Meyer Lemon Fudge

They say when life gives you lemons make lemonade. Very wise counsel. But I say when Frieda’s Specialty Produce gives you Meyer Lemons make fudge. I know that’s a little different but hey fudge is delicious, and who says it has to be chocolate. Plus it is Christmas time so fudge seemed very appropriate. I researched some fudge recipes. I wanted to use fresh lemon juice and zest and I wanted to use milk. I found a recipe from the site, Through Clouded Glass. This recipe called for lemon flavoring or extract but I opted for 1 Meyer Lemon’s worth of juice, which worked out to perfection.

One of the biggest concerns with making fudge is taking a bite and filling like your candy takes like your last trip to the beach. Grainy fudge is no fun. In order to make a better texture I like to make my sugar finer. The small the granules of sugar the less likely of experiencing grainy fudge. The sugar I used is Morena Pure Cane Sugar. It has a better flavor, it less processed, and is non-GMO. In order to make it finer, I just run it through my food processor for about 30 seconds.

I was very excited in how this turned out. It is melting in your mouth good. It’s a great way to showcase the wonderful flavor of Meyer Lemons, which once you try, you will never want to go back to the old standby lemon. Also makes me want to try out other wonderful citrus throughout the winter months – I have visions of Blood Orange, Cara Cara, Sumo mandarin, maybe even Ugli Fruit fudge dancing in my head. The nice thing about the lemon fudge is that it wasn’t as heavy feeling as traditional chocolate fudge. Even if you lost all self control and devoured several pieces, you wouldn’t regret it as much later as with the heavier chocolate.

To get that wonderful yellow color you see in my fudge, you have to cheat a little bit and add food coloring. I don’t use just regular food coloring, I prefer gel paste food coloring. It has more vivid color and doesn’t add any liquid to whatever you adding it to. It easily mixes right in. The stuff will last you a long time.

Meyer Lemon Fudge
 

Ingredients
  • 1½ cups fine sugar
  • ⅔ cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1-2 drops yellow gel paste food coloring
  • 10 oz white chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon Meyer Lemon zest

Instructions
  1. Line a 8 x 8 baking pan with wax or parchment paper. Spray with oil. Set aside.
  2. Place the sugar into a food processor. Process for 30 seconds until the sugar is fine.
  3. Combine sugar, milk, and butter in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  4. Boil for 5 minutes, do NOT stir during this time.
  5. Remove from the heat. Add in the food coloring, then stir in the white chocolate until completely melted.
  6. Stir in the lemon juice and zest.
  7. Quickly place into your 8 x 8 pan. Smooth out with a spatula.
  8. Allow to complete cool to set up before cutting.

 

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Whole-Foods-Market-Shopping-Guide Looking to buy that perfect ham to complete your Christmas meal? If you have a Whole Foods Market nearby here are some options that are available for you.

Selection and prices are based on what I found in the Ann Arbor, Michigan store in December 2013

Wellshire Farms

Type Price
Semi Boneless Half Ham $6.99/lb
Spiral Cut Half Ham $4.99/lb
Spiral Sliced Boneless Half Ham $7.99/lb
Black Forest or Virginia Ham Nugget $12.99 for 28 oz
Boneless Black Forest Half Ham $7.99/lb
Virginia Boneless Half Ham. $7.99/lb

Wellshire Farms is based out of Swedesboro,NJ. The entire line of products are free of nitrates and nitrites and never contain artificial ingredients or preservatives. You will see their meats labeled as “uncured” because they do not have any added nitrates or nitrites. All of their hams are fully cooked and come from pigs fed a vegetarian diet that is free of any added antibiotics or hormones.

The company began in 1993 under the name Yorkshire Farms. They changed the name to Wellshire in 2003. They began selling their products exclusively to Whole Foods Market in 2008.

What is a Black Forest Ham
One of their offerings is a Black Forest Ham. Originally Black Forest Ham come from Germany. It contains certain spices that give it it’s unique flavor. Ones made in the United States are not officially defined so it may vary from company to company. They should be flavored in the Germany fashion as well as a similar process of a long cold smoking that gives the ham a black coloring on the outside.

What is a Virginia Ham
Like the Black Forest, this is a type of ham that is based on the seasonings and curing process of hams in Virginia. A Virginia style ham very well may be a country ham. These hams in hung to age in a smokehouse. They tend to be more salty than city hams, which is the ham style most of us are accustomed to. Again the name is not necessarily regulated, so you might find a Virginia ham to be seasoned but not necessarily cured like a country ham.

