Monday, December 19, 2011

Planning A Christmas Meu

There's a first time for everything. And it has been decided, not a moment too soon, that Ryan and I are cooking Christmas Eve lunch for  5-6 people.  Now I'm in full planning mode, going back through those December food magazines. 

Meat.  I am going to cook a meat main course.  I don't cook very much meat, as you have seen by my weekly menus.  But since I am cooking for others in the family, I am going to go for it.  I began researching and found that Christmas is the time of year when most people make ham (I guess I didn't know this because either my family made turkey or if we had ham, I didn't eat it much).  Even though I don't think I like ham I am going to give it a try. I have found in recipes here and there hat the fun and flavor with the ham dinner is all about the glaze.  So, I am going to give ham a try and make a kick-ass flavorful glaze.

Shopping for the ham was difficult though educational (and if you know me personally, use your imagination: it was totally comical).
So many options:  spiral spiced? Would I want something pre-sliced? Spiral what?  Isn't slicing it part of the fun of the presentation? Wouldn't that make the ham dry?
Cured/Uncured? Uhhhh.. I guessed cured because curing meat is beyond the skill set I wish to acquire in less than a week.
Bone-in or boneless? I chose bone-in because I think it will lead to a juicier ham.
Shank or butt? Shank. Or. Butt.  That question led me to have a funny conversation with a meat department employee. I needed to what the heck each one meant.  He told me that the shank included some of the leg whereas the butt had less bone and was the most popular.  If you were wondering, later research informed me that the butt was not literally the hog's butt, but the butt end of the leg.
Some hams had been pre-glazed (what fun is that?). Some contained packets of glaze (no.) So, the winner is... 

A ten pound, "traditional" bone-in hickory smoked ham. 

 For the glaze: I've got it narrowed down to four.  Help me choose!
glazed ham with roasted apples and carrot relish
whole grain mustard and apricot glaze
cranberry glaze/maple syrup, orange. pecans (found at same link)

More research will be necessary for the ham cooking and carving, but let's not get ahead of ourselves here.
Here is an outtake from the ham's photo shoot.

Now, on to where I am comfortable... delicious vegetable sides.
I might take it a little on the simple side as the ham is going to be a big adventure, plus I still have to save my cooking stamina since I am bringing a veggie dish to another Christmas meal on Sunday (some kind of vegetable casserole/tart/gratin... though ask me again later this week I may end up bringing something less ambitious).  But who says simple means boring?  Not I!

Saturday's sides will most likely include:
mashed potatoes made by my husband. He is a mashed potato rock star. milk, butter, salt and pepper and he does it perfectly every time.
real green bean casserole from  my darling kelsy at a l'americaine
roasted brussel sprouts with garlic OR roasted squash

And we'll revisit those delicious Thanksgiving rolls and garlic butter (maybe I'll venture into honey butter too...).  And I should probably throw in a salad. My sister is bringing desert!  Whew!!!

I'm overwhelmed and excited and so happy to be done with the fall semester of grad school so I can study my cookbooks! Hooray!

Happy Holidays!


  1. my vote is the cranberry glaze! Sound yummy! Fun blog too! I check in often :-)


  2. I have a great recipe for roasted brussel sprouts with almonds and walnuts that should be up this week. I'll send it to you. Also made potato and celery root gratin for Thanksgiving. It was a hit. I'll send you that too! Good luck!

  3. Here you go, as promised: brussel sprouts:

  4. Krysty, that cranberry one does look good. Kelsy, Thank you!!

  5. I also vote for the cranberry glaze!