It’s a Pig & Quill baby shower!! I can’t remember when I first came across the sassy sunshine that is Emily’s blog, but it’s one of my oldest reads — Emily’s irreverent vivacity and passion for good eats make the Internet that much brighter, and on the days when she turns reflective, it’s the kind of writing that hits home, lingers, and inspires. Also, she knows how to enjoy her SPAM. I don’t know what else I could ask for from a blog. The best news is that Em is having a mini-Em in just a few weeks, and when the amazing Gina and Sherrie put together a virtual party to celebrate, I couldn’t wait to join in.
Call me a super literal thinker, but for a Pig & Quill baby shower, some version of pigs in a blanket was the first thing that came to mind for me to “bring.” (Little piggies and baby blankets! The word pig!) Given Emily’s love of hot dogs with Asian flair, B2’s ever-eagerness for kimchi, and a bottomless tub of gochujang in the fridge, this vaguely Korean rendition seemed like the perfect thing to try. The gochujang sauce is straight from the bibimbap staple here (throwback alert!), but the kimchi relish was a new, delectable invention I found through Marja Vongerichten’s The Kimchi Chronicles. I couldn’t decide which one to tuck inside the “blankets” and which to serve on the side, so I did some of both, but either would work. I think the most important part is just slathering on plenty of each. The result is everything I love about these bite-sized party staples — fluffy, warm dough-blankets, snappy mini-dogs — but with a tang from the kimchi and a sweet-smoky heat from the gochujang that gives them a spicy update.
Emily, I’m so, so excited for you to meet your new little one and for the incredible journey ahead of you. I just know she’s going to come into this world with the same irrepressible joy, panache, and love for life (and food!) that you have. And, you know, in case she needs a little coaxing on the big day, I hear spicy food helps…
And the rest of the party is here!
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Spicy gochujang pigs in a blanket
Kimchi relish from the Kimchi Chronicles by Marja Vongerichten; crescent roll dough adapted from Home Cooking Adventures and Half Baked Harvest. Feel free to use Pillsbury ready-made crescent roll dough or your favorite recipe instead.
- for the dough:
- 1/2 cup milk, warm
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 4 tbsp butter, divided
- for the kimchi relish:
- 1/2 cup kimchi, finely chopped and drained
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp honey
- for the gochujang sauce:
- 1/4 cup gochujang (red pepper paste, like this)
- 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tbsp sugar or honey
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp minced garlic (optional)
- 1/2 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
- to assemble:
- 6 oz cocktail franks (or, for an even more Korean-ified version, try Korean mini Berkshire sausages if you can find them!)
- sesame oil for brushing
- sesame seeds for sprinkling on top
- Set out half the butter (2 tbsp) at room temperature and let it soften while you prepare the dough. In a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup, heat the milk until warm to the touch but not hot. Add the sugar and stir to combine, then add the yeast. Let the milk sit for about 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture has foamed. Meanwhile, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl.
- Once the yeast is foamy, add the egg and whisk to incorporate, then add the mixture to the flour.
- Using a wooden spoon, stir the dough until it comes together into one solid mass. It should be shaggy and soft. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and continue to knead with your hands, flouring as little as possible and only as much as needed to keep from sticking, for 2-3 minutes. You should feel the dough start to tighten a bit and become slightly more difficult to knead. Add one tablespoon of the softened butter and knead until incorporated. It will be messy at first, but just keep kneading and it should come back to a soft, light dough. Add the second tablespoon of butter and knead again until incorporated. Continue to knead for 6-7 more minutes. If kneading in a stand mixer, knead with a dough hook on medium for 5 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise in the refrigerator overnight (or at room temperature until doubled).
- The next day (or once risen), let the second 2 tbsp of butter come to room temperature and soften. Remove dough from fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface to a large rectangle about a quarter-inch thick. Spread the softened butter across the dough, leaving an inch border on all edges.
- Fold the rectangle into thirds, letter-style, with the butter in the center — fold the bottom third up, then the top third down over that. Pinch the edges to seal the dough rectangle, then cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer for 10 minutes.
- Roll the dough out to a long rectangle, taking care not to burst the sides of the packet, and fold the dough letter-style, into thirds, again. Place back in freezer for 10 more minutes.
- Finally, roll the dough out one more time, fold one more time and place in the freezer for a final 10 minutes. During this last rest, make the kimchi relish by mixing the vinegar and honey with finely chopped kimchi, and make the gochujang sauce by whisking together the gochujang, soy sauce, sugar or honey, garlic, sesame oil, and roasted sesame seeds. Set both aside. Pat the cocktail franks dry and prick a few holes in each to prevent bursting.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough into long, narrow 3-inch triangles — I did so by slicing into two-inch wide strips of dough, then cutting in diagonals. To form the pigs in a blanket, place about a half teaspoon of kimchi relish or gochujang (I preferred gochujang inside the blankets and kimchi relish on top when served, but either will work) on a dough strip, then place a cocktail frank on the widest end of the strip and roll up. Place the rolled franks on a baking sheet a few inches apart. If desired, brush with extra sesame oil and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
- Bake the piggies for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with remaining gochujang sauce for dipping and kimchi relish to top. Enjoy!
The crescent roll dough is a little bit of an endeavor, with a folding method that’s something like an abbreviated, simpler croissant dough. If it seems too finicky, feel free to skip it — just roll it out once, right after its first rise, and cut into triangles then. (Or opt for Pillsbury!)