My Pastry Chef, and good friend, Jenna Ricks and her husband, John, throw an annual pig roast every year during Labor Day weekend. They inherited a ranch on an acreage of land which they decked out to match their very charming sensibilities.

For dinner, they prepared a NOLA-inspired menu :

Cochon de Lait
Corn Maque Choux
Creole Cole Slaw
Bananas Foster Bread Pudding


Everything was delicious. The bananas foster bread pudding, especially, was A-MAZING.

I worked under John Ricks years ago, when he was my Sous Chef, so he's a chef too. Throwing a big event like this with a bunch of cooks is always fun cause you learn so much from each other, and you get to mess around outside your usual culinary wheelhouse.

I asked them to save the bones from the pork so I could make ramen for breakfast. All the collagen had cooked out of the bones during the roasting process, so making a tonkotsu wasn't happening. Instead, I just ran with the flavor profile that was already omnipresent in their pantry: John's blend of cajun spices, and some left over maque choux. I let the bones boil for about 6 hours before turning it down to a simmer while we crashed in our tents.

The next morning, we woke to this:

louisiana shoyu ramen
with creole-spiced pulled pork & black garlic oil

We have a noodle bar at work, so I brought our marinated eggs, 'ajitsuke tamago,' and some of our concentrated dashi to finish off the broth. I even threw in some scrapes and skin from our 18-month house-cured prosciutto, to substitute bonito flakes, and it worked. Not smokey, but very developed, nutty, and extra porky. It was the three of us in an assembly-line serving a line of hungry people that quickly developed; it felt like I was working in a soup kitchen.

After breakfast, me and the guys I rolled up with said our good-byes. Jenna's group went off to take their boat out on the lake, but I was way too tired from my trip to Reno last week, so I needed some rest at home. Can't wait until next year.