Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wham, Bam, Thank You Ham!

Cheesy Ham and Veggie Bake
The split pea soup was delicious, but unfortunately it wasn't enough to rid the fridge of all the excess ham. Another solution had to be concocted. I've said before that I'm a fan of one-dish meals and this certainly foots the bill on a chilly New Years Eve Eve. This was easy to throw together and helped purge the fridge of those pesky post-Christmas leftovers. I can add this to my ever-growing list of mac and cheese recipes. Definitely not vegetarian-friendly, but delicious nonetheless.


- 2 c. diced cooked ham
- 1 lb. mixed bag of broccoli and cauliflower, cut into bit-sized pieces
- 1 lb. corkscrew pasta
- 1 large shallot, peeled and minced
- 2 c. heavy cream
- 1-2 c. milk
- 2 c. grated extra sharp white cheddar cheese
- 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- t tsp. fresh thyme
- 1 c. breadcrumbs
- 4 Tbsp. butter
- 1/4 c. flour
- salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350˚F and butter a 9x13" baking dish. Set aside.

Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add shallot and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add flour and whisk together with butter for 1 minute. Slowly add cream and milk, about a half cup at a time, allowing the mixture to thicken over medium-low heat. Add cheese, thyme, and mustard to mixture and stir over medium-low heat, allowing cheese to melt. Remove Dutch oven from stove and add ham, broccoli, and cauliflower, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, boil pasta according to package directions to al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain and add to ham and cheese mixture. Mix ingredients thoroughly then spread evenly into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with an even layer of breadcrumbs and bake 35-40 minutes until sauce starts to bubble and breadcrumbs become golden brown. Remove from oven and allow 5 minutes to cool before serving. Yum.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Split Pea and Ham Soup for a Cold December Night
Ham from Christmas dinner? There's nothing wrong with that. I glazed an eight pound ham with an orange juice, brown sugar, and honey mixture to create a sweet-and-salty-meaty masterpiece. As delicious as it was, there's only so much ham four people can eat. Thus the creation of a savory cold-weather solution to an abundance of ham became necessary. I love split pea soup. It's simple to throw to together and perfect for post-Christmas dinner . . . a good respite from holiday over-indulgence.


- 2 qts. chicken broth
- 2 c. dried split peas
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 meaty leftover ham bone
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- salt and pepper
- 3 stalks celery, trimmed and diced
- 2 c. diced leftover ham

Heat olive oil over medium and cook onions and garlic until softened and translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Add celery and cook until softened, about 3 minutes longer. Add chicken broth, thyme sprigs, ham bone, and split peas. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for about an hour until peas are softened. Remove Dutch oven from stove and remove ham bone and thyme sprigs. With an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth and thick. Cut excess meat from bone into bite-sized chunks and add to soup with additional diced ham. Discard bone and season soup with salt and pepper to taste. Eat with bread.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Happy Hanukkah and Latke Love to You

Super Potato Latkes
It was a Hanukkah miracle when the vocally atheistic Jordan became nostalgic for traditional holiday fare. On our monthly outing to Costco he asked if we could stop by the grocery store to pick up some Matzo on the way back so he could make a pot of Matzo ball soup. He then asked if I would be making the delicious latkes I always bragged so much about. Yep. It's true, I make the best latkes ever. I said sure, why not? It's the perfect night for them, right? So cheese grater in hand, I went to work frying up these delicious potato pancakes. This is an incredibly simple recipe and SO good. Traditionally served at Hanukkah, they are really great any time of year for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Try them with the traditional condiments of sour cream or applesauce, or my father's favorite (and slightly sacrilegious) topping, ketchup.


- 6-7 large russet potatoes
- 2 small sweet yellow onions
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1 c. flour
- vegetable oil for frying (lots of it)

Wash, peel, and grate potatoes with a large cheese grater. Peel and grate onions. In a large bowl, mix grated potatoes, onions, eggs, salt, pepper, and a little flour at a time until well combined. Heat 1/4" on vegetable oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Spoon about 1/4 c. of mixture into hot oil to create individual latkes. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Remove from oil, and let drain on paper towels. While cooking mixture in batches keep finished latkes warm in a low oven. Serve with sour cream or apple sauce!