Pederson’s

Type Price
Organic Uncured $7.99/lb
Organic Uncured Petite $10.99/lb

Pederson’s Natural Farms is based out of Hamilton, Texas. They have been around since 1992. They do not use any artificial ingredients or preservatives in their products. To read more about how they treat their animals, check out their website.

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Time to complete your Christmas shopping with the purchase of your holiday ham. Below you will find a list of stores throughout Michigan and what they have to offer in terms of price and selection of hams. I typically go for a shank portion bone-in ham. The cheapest deal I saw is at ALDI where you can get a shank portion ham for 99 cents a pound.

Related ham posts : Reasons NOT to Buy a Boneless Ham | Alton Brown’s City Ham recipe | Difference in Types of Ham | Spiced Root Beer Glazed Ham recipe | Can You Freeze Leftover Ham?

Whole Foods Market
Check out my guide to the hams available at Whole Foods.

Meijer
Various locations throughout the state. Prices may be slightly different in each store, check your store to be sure.
Cook’s or Hormel Cure 81 Spiral Sliced Half Ham (in natural juices) $1.37/lb (limit 2)
Dearborn Spiral Sliced Ham $3.99/lb
Cook’s Shank or Butt Portion HaM $1.19/lb (Limit 2)*

Hiller’s
Stores in Ann Arbor, Berkley, Commerce Township, Northville, Plymouth, Union Lake, and West Bloomfield.
Hiller’s Signature Fire Glazed Spiral Sliced Half Ham $2.49/lb
Butt or Shank Portion Fresh Half Ham $1.79/lb
Winter’s Fire Glazed Spiral Sliced Ham $2.99/lb
Dearborn Torch Glazed Spiral Sliced Ham $3.99/lb
Dearborn Classic Trim Semi-Boneless Half Ham $2.99/lb
Kentucky Legend Quarter Sliced Hams (Original, Brown Sugar, Black Forest) $3.99/lb

Busch’s
Stores in Ann Arbor, Saline, Clinton, Tecumseh, Dexter, Pinckney, South Lyon, Plymouth/Northville, Carleton, Livonia, Novi, Farmington Hills, West Bloomfield, and Rochester Hills.
Dearborn Spiral Half Ham $3.99/lb
Busch’s Spiral Sliced Ham $2.49/lb

Spiced Root Beer Glazed Ham

Kroger
Various locations throughout the state. Prices may be slightly different in each store, check your store to be sure.
Kroger Spiral Sliced Ham $1.37/lb (limit 2 with additional $10 purchase)
Smithfield Shank Portion $1.17/lb
Cumberland Gap Semi Boneless Ham $1.67/lb
Hickory Hills Boneless Ham $2.89/lb
Private Selection Spiral Sliced Bone-In Ham $2.99/lb

Nino Salvaggio
Locations in St. Clair Shores, Troy, and Clinton Township.
Dearborn Spiral Sliced Ham $3.99/lb
Winter’s Spiral Sliced Ham $2.99/lb

Neiman’s Family Market
Locations in Alpena, Tawas, and St. Clair.
Spartan Whole Boneless Ham $1.99/lb
Spartan Honey Glazed Spiral Sliced Ham $1.99/lb
Winter’s Spiral Cut Ham $2.99/lb

Plumb’s
Locations in Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Norton Shores, Muskegon Heights, Newaygo, N. Muskegon, and Whitehall.
Spartan Spiral Sliced Half Ham $1.99/lb
Sugardale Whole Boneless Ham $1.69/lb
Frick’s Shank Portion Ham $1.49/lb
Frick’s Butt Portion Ham $1.59/lb
Kentucky Legend Quarter Sliced Hams (Select varities) $3.99/lb
Spartan Whole Boneless Ham $2.69/lb
Spartan Boneless Half Ham $2.89/lb
Alexander & Hornung Half Ham $1.99/lb

Tom’s Food Center
Locations in Portland and Okemos
Smithfield Honey Glazed Spiral Sliced Half Ham $1.26/lb
Smithfield Whole Bonless Ham $1.58/lb

ALDI
Locations throughout the state
Appleton Farms Spiral Sliced Half Ham $1.49/lb
Appleton Farms Shank Portion Ham $.99/lb – LOWEST PRICE IN MICHIGAN
Appleton Farms Butt Portion Ham $1.19/lb

