#Breakfast

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A nice warm omelette with ham, and Swiss cheese just at its melting point so that it still has the stringiness as you bring a fork to your mouth. I mix a pinch of herbs de provance into the mixture and then sprinkle a pinch on top as a garnish.

I usually get the deli ham at Cherry Valley Market and have the clerk  slice it in the thick side. Slicing it thick makes it much easier  to pan fry. As a personal point of reference, I also like the cheese sliced thicker.

In a mixing bowl I combine two eggs, herbs, and small-diced ham. I whisk these together with a splash of milk. Then I pour this into a non stick pan over low heat and cover. As this firms up I place a slice of the Swiss cheese along half and the using a thin non stick spatula I fold the omelette over and hold the pan off the stove but still over the burner. This gets the cheese melting without over cooking the omelette.

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Mac and Cheese with Ham and Jalapenos

Ah what to do with the left over ham wen there’s not a lot of ham left over. Everyone has that problem every so often. There’s this left overs that aren’t really enough for a meal in themselves, but there they sit and wait… and wait.. and wait.. and, oh no they’ve turned green! What to do before the ‘turns green’ stage. Well, here’s a quick and easy way to get rid of a little bit of ham, say a half a cup or so…

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups or so of leftover macaroni, elbows preferred
  • 1 cup of grated American or Velveeta cheese
  • 1/2 cup of milk, leftover milk is ok
  • 2 table spoons butter
  • 1/2 cup of diced leftover ham
  • 4 medium jalapenos diced

over low heat, melt the butter, blend in the milk, then gradually add the grates cheese whisking to keep everything in motion. This makes your basic, ya very basic cheese sauce. Then, add in the cooked macaroni coating the pasta well. Then stir in the ham and diced jalapenos. Mix this well and pour it into a. oven safe baking dish.

Bake this in the oven at 300 degrees for about twenty minutes.

Remove from the oven, let it cool just a bit. Them spoon it out and enjoy that left over ham with the jalapenos… even if those jalapenos aren’t ‘on a stick’.

jalapeno ona stick

 

Baked Easter Ham

Easter and large baked hams.. I really don’t know then these to things where paired up, but it seems every store out there is throwing hams at me. So there must be some reason why ham is so associated with Easter… maybe to ward off heathens. Well, here is a simple straightforward baked ham, the secret to getting it right is in the knife.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 (12 to 14 pound) uncooked smoked ham, bone-in
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Cognac

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Wrap ham completely with parchment-lined foil and place on a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan. Pop it into the oven and bake for about 1 1/2 hours.

Unwrap ham and toss out the parchment and foil. Now here’s the real secret to making those diamond shaped patterns in the fat. Use a utility knife, you know, like the sheetrock cutting knives, to score the fat in a diamond pattern, making the lines about 3/4 inch apart. The uniform depth of the blade makes uniform cuts in the fat. Transfer ham to a large roasting pan.

Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and Cognac. Brush ham evenly with 3/4 of the brown sugar mixture and return to oven. Continue cooking the ham for an hour more. Then, brush ham with remaining brown sugar mixture and continue cooking 30 minutes more. Transfer to a serving platter until ready to carve.

easter ham

Comfort Soup – Split Pea

As the cold weather begins to creep in, and a new exorcism movie is making the rounds, I can hear the comforting call of a nice hot pot of pea soup. Yes, there is no greater friend to a ham hock than a piping pot of split peas.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 smoked ham hocks
  • 1 lb (2 1/4 cups) green split peas
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large leek, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic, halved
  • Salt and Pepper

Pick over the peas and remove any stones. Wash and drain peas. Place in a 4 quart pan with the vegetables ham hocks and 2 1/2 quarts of water. Bring to a simmer. Skim the top of the soup for several minutes clearing the froth that floats along. Cover and simmer about 1 1/2 hours until peas are tender, stirring occasionally in case they stick to the bottom of the pan.

Remove the ham hocks from the soup. Purée the soup with a blender;  I use my immersion blender right in the pot, its great for this; if you are using a regular blender, take care to work in batches and only fill the blender halfway if the soup is still hot, and hold down the lid while blending. If you want an exceptionally smooth soup, pass the purée through a sieve, but I prefer mine a bit on the lumpy side.

Remove the skin from the hocks and dice up the meat. At this point you can scour the fridge for any left over ham bits and pieces. This is one really good soup for using up those porcine scraps.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into warm bowls. I like to serve this with fresh warm pumpernickel bread.

Long Island Comfort Potatoes

What’s better to keep you company during an original Star Trek marathon. When I think of these marathons, I think of hammy acting, cheesy scenes, and scalloped potatoes from right here on Long Island. I like to use a good amount of ham and cheese so as to make this side dish more of a one pot winter comfort food. So ‘beam me up Scotty’ ahead warp factor yum!

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound fully cooked ham slice, 1/2-inch thick
  • Half a dozen thinly sliced Long Island potatoes
  • 1 can (10 1/2 ounces) cream of mushroom soup or cream of celery soup
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • dash pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Cut ham in bite-size cubes and mix with the veggies in a large bowl. Place a layer of the potatoes in a greased 2-quart baking dish and sprinkle with some shredded cheddar, then a layer of ham and veggies, then a layer of potatoes and cheese, then a layer of ham and veggies, then a layer of… you get the picture.

Combine the soup with milk and pour over potatoes.

Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 1 hour. Remove covering; bake 30 to 45 minutes longer, or until potatoes are done. If desired, sprinkle even more shredded Cheddar cheese over the top of scalloped potatoes the last 15 minutes of baking time.

Sit back and enjoy the warm cheesy goodness of Long Island’s comfort food.