In the last post I talked about where we went to eat on Valentine's Day. Now I want to tell you about what I did for Jasper leading up to V-Day. I saw a really cute idea online to get 14 small presents to give to him each day of February leading up to V-Day, along with notes that had cute puns about the gifts. I'm not sure if he thought it was as cute as I did, but here they are:
1 - orange crush soda with "I've got a "Crush" on you!"
2 - gummy bears with "Life would be un"bear"able without you!"
3 - gum with "I 'chews' you!"
Happy Easter, everybody! I am actually doing a holiday post in a timely manner, who woulda thunk it? Last Easter I focused on eggs, this time I wanted to go on the theme of ham and peas.
Ham and peas, it is! Unlike at Christmas, when I accidentally made a pork roast instead of a ham, I got it right this time and did a Dr Pepper glazed ham. Yes, I said a Dr Pepper glazed ham - awesome.
Take a fully cooked smoked ham (I went with an 8 lb, spiral sliced, partial bone) and place it cut side down on the rack of a roasting pan (or on a cookie rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet). Pour 2 cups of Dr Pepper (not diet) and 2 cups of water into the bottom of the pan. Cover with foil and cook for 15 minutes per pound at 325 degrees - 2 hours, in my case.
About half an hour before the cooking time is up, start to make your glaze. Boil some pitted prunes in Dr Pepper until they are plump. Set the prunes aside and whisk in mustard, brown sugar, and cider vinegar. Remove the ham from the oven and raise the oven temp to 425 degrees. Remove the foil, and drizzle the glaze over the ham, then return it to the oven for about half an hour to cook the glaze.
It will be so gorgeous when it comes out! Let it rest, loosely covered on a cutting board (this photo is before I turned it on its side for slicing). Meanwhile, pour all the pan drippings into the saucepan you cooked the glaze in. Bring to a boil, skimming off the fat, and add in the prunes and a cornstarch slurry to thicken. Serve the prune sauce with the ham.
My junior year of college I studied abroad in Galway, Ireland. Well - not so much studied as occasionally stopped by classes. It was an amazing semester and really cemented my love of everything Irish - culture, music, food, beer. So even though St Paddy's isn't as big a deal in Ireland as it is here, I wanted to celebrate it in honor of the time I spent there. And how do I celebrate holidays? Dinner party! So I loaded up a playlist with Flogging Molly, Young Dubliners, and The Corrs, and prepared to have some good craic.
For the main course - Corned Beef with Colcannon (mashed potatoes with cabbage). The great thing about this is that you can throw all the veg into the pot with the beef and let it all cook together - easy! So I started by putting carrots, celery, potatoes, and an onion into the bottom of the pot.
Mmm - veggies. They can be rough chopped in big pieces because they will be discarded (except for the potatoes). Since I was having people over I ended up doing two briskets - one in the slow cooker and one in a cast iron Dutch oven. Same process, different cooking times.
I laid the corned beef on top of the veggies, pickling spices included. You should be able to find corned beef vacuum packed with pickling spices in your grocery store, especially around St Paddy's. I cut the cabbage into wedges and put them on top/to the side of the beef. That is half of a head in the picture, the other half went into the Dutch oven with the other brisket.
I hosted this month at Food 'n Flix and chose Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory for my inspiration (see the announcement post here). One of my favorite childhood movies, Willy Wonka is full of fun, wonder, and tasty looking creations (the snozberries taste like snozberries!) - and what better time for a sugar fest than the holidays?!
I wanted to do a big Christmas dinner, but I didn't want to be in the kitchen all Christmas Day. I also wanted to try something different than the usual rib roast and Yorkshire pudding. So I decided to do dinner on Christmas Eve and to do some easy, low-prep dishes for Brunch on Christmas Day.
I ordered a half fresh ham through Whole Foods to try cooking a Christmas ham for the first time, but I made a few mistakes. I wanted to cook it in the slow cooker with brown sugar and cider to make a glaze, but I didn't realize that "fresh ham" is not really what we consider ham - without the curing or smoke, it is more like a pork roast - so I didn't really get the flavor that I wanted. I also couldn't get the whole thing to fit in my (very large) slow cooker insert, so I had to chop a chunk off - which actually ended up being a good thing because I roasted that piece and it came out better.
It's a little late, I know. But I did some cool things for the holiday that I thought would be worth sharing.
First up, burgers:
I thought that mixing shredded cheddar and diced bacon into the burgers themselves instead of using them as a topping would be pretty tasty, and I was right! I also added in pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard powder, and paprika (no salt b/c I figured the bacon would be enough). I didn't really measure, but you can get an idea for the proportions here.
Next up - jello shots!
I am kind of obsessed with jello shots right now. Not the kind you made in college in the little cups that tasted like Everclear, but the fun, creative, tasty kinds found on Jelly Shot Test Kitchen. These are solid enough to stand on their own in little cubes (or whatever shape you cut them into). I haven't gotten too fancy with cutouts and shapes yet, but I am getting pretty good at doing layers.
We didn't really do anything for Easter this year, and I didn't want to let it pass without a little bit of celebration - so I made some adorable little egg dishes in honor of the holiday.