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Snapshot Sessions: 8.22.13

Every Thursday, I’ll share a snapshot into my world by sharing the answers to the questions listed below…totally reminiscent of MySpace.

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Listening to… Steve singing “Blurred Lines” over and over and over and over.

The dogs are super confused by it. All they hear is “good girl.”

Reading or following… Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Yes, I am reading a cookbook. No, I am still not done with As Always, Julia. I am not someone who can read a book all day. I tend to read before bed for about 30 minutes, or browse (or study!) a cookbook on the couch with a glass of wine and the TV on.

Watching… the dogs silently and intensely enjoying Kong toys stuffed with peanut butter and puppy chow. Edith has a classic peanut butter mouth face going on right now…it’s nice. I have some peace and quiet, as does Steve who went to bed early (it’s Wednesday night, fyi).

Oh, man. Edith just got the Kong stuck on her lower jaw. That’s how she moves it–she just jams her jaw/chin into the opening, hops up on the chair, then fights with the Kong to get it off. She’s so weird.

Craving… something involving tomatillos. Grocery shopping tomorrow after work, after a miserable start to the week, food-wise. Being away for a mere 36 hours made it practically impossible to make heads or tails of our fridge and thus we ate out last night (also, I felt dreadful and couldn’t stand up that long), and have bought lunch every day this week.

Avoiding… looking at a calendar. In fact, the dry erase calendar on my kitchen wall  is still festooned in red, white, and blue and “July.” It is August 22nd. I am in denial.

Annoyed By… people who assume you have caller ID or a working mind reader and when you answer the phone, they just launch into a conversation that requires you to respond intelligently. Dude, I have NO IDEA who this is.

Looking forward to… a dinner or lunch this weekend with my parents. We’ve not seen one another for a long time–too long!–despite living approximately 25 minutes apart. Summer does this to us, apparently.

Daydreaming about the day when we are settled and financially secure enough to just do what we want.

Yeah, this is the “daydreaming” category.

Drooling over… THIS! Oh. My. Sweet. Jesus.

Restored 1991 Grand Wagoneer

Ok, so my dream car for way too long has been a wood-paneled Jeep Grand Wagoneer. If I had an extra $60k floating around, I’d buy this. This guy painstakingly and lovingly revives Grand Wagoneers. I read through the whole website and he’s pretty impressive. Holy moly.

Not loving this whole “sun going down earlier” thing. Bah humbug, dude.

Grateful for… my husband.

I know I say that a lot. But it is true. We’ve been best friends for almost 12 years and it gets better every day.

Pink Pants

Sorry I didn’t post this earlier! Forgot to take a pic on my way out the door, remembered on my lunch break, and now that I’m outta work, I can finally post.

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A day of sitting at my desk, writing, called for comfort with some style. Navy lace tee from Banana, navy jacket is The Webster for Target, scarf is a random TJ Maxx find, earrings are Target, pants are Mossimo (…Target), and the shoes are J Crew circa 2006.

AweSsam

I don’t have a  ton of very specific food memories. I mean, there are special meals or dishes that I can vividly recall, but it’s usually a vague craving for something very specific that serves as my “food memory.” I’m like a food amnesiac with flashes of lucidity.

Unfortunately, I can almost never pinpoint exactly what it is that would satisfy my craving. And I cannot figure out where this came from….what did I eat once that makes me crave this?! Or is it just human nature?

A long-haunting memory? Something unctuous, savory, fatty, but sweet and salty. The closest I have come to satisfying that spectre? BBQ pork buns at dim sum, or the pork ribs at Perro Salado in Newport, RI.

Common thread? Pork.

When my friend Hala spoke about making Momofuku style bo ssam pork roast for her birthday, it was like I had another flash of a memory. I’d never had bo ssam, but it was like I had, and I knew that this was one of the dishes that would fulfill that long standing craving. 

I got some advice on the dish from Hala, and then pulled up the Momofuku recipe that was printed in the NY Times. Full disclosure: this recipe is terrible. I mean, it is terribly written. In hindsight, I should have done a little more research and asked more questions of Hala, because the frustratingly minimal recipe in the NY Times article produced some errors and things I would correct. The best blog post I’ve found on making bo ssam is by The Bitten Word–they made it for a big progressive dinner and worked out some kinks ahead of time. If you are going to make it, read their blog post first and then follow their instructions. 

Alas, I was able to make a pretty delicious version of bo ssam pork roast with the NY Times article and a smaller pork butt (there’s only two of us!). The biggest investment for this recipe is TIME. Start twenty-four hours before you want to eat it.

So, Thursday night, I started.

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There are two things I would change here: (1) When it says kosher salt, use kosher salt; (2) unless you like things reaaaalllllly salty, cut whatever salt amount the NY Times article suggests in half or thirds.

 

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I went about my evening–this whole process took approximately five minutes–and forgot about it (except I didn’t- I was dreaming about unctuous sticky pork all night.)

As you know, I took Friday off as a vacation day…so I could make bo ssam and its accompaniments. I got up at my usual time, 6:25am, had a cup of coffee, and started in again.

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Ok, this is one of those places where the NY Times article falls short. It makes NO mention of rinsing the dry brine off. Which I suggest you do. Again, read The Bitten Word and take their word for it. Hala rinsed her roast off with great results, too, and so too shall I going forward.

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I actually cooked mine for a total of about 9 or 10 hours. Worth it.

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Around hour 7, I made a crepe batter for later. Yes, everyone suggests lettuce wraps. But I didn’t want to do that. I’m a rebel. I wanted something a little more substantial, with a French touch (thanks Julia!). So, I guess I lied when I said that what I was making wasn’t even French. In all fairness to moi, I wrote that post before I decided to make crepes.

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I let it rest, tented, for about an hour. I made the crepes in the last 30 minutes of the resting period, and let them sit, covered, while the rest of the process took place. After the resting period…

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I moved my whole roast to a fresh and clean roasting pan (ok, casserole of sorts–my roasting pan barely fits in my oompa loompa wall oven), so as to avoid all the smoking and burning of the fat and whateverelse was in the bottom of the first one. It was a good move. Also, instead of doing the crisping step on 500F as the recipe suggests, I broiled on low until it began to bubble and puff up, careful to pull it out before it burned.

I assembled the accompaniments.

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(Hint: make MORE of that ginger scallion soy business)

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I brought the whole shebang out to the patio, along with my glass of vidal blanc. The pork–in the second roaster, still–came last:

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We dug in, filling our crepes with this unctuous, sweet, salty (but not devastatingly so) fatty deliciousness, the sauces. It was a beautiful thing.

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In the words of my friend Hala, this was awessam. It definitely hit the spot, quelling the ghosts of the food I mysteriously crave. I will absolutely be making this again–with the tweaks I mention above–and experimenting more with this super slow and low roasting method, perhaps with a pork belly?