Ham or lamb for Easter?

omaha-steaks-ham“Ham vs. lamb” may not rise to the level of theological debate, but when it comes to Easter dinner, the issue can divide celebrants into zealous partisan camps.

Whose meat reigns supreme? We put the question to two passionate chefs.

“You know ham kicks lamb’s butt,” said Leisa Dent, co-owner and chef of L.L. Dent, the Southern-style restaurant in Carle Place, N,Y. “And I don’t care how much mint jelly you put on that thing.” Dent regularly cooks fresh ham (i.e., pork) and smoked ham.

“Both are better than lamb,” she declared.

For Easter lunch, Dent traditionally prepares a smoked ham that she glazes with, among other ingredients, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey.

A whole ham (that is, the entire hind leg of the pig) easily feeds 20 to 30 people. For a smaller gathering, Dent cooks the “shank” half, which serves 10 to 12.

Because a smoked ham has already been cooked, “cooking” it at home involves little more than putting it in the oven, brushing on the glaze and getting it hot. Dent makes it fancy by scoring the top and inserting cloves into the resulting diamond pattern.

Ninety minutes later, the ham comes out of the oven fragrant, succulent of flesh and crisp of skin.

And ham is the Easter gift that keeps on giving. “The leftovers are good, hot or cold,” she said. “Ham and eggs for breakfast the next morning, ham sandwiches for lunch. And then I use the bone for pea soup.”

“For Greeks there is no question,” said Peter Spyropoulos, executive chef of Limani, the Greek seafood restaurant in Roslyn. “Lamb is all we eat. Lamb. Lamb. Lamb.”

Omaha-steaks-boneless-leg-of-LambIn fact the traditional Easter meal, consumed at midnight after Easter Mass, starts with magiritsa, a soup made from lamb innards. Next up: kokoretsi, skewered lamb innards wrapped with fat and grilled. Finally, spit-roasted baby lamb.

For American homes, roast leg of Lamb
is easier to handle, and Spyropoulos recommends a boneless leg, which is a cinch to carve. He seasons his lamb with the Greek trinity of garlic, oregano and lemon — 2 cups of lemon juice to cut the richness of the lamb — but he also adds rosemary and thyme (if his mother isn’t around).

As for leftovers, Spyropoulos insists that “anything you can do with ham you can do with lamb.” He loves a sandwich made with thinly sliced lamb and Gulden’s mustard on white bread.

Finally, Lamb has a profound connection to the Easter story that ham just can’t touch. “At Mass,” Spyropoulos said, “the Greek Orthodox priest is always talking about lamb as a symbol of Jesus’ sacrifice.”

No one ever talks about “the ham of God.”


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Easy Low Carb Recipe That is Delicious and Healthy

Even though eating bread is often frowned upon when you are on a low carb diet, there are exceptions to this rule of thumb. The key is to get your hands on some easy low carb recipes, as well as low carb bread recipes. If you have these at your disposal, then those delicious buns, delectable muffins, lip smacking bagels, and scrumptious pancakes, are guaranteed a place in your tummy as part of your low carb diet.

One easy low carb bread recipe is the applesauce muffins, which should be a hit among desperate bread aficionados who have been deprived of their favorite staple. Once you have all the necessary ingredients, and there’s quite a lot of it, making it will be an easy and simple process.

For the dry ingredients, you will need 3/4 cup of soy protein isolate, 1/4 cup of wheat gluten flour and ground flax seed, 1/4 cup of oat flour, a teaspoon of baking powder, two teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of cloves and nutmeg, 1 cup of Splenda, and 1/4 teaspoon of sat, and 1/4 cup of brown Sugar Twin.

Whereas for the rest of the ingredients, prepare 4 beaten eggs, a teaspoon of vanilla, 3/4 cup of light olive oil, a cup of pure apple sauce – preferably the unsweetened one, and 2-3 drops of apple oil.

