Easter dinner. All the faves. It was good. Seconds were had.

Another wonderful Easter in the books, or almost so, as it’s nearly sundown.

We’ve gorged ourselves on a traditional Easter repast of ham, mac and cheese (because I have carb-loading children, and they require mac and cheese), corn casserole, asparagus, green peas, deviled eggs, rolls, lemon icebox pie, and strawberries.

We’ve hunted eggs at church, with the cutest kids on the face of the planet, led, of course, by my very own, because, well, he’s about the cutest kid on the planet, except for my other two grandkids, with whom he’s tied. Sorry. I calls ’em like I sees ’em. YMMV.

Every girl’s crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man.

I mean, seriously. Are there any cuter kids? I submit there are not.

And the other two, who are right cure, in and of themselves!

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Head start on Easter: Lemon icebox pies.

And why is ham traditional in the South for Easter dinner, anyway?

(Answer: Because it’s about the time of year that traditionally, hams which were from pigs slaughtered in the fall and cured over the winter were ready to eat. And now you know.)

I have commenced Easter dinner cookery. Easter is another one of those “all about tradition” holidays. There is not a lot of room for maneuvering in the Chez Keyboard kitchen when it comes to Easter dinner. One MUST have:

  • Ham. In my case, sliced, pre-cooked but warmed nicely with a glaze, Honey Baked ham, because that’s just damn good ham, and will serve me nicely for ham sandwiches for a good while.
  • Deviled eggs. Because, Easter. Eggs. Et cetera.
  • Green peas. Because they’re springy. I’ve bounced among several preps, and just tend toward the simple: steamed, buttered, tarragon.
  • Asparagus. Because it’s the first local fresh green vegetable you can get. Because it’s wonderful. Because Children A and C, who’ll be partaking of Easter dinner, and I can eat our weight in it. I will either roast it, or wrap it in proscuitto and then roast it. And there will be hollandaise.
  • Corn casserole. Frozen corn from last summer, Jiffy cornbread mix, eggs, sour cream, melted butter. Ain’t nothin’ no better.
  • Mac and cheese. Because the carb-loading children require it.
  • Rolls. Specifically, Ms. Mary Lloyd’s rolls. Because it’s a holiday. Because a leftover roll, split, toasted, and filled with ham, is one of the finest leftovers on the face of the planet.
  • Lemon icebox pie. There is some wiggle room on dessert, but I was in the notion for lemon icebox pie, so that’s what we’re having. Because I made them today.

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Well.

Not certain I’m back on a regular basis, but I’ve actually cooked some here recently, and the itch to record it is growing. Plus, there have been some noteworthy things on the food front. Plus, it’s finally, maybe, sorta-kinda getting to be spring (albeit I had the heat on last night, which may be the first time in recorded history my heat has been on in May, but when it’s 64 degrees in my house before I go to bed, I’m not playing with that stuff.

Plus, I’ve MISSED y’all. (Please feel free to chime in with how much you’ve missed me. Affirmation is a Good Thing.)

So. Assorted cookery, observations, and other stuff.

"Every girl's crazy 'bout..."

“Every girl’s crazy ’bout…”

It was Easter about a week and a half or so ago. We did not do egg hunts, and I did not do Easter baskets, but I did have the sharpest-dressed man (with thanks to ZZ Topp, because THIS girl’s sure crazy about her grandbaby) at church on Sunday morning.

And I cooked Easter dinner.

A holiday-worthy spread, it was.

A holiday-worthy spread, it was.

Nothing very out-of-the-ordinary for Easter dinner, except I took a notion and wrapped the asparagus in proscuitto and roasted it, which was quite excellent. I also bought two pounds of it for four of us adults for Easter dinner, and one of us doesn’t like asparagus. I may have perhaps overshot the mark on that. But it warmed up well.

Actually, Child C prepped the asparags, after I showed her how to snap the stalks and then wrap each spear. This would be Child C, who Does Not Cook. Much. I was kinda proud.

Along with the asparagus, we had Petit Jean Farms’ smoked ham. Good ham. All things considered, I couldn’t say I could make much difference in it and regular PJ ham. I have a fair quantity of it in the freezer, so you’ll see that some this summer. It was fully cooked, but I went ahead and put a mustard and brown sugar glaze on it and put it in the oven long enough to heat through. Sides were corn pudding and mac and cheese and deviled eggs — pretty plain vanilla ones, with mayo and mustard and pickle relish and paprika.

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Easter with a twist

April 2, 2013

And a fair-to-middlin' Easter dinner it was.

And a fair-to-middlin’ Easter dinner it was.

This was Easter dinner: Ham, potato salad, asparagus, pineapple, deviled eggs.

But it wasn’t just your ordinary Easter dinner. Oh, no, I was not going to do something as routine as THAT.

