Friday, December 26, 2008

Holiday Food

From Xmas 2008

I don't know anything about where any of you are at as we sink ever more deeply into the holiday season. But I'm already six gallons of murky Frymax in a Fry-O-Lator jammed into the corner of a kitchen at a neighborhood dive. Not only do I have nothing constructive to add to the dialectic, but I'm so whipped that the only thing I can bring myself to post are these photos of a couple of things that I made for my family over the past week.

The first group of photos is of a loaf of bread that started out as a mixture (poolish) of mashed table grapes, wheat berries, rye flour, flax seeds and water. The second group is of ham (Sliced version, above left, added 12.30.08) that I served for Xmas dinner at my brother's house. The ham was made from a round from one of the Berkshire hogs born in March of this year.

On November 13 I put the ham down in a brine made from male (should read maple: see comments and correction below) sugar, salt, dextrose, nitrate, clove, peppercorns and cinnamon bark (All of the spices were cooked in a small portion of the brine, then added to the brine proper.) and held it under refrigeration until December 24.

After driving the ham up to New York on Christmas morning, I roasted it for a couple of hours in a 350 degree oven before sticking it with fresh pineapple (A classic combination) and basting it for another hour with a mixture of brown sugar, butter and water. After it was done, I let it sit for a half hour while I made a sauce from the drippings, water and shaved apple flesh.

It was good. Damned good. It was especially gratifying to hear the older folks (my parents' generation) waxing rhapsodic about how long it had been since they had ham like that.

(Of course, that was exactly why I made it.)

Correction: Sorry folks; the ham was cured with "maple" not "male" sugar. LOL


Cameron Siguenza said...

That ham looks so good. The bread is just beautiful. I also celebrated Christmas with handmade food - home made bread, an organic small farm raised turkey which I brined in apple cider, oranges, cloves, salt, sugar, fresh ginger, and which I smoked with lump charcoal and apple and cherry wood on my Weber Smoky Mountain. I also made 4 different types of terrines, and various other dishes for my extended family. Best wishes and all the best in 2009.

Thanks for the great posts from you and Pardus.


Jon in Albany, NY said...

That ham sounds great. Hope this isn't too stupid a question, but is "male sugar" a typo? I googled it and found a lot of stuff on parrots.

Hope you recover from your Christmas. I used controlled doses of bourbon to get through mine.

Bob said...

That ham looks gorgeous. My guess on the brine was malt sugar.

Happy holidays to the del Grossos and all who read this.

Jon in Albany, NY said...

Bob, there's no room for error. I hang on your every word!

Cooking a ham like this is on the "to do" list, especially since Ruhlman has gotten me looking into where I can buy a high quality pig locally.

maurarose said...

I'm intrigued by the idea that "male sugar" and parrots have anything in common, but I'm afraid to find out just what that would be.

Thanks Bob, for this great blog. You've opened my eyes and my mind to ideas I have never considered before.

I hope everyone here is having a lovely holiday.

boberica said...

You must elaborate on whatever
fryer shift you got muscled into for the holidays...
Best wishes in these holidays!

aq said...

Very nice!

Just curious about the apple shavings in the sauce (jus?).. Was that to use the pectin to thicken? or something else..

Bob del Grosso said...

I added the apple to subdue the saltiness a bit and, as you suspected, to add body without having to use flour. Not that I'm opposed to thickening with flour (far from it) I was simply not in the mood to whisk.