Cue blaring salsa music, the intoxicating smell of roasted pork and a salivating crowd ready to pounce on smoky, salty, juicy meat. In my Cuban-American family and culture, a lechón means it’s time to party. Every Cuban family has their own lechón recipe. The Italians have their marinara sauce, we have our dry rub.
CNN photojournalist Jeremy Harlan is based in Washington D.C. This is the third installment in a series on what to cook for a pregnant spouse - and now, a newborn. In this instance, beast is a loving term. Read the first and second installment.
You don't ever want to meet Mungry. Trust me.
My wife and I have been super blessed with the most unfussy, spirited and sleep-loving baby. Lucy has truly been the model infant. But, when that lower lip begins to quiver and Sophie the Giraffe is flung head over hoof from the Bumbo perch, we know Lucy has left the dining room. We are now face to face with her very angry alter-ego: Mungry (Her scowled face looks as if she's howling, 'Mmmm, Hungry!"). These genes came from her dad. An unfed Harlan is a very unhappy Harlan.
Wow, do people get their wattles in a wad about brining. It's probably partly because we're all still traumatized by the powdery turkey of our childhood Thanksgivings. It's also because people enjoy having extra things to fuss over 'round this time of the year.
But really, it's not that complicated and whether you opt for a dunk or a rub, roasting, smoking or deep-frying, it's bound to add some extra moisture and flavor to your meat. You'll just have to find something else to stress about. Sorry.
What is brining?
On the first day of 2011, our Facebook and Twitter feeds were glutted with friends' New Year's pledges to graze through hectares of leafy greens, ferry home wheelbarrows of winter roots and bunk down with Brussels sprouts and broccoli.
Celebrity chef and Meatless Monday booster Mario Batali publicly resolved to make and eat dinner with his kids, and "master more vegetarian dishes, like simple bruschetta, that are fun to cook as a team." By January 3rd, the Wall Street Journal aided George Ball, chairman of the W. Atlee Burpee Co. in dubbing it yea and verily to be the Year of the Vegetable.
Yet within days of the work week commencing (or the Champagne finally wearing off) that fervor wilted, giving way to an apologetic trickle of, "Yeah...I give up. Vegetables are too much work." "Too...cold...for...farmers...market..." "zOMG the organic stuff is sooooo expensive!" and "#resolutionfail Back to Lean Cuisine. I don't know what to DO with vegetables."
Get more Thanksgiving anti-freakout tips and share your culinary quandaries in the comments below. We'll be manning the hotline through turkey time.
Read Brining, smoking, rubbing and spatchcocking your turkey (we swear it's all totally legal), get more Thanksgiving anti-freakout tips and share your culinary quandaries in the comments below. We'll be manning the hotline through turkey time.
Our pal Pete is planning on smoking his bird. I spent yesterday afternoon deep-frying one inside my apartment (stay tuned for the recap). My friend Eric Diesel, with whom I've spent the past dozen Thanksgivings has been brining like a fiend and will, I'm guessing, roast a super-succulent turkey for tomorrow's feast.
There's a bounty of ways to tackle cooking a turkey, and most of them have their merits. Extol the virtue of your favored method in the comments below.
Yup - we read the comments, and noted this while we were perusing yesterday's Five Tips on Cooking Fall Squash:
It is, indeed, and we're nothing if not helpful. As Chef Tony Conte says, "The heat brings out the natural sugars, makes the color more intense and makes the flesh much easier to work with or to make into a purée."