Tag Archives: Maple

Happy Easter! Baked Ham

Happy Easter!

Hopefully you scored one of these this morning:

That’s right–my parents still give me an Easter basket.  I actually got it yesterday, and to my everlasting joy and surprise my “basket” was actually a colander that I admired earlier in the week.  How parents manage to do those things, I’ll never know.

Well, hopefully I’ll know someday.  But I have a few years to study their talents before I have to worry about it.

My Easter basket got put to use immediately–and it’s even cuter holding grapes than fake grass and eggs.

To continue the Easter celebration, I decided to make a traditional baked ham.  Nothing like the smell of baking ham with maple. cloves, and orange to celebrate what feels like the first real day of spring (it was sunny and warm outside all day!).

I learned two things today–1) buy a shank cut of ham, it’s easier to cut later and 2) “water added” ham contains less water (ie. more flavor) than a “water and ham product”.

Easter Baked Ham

  • 1 ready-to-cook ham (between 6-10 pounds)–it can be smoked or not, and spiral cut or not–your choice

The Glaze

  • 1/8 C brown sugar
  • 1/8 C maple syrup
  • 1/4 t ground cloves
  • zest and juice of a small orange (I used a mandarin orange)

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.  Place the ham flat side down (or fat side up) in a baking dish and add 1/4 C water to the bottom of the pan.  Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven on the middle to low rack.

Bake until the ham reaches 100 degrees in the middle (about 20 minutes per pound).  While it’s baking, put together the glaze by mixing the above ingredients.

Once the ham is ready, remove from the oven and turn up the heat to 350 degrees.  Cut off the skin (if there is any) and score the fat underneath in a diamond pattern.  Spread the glaze over the top and return to the oven for another 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the ham.  Every ten minutes, baste the ham again with the glaze.

Remove from the oven, cover with foil, and let the ham rest for about 20 minutes, until the internal temperature is at least 160 degrees.

Serve right away!  We ate it with roasted asparagus and curried millet.  Quite a feast(er) dinner.

The orange is really perfect in this recipe–not too strong and not unnoticeable.  We also have enough ham to last us about 200 years (most of it is now in the freezer).

In the 10 minutes it took to write this post, the weather went from bright and sunny to dark and ominous–looks like it might storm!  Perfect timing since we want to see Water for Elephants tonight. 

What did you have for Easter dinner?

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Filed under Entrees

Vanilla Maple Almond Butter

For some reason I have two mini food processors taking up space in our tiny kitchen.  I think that I got one at a garage sale, and then someone must have given me the second (and I can’t say no to kitchen gadgets…ever).  Either way, the moral here is that two mini food processors do not equal one big one.

I tried to make almond butter a few months ago, and while it came out great, my mini food processor ended up smoking and I only came up with about half a cup of spreadable nutty goodness.  Yummy, but it went fast–and I didn’t want to kill off my food processor by forcing it to do way more work than it ever should.

So I jumped at the chance to try it again now that I have my mom’s grown-up size available.  I went through a few of my favorite blogs and settled on Ashley’s vanilla bean maple almond butter.

 

Vanilla Maple Almond Butter (with flaxseed)

  • 2 C raw almonds
  • 1/3 C whole flax seeds
  • 2 T and 1 T maple syrup (keep ’em separate)
  • 3 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 T oil (canola, safflower, coconut), optional–depends on how you want the consistency

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Mix the almonds and flax with 2 T maple syrup, and toss to coat.  Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the almonds in a thin layer.  Toast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, stirring once in the middle.

 

Once the nuts have cooled for a few minutes, toss ’em in the belly of your food processor and give them a whirl.

And be patient–if you see them sticking to the sides and bottom (and just generally being very annoying), then you are doing it right.  You’ll have to scrape the sides and bottom down quite a few times before you get to the right consistency.

Keep on whirlin’.  At the crumbly/oily phase you might be tempted to think that it’s “good enough”, but I promise that if you go just a few minutes more, your patience will be rewarded.  And rewarded richly.

Once it reaches a creamy stage, add the other T of maple syrup, the salt, and the vanilla.  You’ll have to process for another few minutes to return back to the creamy stage.  If the consistency is a bit too thick for you, you can add the oil to thin it out a bit.

The maple and vanilla are very subtle in this almond butter, but definitely noticeable.

And delicious.

I want to award this almond butter a Dundie.

Speaking of which, anyone else out there disappointed in the last episode of The Office?  I thought that the first one with Will Ferrell was pretty funny but the awards show…not so much.

Bummer.

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Filed under Sauces

Maple Glazed Pork Roast

Hello.  It’s been a few days.

