Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What I know, and Filipino Pork BBQ Skewers.

I recently told someone that I’d be writing for the rest of my life.

It was strange to say it out loud. I don’t know why. I guess to say something with such confidence about the rest of my life is not something I do very often. In recent years, though, it’s becoming more and more common. Age and marriage and life will make that happen.

When we get older, we’re supposed to figure things out. Everything should fall into place.

They are, slowly.

Shopping for a house forces you to really look at your future, beyond just the next few years. To identify the unknown, and to make them real. How long do you plan on staying in this house? What kind of improvements will you make?  Will you raise your children here? Will they go to school here? 

And then, once you’ve selected the house that you want, you start looking at the rooms and wondering, What kind of gatherings will you hold here? What foods will you cook in this kitchen? What meals will you share? Who are the children you will raise here? Which vegetables will you plant? Where will your favorite nearby restaurants be?

How many new things will you learn in this first home?

When you’re renting, you don’t know where you’ll be in a year. When you’re buying a house, a good chunk of your life is laid out in front of you. This is where you’ll be. 

We just bought our first house. It’s comforting and exciting and terrifying. This is where we'll be, and it's going to be good.

There are still many, many unknowns. Here is what I do know:

I will be with Murdo.
With family and friends.
And cats.
I’ll be writing and taking pictures.

We will have a home.


Filipino Pork BBQ Skewers (adapted from When Adobo Met Feijoada)
I also know that we will be grilling. With the installation of our new gas grill on the balcony, we've been opening our eyes to the wonderful world of cooking outdoors. I know some may scoff at the idea of a gas grill -- charcoal is the way to go, the flavor just isn't the same, yes, yes, I understand. We are slaves to convenience, I hate to admit, and if a gas grill is what it takes to get Murdo excited about cooking, then I'll take it.

So far, there has been steak and mushrooms and garlicky potatoes. Portobello mushroom sandwiches for me, beef burgers for him. Charred asparagus. Barbecue chicken pieces. And these Filipino barbecue pork skewers, which take me back to parties with long buffet tables, platters of pancit and eggrolls, never ending games of hide and seek. They are sweet and tender and perfect for summer gatherings in the backyard. I can't wait to make them in my own.

1 head of garlic, peeled and smashed
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 pounds pork shoulder, some fat trimmed, cut into 1/4-inch slices
3/4 cup 7-Up

Combine the first five ingredients in a bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Place pork in a shallow glass dish. Pour in the marinade and stir to coat. Pour in soda and stir again. Cover tightly and keep in refrigerator overnight, or for at least eight hours.

Soak skewers for 30 minutes before using. Skewer the meat. Prepare grill and cook skewers over medium-hot coals (or, if using gas, direct medium heat), for three to five minutes on each side. Serve immediately with white rice, fried rice or pancit.

Makes about 20 skewers.