Hamming it up – Bourbon Ham Glaze

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I virtually never, ever, post twice in the same day, but as it’s Christmas and I’m spending so much time cooking, I thought I’d share what it is I’m working on. In addition to cooking a goose, which I’m not doing, we’re cooking a ham. To make life easier I usually put a spiral ham into the crock pot for a few hours. There’s really nothing to say about it recipe-wise, except for the glaze. Also largely not terribly notable for the sheer lack of complexity. It is, however, my go-to ham glaze and consists of things I almost always have hanging around the house anyhow.

Bourbon ham glaze

  • 3/4 C. Honey
  • 3/4 C. Orange marmalade
  • 1/2 C. Molassas
  • 1/2 – 3/4C. Bourbon – something cheap and strong, like Old Crow or Early Times
  • 1 Tbsp whole cloves

Heat the whole thing up in a small sauce pan then pour over the ham in the crock-pot. Using a small ladle, reapply the glaze every half-hour to hour or so. That’s it.

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Biscuits and Gravy

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Good morning & Merry Christmas. I went to bed last night cooking my rear off in order to feed everyone last night and also make sure everyone is fed today. The one advantage is that I didn’t have time to watch too much TV and get all ‘festive’ meaning that today’s headache is fully related to sleep deprivation. Before I go on, I just want to be clear, I AM NOT ALONE! My wife is also cooking her ass off as well, there’s just a shitload to be done. So, if you happen to be a husband reading this and you’ve spent your morning playing vintage NES. You need to get off your ass and fucking help. This shit is hard.

To start off my day, after opening 3 bottles of whiskeys that etiquette suggests I can’t drink for some 12 hours  yet, I launched into breakfast mode. With egg and dairy allergies, my go-to egg mash-up is completely off the table. What wasn’t off the table is biscuits and gravy. So, what’s the status of that? Well, the biscuits weren’t quite right for this and the sausage gravy is basically perfect.

For your biscuits, use literally anything. I used the royal baking company’s oatmeal biscuits. these are sweet and would work well in something like a strawberry shortcake, but they did make for a nice contrast in this one.

  • 1 1/4 C. flour
  • 1/2 Tsp Royal Baking Company Baking Powder*
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 C. water
  • 6Tbsp shortening
  • 1 1/3 C. Cooked oatmeal (steel cut or something – NOT instant!)

I used egg substitute, which generally works fine for baking. Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients then mix them together. If by some miracle, you manage to get a dry enough dough to roll out and cut, do that. Otherwise, pour into a clean, well seasoned, and well oiled cast iron skillet. Put into the oven for ~30-35 min at 350. Even when the fork comes out basically dry, it’s going to come out of the oven pretty soggy, it’s largely due to the moisture content of the oats, it should be fine, if a bit thick.

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For the sausage gravy:

  • 1 Lb breakfast sausage
  • 1/3 C. flour
  • Lots of milk (I used Almond/Cashew)
  • Pepper to taste – Use a lot, like a whole Tsp, probably.

Brown the sausage and slowly add in the flour while stirring the browned sausage. Once all of the flour is coating the sausage, start pouring in milk at about 1/2 C. at a time, allow it to thicken and add more until you have a nice thick gravy. Add your pepper and maybe a hint of salt. If you add too much milk, let it cook a bit, it should thicken, if not sprinkle just a bit more flour on.

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* To make Royal baking powder sift together 2T Cream of tartar, 1T cornstarch & 1T baking soda. This is a baking powder without the aluminum phosphate and can be used on a lot of vintage recipes.

Easy Enchilada Casserole

By Fred Tice

** This article first appeared in the November 30 Issue of the Seward Journal Newspaper**

Rather than serve up the usual fare of ‘leftover turkey’ recipes,
which you’ve undoubtedly already worked through, something not-turkey
and also easy seemed in order. Fred Tice came to the rescue with this
gem:
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There are two methods I use to determine the bona fides of a Mexican
restaurant. The first is when I sit down. A pitcher of margaritas
should appear instantly, as if by magic.

OK, no, not really.

The first is the chips and salsa. If the chips are stale, or the salsa
thin and weak, that doesn’t bode well.

The second, far more important test is how well they make enchiladas.

A really good enchilada is a culinary work of art, a thing of beauty.
Have you ever tried to make them, complete with the presentation of a
first-rate Mexican eatery? I have, and rolling those things up without
destroying them is darn near impossible, not to mention time
consuming. That’s why I use the recipe that follows. Total prep time
is about 1½ hours.

Ingredients:

A package of around 20 or so small flour or corn tortillas. (I like
flour, but corn is healthier and lower calorie. The diameter isn’t
important, it’s just that corn tortillas usually only come in
six-inch.)

2 pounds ground beef or turkey

32-oz. can enchilada sauce, green or red, chef’s preference

1 to 1½  pounds grated cheese (depending on the cheesiness of the
cook). I like to mix ½ pound mozzarella and ½ pound Monterey jack, but
whatever you have on hand is fine.

16-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained. I like the ones w/ oregano, basil
and garlic already in the can; this is optional.

