Susan’s Ham

 

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Honestly I have no idea who Susan is, but her ham is delicious.

  • Ham
  • Whole cloves
  • Dijon mustard
  • Brown Sugar
  • Apple Juice
  • 8 ounces of figs
  • 8 ounces of prunes
  • 8 ounces of other dried fruits
  • Port

Score ham and press in whole cloves.  Cover ham with Dijon mustard. Pat with brown sugar. Baste with apple juice. Cook at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

soak figs, prunes and dried fruit in a good port while it cooks. Pour over ham and 1/2 hour more. Serve fruit and juice hot with ham.

Passover Slow Cooked Brisket with Red Wine and Mustard

In honor of Passover I am offering the delectable version of brisket. To all of those of the Jewish faith Happy beginning of Passover. Of course this dish can be prepared anytime of year.  This version takes some time so plan ahead, it’s worth it.

  • Brisket (about 6 pounds)
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 6 carrots sliced into 3 chunks each
  • 4 large quartered onions
  • 6 ribs celery with the greens in 2-inch chunks
  • 5 cloves smashed and peeled garlic
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons grated horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • Mushrooms (optional)

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Season the brisket with salt and pepper, don’t skimp on seasonings. Add a few tablespoons of the olive oil to a braising pan. Warm the pan over medium heat, then sear the brisket on all sides, this takes some time.  When the brisket is mostly browned on all sides, remove it from the pan and set aside. Searing the brisket is really optional, but it is traditional.

There should be enough fat rendered in the pan, but if not add a few more tablespoons of oil. Add 3 of the carrots, the onions, celery, and garlic and sauté for a few minutes, stirring and sprinkling with more salt and pepper.

Stir together the wine vinegar, wine, honey, grated horseradish, and mustard in a bowl, then pour the liquid into the pan and deglaze, gently scraping up any stuck bits with a spoon (preferably wooden). Simmer for about3 minutes, until the sauce is slightly reduced.

Return the brisket to the pot and add enough beef broth to just cover the brisket. Add the bay leaves, thyme, and parsley and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and put in the oven for about 4 hours. At the end of the fourth hour, add the remaining carrots, and return to the oven for one more hour.

Remove from the oven and let sit until the brisket reaches room temperature.  Cut the brisket against the grain into slices about an quarter of an inch thick.

When ready to serve, remove the fat that has accumulated on top of the brisket. Heat the liquid in the pan and reduce by half, then strain out the vegetables if you want. Return the cut brisket to the pan, heat, ladle the carrots on top, pour the sauce over, and serve.

 

Christmas Mousse

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  • 1/4 box gelatin (1 envelope)
  • 1 pint cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup good sherry
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup maraschino cherries, sliced

Soak gelatin in a cup of cool water for 1/2 hour.  Whip cream and add sugar and slowly pour in sherry.  Mix gelatin into the cream mixture.  Add and stir in vanilla, almonds and maraschino cherries.  Let stand overnight in the refrigerator.

Foolproof Family Christmas Cheese Soufflé

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  • 8 slices buttered bread cubed, crusts removed
  • 3/4 pound American cheese grated
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 Cups milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • dash cayenne

Layer cheese and bread.  Mix other ingredients and pour over. Let it set 3-4 hours in the refrigerator or overnight. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Simple Cheese Biscuits

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Ingredients:

  • ½ pound of extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¼  of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • Salt & red pepper to taste

Directions:

Grate cheese.  Cream with butter.  Add flour, salt and red pepper.  Mix.  Roll to 1/8 inch thick and cut with a small round cookie cutter.  Prick with fork.  Bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes.

Chilled Potato Leek Soup With A Seared Scallop

Chilled Potato Leek Soup with a Seared Scallop and Caviar.

Potato Leek soup was made famous in the United States as Vichyssoise at the New York Ritz-Carlton.  It is a simple soup that can be served either hot or chilled.  You can use it as a base soup, adding pureed arugula or other greens to it.  You may also add caviar to make it a little more complex and elegant as I did as pictured.

 

Soup

3 large leeks

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter

½ Cup sliced shallots

½ Cup sliced onion

Salt

Pepper

1 Large russet potato

1 Tablespoon minced Garlic

Sachet

5-6 Cups chicken stock

¾ Cup warmed heavy cream

½ Cup minced chives

Extra virgin olive oil

Freshly ground pepper

Scallop

1 Scallop per serving

Olive Oil

Salt

Pepper

Caviar (optional)

Special Equipment

Immersion Blender

Cheesecloth

Preparing the soup:

Using only the pale green and white parts of the leeks cut them in half lengthwise and carefully wash them to remove and dirt that remains in them.  This is a vital step as leeks infamously hold onto dirt giving your soup a gritty texture.  Reserve outer leaves for sachet.  Cut leeks into approximately ¼ inch slices.  The size is not vital as you will be pureeing the soup later.

Melt the butter in a large pan over medium low heat.  Add the leeks, shallots and onions seasoning liberally with salt and pepper.  Increase the heat to medium and sweat the vegetables.  Stir often as this will take approximately 5 minutes.  Do not brown the vegetables, simply wilt them.

Peel and cut the potato lengthwise then cut into slices.  This should yield about 1 ¼ – 1 ½ cups.

Add garlic to the sautéing vegetables, cook for a minute or two.  Add potatoes.  Make sachet: Take 2 or 3 dark leaves of leek, approximately 6-8 thyme sprigs, 2 sprigs of Italian parsley, 2 bay leaves and ½ teaspoon of black peppercorns and wrap the ingredients in 7-8 inch piece of cheesecloth.  Tie into a bundle with kitchen twine.  Add to vegetables.

Add chicken stock.  Simmer for ½ an hour or until the potatoes are tender.  At this point you may want to allow the soup to cool for 15-30 minutes before pureeing.  Puree soup with immersion blender being careful not to burn yourself.  You may strain your soup through a fine mesh strainer at this point for a more refined and consistent soup to make sure you have gotten rid of any chunks of potato or leeks that remain.  There should be no chunks.

Return the soup to the heat and bring to a simmer.  Add the cream and continue to simmer for at least 5 minutes.  If you are serving the soup hot add the chives, reserving some for a garnish.  If serving chilled reserve the chives for just before service.  Pour the soup into a container and place in an ice bath to cool before refrigerating.  The soup is best if served within 2-3 days.

Preparing the scallop:

At this point you have a lot of options for the scallop.  You could simply make a crudo and serve the scallop raw, butter poach the scallop or sear the scallop.  I chose to sear the scallop to give the soup the flavor and texture I was looking for.

Pull off the white foot from the scallop as this part gets very chewy when cooked.  Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel.  This part is very important if you wish to form the seared crust.  Heat a skillet over medium-high heat until very hot.  You may either apply a little olive oil to the scallops on both sides or to the skillet.

Liberally salt and pepper the scallop on both sides.  Add the scallops to the skillet, leaving an inch or so between scallops.  Do not overcrowd.  Cook for approximately 90 seconds.  Flips scallops, easiest way is to use tongs.  Sear scallops on other side for an additional 90 seconds.  Reserve scallops for serving.

Completing and serving:

Add the chives to the soup, reserving a Tablespoon or so per bowl.  Ladle soup into bowl and add 1 scallop per bowl.  At this point if you are using caviar, spoon a teaspoon on top of each scallop.  Of course the better the caviar, the better the soup.  Garnish soup with remaining chives, top each bowl with a little black pepper and serve immediately.