Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Missing Home (and Three Ways of Finding Your Way Back)
A table showcasing the ingredients for a roasted turkey at the grocery store made me realize that the Holidays are here again. You see, I have mixed emotions about the holidays. One is that it's the most "merry" of times, while it also reminds me of holidays past--- and yes it makes me miss home a lot!
Home for me is the Philippines where I grew up, where my parents and all my siblings still reside in (except for my sister in Orlando) and where my roots are. Although, Thanksgiving is an American Holiday, it's still a reminder that Christmas is just around the corner. It's been 10 years since I spent Christmas in the Philippines. The only way I could bring myself closer to home is thru ... TRADITIONAL FOOD! Indeed eating traditional home cooked food is like getting a hug from home, it is PRICELESS.
Holidays in my home country are typically marked by having a lechon (roast pig) to feast on. And being surrounded by the holiday festivities at the grocery store, I started craving for ... LECHON! Whenever I crave for lechon, I make my own version, a "somewhat close to" lechon. And it is also comforting that to re-create my own "lechon" doesn't take a fortune to do so. For one, pork butt or pork shoulder is only $0.99/lb. With a currently tight budget, that's like a gift from heaven for me. And I tell you to create this dinner, all it took me was less than $10.00.
So last night, I made my version of lechon (minus the whole pig) by baking 4 lbs of pork shoulder. And funny how I was telling my hubby how I used the lechon as a metaphor about life. You see my family approaches our lechon meal differently. My kids rarely eat rice these days, and they don't eat the skin/fat either. So I made them the Soft Taco Lechon Wrap. For me, I go for a low-carb diet, so I made myself the Lechon Lettuce Wrap. My husband, who can't survive without rice, had his the traditional way, with lots of crispy skin, meat and fat covered with lechon sauce (a liver-based sauce much like gravy). Again going back to the metaphor, eating lechon can be as varied as how each one of us approaches life! LOL! That could be a different blog altogether but for now, let me share with you how we enjoyed our lechon--- 3 ways: Lechon with rice, Lechon Lettuce Wrap and Soft Taco Lechon Wrap.
Lechon ala Impromptu Diva
4 lbs Pork butt or pork shoulder
salt and pepper
4 cloves garlic
2 stalks of lemongrass
Pound the lemongrass, rub it on to the pork. Mince the garlic and mix it together with salt and pepper. Rub it on to the pork. Let it stand for about 2 hours (but it's better if you leave it overnight). Bake it at 375F for about 3 hours or when the skin gets golden brown and very crispy. Voila it's done. (I even went walking while my lechon was cooking).
We shared the same lechon, however enjoyed it in 3 different ways...oh yes it did bring us HOME!
3 ways to enjoy it:
1. Slice the lechon as is and with lechon sauce and rice... and my hubby gave me the oh so delish thumbs up.
2. Lechon Lettuce Wrap:
I chopped the lechon, with the crispy skin and tender juicy meat and scooped a spoonful of my homemade atchara (yes folks I make my own atchara and I go to the post office daily to mail since i started doing it last week).
3. Soft Taco Lechon Wrap:
I sliced the lechon meat (took out the visible fat) into strips and put it on a soft taco shell with hoisin sauce and strips of cucumber and green onions/onion leeks.
here's a link to see more pics about this blog.