If you decide to treat yourself even more, you can also prepare the topping using one tablespoon of rolled oats, one tablespoon of oat flour, a teaspoon of brown Sugar Twin, and some cinnamon.

What you need to do is mix the wet ingredients together and the dry ingredients together in separate containers. After that, mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. The end result should be a bowl of nicely blended ingredients that are not overly mixed. You can then pour them into sprayed muffin tins and decorate with the topping – should you choose to have it, and proceed to bake the muffins at 350ºF for 30 minutes.

If you crave for some variety, you can change this easy low carb recipe to pumpkin spice muffins. Leave out the applesauce and apple oil and use 15 oz. canned pumpkin instead.

There you have it, a worry-free and easy low carb bread recipe that you can bake at the leisure of your own kitchen and eat without having your guilty conscience knocking at your front door.

Waitress Pie Recipe

“WAITRESS” PIE (aka I Can’t Have No Affair Because It’s Wrong and I Don’t Want Earl to Kill Me Pie)

CRUST:
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter

CUSTARD:
2 cups whole milk
2 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

MERINGUE:
3 large egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 cup granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

2. Prepare crust: Stir together crust ingredients until well blended. Press mixture into 9-inch pie pan. Bake 9 to 11 minutes, or until crust is browned and crisp. Remove from the oven. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F.

3. Prepare custard: Heat milk in a small saucepan almost to a boil. Remove from heat. Beat eggs slightly in a large bowl. Whisk in sugar and salt. *Add hot milk, 1/4 cup at time, whisking constantly to temper egg mixture (to get warmer gradually). Whisk in vanilla. Pour custard through a fine sieve and into the prepared pie crust. Sprinkle top of custard with cinnamon.

4. Bake on lower shelf of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until custard is set and firm to touch. Remove from oven and set on rack to cool slightly. (Keep oven on)

5. Prepare meringue: In large bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add sugar, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over cooked custard, and return to oven until the meringue is slightly browned. Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Servings: 8

Cooking Tips
*Be sure to add milk gradually. If you add it to the egg mixture all at once, you’ll cook the eggs and end up with scrambled eggs!

**Refrigerate any leftover pie.

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How to Cook Ham

With all the resources out there, a simple internet search will produce tons of recipes about how to make the perfect ham. The great thing is that most websites that list a recipe have a place for those who have tried the recipe to share their own ham making tips and reviews.

These can be so helpful when trying to decide what recipe to use. So many of the recipes sound delicious so why not use the opinions of others who have tried it to find out how good the recipe actually is?

How about an apricot honey ham glaze? Not only is it rated as delicious but it is also very easy to make, which is why it is such a very popular recipe. The ingredients include, apricot preserves, honey, cornstarch, lemon juice and cloves.

All these ingredients are combined in a saucepan over medium heat until the mixture becomes thick and bubbly. The glaze is simply spooned over the ham and then basted over the ham during the last 30 minutes of baking.

There is nothing quite as good as baked ham and pineapple. This is another recipe that usually gets rave reviews. After a ham has been cooking for half the allotted time, this is when the pineapple comes into play.

Drain the juice from a can of sliced pineapple. Combine the pineapple juice, brown sugar, and honey in a saucepan. Cook the mixture over low heat until the sugar is dissolved.

Brush the ham with the pineapple mixture after scoring the ham in a diamond like pattern. Then arrange the pineapple slices with cherries in the middle over the ham and secure with toothpicks.

The ham can also be studded with cloves. The ham should then be baked for the remainder of the time. The ham can be basted with the pineapple mixture throughout the remainder of the cooking time.

Another yummy recipe is a ham marinade! A marinade will allow the ham to absorb the juices and keep it very moist during baking.  This marinade is made up of brown sugar, honey, dry red wine, pineapple juice, and garlic. The ham sound be marinated for anywhere between 6 hours and overnight.

Be sure to visit often, we have lots more Ham making tips and recipe reviews that we are looking forward to sharing with you.

