Friday, February 21, 2014

Boy, do we have a lot of Ham

February 9, 2014

Baked Ham
Baked Garnet Yam
Sautéed Garlic-Lemon Spinach
Parker House Rolls
Lemon Meringue Pie
Mt. Difficulty 2013 Medium Riesling 

Sautéed Garlic-Lemon Chicken from Cook's Illustrated
Parker House Rolls form King Arthur Flour
Grandma's Lemon Meringue Pie from

The reasons for choosing a particular main course can be interesting. I once wrote about choosing ham because it would go well with butternut squash. Similarly, for this Sunday dinner Diane requested ham because we had an over abundance of sweet white wines (Rieslings and Gewürztraminer) which would go well with ham. But ham for two presents a challenge. I went to the supermarket planning to buy a small ham and I found some nice ones for $6 a pound. However, I found that I could get a half ham for $1 a pound. For the same amount of money I could get six times as much! Even with the bone this seemed too good of a deal to pass up; the bone can  be used to make soup. I came home with an 11 pound piece of meat for just the two of us.

I baked the whole thing at 325° to an internal temperature of 140° but afterward wondered if that was worthwhile. Since the ham was already cooked and baking is really just reheating, couldn't I have carved off a hunk and heated it much more quickly? The outside of the ham was black after it was baked which caused some initial concern but it wasn't really a problem other than visual.

I did make some interesting side dishes to go with the huge ham hunk. Since the oven was on for the ham, I baked some garnet yams ... they weren't done when the ham was done so I finished baking them in the microwave. They were overdone but still good, just too soft.

We had a bundle of spinach from our monthly produce box. We generally don't know what to do with spinach when we get it so I looked up a recipe to find a preparation that would be appropriate for dinner. The recipe has the advantage of being really quick and the lemon and garlic were good complements, adding needed flavor to the bland greens.

I made Parker House Rolls using a King Arthur recipe a few months ago and loved them. They are the closest I've found to the rolls I remember fondly from Lynch's Bakery in my home town of Chittenango, NY—soft and buttery. When I made them I had attempted to make brown and serve rolls using this recipe so we would have them to use on subsequent days but I was not happy with the results. I did some research and found directions in an Alton Brown recipe describing how to do this. I didn't use Alton's recipe but I did use his baking instructions for making brown and serve rolls.

We had wine that we brought back with us from the Mt. Difficulty winery which we had visited in New Zealand. This Central Otago winery (Otago is a region of the country) is known for its Pinot Noir but we much preferred the whites. This Riesling was very good with our ham dinner.

For dessert during this citrus season I made a Lemon Meringue Pie. I had a crust in the freezer that I had made a few weeks ago and this was a great way to use it. This pie was delicious, very light and lemony with a good balance between tartness and sweetness. Given that I already had the crust, it was very easy to make.

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