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.
Okay - it is really hard to get an attractive picture of a shepard's pie. The blogger I got this recipe from did cute little individual dishes and I thought "Ain't nobody got time for that!" and just did one big casserole. But after posting a very unattractive photo on facebook (that sparked a crazy battle between two friends, no joke) I know why she did it that way!
Photography aside, this dish is great. Lean but satisfying ground turkey mixed with a ton of veggies make a hearty filling.
Topped with delicious super-food sweet potatoes, this version of shepard's pie is super healthy and super delicious.
Baking it in individual dishes is definitely cuter and neater, but if you don't care whether the topping gets mixed into the filling on the plate - you can totally do one big dish.
My friend Keerin was coming over to watch Game of Thrones (I'm pretty much obsessed) and I wanted to make some food for us. She is vegan and I do not cook vegan food that much so I was trying to think of what I could make. I knew that I had a bunch of fresh and frozen vegetables, but I didn't want to make something boring. That's when it hit me - we could play with my mini pie machine!
What the heck is a mini pie machine, you ask? It's a fun little electrical device, kind like a panini press - except that it makes adorable personal sized pies! The machine comes with a cutter to cut the perfect size circles for the base and top. You use puff pastry for the tops and you can either use puff pastry or pie dough for the bottom. I am not a big fan of store bought-refrigerated pie dough is general, but it works great for this because it is a bit tougher. All you do is press a circle of dough into the bottom of one of the four wells using a tool that is included, spoon in the filling, lay a circle of dough on top, and close the lid. The pies cook in about 8 minutes - so fast! Because the cooking time is so short, the filling needs to be precooked.
Fear not if you do not have this machine, though (and I assume most people don't because it is silly and extravagant) - You can just fold circles of dough over filling into half moon hand pies and bake them in the oven.
So, because the pies are personal sized and because they cook so quickly - I knew that each of us could play around with filling combinations. I had frozen peas, corn, green beans, spinach, and butternut squash - so I microwaved those to pre-cook them (I cut the green beans into bite-sized pieces). I cut up some carrots and parsnips and microwaved those, and then I drained a can of chick peas (gotta have protein!). I also had some fake beef crumbles and Keerin brought some fake cheese.
I am so excited about zucchini season it isn't even funny. I have literally been dreaming about zucchini! The very first thing that I wanted to make was this gorgeous vegetable tart. Flaky, buttery puff pastry is topped with thinly shaved zucchini, bright peas, tangy feta, and fresh mint. Yum, oh yum.
In my ever-continuing quest for salmon recipes, I came across this one for salmon topped with goat cheese and baked inside phyllo dough - yum! Who wouldn't want to eat that? I wanted something pretty light to balance out the dish, so I decided on a fresh pea, feta, and prosciutto salad that was great as a side, but also good enough to eat on its own.
I was looking for a light (but filling) Spring side dish and stumbled upon this recipe for a Zucchini and Orzo Salad with Feta - perfect! It was so delicious and refreshing that I ended up eating it by itself for lunch instead of pairing it with salmon like I had intended.
But I did still need a side for the salmon, and I had extra orzo and some Mascarpone that I needed to use up. So I made this Creamy Mascarpone Pasta with Peas and Chives - yum!