Christmas Eve 2014
I read online that the key to make a ham taste like the ones from Honey Baked Ham Company was to broil the glaze after baking with a cooking torch…so we went for it! Not only was it fun, but cooked the glaze that we used from our Cosco ham to perfection. The menu consisted of our blow torch ham :), Three Cheese Au gratin Potatoes, Homemade Green Bean Casserole (no Campbells) and Kale and Cranberry Salad.
Honey Baked Ham (The Real Thing!)
1 9.5 lb. honey ham from Cosco
3 tbps. of orange juice
Cook ham according to directions. Prepare glaze on stove top with orange juice and spice packet. Turn the ham onto its flat end on a plate. Use a blow torch with a medium-size flame to caramelize the sugar. Wave the torch over the sugar with rapid movements, so that the sugar bubbles and browns, but does not burn. Spin the plate so that you can torch the entire surface of the ham. Repeat the coating and caramelizing process until the ham has been well-glazed (don’t expect to use all of the sugar mixture).
Three Cheese Au Gratin Potatoes
- 2 tsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1-1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 2 to 3 sprigs rosemary, 3 inches long
- Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 oz. grated extra sharp cheddar cheese (about 1 cup)
- 2 oz. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 lb. russet potatoes (3 to 4 medium), peeled and sliced about 1/8-inch thick
- Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 4 oz. fresh goat cheese, crumbled (about 2/3 cup)
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Rub the inside of an 8- × 8-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Smash the garlic with the side of a knife and sprinkle generously with salt. Chop and scrape the garlic into a mushy paste.
- Combine garlic paste, potatoes, half-and-half, and remaining 4 tablespoons butter (cut into 1/2-inch pieces) in a pot; stir. Season with salt and pepper and grate in a hint of nutmeg. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat while stirring the mixture with a wooden spoon. After 8 to 10 minutes the potatoes will be a little tender, and their starch will have thickened the liquid considerably. Taste and adjust the seasoning as you like. Turn off heat and add cheddar and goat cheese
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish; smooth the top as much as possible. At this point you can hold the dish until you’re ready to bake, even overnight in the refrigerator. Cover the gratin with Parmigiano-Reggiano and bake until deeply golden brown, about 20 to 30 minutes (longer if chilled overnight). Let the gratin cool and set a little before serving
Green Bean Casserole with Sherry Mushrooms
1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Place beans into a large saucepan of boiling water; cook 4 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain well. Place beans in a large bowl; set aside.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and thyme to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms; sauté 10 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring frequently. Stir in wine, salt, and pepper; cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in chicken broth; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly. Add mushroom mixture to green beans; toss well. Place green bean mixture in a 2-quart glass or ceramic baking dish. Combine fried onions and grated cheese in a small bowl. Top green bean mixture evenly with fried onion mixture. Bake at 425° for 17 minutes or until top is lightly browned.
Inspired by: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/green-bean-casserole
Kale Salad with Goat Cheese and Cranberries
- ½ cup pecans (toasted)
- 8 ounces kale (trimmed and massaged)
- ½ cup dried cranberries (or dried cherries)
- 1 medium Granny Smith apple
- 2 ounces soft goat cheese, chilled
- 1 tbsp minced shallot
- 1/2 cup champagne vinegar
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- salt and pepper
- Coarsely chop the pecans and cranberries (or cherries) and add them to the bowl. Chop the apple into small, bite-sized pieces and add it to the bowl as well. Crumble the goat cheese over the top.
- In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour the dressing over the salad. Toss until the salad is evenly coated with dressing. Serve immediately, or for even better flavor, let the salad marinate in the dressing for 10 to 20 minutes beforehand.