What I Use When I Bake A Ham

Here are some tools that I use whenever I am baking a ham.
1. Roasting Pan – You need something big to bake your ham in and a roasting pan is the perfect vessel. I don’t recommend not stick in this case as I always find that I still end up with burnt sugar in the bottom from my glaze. It’s harder to clean a non-stick pan without scratching it and ruining the non stick. So just go with an stainless steel that you can scrub easier.
2. Electric Knife – Makes carving the ham a whole lot easier. You don’t need something expense here. A cheap one works just fine.
3. Probe thermometer – Even thought hams come cooked most of the time, you still need to heat it up. Don’t trust the instructions that came with your hand, trust a probe thermometer to get your ham reheated to the properly temperature. I have had ham that has been overcooked, a dry ham is not something you ever want to experience.

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Mini Chocolate Peppermint Donuts

This past fall, I made these mini pumpkin donuts that tasted so yummy and looked so cute. It was the first time I used the Mini Donut Pans I got from a friend when they were ridding themselves of items in preparation for a move across country. When I bite into that first donut it helped lessen the sadness of them moving away. It also got the creative juices flowing. I thought I have to make a Christmas version. That could only mean two things – chocolate and peppermint. I love, love, love that combo. I eat beyond my fair share of chocolate peppermint treats in the month of December. It was the first treat I made for this year’s Christmas season.

Mini Chocolate Peppermint Donuts

When I was searching out recipe inspirations for the base for these donuts one thing I had in mind is I wanted to use oil, not butter. Not just because I was currently very low on butter at the moment, but butter doesn’t make for moist cake and these donuts are in fact cake. Oil does a better job, even though butter tastes better, I am all about using oils in my cake. It’s what I do when a make Devil’s Food Cake. The recipe I liked the most I found on the blog, Delicious Shots, I used that as a guide to making my peppermint version.

Mini Chocolate Peppermint Donuts

Here are some notes to read before trying this recipe:

1. SPRAY THE PANS! I cannot express this enough. They need to be sprayed really well or your donuts will not come out whole. I don’t care if your pans are non-stick that isn’t enough. I like using the Coconut Cooking Spray you can get from Trader Joe’s

2. To crush the candy canes, I put them into a zip top plastic bag and then smashed them with a rolling pin until they are pretty much dust. You can do less if you want larger chunks.

3. For the glaze I always just eye ball it. I pour powdered sugar into a bowl, then add enough water to make it into a glaze. The amount of humidity varies so much that it is hard to really give exact measurements, plus it’s easy enough not to screw up. It it’s too thin add more sugar, too thick, add more water.

Mini Chocolate Peppermint Donuts
 

Ingredients
For the donut batter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup cooking oil, vegetable, canola, sunflower
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoon peppermint extra or a few drops peppermint oil
  • ½ cup hot water
For the glaze
  • water
  • powdered sugar
For the topping
  • One box of candy cane, crushed

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Start by mixing together the brown sugar, sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  3. In another bowl combine the oil, egg, and milk, stir to combine.
  4. With the mixer running, slowly add the liquid to the dry ingredients, when just combine, slowly pour in the hot water. Then add the peppermint. You can taste to make sure you have the right strength if you like. The batter will be thin, don’t worry that is what you want.
  5. Spray very well your mini donut or muffin pan. Add enough batter to come about ½ to ⅔ ups. If using a min donut pan, don’t go above the grove that makes the hole.
  6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until a tooth pick comes out clean.
  7. Wait for at least 10 minutes before de-panning. They should come out easily if you sprayed the pans enough. Allow to finish cooling on a rack before glazing.
  8. Make your glaze by mixing powdered sugar and water until the right consistency. Dip the donuts in the glaze. Then immediately into a bowl of crushed candy cane. Allow the donuts to sit for a few minutes for the glaze to harden before enjoying.

 

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Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Is there such a thing as too many Brussels Sprouts recipes? I don’t think so. I love to try many different things with my new favorite cabbage family veggie. Sprouts are always good roasted in the oven. There is something warm and comforting about eating tons of roasted vegetables during the winter months, especially at Christmas time. This recipe I wanted to try out comes from the Pioneer Woman, particularly from her Christmas episode. Just as my appreciation for Brussels Sprouts has grown so has my appreciation for vinegars, with Balsamic being at the top of that list. This gave me a good reason to try a Balsamic reduction something that I have not tried before. You can print the recipe out at Food Network’s website. Here are my cooking notes:

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

1. The recipe has only 5 ingredients – Brussels Sprouts, oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar, and dried cranberries.

