Loaves & Dishes
By Jennie Geisler Erie Times-News staff blogger
Follow Jennie Geisler's kitchen adventures on her Loaves & Dishes blog.   Read more about this blog.
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Posts tagged ‘Christmas’
Posted: December 27th, 2012

Thanks to everyone who wrote in for the drawing of “Cook Yourself Sexy, by Candice Kumai. The winner is Teresa Chatman. The tome is in the mail.

If you are not Teresa Chatman, you can enter the drawing for "Sweet Christmas: Homemade Peppermints, Sugar Cake, Chocolate-Almond Toffee, Eggnog Fudge, and Other Sweet Treats and Decorations" by Sharon Bowers. The book contains hundreds of sweets and other holiday baking projects, such as ornaments and garlands.
It’s bound to become a treasured holiday companion for anyone who likes spilling flour and sugar all over the kitchen. Some of the recipes are simple, others elaborate. Not all of them are reserved for Christmas, though, such as Grandma’s Chocolate Crinkles, which would be just as welcome at the end of Valentine’s Day.
Yes, I just said “Valentine’s Day.” That’s only about six weeks away.

To enter, send an e-mail to jennie.geisler@timesnews.com. Please include your NAME, MAILING ADDRESS and NAME OF THE BOOK you want.

For those of you who can’t quite let go of the season:
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and oil with the sugars and vanilla until smooth. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt directly into the bowl and stir to blend. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill 1 hour.
2. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and then in confectioners’ sugar, coating them liberally.
3. Place them on the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each cookie, and bake for 8 or 9 minutes, until the cookies spread and crackle. Don’t overbake them. Even if the cookies don’t see quite set in the center, take them out and let them cool. This unusual oil-based dough will get too crispy if you overbake, but will set up deliciously chewy once you let the cookies cool completely on a rack.
4. Store the cookies in airtight containers, in layers separated by wax paper, for up to 1 week.
– “Sweet Christmas,” by Sharon Bowers

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: December 21st, 2012

Kitchen Daily offers an extensive slideshow on how to make the perfect holiday ham. See link at the bottom of this post.

Here’s an embarrassing chunk of truth: Until this morning, I had no idea what to do with a ham.
Seriously. I know they’re cured and safe to eat cold, since that’s how my aunt serves it every Christmas Eve. Her party is more of an open house, with guests stopping by and eating whenever they want.
She sets a spiral sliced bone-in ham on a buffet table, along with bread, cheese and sandwich fixings, and we make up our own plates at will.
But I’ve had holiday ham served hot (and often totally dried out) in other places, and wasn’t keen on the concept.
To me, there’s nothing good to be said about dried-out meat. I hate chewing it, tasting it, swallowing it and even looking at it.
My husband can eat a dried out pork chop in about three bites, but I need significant amounts of gravy, pan sauce or even ketchup to get it down.
I wasn’t about to buy a ham just to dry it out, so I never have.
Well, this morning, I was wondering about this for the billionth time, and realized I was flanked by two people who are well-versed in the preparing and serving large amounts of meat.
Kevin Cuneo and Marnie Mead agreed that hot ham tastes better, and that it can take a good chunk of time to get it that way, especially if you have a bone in the middle.
Marnie said it would be a good idea, actually, to put it in a Crock-Pot while I’m at work.
Enter, Christmas Eve. I’ve been pouring over recipes for rolled, stuffed pork loin roast for that night, because my little family will be on our own for dinner this year. The pork loin seemed special enough for the occasion, and still doable after I got home from work that day.
But after Kevin and Marnie’s advice, I thought the ham might be easier, and just as good.
Marnie said she loves her ham with a thick glaze and crust on the outside, which sounds perfect to me, in case I do succeed in drying the darned thing out after all.
She shared a couple of ideas for that glaze, both of which look lovely:

From Ina Garten
1 (14 to 16-pound) fully cooked, spiral-cut smoked ham on the bone
6 garlic cloves
8 1/2 ounces orange marmalade
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 orange, zested
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the ham in a heavy roasting pan.
Mince the garlic in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the marmalade, mustard, brown sugar, orange zest, and orange juice and process until smooth. Pour the glaze over the ham and bake for 1 hour, until the ham is fully heated and the glaze is well browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Serves: 35

From Martha Stewart
7 pounds (about half of a bone-in) cured smoked ham, (butt end), room temperature
2 cups apricot jam
1/4 cup mustard powder (Marnie said she’d use whole gain mustard.)
Butter for aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, with rack in lowest position. Line a large roasting pan with aluminum foil; place roasting rack in pan.
With a sharp knife, trim fat, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick layer. Lightly score fat in a diamond pattern (do not cut into meat). Place ham, fat side up, on rack; roast 1 hour.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine jam and mustard (they can be mixed and refrigerated up to 1 day ahead). Transfer 1/2 cup mixture to a small bowl to glaze ham. Set aside saucepan with remaining mixture.
After 1 hour, brush ham with glaze. Repeat every 15 minutes until brown and shiny, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part, avoiding bone, registers 130 degrees, about 1 hour more (if glaze starts to burn, tent ham with buttered foil). Discard unused glaze. Remove ham from oven; cover loosely with buttered foil to keep warm. Temperature will then rise another 5 to 10 degrees.
Bring jam mixture in saucepan to a boil. Carve ham, reserving bone and 2 cups of meat for Split Pea Soup
– Martha Stewart

This might also be useful to us holiday hams: How to make the perfect holiday ham, from www.kitchendaily.com

Posted in: Uncategorized