So I glazed the ham with char siu sauce and grilled it. I sprinkled the fresh pineapple slices with curry powder and grilled them (I was rummaging  for my Jamacian jerk seasoning, ran across the curry powder first, decided that would do nicely). And I tossed the asparagus spears with olive oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest, grilled them as well, then dusted them with freshly grated Parmigiano.

The potato salad was normal, which is to say, outstanding. The eggs I deviled with some of the leftover dressing from the potato salad. Bad choice. Won’t do that again.

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It’s been a somewhat frantic week, to which I alluded a while back. Plus, I’ve still got that screwy d/l thing going on with the pics; sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t.

It was good, and I ate way too much. I do love me some asparagus.

Anyway, I finally managed to get Easter photos downloaded. Traditional Easter dinner — ham, potato salad, deviled eggs, roasted asparagus. With homemade Hollandaise, now that I’ve learned how to make it.

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Redneck lunch

February 17, 2009

Didn’t cook anything last night. Got away from the office at 5:45, could choose between a manicure/pedicure or going home and cooking. I REALLY needed the manicure/pedicure. So I got that, went home and nuked tortilla soup out of the freezer (single-serve plastic thingies are a wonderful thing) and made cheese toast. It sufficed.

Won’t be cooking anything for the next few nights, either, because I have icky banquet food in my future tonight and Thursday night (preceded, at least, by good liquor), and a steak from the World Championship Steak-Cooking team tomorrow night at a political event. I am not certain how you can cook steak for 200 and do a decent job at it, but allegedly they do. We shall see.

However, I am redeeming things as best I can with the quintessential Redneck Lunch — white beans, ham and cornbread.

I grew up on this. My kids grew up on this. My kids will still eat copious quantities of it, when none of their friends are watching.  It takes advance planning, because it’s an overnighter to cook. It’s best if you have a hambone in the freezer (with whatever meat is left over after you sliced off most of the ham that was sliceable). You can also do it with diced-up cured ham steaks from the grocery, or hamhocks, if you patronize a grocery that carries such things. In a pinch, you can do it with chopped up bacon. If I don’t have a hambone in the freezer (this time, I did), I try to keep one of those one-pound grocery store el cheapo canned hams on hand; about half of one of those, diced up, will work. Deli ham will NOT work. Don’t waste your time.  A slow cooker is helpful, but you can cook them on top of the stove in your big stock pot.

White Beans & Ham

  • 1 pound navy or white beans (plain ol’ white beans are larger, and I prefer them)
  • 1 hambone, or 3-4 hamhocks, or about one cup diced cured/smoked ham, or about four strips of thick bacon, chopped, raw
  • Salt to taste

Rinse beans and put in a large bowl of cold water on the countertop to soak all day or overnight. If using a hambone or hamhocks, put in a pot of water and boil until meat comes away from the bone, or all day or all night on low in the crockpot.  Remove meat, separate from bones, pick out fat, and return meat to pot, dicing any large chunks. Drain and rinse beans, and add them to the meat and stock. Add water so liquid is about 3 inches above beans, if needed. Cook all day or all night on low in crock pot, or until beans are tender on top of stove (maybe an hour and a half). If using diced ham or bacon, add it and beans to pot at the same time, and use 2 cups chicken stock and enough water to make the needed liquid. Taste after about an hour or so, and add salt as needed. (Note: If you cook the beans a shorter time at a higher temp, they will get mushy and the stock will become thick and almost creamy; some people prefer them that way. If you cook them longer at a slower temperature the beans will stay relatively whole, and the stock will remain thinner. Your choice. ) Serve in a soup bowl over crumbled cornbread.

Speaking of cornbread, I didn’t make any, so I got some at the supermarket, which has a  lunch counter. I forgot they make sweet cornbread, which, although I don’t prefer it, is OK on the side, but not worth a damn to put beans over. Because then you have kinda sweet beans, and that sucks. Shoulda made my own, which you do thusly:

Corn Bread

  • One cup cornmeal (NOT cornmeal mix)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp bacon grease (or oil, if you must; bacon grease is better, and this IS a redneck lunch)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk

Beat eggs, add bacon grease and 1/4 cup milk. Add cornmeal and stir. You want it about the consistency of a thick cake batter; add more milk to get there if you need to.  Bake in greased muffin tins or in an 8-inch skillet in a 475-degree oven for about 20-30 minutes, until brown on top and a knife or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Or you can drop it by spoonfuls into a hot, greased skillet or griddle and fry it — that would be “hoecakes,” in the West Tennessee hill country vernacular.

This makes a crumbly cornbread, good for beans or soup or such. If you want one that holds together a bit better, as in for cutting open and buttering, or for eating sorghum molasses, add about a half-cup of all-purpose flour and a half-teaspoon of baking powder and enough more milk to get to the right consistency.

Good stuff. I have just eaten a bowl at my desk while I wrote this. I’m refreshed and renewed for the afternoon. Tell y’mama ‘n ’em to come on down and have some white beans.