2. Roasting them is a breeze. They need to be cut in half first. Place them cut side down.

3. While they were roasting I made the reduction. The recipe calls for it to be really thick, but you also have to be careful not to make balsamic caramel, which may not be a bad idea, but I don’t want it to stick to my teeth when I was eating it. Just get it thick enough to coat the sprouts and call it a day. Lucky for me I saved the dish for another day’s meal so actually being the fridge help to dissolve “the candy”. I also burned my finger on that mixture. Be very careful, not something for the novice, clumsy cook to make.

4. Dried cranberries on top not only add color but added texture and a sweet-tart flavor. I think cranberries just scream holidays. Could you use fresh? I don’t think I would like to bite into a whole cranberry, without any added sweetness, even thought I have the sweeten Balsamic glaze.

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

The glaze was outstanding, great way to dress up roasted Brussels Sprouts. I might have discovered a new idea for candy. If you get a dark black looking candy in a package from our household you have a hint of what it is!

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Photo from the NY Daily News

Photo from the NY Daily News

This morning I spend some time working researching ham prices in the home state of Michigan. One ad that I came across offered a Paula Deen Crunchy Glazed Spiral Ham from Smithfield. The ham comes wrapped in a beautiful blue package with the southern queen herself right on the label. Check out this YouTube video to see what I am talking about.

Is It Worth My Money to Buy Paula Deen’s Smithfield Crunchy Glazed Ham?

I am going to answer NO to this question. I don’t think it’s worth the money. Check this example. D&W Market in Michigan is selling Smithfield Honey Glazed Spiral Half Ham for $1.27/lb. The Paula Deen ham costs $2.77/lb. So let’s say you get a 8 lb ham which is about the average size. You would be spending $12 more for the Paula Deen ham. Basically you are buying her glaze for $12. Even if the ham is tasty and it probably is this is not a good deal at all.

What Is In Paula Deen’s Crunchy Ham Glaze?

So what is exactly in this glaze? I couldn’t find the answer online or at the Smithfield website. I was able to find one of these hams at my local Meijer store. Here is what I found on the ingredient list for the glaze: Sugar, Brown Sugar, Water, Honey, Maltodextrin, Corn Syrup Solids, 2% or less of the following: gelatin, soybean oil, spices, salt, potassium sorbate, potassium benzoate. Yep, definitely some ingredients that I would never naturally use in my kitchen. What makes this glaze crunchy? Corn syrup solids?

Other Options for a Crunchy Glazed Ham

There are other options out there that I think would be more economical. Alton Brown has a recipe for a ham with a glaze made of ginger snap cookies, mustard, and brown sugar. This will give you that crunchy glaze and it’s not going to cost you $12 for those extra ingredients, in fact when you are done you will probably have leftover mustard and brown sugar (you probably will eat any remaining cookie with the ham is cooking!). I think this is much better option to get that crunchy glaze you want. Buying the other ham would basically mean you are paying Paula Deen to make the glaze for you and have her face on the packaging.

What About Using a Paula Deen Ham Recipe?

If you still want Paula to be a part of your ham experience, she does have several recipes online that you can give a try to. The one that sounded unique to me was her peanut butter glazed ham. The glaze is made of peanut butter, garlic, soy, and honey. I haven’t tried it before but I might for a different kind of flavor.

As I was searching for a Smithfield/Paula Deen commericial I came across this video of Paula being hit in the face with one of her very own hams. I attached it below to provide you with a quick chuckle.

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Homemade Christmas gifts can be a lot of fun. It’s usually a pretty good way to ensure that the person you are gifting is getting an unique item – you made it! I love gifting food. I have given away gift baskets of spices, homemade truffles, butter mints, peppermint marshmallows, homemade mustard, and homemade chocolate-hazelnut spread (like Nutella). This year I stumbled upon an idea that is unique, easy, and delicious – homemade fruit sugars! What do I mean by fruit sugars? It’s a little trick I discovered this past summer to take freeze dried fruit for a spin with granulated sugar thus fruit sugars. Place them into a Ball jar with a ribbon or some Christmas fabric and you got yourself a great gift. You can use this stuff on cereal, you can bake with it, tea, the sky is definitely the limit when you got fruit sugar.

