Let me start by saying, I love cooking with my kids. However, with that said, there are not a whole lot of times during the weekday that I can present that opportunity due to busy schedules. Furthermore, I ‘think’ the last thing that is on…
Month: April 2012
I was honored to attend an event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin last night known as SloPig. In a nutshell, it is an event and competition celebrating amazing food and great punch. According to their website “SloPig is designed to be a giant cocktail party with lots of nibbling, lots of roaming around and plenty of punch sampling. The evening involves three primary components, a chef competition, a bartender competition and the Tasting Hall.” It was spot on, and truly an amazing time.
The event was held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Milwaukee and was located on two floors of the hotel. I immediately climbed the stairs to the second floor only to be introduced by the rectangular shaped room where amazing chefs and mixologists were eagerly waiting to serve. For some reason I walked to the back of the room to be introduced to some pretty awesome culinary delights from chef Nelly Buleje of Hilton catering. He served me something on a spoon that was just out of this world. A one bite pork and mushroom concoction that just blew me away. I thought if this event was going to be like this (and it was), then I just entered culinary heaven.
As I wondered through the hall, I quickly saw that chef David Swanson from Braise was hanging around in his corner as was chef Tory Miller from L’Etoile in Madison. It was that feeling of being a kid in a candy store for me. What I really enjoyed was being able to talk not only to chef Swanson and Miller, but also to chef Dan Van Rite from Hinterland and chef Justin Aprahamian from Sanford. Every chef was completely accessible, and each one of them were truly genuine and super friendly.
As I continued to eat their array of offerings, and blown away from their bite-sized presentations and flavors, I had to wash it all down with the punch offerings around the floors. Ice sculptured pigs were extracting punch concoctions from bartenders from such great establishments such as L’Etoile, The Aviary, Distil, Merchant, The Hotel Foster, and Burnhearts. All punches were concocted using some killer spirits, and I must say, all were amazing. Most of them had some great fruits, and amazing bitters, that you could probably get away with sipping on those punches for breakfast.
But remember, this was a competition, and I had to keep eating and drinking. Smelling each plate, and tasting every bite. As I went around looking for the voting box, I encountered a butchering demonstration from Scott Buer from Bolzano Artisan Meats.
As I continued to walk through the event, I noticed that Sassy Cow Creamery was also there. They offered up a create your own ice cream sundae, with, get this, toppings such as a maple bacon caramel, chicharrones, and ham marshmallows! As I am not big on desserts, I continued walking to the next table, only to encounter some really nice folks from Hometown Sausage Kitchen.
As I casted my vote, I thought it was time to call it quits. As tough as it was to leave the event, I decided to move along. As I was walking out, low and behold my friendly greeting with Kyle Cherek from Wisconsin Foodie.
The winners ended up being:
Best Chef: Justin Aprahamian
Best Punch: The Aviary
If this event happens again, and I hope it will, it is a must for any Wisconsin foodie. More information can be found online at Slopig.com
You might recall that some time ago I made porchetta for a family feast. If you have never had porchetta before, think of it as this phenomenal pork roll that is just smothered in garlic, rosemary, thyme, fennel, and sage, then encased in pancetta, rolled up and cooked until you have a crisp exterior and a really moist and tender interior. It’s something to be reckoned with that is for sure.
After our feast was over, I had plenty of porchetta left over. I was not disappointed by that, I was actually excited. I was excited for those leftovers the following day. See to me, that leftover porchetta excited me much like others get excited by leftover turkey after the Thanksgiving meal. It’s that meal that keeps on giving, and giving in a lovely way. I already had my mind set when carving into the porchetta the previous day. I already had visions of making the porchetta sandwich. A sandwich that as basic as it is, could compete with some of the best sandwiches out there.
Let’s get started.
- Leftover porchetta, warmed and sliced, as much as to your liking
- 1 ciabatta roll, sandwich sliced
- 2 slices of provolone cheese
- 1 bunch of broccoli rabe, rinsed clean and patted dry
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- salt and pepper, to season
When you are reheating your porchetta, place in a preheated, 400 degree oven, for about 10 minutes. Your goal is to warm the pork, and get the exterior skin a bit more crisp.
During this time, heat a skillet on medium heat. Add the olive oil, and bring to temperature. Toss in the garlic, and cook for about 30 seconds. Next, toss in the broccoli rabe, and move it around, tossing a couple of times. Continue cooking until it becomes nice and wilted, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
When the porchetta is warmed and the skin has achieved that crisp state, remove it from the oven.
You are now ready to assemble the sandwich.
Add the porchetta to the bottom half of the ciabatta, then top with the broccoli rabe, and top that the the cheese. The heat from the broccoli rabe will slowly melt the provolone cheese. Add the top bun, slice, and dig in.
When you bite into it, you get some crunch from the crackling, then some of that slight bitterness from the broccoli rabe, and then low and behold, that tender and succulent porchetta.
The sandwich alone is worth the time and effort it takes to make a porchetta. Hope you give it a shot one of these days, I think you will be happy you did!