Friday, April 14, 2017

Easter Dinner for Two: Spicy Sweet Ham, Raspberry and Walnut Spring Salad and Rosemary and Garlic Sliced Roasted Potatoes

Hello Everyone!
Gosh, today has been a busy day.  First,  I woke up at the crack of dawn so I could be a part of the "and Company" on Jeff and Company this morning on 103.3 so I could have fun and let people know about this post.  Then I went to the theatre where I work and worked on a few things for a while that I don't get a chance to do on a regular work day when the theatre is open and I have to answer the phone.  And finally, I had to go to some stores and get some last minute items for my husband's Easter basket for this year.

Although this is cute, it is not advisable to buy chicks for Easter.  Unless you plan on raising chickens,  you are just buying something that you really aren't prepared to take care of and keep alive.  Just sayin'.  And now, I'm stepping off my soap box.

We always try to get one another Easter Baskets.  They are really just an excuse to get one another presents. We usually fill ours with with fun, little "stocking stuffer" type items but in the Spring instead of for Christmas. It's like having a mini-Christmas! Plus, everybody knows that Christmas stockings are often the best part of Christmas so why not have a version for Easter.
And I did all of this before 2pm!
Then it was back home to water the plants, start some laundry, eat lunch, write down a few recipes I want to try to experiment with to change the serving size from 12 people to 2 people and then I could finally feel like I had earned the time to do a blog.

I don't know if you have noticed, but holidays, except for Valentine's Day, are not really scaled to be enjoyed by only two people.  And why should they be?  For most, holidays are an excuse to be with your loved ones, eat lots of food, and enjoy being alive.  But what about when you don't have big holiday plans? What do you do then?

This poor, sad, little guy is from Disney's cartoon The Ugly Duckling.

That's what is happening to my husband and me this Easter.  His parents moved to North Carolina last year and his sisters are both doing Easter with their husband's families.  My family has always lived out of state so we are not doing Easter with my family.  What were we to do?  Well, celebrate it of course!!!  But we would just have to scale back everything.

So I went to work creating a menu and figuring out how to create an Easter feast for two that wouldn't leave us with a ton of leftovers. And now I am sharing that menu with you, just in time for Easter!

We are having:
Deviled Eggs (Because you have to have Deviled eggs for Easter.)
Spicy Sweet Ham
Raspberry and Walnut Spring Salad
Rosemary and Garlic Sliced Roasted Potatoes
Hawaiin Rolls (Because my husband loves to make mini ham sandwiches.  These are purchased, not made.)
Bunny Shaped Citrus Cakes  (This recipe will not be posted today, it will be posted Saturday.  I have to see if I can make it work first.)

Spicy Sweet Ham

Yup.  I would say that she is sweet and spicy.

Smoked ham is a dish that is really already cooked.  So what you are really doing when you are cooking a ham is warming it up and adding a little flavor with a glaze or rub if you so desire.  I figured the best way for us to cook a ham for two people was to not cook an entire ham.  I got a boneless ham from Costco.  (If you read my blog you know that this is one of the staples in my freezer and that, depending on the size of the ham, I cut it up into 4 to 6 equal size pieces and then only make a little at a time.)  Then I cut the ham into 6 equal portions, wrapped five of them to go in the freezer and left one out to make the main dish for my Easter dinner.  It makes the perfect amount of ham for two people for a meal and leaves just a smidgeon over for sandwiches if you so desire, or you can put it in a quiche!

2-3 pounds smoked ham
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. brandy  (Please use brandy and don't try to substitute, it just will not be as good.)
1 1/2 tsp. whole grain mustard
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. all spice
1/2 tsp. to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (You can do less if you would prefer your ham be less spicy, how spicy I mine depends on my mood for that day.)
1-2 tsp. Louisiana hot sauce or Sriracha  (Again, taste it and if you want it spicier, do it!  I do sometimes.)
1/2 tsp. salt