You need to select fruit that is freeze dried, not just dried. Even dried fruit still has some moisture in it. You need fruit that will turn to a powder in a food processor in moments. One of the best sources for this is Trader Joe’s. Their prices are cheapest I have found and they have several fruits: mango, blueberry, grape, strawberry, and raspberry.

Homemade Fruit Sugar
 

Ingredients
  • ½ oz freeze dried fruit (strawberry, blueberry, mango, raspberry, etc.)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

Instructions
  1. Measure out your freeze dried fruit.
  2. Throw into a food processor. Process until fruit is powder.
  3. Add the sugar. Process for about 30 seconds to combine.
  4. Pour into a dry container that you can seal up. A 8oz or half pint Ball jar is my top choice.

 

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There is nothing like a good roast for Christmas. It’s the perfect time of year to heat the house up with delicious smelling food. Problem is some roasts aren’t cheap. As much as I would love to always cook a standing rib roast, I can’t break the bank for one meal. If you find yourself in the same boat, what other options are out there. A whole beef tenderloin is a option, it’s usually on sale this time of year. But what is even cheaper is a pork tenderloin. You should be able to find one for under $4 a pound! And unlike other chunks of meat like the rib roast or a ham, pork tenderloin cook in no time, so they are a good choice if you don’t want to spend too much of your day in the kitchen.

There are many different ways to flavor a pork tenderloin. If I am doing one for Christmas, I am going to look for ingredients that are available this time of year or at least make me think of Christmas:

1. Ginger is associated with the holiday season, despite not really being a seasonal ingredient. It’s on sale in stores and you just might have some on hand if you made some gingerbread cookies. I incorporate it in the marinade and the glaze.

2. Meyer Lemons are in season now. These lemons are sweeter than your average lemon and that pack an amazing taste, perfect for a marinade – just the juice and the zest.

3. Fresh Sage & Rosemary are the only two herbs still standing in my herb garden, everything else has pretty much died or gone dormant. These two will taste and look nice on the outside of the pork.

Christmas Roast Pork Tenderloin w/Honey-Herb Glaze
 

Ingredients
  • 1 to 1½ pound pork tenderloin, excess fat and silver skin removed
For the marinade
  • ¼ cup vegetable (or chicken stock)
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar (or any kind you like)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
For the glaze
  • ½ cup wildflower honey
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

Instructions
  1. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly to combine.
  2. Place the pork tenderloin in a gallon sized plastic bag and pour in the marinade. Place in the bottom of your fridge in a vessel of your choice in case of leaks. Marinade for 8 hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Place the pork on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
  5. Insert a probe thermometer into the center of the fattest part of the meat.
  6. Place in the oven and roast until the internal temperature hits 135 degrees.
  7. Remove from the oven. Turn the oven up to 450 degrees.
  8. Apply the glaze (combo of honey, salt, and ground ginger)
  9. Roast until the internal temperature hits 155 degrees.
  10. Remove from oven and allow 5-10 minutes to rest before carving. I like thin slices cut on the bias.

 

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Saturday, December 1st, 2012

Guy’s Big Bite | 7:30am | Holiday on Its Head
Guy makes Acorn squash soup topped with yogurt, served with pistachio-Parmesan crostini and ginger snap ice cream sandwiches

The Best Thing I Ever Made | 8:00am | Rockin’ Roasts
Food Network personalities make their favorite roasts: Ted Allen’s Crisp-Tender Roast Duck with Cherry-Rosemary Sauce, Andrew Zimmern’s Pan Roasted Veal Shanks with Calvados, Apples and Cider Vinegar, the Deen’s Foolproof Standing Rib Roast with Pan Sauce, Scott Conant’s Moist Roasted Whole Red Snapper with Tomatoes, Basil and Oregano.

Paula’s Home Cooking | 9:00am | Holiday Cocktail Party
Recipes includes: creme de menthe, Italian chicken sticks, cheese-stuffed mushrooms

Paula’s Best Dishes | 9:30am | A Very Chatty Christmas
A Brand New episode featuring beef tenderloin stuffed with crawfish, bacon and mushrooms, eggplant rich dressing and fruitcake breading pudding with whiskey sauce. (Also airing Monday, December 3rd @ 5pm)

The Pioneer Woman | 10:30am | Christmas
Ree makes cinnamon rolls to give as gifts. Later, a festive feast is prepared featuring prime rib with a rosemary-salt crust, Duchesse potatoes, and nine hour Burgundy mushrooms.

