Wednesday, April 22, 2015

our april ham

We only have ham once a year - Easter. Well growing up, we always had a holiday dinner at our neighbor's house, the Wilson's - and we had ham then too. It was always so delicious!
Easter has become one of my favorite holidays because I don't have to cook a main dish - Honey Baked does that for me. This year, we were lucky enough to have Kayla and Peter join us for the holiday weekend!
We toured Yazoo Brewery - very fun.
spent an afternoon at Radnor Lake...
Peter was a crane.
In addition to lots of other good food and drink, we went to Hattie B's for hot chicken. And then Peter cried because his chicken was so hot - it was very funny for the rest of us.
After a great long weekend (and lots of leftover ham), I made a delicious split pea soup.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 chopped medium onion
4 carrots, thinly sliced
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
Kosher salt and ground pepper
1 quart chicken stock, homemade is preferable
1 bag (16 ounces) green split peas, picked over and rinsed
ham bone plus 2 cups reserved ham cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

In a large stock pot with a lid, heat oil over medium. Add onion, carrots, celery, and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables begin to soften, 5 to 8 minutes. Add broth, split peas, ham bone, and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and partially cover; simmer until peas are soft, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove and discard bone from soup. Use an immersion blender to blend about half of the soup (or carefully remove half to a blender). After it is the consistency you like, add ham cubes, and simmer until heated through. If necessary, thin with water. Add salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste. Serve topped with croutons. 
Top with some croutons, yum!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

put an egg on it

Before the warm weather arrived, I made a delicious farro risotto - truthfully though, this lighter spin on my beloved risotto, makes it a great spring option too.
asparagus farro risotto with farm fresh egg - inspired by Mark Bittman
2 lbs. asparagus, peeled, trimmed and cut into one-inch-long pieces, tips reserved
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (homemade or low-sodium)
2 tablespoons EVOO
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
½ medium onion, diced
1¼ cup semi-pearled farro
½ cup dry white wine
1 heaping teaspoon Kosher salt
¾ cup grated Parmesan
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
4 fresh eggs
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add half the asparagus stalks (not the tips) and cook until quite soft, at least five minutes. Rinse quickly under cold water or put in ice water. Put cooked asparagus in a blender or food processor and add ¼ cup water. Purée adding more water one tablespoon at a time if necessary. Set aside. Place stock in a medium saucepan over low heat. Put oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large, deep skillet or pot over medium heat. When it is hot, add onion, stirring occasionally until it softens, 3 to 5 minutes. Add farro and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is glossy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add white wine, stir, and let liquid bubble away. Add the salt. Add warmed stock, ½ cup or so at a time, stirring occasionally. Each time stock has just about evaporated, add more. After about 15 minutes, add remaining asparagus pieces and tips, continuing to add stock when necessary. After 5 minutes, begin tasting the risotto. You want the grains to be tender but with a bit of crunch; it could take as long as 30 minutes total to reach this stage. When the risotto is almost ready, bring a medium saucepan with 4 eggs in it to a light boil - boil eggs for about 4 minutes (start timer when boil begins). When risotto is ready, stir in ½ cup asparagus purée. Remove skillet from heat, add cheese, parsley and remaining butter, and stir briskly. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve in a shallow bowl and gently crack an egg, scooping out the yolk for serving. Discard the egg whites and shell. Serve immediately.
When the egg is mixed into the risotto it helps create an even creamier delicious dish!