“Is that him?”
“That’s the buffet table…”
“Well, how do we know…unless we question it?”
– Kaylee and Mal
So as you probably gathered from the not so subtle header image, today post will feature a Firefly-inspired recipe. Don’t worry; this is far from the last post in the ‘verse I’ll be coming up with on the subject.
About two weeks ago, we played host to my roommate Briana’s 28th birthday party. You might recognize her from a certain Tomb Raider-themed session of Cosplay in the Kitchen, and her geek fashion blog, The Lady Nerd.
Since the whole lot of us can’t pull together a shindig this large without wanting some sort of geeky theme, the birthday girl decided on transporting our guests to a world of shepherds, companions, and spaceships.
Since I can’t throw a party like this without cooking up blog post fodder, I took my inspiration from another shindig: the episode Shindig, and everyone’s favorite ruffle and engine grease-clad mechanic, Kay Winnet Lee Frye (or better remembered by everyone as Kaylee).
Kaylee is the all-Chinese-influenced-American girl next door. Whether in the engine-room, or the ballroom, she shines through with her genuine demeanor, friendly quirkiness, and engaging curiosity.
What’s thoroughly interesting about this particular episode, is seeing the party through Kaylee’s eyes. In an entire room full of grandiose beauty, Kaylee is the only one who shows any appreciation for it. On a buffet table full of complicated delicacies and “some kind of hot cheese,” she opts for a simple, no-frills, strawberry.
In some ways, you can say that the strawberry is a metaphor for Kaylee on Pandora. While so many of the other party guests look extravagantly radiant, they hide their entitlement and dishonesty behind expensive clothing and courteous smiles. Kaylee, like the strawberry, is delightful and wonderful on her own.
So taking this analysis in mind, I chose to make smoked, pulled pork sandwich sliders because you can’t get much more honest than barbecue when it comes the southern and southwest American aesthetic so prevalent in Firefly. It’s also a heck of a lot easier to prepare for a large number of people than 32 tiny burgers!
If you have a Costco membership or know someone with one, I recommend getting their Kirkland Signature brand because it is the only one on the market currently that doesn’t have sauce already mixed in.
To this, we’re going to add some Asian-influence by mixing in some Chinese five-spice powder and hoisin sauce to give similar flavor to char-siu pork.
Next, we’ll pile this on some Hawaiian sweet rolls with horseradish mayo for a quirky, wasabi-like kick, and then melt some “hot cheese” over that before topping it with simple and unpretentious strawberry slices.
Top this with a mini-parasol, and you’ve got one the tastiest gorram appetizers this side of the White Sun.
Thanks again to Briana Lamb of The Lady Nerd for the party that inspired this post, and the incredibly multi-talented Adam J. Albert and Jessi Stephens of Kuiosikle Industries for the mini parasols and amazing photos!
Kaylee's Shindig Sliders
Equipment: Microwave, oven, two baking sheets, and tinfoil.
- 32 Hawaiian sweet rolls, sliced sandwich-style
- 2 lbs smoked, pulled pork
- 1.25 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
- 6 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- cooking spray
- horseradish mayonnaise
- about 10-15 oz brie, sliced into 2-inch pieces
- roughly 1.5 cups halved, then sliced strawberries
- Cook pork in microwave according to package directions. When done, remove the meat from the plastic pouch and pour into the provided tray. Pull the pork apart using two forks.
- Mix the five-spice powder and hoisin sauce thoroughly together in a separate container. Add this sauce to the pork and stir to coat all of the meat completely.
- Cover your baking sheets with tinfoil and spray them with cooking spray. Spread a thin layer of horseradish mayo on the bottom halves of the roll and place on the baking sheet. Distribute the pulled pork to cover the rolls, and then the brie on top of that.
- Turn your oven to a low broil and bake the sandwich halves, one at a time, for a minute each to melt the cheese. Remove from the oven and distribute strawberry pieces on top of the cheese.
- Add the top halves of the rolls to the sliders and serve!