Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Regionals: Duck's Stuffed Ham

Hunger No MoreSometimes, I love having this blog. Turns out, the compiler of the Bachman Family Cookbook found this here blog, and commented. So, now I've met a cousin of some stripe (if we share a great grandparent as our closest common ancestor, we're, what...second cousins?), who works with the county museum back in North Dakota. There's tons of family stuff for me to rifle through, and it's a great feeling. It's not every day one learns more about one's great grandparents, ya know?

Today's Hunger No More: Food & Fellowship from the Episcopal Diocese of Washington recipe was a quick substitute. Originally, I was going to post Southern Maryland Stuffed Ham recipe, because there's a good bit of history included, but I just couldn't bring myself to write about people owning other people tonight. So, suffice to say, there's hundreds of years of history going on with this dish, and more than a little baggage going along with it.

Duck's Stuffed Ham

12 lb corned ham
3 lbs watercress
2 lbs kale
1 small head cabbage
4 onions
4 hard boiled eggs
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
red pepper to taste

Have the butcher debone ham and tie. Slit pockets in ham to hold stuffing, about 1 inch apart. Grind watercress, kale, cabbage, onions, and eggs together (a food processor makes this easy). Season stuffing to taste with salt, black pepper, and red pepper. Stuff into slits, pack them full. Put any leftover stuffing on top of ham. Sew into an old pillowcase or wrap with cheesecloth. Place in a kettle of cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer 22 minutes per pound (a 12 pound ham takes 4 1/2 hours). Cool in liquid. When cool, remove and drain, then refrigerate.

This recipe is best prepared a day and a half ahead. This recipe was given to Lucille by her dear friend, "Duck" Shelton, who is now deceased. It was her mother's recipe.

Lucille Dyson
Recipes compiled by Episcopal Church Women
Christ Church, Port Tobacco

I can't say I've ever run across a recipe that called for stitching anything into a pillow case before. The other stuffed ham recipe sticks to cheesecloth, but as that one calls for a 20 pound ham, it's possible that there just weren't old pillowcases big enough.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Great Closing: Book Group Apple Cake

Hunger No MoreToday's recipe from Hunger No More: Food & Fellowship from the Episcopal Diocese of Washington is actually from my own church! St. Alban's has been serving DC as a free church for 157 years. (What's a free church, you may ask? Well, back in the day, most churches charged pew rent; St. Alban's never did, by design.)

There's a book group at St. A.'s, and, like book groups the world over, it's at least partially fueled by food.

Book Group Apple Cake

3 large apples, roughly diced
2 cups sugar (I mix white and brown)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup raisins (soaked in brandy is nice, for adults)
1/2 cup chopped, pecans (optional)
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups unbleached flour (replace 1/4 with wheat germ for added nutrition)
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
a few shakes of ground cloves
1 tsp salt

Mix chopped apples with sugars, then add oil, raisins and/or nuts, eggs and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients together and stir into moist mixture. Bake in a 9 inch square pan (or a tube pan) at 350F for one hour, or until done (test with a toothpick). Serves 12.

So named because our parish book group urged its inclusion in the cookbook. We don't know if the cake keeps well, since there's never any left.

Joyce Walker
St. Alban's, DC

To be honest, it's not the St. Alban's connection that made me include this recipe. No, it's the last sentence, the epic closing, that promise of cake so wonderful you'll never have a crumb left.

I dig a recipe with a promise.

I'll wager it keeps well -- so much of the cake is sugar and apples, it's just bound to be moist as all get out.

This week's daily reminder: you can order your own copy of Hunger No More and support feeding ministries in the DC area.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Father John's Christmas Biscotti

Hunger No MoreUsually, in a church cookbook, the recipes are from the laity. Hunger No More: Food & Fellowship from the Episcopal Diocese of Washington has its fair share of church lady (and church gent) contributions, but also a few gems from the clergy.

Father John's Christmas Biscotti

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup shelled (unsalted) pistachios

Preheat the oven to 325F. Beat the butter at medium speed with a mixer or by hand until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add lemon rind and vanilla extract, mixing well. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt (unless the pistachios are already salted) then add the dry mixture to the butter mixture. Beat just enough until the dry ingredients are moistened. Turn the dough on a lightly floured surfave and with floured hands mix in the dried cranberries and the pistachios.

Divide the dough in half or in quarters. Shape each portion into a log and place the logs on lightly greased baking sheets. Slightly flatten the logs and leave room for them to expand. Bake at 325F for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes then transfer the baked logs to a wire rack to cool completely.

Using a good serrated knife, with a gentle sawing motion, cut the logs diagonally into thin slices. Place the slices on ungreased baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes at 325F. Turn each slice over and bake the other side for 10 minutes. Makes 48.

Between parts, the dough or baked logs may be put in the refrigerator overnight. Any dried berries or nuts may be substituted. The biscotti keep well and may be frozen. Depending on the size of logs and slices, yield is 3 dozen to 5 dozen.

Many a sermon has been written over the years between the various steps of biscotti-baking. This recipe was a marked improvement over an earlier version that involved green food coloring, yileding a chartreuse and unappetizing cookie that looked like something out of Dr. Seuss. Sometimes packaged as "Father Beddingfield's Twice-Baked Biscuits," this and similar recipes have come in handy for church bazaars and fund raisers, not to mention pastoral calls.

