The ham was for dinner on Easter Sunday – I’m a little behind. After dinner there was a well-timed power outage; just as we were clearing the dishes and it began to get dark, all went out until about 11 pm. We scrambled for candles and dry firewood as the kids squealed – it was great timing, in terms of drama and convenience – dinner was done with (except for the pie, which we didn’t really need anyway) and it was just beginning to get dark, necessitating candlelight and conversation.
Which is all to say I was unable to report our dinner, and yesterday when the sun finally came out we rushed to take advantage of it.
By the time dinner -leftover ham and cheese biscuits- was over with, the crab trap was dropped, sparklers were lit, baths had been had and we had played a few rounds of Blokus, I couldn’t keep my eyes open to filter through all the photos of the past two days and report back. Plenty of photo opps there are here, let me tell you.
But to backtrack to the dinner of two nights ago – since it was Easter and all I had picked up a ham on our way across the island, but once we were here I had to make do with what ingredients were around for a glaze, and wound up thinning some marmalade with balsamic vinegar to brush overtop. It worked just swimmingly.
You really don’t even need a recipe for marmalade baked ham with carrots and roast potatoes, and to write one out would suggest it needs to be followed. So here’s what you do: put the ham in a baking dish, pop it in a 350°F oven and bake it for about an hour; meanwhile chop some potatoes, cover them with cold water in a pot and bring them to a boil; as they cook, slice up a few carrots. Drain the potatoes, return them to the pot, put the lid back on and shake the pot a bit to chuff them up – bashing the edges a bit will help get them nice and crispy.
Once the ham is heated through, crank the oven up to 400°F and brush the ham with marmalade thinned with some balsamic vinegar; I used a couple tablespoons to about a third or half cup of marmalade (brush it toward the end – the sugar will burn if it’s in the oven for too long).
Scatter the carrots around the ham and toss them with any juices that have accumulated, or drizzle them with oil (this produces some mighty fine carrots – infused with ham juices, they get some of the marmalade on them, too). Spread the potatoes out on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle them with oil; stir around to coat them and slide them into the oven underneath the ham. Cook for another half an hour, stirring the potatoes once or twice, until they’re golden. You might want to pull the ham out and get it going – take out the carrots and slice the ham and such – then pull the potatoes out right as you’re heading to the table.
The potatoes -and cooking method of- spurred kitchen conversation about Michael Caine, and how he has a perfect roast potato recipe that’s worth a try. I may just – for research purposes, of course.
The leftovers might have made an even better meal – warmed and thickly sliced and served on warm split cheese biscuits. The bone was simmered into stock, which this morning was turned into a pot of black bean soup. I got my $16 worth.
A basic biscuit recipe is invaluable when you’re cooking away from home – particularly in kitchens that might not be fully equipped – to make a batch of biscuits all you need is a bowl and fork. The same basic recipe and technique can be called into service for breakfast (add berries or raisins) or dessert (add a spoonful of sugar and split, then fill with berries and cream) or as a quick ballast to a bowl of soup or vehicle for sloppy Joes or chili. Everyone should be able to mix up a batch of biscuits.
As soon as W is old enough, I’ll teach him how, and likely hover beside him at the kitchen counter and watch – like my mom used to oversee my scales on the piano – until he can do them himself. If you can make a batch of biscuits, you can toss a handful of grated cheese into the dry ingredients and make cheese biscuits. Which are wonderful, it turns out, with red huckleberry jam, should you happen to find some in the freezer from last summer.
Whole Wheat & Olive Oil Cheese Biscuits
Use all-purpose flour instead of the whole wheat if you like, and all butter (instead of butter and oil) if you want.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1/4 cup olive or canola oil
a big handful of grated old cheddar
3/4 cup milk or buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400°F. In a mixing bowl (or in the bowl of a food processor) stir together the flours, baking powder and salt; add the butter and oil and pulse or stir with a wire whisk or fork until crumbly. If you’re using a food processor, transfer the mixture to a bowl. Toss in the grated cheese.
Add the milk and stir gently until the dough begins to come together. For wedge-shaped biscuits, pat the dough into a circle that is about 1” thick on a cookie sheet. Cut the circle into 8 wedges with a knife or pastry cutter and separate them so that they are at least an inch apart on the sheet. For round biscuits, pat the dough about 1” thick and cut it into rounds with a biscuit cutter, glass rim or open end of a can, gently rerolling the scraps only once to get as many biscuits as possible.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden. Serve warm. Wrap well and freeze any you don’t eat the same day. Makes 8-12 biscuits.
April 07 2010 12:19 am | leftovers