biscuits and gravy. and this was pretty good. smooth, and thick, the amazing sausage is what made it fantastic.

And then, in food coma, we all sat and watched a Top Chef marathon for the next few hours. So now, despite a desperate urge to eat lots of fresh vegetables, I would totally, and completely do it again. It was great company, great food, and a great porkapalooza weekend.

Thanks to Seriouseats, and especially Zingerman's (I love everything about your company!)

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