John Beddingfield
All Souls, DC

So, the "Father John" part of the recipe is pretty clear -- this is Father John Beddingfield's recipe. The "biscotti" part is also straightforward -- the twice-baked cookie is a biscotti, plain and simple.

The "Christmas" part is a bit more suited for interpretation. Biscotti are a good addition to your Christmas cookie tray, to be sure. Nuts have long been a part of Christmasy food traditions, too. But I like to think it's the no-longer-a-part-of-the-recipe green food coloring that made this recipe a Christmas biscotti.

All Souls is tucked next to the National Zoo on Cathedral Avenue. It's one of 88 churches in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, and, I'm kind of embarrassed to say it, but I don't think I've ever laid eyes on it. Why embarrassed? Well, it's all of two miles from my home, and you'd think I'd have noticed a pretty stone church near one of my favorite places in the town I've lived in for twenty one years. You'd think.

But no.

Remember: you can still order Hunger No More: Food & Fellowship from the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and help fund feeding ministries in the Washington, DC area.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hunger No More, by the Episcopal Diocese of Washington; Homemade Egg Noodles

Hunger No MoreToday at St. Alban's, we had an Alternative Gift Fair to kick of Advent. One of the tables was for the diocese's hunger fund, which gets money out to feeding programs across the Washington area. I snatched up two copies, because, well, I loves me a church cookbook, and I also contributed a ton of recipes.

Hunger No More: Food & Fellowship from the Episcopal Diocese of Washington was edited by Kimberly Bujak, Lucy Chumbley, and Ann V. Talty, and came out just last month (October 2011). They call it "a cookbook that celebrates food, fellowship and the spirit of friendship and community that abides in the Diocese of Washington."

There's still time to order one if you're looking for a Christmas gift for your favorite cookbook lover--the books are $20 each, $12 of which is tax deductible.

Now, it's the week after Thanksgiving, and you might be in need of some leftovers help. If you've a mind to make turkey noodle casserole, why not try your hand at making your own noodles?

Homemade Egg Noodles

1 egg

This recipe is over 100 years old and was told to me years ago in Colorado by my grandmother. First, you crack an egg into a medium-sized mixing bowl, saving half the egg shell. Measure cream into the saved half-shell and add the cream to the egg in the mixing bowl. Add a pinch of salt and stir with a fork. Add flour and stir until the dough forms a ball, then turn out onto a floured surface.

Roll out the dough to desired thickness and cut into strips. Grandmother used a sharp knife for this and I use a pizza cutting wheel. The raw noodles can be dried for a couple of hours at this point, but it's not absolutely necessary. Grandmother hung the raw noodles to dry on clean tea towels on the backs of her kitchen chairs.

Place the noodles into your pot of chicken soup and let them simmer for half an hour or more before serving. The flour on the noodles thickens the soup nicely.

Donna Courtney
St. Dunstan's

For your casserole needs, you'll want to be cooking these up on their own, not as part of soup. Though, heck, you can cook them in stock--extra flavor is a good thing. I wouldn't go a half hour of cooking time, though. You'll want to test for doneness often, as you don't want them falling to mush in the casserole dish.

A lot of the recipes in Hunger No More have little snippets of stories included, sharing how the dishes show up in the contributors' lives. I don't think I'll be typing out the 4 page recipe for sourdough bread, but knowing that it exists makes me happy -- I like a conversational tone in recipes.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Turkey Noodle Casserole

It's Thanksgiving week, the great week of culinary traditions and improvisations. My friend Heather came over with eight fully cooked boneless turkey breasts, and so we're doing turkey leftovers early.

Simple Turkey Leftovers

Rip off a hunk of turkey meat.

Squeeze on some mayo -- preferably Duke's or Hellman's/Best Foods.



That got us through a few days.

Tonight, however, I put together a turkey noodle casserole. Now, I'm no stranger to tuna noodle casserole (though I rarely bother to put it in the oven after mixing), but this is my first ever turkey one. Why? Because I usually am through with my turkey leftovers after sandwiches and simple turkey leftovers like above. With 20 or so pounds of meat to get through, I've plenty.

Turkey Noodle Casserole

Roasted turkey meat, roughly diced --at least two cups and up to five
"Cream of" -- one can (I used cream of celery)
sour cream -- 8 oz.
peas and carrots -- one can, drained, or 1-2 cups frozen
Egg noodles, cooked and drained -- one box or bag (I used spƤtzle)
black pepper -- to taste
your favorite casserole topping -- to cover (I used seasoned bread crumbs drizzled with olive oil; feel free to use corn flakes or what have you)

Preheat your oven to 350°F. In your favorite 9" x 13" pan, mix together the first five ingredients, thoroughly. Taste. Add pepper to your liking. Odds that you'll need to add salt are slim, what with the canned goods in play here. If it needs salt, though, have at it. Smooth the casserole down so it's level all over, and cover in your topping.

Pop into the oven, and leave it there until your topping is crisped, or until your house smells amazing, or until you can't wait any longer. This takes about 20-45 minutes.

Serve hot, serve cold, serve however. Tastes good with pinot noir.
And that's dinner. Well, and lunch for the next few days, too.