Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Arepas with Yucatecan Pulled Pork and Pickled Onions (Page 62)

RECIPE #1219

  • Date: Friday, September 10, 2010 -- 6pm
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Kitchen: Our House
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Dining Companion: Helen, Charles, Clara, Corbett, Mary, Allison, Ron, Esther, Ben S, and Bob
  • Recipe Rating: A

I would have made this recipe sooner, as anything with the words "pulled pork" in it sounds awesome to me, but I had trouble tracking down arepa flour. Finally I ordered it online and I was ready to make this dish. The dish had three components: pickled onions, pulled pork, and the arepas (little fried cakes of arepa flour and cheese). I started by pickling the red onions with chiles, white vinegar, oregano, and salt. I then marinated some pork shoulder chops in cumin, allspice, pepper, achiote, garlic, salt, oregano, oragnge juice, and white vinegar. I marinated the pork overnight, then braised it and shredded it. Finally I made a dough of milk, butter, arepa flour, sugar, salt, and mozzarella. I formed the dough into little disks and fried them in oil. I topped the cakes with pork and onions and served. In a word: Yum! Oh my gosh were these good. The warm, cheesy arepas were delicious and the pulled pork complemented them beautifully. The pickled onions provided both a nice textural contrast and a lovely burst of flavor. All of the components tasted great individually and they were even better all together. This recipe was definitely a winner. I wish I had a plate of these right now!

The recipe is here.

Only 74 recipes left to go!

What a terrible day. A lot of less-than-ideal things happened today, but my evening really captures the flavor of the day best. Those of you who know me know that I am more than a little crazy when it comes to food safety. I am extremely careful to make sure that the food I produce is safe. For instance, while I will personally eat raw eggs, I hesitate to serve them to company, and I would certainly never serve them to children (who are both the most susceptible to salmonella and suffer the worst consequences from it). We are having a few people over for dinner this weekend, including some kids, and I want to make the tiramisu from The Book, which contains raw eggs. So I went to great lengths to find a place nearby that sells pasteurized eggs in the shell. They are hard to find in Michigan. In the end my special gentleman bought them in Indiana, when he went to South Bend on Saturday for the Notre Dame game.

The point is, I care about food safety, and I am very careful, especially with poultry. A few weeks ago I found some frozen jumbo quail. I knew I was going to need them so I bought them and threw them in my freezer at home. Yesterday I decided to defrost them, so I left them to thaw on the bottom shelf of my fridge. Today, at the end of an otherwise crappy day, I needed to make a quail dish from The Book. I started by making the accompaniments and everything was going smoothly enough for a while. Eventually though, I opened the fridge. The quail had been packaged on a styrofoam tray and wrapped in plastic. I had wrapped it in an additional plastic grocery bag before putting it in the fridge. Much to my horror, there were apparently holes in BOTH the original wrapping and the bag that I wrapped it in. The entire bottom shelf of the fridge was drenched in raw quail juice. Worse than that, we have two produce drawers below the lowest shelf of the fridge and they were dripping with quail blood as well. I'll admit, I sat on the floor of my kitchen and cried. The drawers were jam packed full of food, all of which had been purchased because I needed it for a recipe. And everything, absolutely everything, was ruined. The most ironic part: one of the items drenched in salmonella-containing quail blood? My pasteurized eggs. Crap.

It will all be fine. My special gentleman and I disinfected the fridge like crazy people, and then went to the store and replaced all the produce (the new produce is currently being stored safely on the top two shelves of the fridge!). As for the eggs... my special gentleman was planning a trip to Ann Arbor to go to a seminar later this week anyway, and I think he can get some there. And despite how angry I was about the quail, the quail dish was quite good.

But man, what a shit day.


Melissa said...

That really sucks! I'm sorry you had to deal with that and I hope your Special Gentleman can get more pasteurized eggs in Ann Arbor. Cleaning the fridge is one of my least favorite jobs anyway, nevermind when copious amounts of poultry blood is involved.

Teena said...

Yeah I dislike pretty much any task involving poultry blood, but this mess was especially painful to clean up. Luckily it is done now, and the quail have been cooked, so they can't leak blood anywhere else!