Trisha’s Southern Kitchen | 11am | Holiday Cookie Party
A cookie swap featuring snickerdoodles, pecan tassies, and iced sugar cookies.

Holiday Kitchen Takeover | 11:30am
Giada De Laurentiis and designer Sabrina Soto surprise a family with a makeover of their kitchen in time for Christmas

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Sandwich King | 11am | Holiday Sandwiches
Jeff shares his grandmother’s recipe for sausage bread along with roast beef with dipping sauce and spaghetti and broccoli aglio olio

The Best Thing I Ever Made | 11:30am | Stocking Stuffers
Food Network stars share their favorite homemade holiday treats. These include Chocolate Covered Cereal, Coconut Toffee
Classic Manhattan Cocktail, Real Maraschino Cherries, Linzer Heart Sandwich Cookies

Paula’s Best Dishes | 12:00pm | Fried Christmas
Fried dishes is the name of the game in this holiday episode. Recipes featuring deep-fried ham, loaded mashed potatoes, fried asparagus with Creole mustard sauce, and red-velvet bread pudding.

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Good Eats | 11am | School of Hard Nogs
Alton shows you how to make egg nog and egg nog ice cream!

Secrets of a Restaurant Chef | 2pm | The Secret to Roasted Leg of Lamb
Anne Burrell demonstrates how to an easy way to prepare roasted leg of lamb. Also featuring a peach crisp recipe.

30-Minute Meals | 2:30pm | Holiday Help
Greek meatball pitas with tzatziki sauce and orzo with feta and walnuts are served up.

Barefoot Contessa | 4:30pm | Festive Fun
Ina Garten hosts a festive holiday dinner party featuring seafood gratin with lobster, halibut and shrimp in saffron sauce (yeah this sounds really affordable!)

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In so many households, the only time you see someone cooking a ham is for a holiday like Christmas or Easter. But ham is good any time of year. Plenty of Americans buy deli ham for their lunches. When they do they spend $5, $6, $7 a pound! You can buy a bone-in ham (I like the shank cut) for under $2 a pound regularly. That is a huge savings. It’s something I am getting in the habit of doing. I cook the ham, eat for 2 dinners in a row. And then freeze the leftovers into individual servings, that I pull out when I need them for a lunch time sandwich. And even greater reward is the ham bone that comes with. This can easily be thrown into a pot of soup (bean or split pea are delicious).

Now that I am cooking a ham more often, I want to have try out some different recipes. I like Alton Brown’s recipe for ham that includes a ginger snap/mustard/brown sugar crust. The downside of that recipe is the crust doesn’t hold up well for leftovers. So I am going to save that recipe for when I have more diners at my house.

This last week I came up with a root beer glaze to rub on the outside of my ham. Instructions are below.

Ingredients
10-14 lb bone-in shank ham
3 cups root beer
1 cinnamon stick
5-7 whole cloves
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground mustard

Instructions
I like to use the method Alton Brown uses. It involves slowly heating the ham up at 250 degrees and removing the outer skin to apply the glaze directly to the meat. The outer skin is removed after the ham reaches 135 degrees (usually in about 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours). To make it easy to remove, use a paring knife
or clean utility knife to score the ham from top to bottom in a diamond like pattern. Then stick your probe thermometer into the deepest part of the meat without hitting bone. Cover in heavy duty aluminum foil and bake in a roasting pan at 250 until the temperature is 135.

To make the glaze
While your ham is cooking, you can prepare the glaze. Start by placing all the ingredients into a sauce pan and bringing to a boil. Then let sit for 30 minutes to steep the cinnamon stick and cloves. Then remove the cinnamon and cloves. Bring back to a boil. Stir often until the liquid has reduced quite a bit and is the consistency of a syrup. The time it takes depends on the weather and your stove. Anticipate over a half hour at least. Make sure to keep your eye on it, so it doesn’t burn. There is a moment when it’s done and then moment it’s burned. When finisihed set aside until ham is ready.

To add glaze to ham
Pull the ham from the oven when it has reached 135 degrees. Remove the foil & probe. Turn the oven up to 350. Pull off the outer skin of the ham. Then using a pastry brush, brush the glaze over the ham, trying to cover as much area as you can. Then put back in the oven uncovered for 30-60 minutes, until you get a nice caramelized color on the outside of the ham. Be watchful so that you don’t burn it the glaze you worked so hard on. Let the ham rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

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