Oink Oink

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

This week in Art Culinaire, we did something a little different. We had 2 suckling pigs that Chef showed us how to butcher, and then we each chose parts of the pig and researched recipes to prepare out of those parts. We were to use as much of the pig as possible so the waste of the pig would be minimal...basically we used everything but the snout and skull and brains...the cheeks and ears were used.

I chose to prepare ribs. I also knew I wanted to make some crispy pig ears. At work, they prepared crispy pig ears just last weekend, and they were delicious on a Crispy Pork Taco, and I knew others wouldn't be as inclined to take those floppy little bits of pig. We had free range of the storeroom, so we also browsed through there on day 1 to get some ideas of what we had available to use in our dishes.

I love the process of coming up with a new recipe or dish or plate. My brain turns this way and that, running through all the possible variations of items and also the possible preparations. It's like a complicated math problem, except there are no "right" answers. The possibilities are, literally, endless. I had some ideas of what components I wanted to include, but was open to my mind being changed. I had some beautiful asparagus at home that I really wanted to include for height. From there, I headed to The Flavor Bible to see what goes well with asparagus.

Inspiration struck when I had taken a time out from schoolwork to hang out with Marc. All of a sudden I sat straight up with an, "I KNOW!!! Give me my notebook!!!!!" This is one of my favorite things. That "Ah-hah!!!" moment when something comes to you. It's goosebump inducing sometimes. I decided on a potato and leek tart to go on the side with the crispy pig ears on top.

Once I had all my components, I went and found recipes (some from my collection, some from online) to go with my ideas. I had a bbq sauce recipe already, and I pulled the potato leek tart recipe from online. Mashed potatoes and asparagus don't even need recipes, although I caught myself just in time and remembered to peel the potatoes. At home, Marc likes the mashed potatoes with the peels, and I'm so used to leaving them on, I almost forgot to take them off.

Another thing I love is seeing my sketches come to life. What starts as scribbles on paper (and trust me, they are scribbles. As artistic as I can be, I scribble my platings usually since I am the only one that is going to need to "read" them.) translates onto a plate and sometimes it looks exactly as it did in my mind, and sometimes it changes slightly to accommodate variables. This plate came to life wonderfully, in my opinion.


heartland frugalista said...

Fascinating blog and post. I am trying to learn to eat meat more responsibly. The whole "nose to tail movement." I mean why should we just order $19 steaks? So...I too have been checking into crispy pig ears and other such food!


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