Themed Meals and Drinks for a Movie or Television Party

New DVD releases, the end of a television series, anticipated movies coming out, awards shows – each occasion is often a great excuse for a party. I myself hosted a fun dinner when the cartoon Family Guy returned to the air – I served up a variety of martinis to honor Brian, the martini-soaked dog.

It’s always more fun to match your food and drinks to the show, and bonus points if you can turn your meals into a groaner of a pun! Here’s a list of recent movies and television events, and themed recipes for each.

Avatar DVD Release Party

With James Cameron’s epic fantasy Avatar now on video, it’s only appropriate to invite your friends over for dinner and watch the movie on your big screen television (The 3-D version of the movie won’t be out until near Christmas – I myself will be waiting for that.) Avatar party supplies are available now too – if you wish to have a themed birthday party.

For your meal and drinks, everything has to be blue, of course! Here’s a dinner and drink suggestion:

Main Course: Blue Cheese Burgers

  • 1 pound lean organic ground beef (why organic? Because Avatar carries an environmental message!)
  • 1 tbsp barbecue sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

Gently mix with your hands, divide into 4 sections. Shape each into patties. Cook on your barbecue.

Drink: Na’vi Bi’kini Mar’tini

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 2 ounces blue curacao
  • a splash of peach schnapps

Serve with a slice of lemon – for extra effect, add a glow stick!

Final Episode of Lost Party

With all the plot twists, mind bends and multiple story arcs in different places, different times and different dimensions, you’ll need your own brainwashing room to clear your head! Nevertheless, the show has been a fantastic series, and I for one will miss it deeply. Will we find out what happens on that island? Or will the Dharma Initiative be lost in time?

Main Course: Mango braised bbq pork ribs

In the first season, John Locke hunted wild boar. That would be a little hard (and dangerous) to do in your neighborhood, so the next best thing is hunting for some ribs at your local grocer. To keep with the tropical island motif, mix a mango sauce for your ribs.

I tried this recipe before, and it’s delicious! I substituted a can of green chillis for the chipotles. You can view and print the recipe here.

Drink: Dharma Initiative beer

Take your favorite beer, and stick on the appropriate beer labels. Due to copyright issues, you can’t find a complete beer label online. But you can find high-quality Dharma logos here. Use the Swan one. If you know somebody with Photoshop skills, they can easily print “BEER” below the logo. Print out on sticker paper and wrap around your beer bottles. Note: Do not use 30-year old beer from a VW van – you do not have to be that authentic!

Alice in Wonderland Tea Party

The new movie with Johnny Depp revived interest in tea parties that never really went away, as Alice has been a perennial favorite since it was first written in the 19th century. An Alice in Wonderland theme party is a lot of fun to create – with the wild and wacky decor, terrible puns and elaborate setups of high tea, there’s probably no other theme that’s as fun to do! Heck, with un-birthday parties, you have an occassion to celebrate 364 days of the year (365 if it’s a leap year!)

Pop in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland or prepare for Tim Burton’s 3-D DVD release with these foods as part of your party:

Main Course: Mock Turtle Soup

A famous scene in the book has the queen looking for the mock turtle, which is what mock turtle soup is made from. About.com has a thick, comforting soup that is filling enough to be a main course.

If you’re really creative, you can make bread in the shape of a turtle to dip in the soup. Using your favorite dough recipe, divide into one large ball and five smaller balls – the large one will be the turtle’s body, and the other five will be the legs and head. Use a knife to score lines in the body to make the turtle’s “shell”, and pinch the head in to form the resemblance of the eyes and mouth. Arrange and stick together on a pizza stone and bake.

Drink: Earl Grey Tea Tea, of course. Any English tea will do. Don’t forget to put “Drink Me” labels on each cup. Serve tea at 6:00, with bread and your best butter. Dress in a top hat and have yourself a mad party!

By Chris Molnar, editor of Themeaparty.com. Click here for more movie theme party ideas for your DVD release or special television event (farewell, Lost!)