Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Ham

I was trying to decide what to write about. It's not that I haven't been cooking, but the things I cook around Christmas time are usually just family favorites. I made up my usual batch of cut-out Christmas cookies. My sister and I decorated them with the help of the two older boys. When a four-year old and a two-year old help paint food coloring-laden powdered sugar topping onto cookies, something unusual happens-some cookies disappear before they are completely painted. My two-year old was painting a star. He painted an edge, said, "Look, Mommy!" I smiled in approval. The next time I looked over there he was painting another point on the same star, but the previously painted point was missing. It was eat-and-paint-as-you-go.
We made gingerbread men and women, decorated with royal icing and red and green M&M's. For that perfect icing, you must use meringue powder.
My sister and I also made homemade marshmallows. I was going to cut them into fun shapes and dip them in chocolate, but I was rushed so I just cut them into squares. They were delicious, nonetheless, and my four-year old kept asking for "more square marshmallows".
I made biscuits and gravy, pasta with browned butter and pecorino romano, beef stroganoff, grilled chicken with penne and creamy white sauce, and soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. I cajoled my mom into making her chicken pot pie and chicken enchiladas. Let's just say the last two weeks I spent eating. I ate at In-N-Out, Del Taco, Chilis, the Blue Plate, Spaghetti Factory and the Waffle Shop. I could include other meals here, but I don't want to be obscene. I am sure you probably feel full just reading what I ate. But I saved the best meal for last.
Christmas Dinner.
My husband suggested I write about the usual ham recipe. We always, always, always have ham, au gratin potatoes, croissants and Martinellis on Christmas Day. We have recently added a breakfast casserole my mom discovered, which I may add here later. We usually have a vegetable, and this year it was my same old green beans with bacon.
The ham recipe is really simple. I just add a few things to the sauce, just like I remember my mom doing. Seriously, its so easy, its not even really a recipe. But its really, really good. If you don't like your ham recipe, you should try this one. If you do like your ham recipe, you should try this one. It's different, and there are so many ways you could change it up, like substituting orange marmalade or pomegranate jelly for the pineapple-apricot.
I always buy the same ham, it comes in a red foil-looking wrap. It is a bone-in, spiral-sliced ham. There is a seasoning packet in it that you are supposed to mix with 3 Tablespoons water and heat on the stove until boiling. I add the water it calls for, and also, a half a 16-oz jar of pineapple-apricot jam, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup honey, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon ground cloves and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
I cook the ham according to the package directions, which is usually baked, covered with foil for somewhere around two hours. At the one hour mark I baste with about half the glaze. I pour a little bit in between each of the slices. At the 1:45 mark I do it again, using the rest of the glaze. When the ham comes out of the oven, I transfer it to a platter, and pour the juices into a saucepan and turn it on high. Once its boiling, I mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 1/3 cup cold water and whisk well. Pour about 1/4 cup of the mixture into the boiling glaze and whisk until slightly thickened.
Serve immediately.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts