Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Gaslight Gathering: Friday Port of Call

Last weekend was Gaslight Gathering, a major steampunk event in San Diego. The spouse and I, with another couple, were in charge of running the hospitality suite and one of the teas. The four of us, along with all our staff, were responsible for providing food and drink for the attendees, who probably numbered around 1200.

We kept the bathtub full of sodas and bottled water on ice, provided coffee and hot water for chocolate and tea, and kept up an array of snacks, including chips, veggies, dips, humus, cookies, and candies.

One thing I very much like about this convention is that it explicitly contains a LARPish element. The conceit is that the convention takes place on a giant luxury airship, the Gaslight. In keeping with that theme, we like to refer to the hospitality suite as the Observation Lounge. We also do various 'ports of call', were we say the airship is docked at some city, and we are providing a taste of the local cuisine.

This year, we wanted to keep to the nautical theme, so went with two very different islands. Friday's port of call was Rapa Nui (Easter Island). For that, I made a Polynesian pulled pork, and a fruit pudding called po'e. The pork was slow cooked with liquid smoke and sea salt. The pudding was made from banana, mango, and papaya, and served with a dollop of coconut cream and a sprinkling of brown sugar. To make my life easier, I made little individual puddings in mini-muffin liners, rather than a big pudding that would have to be shared out.

Unfortunately, I did not get any good pictures of the food at the ports of call either day. If anyone else did, and would be willing to let me use them, I'd greatly appreciate it.


Polynesian Pulled Pork

20 lbs boneless pork shoulder
1/2 cup coarse sea salt
1/4 cup liquid smoke
1/2 banana, split lengthwise

Trim excess fat from pork. Thoroughly rub liquid smoke over entire surface of pork shoulder. Do the same with the sea salt. Place pork in a crock pot. Lay banana half on top, cover. Turn on to high, until pot comes up to temperature, about 3 hours. Turn to low, cook another 16 hours. An hour before service, remove banana. Shred pork, return to crock pot. Let cook in the juice uncovered for one more hour.

Po'e (Tahitian Fruit Pudding)

4 cups banana puree
3 cups mango puree
1 cup papaya puree
1cup brown sugar
4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups corn starch
1 cup coconut milk
brown sugar to garnish

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

Mix together fruit purees, sugar, vanilla, and corn starch. whisk thoroughly to remove any lumps of cornstarch.

Line a mini-muffin tin with paper liners. Carefully fill liners about 2/3 full with pudding mix. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, or until pudding is firm and springy to the touch.

Remove to a cooling rack. Let cool, refrigerate until serving.

To serve, poor a little coconut cream over each pudding. Sprinkle lightly with brown sugar.

One batch makes about 70 individual puddings.

Happy eating!

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