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Line a small, rimmed baking sheet with foil and lay the ham on it.  (If you were doing a big ham, you would do this flat side down, so try to find a piece that you cut from the butt end, that you can do this with, but, if you can't, don't worry about it.  Just make certain that at least one side that is facing the oven is the skin side.)  Whatever you do, don't forget the foil or clean up will be a royal mess.
3.  Score the ham with cuts one inch apart and about 1/4 inch deep.  You want to do do this in a grid pattern going in two directions going diagonally one way and then going the opposite way so that you create "sqares" over the entire surface of the ham, excluding the side of the ham that is face down on the pan.  You know, this pattern:

This is not my ham, but until I could get you pictures from my Sunday dinner, I wanted you to have a visual for how to score the ham.
4.  In a small/medium bowl, mix all of the remaining ingredients to make the glaze.
5.  Rub half of the glaze over the surface of the ham.  Make sure to rub the mixture into the scores that you made in the ham.  Reserve the other half of the glaze for use later.
6.  Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
7.  Pull the ham out of the oven.  Rub the rest of the glaze over the ham and place back in the oven for another 10-20 minutes. (The timing of this will depend on the weight of your ham.)  You will know the ham is done when the exterior is dark and crusty and the ham is heated all the way through and read 140 degrees with a meat thermometer.

Raspberry and Walnut Spring Salad

1/2 package of  torn mixed salad greens of your choice (I like romaine and baby spinache)
1-2 tbsp. chopped walnuts
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 cups raspberries (You can use frozen or fresh, whatever is available.  But if you use frozen, make sure they are thawed before you use them in the salad)
1-2 slices of red onion, thinly sliced  (You can dice them if you would rather and you would want about 2 tbsp.)
2 tbsp. chopped dates
3 1/2 tsp.  (Or more, depending on your dressing preferences) balsamic vinaigrette
(You can use a bottled balsamic vinaigrette you like, or you can make your own.  Here is one of my favorite recipes, just make certain that you use a good vinegar.  It makes all the difference in the word.
Feta, crumbled  however much you would like

1. In a small non-stick skillet cook walnuts and sugar over low hear for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until sugar is melted and walnuts are coated; cool and break apart.
2.  In large salad bowl, combine salad greens, raspberries, onions and dates.
3.  Just before serving, pour dressing over salad and toss gently to coat.  Top with the feta cheese and walnuts.

Rosemary and Garlic Sliced Roasted Potatoes

I make these in individual scallop dishes, but you can also make them in custard cups.

1 tsp. butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. dill
1 clove garlic (I usually do 2, but I really like garlic), minced
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 - 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/8- inch slices (About two potatoes, and it helps for this recipe if you have a mandoline.)
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan Reggiano

1.  Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  In a medium bowl, stir together butter, olive oil, rosemary, dill, garlic, salt and pepper.
3.  Add potato slices to butter mixture.  Toss until all of the slices are thoroughly coated with the butter mixture.
4.  Pick up the potato slices by the handful and place the slices one on top of the other forming a small stack in your hand.
5.  Place the potato stack on its side in an ungreased miniature scallop pan or a custard cup.
6.  Continue making stacks and arranging them side by side in the dish to form potato stack "rows".  You should have about two rows, but you may have three depending on the size of your dish.  These rows need to be tightly packed slices.
7.  Scrape bowl for any remaining butter mixture and spread over the potatoes.
8.  Bake 30 minutes.
9.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
10.  Return to oven and bake 15-20 minutes longer or until potatoes are fork tender and golden brown on top.
 Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

TIP: If you do not have a double oven and cannot cook your potatoes and ham at the same time, you can cook the potatoes ahead of time and put them in the refrigerator but you will want to skip steps 9 and 10.  Once the ham has finished cooking, cover the ham in foil, remove your potatoes from the refrigerator, change the oven temperature and proceed with steps 9 and 10 of the potato recipe.

I am going to post the Deviled Egg recipe and the bunny shaped cakes recipes tomorrow.  I am doing something a little different for each and I want to make them before I give the recipes to make certain my ideas are going to work. If they don't work, I will share my story of my epic fail.

Also, I will add pictures for the recipes on Sunday as I cook them.  I forgot to do this when I was doing the test recipes.

I hope you like these ideas for an Easter Dinner for Two.

Do you give out Easter Baskets in your home?  And, if you do, what are your favorite items to put in them?

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