Spices as desired.

½ tablespoon cooking oil

8-oz. can of sliced black olives for garnish (optional)

In a large skillet, brown and drain the ground meat. Mix in the
enchilada sauce and tomatoes. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat
and simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until a fairly thick consistency is
reached. Mixture should not be too soupy. Season to taste with cumin,
salt, pepper, chili powder, and/or paprika.

While enchilada sauce is simmering, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly oil a large casserole dish (approximately four quarts). Line
with tortillas. When ready, ladle on a layer of sauce, enough so
tortillas are just barely visible. Then add a layer of grated cheese,
approximately ½ inch thick.

Add another layer of tortillas, then more sauce, and another layer of
cheese. Repeat until all ingredients are used, making the top layer
cheese. Garnish with olives if desired.

Place in preheated oven and bake uncovered for 30 minutes, or until
cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven, allow to cool until top layer of
cheese stops bubbling, and serve. Refried beans make a good side with
this recipe. Another bonus – great leftovers. This is one of those
recipes that is better after it sits in the fridge all night, then
microwave for breakfast. Yum!


Special thanks to Fred for submitting this article. Image shown is Dave Koster attempting to make both a green batch and a red batch for a school potluck – it went over well.

Dessert with a Dairy Allergy

image1Before I start, I want to make it clear that I’m fully aware that you can get all kinds of awesome desserts without a hint of dairy. But let’s all be honest with each other. The very best dessert selections basically consist of the following ingredients with sugar and vanilla: Cream, butter, and Eggs.

This summer my wife developed a pretty bad chicken egg allergy to accompany an already irritating milk allergy. Which, no problem, we’ve got ducks – take that chickens! Unfortunately, ducks stop laying when it gets to be winter, and so at the one time of year when we really need them, nothing. Those feathery bastards just waddle around the yard and eat. So, all the expense without the benefit.  Anyhow, this leaves us without eggs at a critical time of year, so I’ve got a trifecta a of problem – no butter, no cream, no eggs. That knocks out entire kingdoms of desserts. Basically, this leaves me with Oreo cookies because they don’t actually appear to have any nutritional content whatsoever, therefore they’re pretty near to hypo-allergenic.

So, instead of just handing my wife a carton of Oreos, which would have been fine, but not particularly festive (even if I got the peppermint ones), I made them slightly more sexy and called it pie. The interesting thing about this recipe is that it’s frikkin’ good. The texture is good, the flavor is good, and if someone didn’t tell you it was vegan, which they would because nobody is going to serve you a vegan dish without making damn sure you know it was vegan, you might not even know it was vegan. That said, I did pull the guts of this from another cook, so here’s the credit for that: http://hellyeahitsvegan.com/vegan-chocolate-pudding/

What you need:

  • 1 package of double-stuff Oreo cookies
  • 1/2 stick of fake butter, flax-seed stuff works fine
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1/3 C. Cocoa powder (Dark is best)
  • 1/4 C. Cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 C. Unsweetened cashew milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (you will use 1/2 for filling, the rest for whip-cream)
  • 1 Can of full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated, and unshaken – treat this very carefully.
  • 1/2 C. Powdered Sugar

Instructions:

Start by putting your beaters and bowl into the freezer. I just stick mine outside, much colder and doesn’t take up freezer space.

image7Empty most of a package of Oreo cookies into a food processor, about 30 cookies. The reason you use the double-stuff is that the filling helps the butter-replacement as a binding agent. I did try the skinny ones, and I didn’t like it as well. Melt the butter and pour over the cookies then grind into a pulp. This is a bit of a pain and you might find that just putting the lot into a gallon ziplock bag and pounding the ever-loving crap out of it with a rolling pin also works just fine.

image6Press the cookie stuff into a pie-crust shape inside a 9″ pie-pan, then set it into the fridge to set.

image2Make the whip cream by opening two slits into the bottom of the coconut milk can and then opening the top. Scoop out the heavy solids into your cold bowl, and leave behind any extra fluid. Beat this until it’s smooth, add 1 tsp of vanilla and 1/2 C powdered sugar and beat until it’s whip cream (stiff peaks). If it starts to get watery again, you may have over-beat it – either way just stick the whole mess back into the fridge to set, it’ll be fine.

image4The final bit is to make the chocolate pudding filling. This happens fast, so be vigilant. Whisk together the corn starch, cocoa powder and 1/2 C. Sugar, put this into a small sauce pan and slowly add the cashew milk over a medium low heat with a whisk, once it’s all together and seems to have mixed, switch to a rubber spatula, stirring constantly, make sure the mix is coming out of the corners of the pot. It’ll start to thicken first around the edges and it’ll be lumpy. Keep stirring. It’ll thicken about the time you ask yourself how much damn longer do I have to stir. Since we’re putting it into pie, thicken just a bit more than you might for any other pudding. Remove from the heat and pour into the Oreo cookie crust. Paste it back in the fridge to set. That’s it. You’re done and you’ve only dirtied 95% of the specialty cooking items you own. Anyhow, that’s it, just top with the whip-cream when you serve it.

Enjoy!