Pernil, pumpkins and pets!

What a busy week!

Bagpiper was off on Monday and Tuesday, so we spent the days together doing things around the house and exploring more of the island. We took our first trip to the Okinawa Zoo, and even though it rained, we got lucky because it rained before we got to the zoo, cleared up and then began to rain again after we left.

I have to say, I really surprised myself at the zoo. It was a lot of walking in humidity and also the way the zoo is laid out, it’s a lot of walking uphill. Granted, when you get to the top of the hill there is a rest area and we definitely rested and had some lunch (we had “American Dogs” which are basically just what the Japanese call corn dogs).

Tuesday we did groceries, and lately I’ve been making weekly menus for dinner to help plan ahead with what I want to get at the grocery store. It’s really been helping keep our food bill low, because I have menus planned out and I’m not just grabbing things and hoping I have certain ingredients at home to make a certain meal.

Wednesday I had a doctor’s appointment. I needed to take a three-hour glucose screening because the first time I did the glucose-screening my results where high. This time I fasted for 12 hours before the test and my results came back normal — yay! No gestational diabetes for this mommy-to-be! I didn’t get out of the hospital til almost noon, so I went and had lunch with the Bagpiper, and just hung around his work, since it didn’t make sense for me to go home for half an hour just to turn around and come pick him up at 3pm.

I could have gone home, as it turns out, because he had to stay about an hour later, but oh well. It’s all good. We ended up eating dinner at the PX food court, since I hadn’t been home to defrost any meat or plan a meal…

Speaking of meals…

As many of you may or may not know, I’m Puerto Rican.

Back in the states, I didn’t cook much in the way of Puerto Rican food, because if I wanted it all I had to do was drive 10 minutes to my mom’s house. Either she was cooking or my abuela was over there cooking, and viola! Puerto Rican food craving satisfied. However, since moving to Okinawa, I’ve been craving Puerto Rican meals a lot more.

It could be just pregnancy cravings. It could be that mom isn’t around the corner to visit when I want a certain meal. It could be a combination of both, who knows! Either way, I’ve been craving foods I took for granted back home and I’ve started to cook more Puerto Rican meals in our home over here.

There’s a garlic-pork roast called pernil that’s a Puerto Rican dish. I haven’t had it since May, when my mom made it (at my request) for my college graduation dinner. It cooks all night (or day) in the oven and it’s just heaven. Unfortunately, my home here in Japan does not have an oven and the countertop oven I purchased will not cook something for eight hours. The timer goes up to two hours, and then it shuts off — so if you want to cook something for eight hours, you need to restart the timer every two hours. And that’s a bit tedious.

So I began to wonder if I could make pernil in a crock pot. A quick Google search yielded me to Kick’n Knit’s blog…this surprised me, because I follow Kick’n Knit on Twitter, and I had NO idea she had this recipe! So, naturally, I tweeted her about it, lol.

Then I called my mom and asked if she thought it would taste the same. She said she’d never tried cooking pernil in a crock pot, but that she was sure it would work, with the exception that there would be no cuerito (crunchy skin parts). I had figured that, and even though I love that part, I decided to cook it anyway.

I followed Kick’n Knit’s recipe with three exceptions: 1) I used Goya Adobo, because it’s what I’m used to. 2) Instead of mincing everything in a food processor, I mashed it with a pilon (mortar and pestle). 3) After cooking it all day in the crock pot (I cooked it on HIGH for about six hours), I put it the roast in a shallow dish and cooked it for an addition 45 minutes in the oven to make the skin a little bit crunchy (not super crunchy, but something is better than nothing!).

Served with a heaping side of arroz con gandules, and perfecto! My mom would have been proud — it came out super delicious!

In other food-related news, I bought a turkey that’s small enough to fit in my little oven (perfect size for just me and hubby for Thanksgiving). Now I just need to email mom and get her recipe for cooking a turkey (because I have never cooked one before) as well as some other side dishes from Thanksgiving I want to have.

It’ll be me and the Bagpiper’s first Thanksgiving where we’re not visiting two or three houses for dinner, which means it’s all on me to cook dinner this year! I’m excited.

Also..the commissary over here has finally started selling pie pumpkins, so YAY! PUMPKIN PIE FROM SCRATCH!! (my favorite way to make it) … will probably bake a pie this weekend.

Nothing else is new other than by this time next week, SUSHI WILL BE HERE! Only seven little days until my little dog get’s to fly from Texas to California to Tokyo to Okinawa. O_O I can’t wait. I miss her so so so so much.

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