Fritz’s sister Eber is here visiting, so blogging had to take a back seat for a couple of days while we caught up on life, love and other mysteries.  But now we are back on track.

Most importantly–FRITZ IS BACK!

His oral presentation went really well, and he also came back with a little farmer’s tan and a Sonicare toothbrush that he won for me.  I’m so proud that he did all that extra work and is now jumping right back into study-mode (he has a test tomorrow and Wednesday).

Unlike me.  Now that midterms are over I need at least a week’s break before I can even start thinking about that.  So instead, I’ve been cooking.

Maple Glazed Pork Roast

  • Pork tenderloin roast (2-3 lbs)
  • 1/4 C maple syrup
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t cloves
  • 1/8 t cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

Using kitchen twine, tie the roast into a more uniform shape so it cooks evenly, like so:

I finally remembered to get kitchen twine last time I was in the grocery store.  It’s useful for so many things.

Cover the roast loosely with plastic wrap and let it sit for a half hour or so to allow it to come up a little closer to room temperature.  Don’t allow your cat to go near it.

When it’s ready, heat up a teaspoon of canola oil in a saucepan and sear all sides of the roast until brown over medium-high heat.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place the roast on the middle rack and cook for about 45-50 minutes, until it is a beautiful deep brown and feels firm (but not too firm!) to the touch. 

My meat thermometer is broken, so I’ve moved on to more holistic and alternative methods of cooking.  Meanwhile, put together the glaze by mixing the spices and maple syrup together.

Take the pork roast out from the oven and glaze away:

Return to the oven and cook for another fifteen minutes, until the glaze thickens and bubbles around the roast.  It is gorgeous (and it smells amazing!).

What a beauty, right?

 

We all really enjoyed this glaze.  The cayenne pepper gives it a little spice that makes the flavor a bit more complex, but it doesn’t taste “hot” by any means.  I really think it was just perfect all around, and (most importantly) very easy.  I love when a recipe has an ingredient list that is short and found in most kitchens.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the beautiful weather we’ve been having–and I’m sorry if you received an email about this post before it was completed.  I started Skyping Fritz’s parents and got all out of whack.

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Filed under Entrees

Banana Nut Oatmeal Cookies

I made these cookies two days ago when I got that late night urge for a whole-wheat sweet (ooh! a rhyme!).  The next day we were back on the road headed to Long Island, and I packed all the leftover cookies–and they were perfect energizers for the second half of the trip.  I promised my sister Kristen that I would post the recipe for her, and since I had some browning bananas to use up, I doubled the recipe and froze half of them for next week.

It has been a gray, rainy day, and these cookies perfectly fit the mood.  I wasn’t sure what to call them, because there are so many delicious ingredients that I wanted to highlight–but I thought that “Banana Walnut Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Maple Whole Wheat Cookies” was a bit too much…so I settled on the most important players.

Banana Nut Oatmeal Cookies  (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1 C old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 T ground chia or flaxseed
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 C raisins or craisins
  • 1/2 C to 1 C walnuts (I was heavy-handed with the nuts)
  • 1 banana, roughly mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 C maple syrup (I used 1/2 C Indian or maple sugar, and mixed in 1/8 C water)
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1/2 t lemon juice

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Toast the walnuts for six to eight minutes, and cool. 

In your mixer, mix all the dry ingredients (flour, oats, salt, soda, powder, cinnamon, chia).  Add the wet ingredients (syrup, eggs, vanilla, lemon) and mix just until it forms a ball.  Add the banana, raisins, and walnuts, and blend in.  I mixed until everything was combined–I loved finding chunks of banana in the cookies, so don’t overmix.

Line a baking sheet with parchment and space the dough close together–the cookies don’t spread out much, so you can cram ’em all in there.  Press down the dough a little, and place in the oven in the middle rack for about 10 minutes, or until golden on the bottom.

Cool on the sheets for a few minutes, then place on a cooling rack.  Since I doubled the recipe, I froze half of them in freezer bags for later–but it wont be too much later, since Fritz just got home from class and ate four already.

These cookies are just too darn good.

I wanted to call them “energy bites” because they really are energizing little crunch bites, but I was afraid that would make me forget they are cookies and think that I could eat more than two at a time.  Don’t want that!

Fritz and I are headed off to the gym in a few minutes–I am taking a Total Body Conditioning class, and then either doing some cardio afterwards or going to my old Hatha yoga class–not sure which one I’m in the mood for, but I’m leaning towards cardio.  Might be all those cookies I ate today…

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Filed under Desserts