Saturday, November 6, 2010

It always surprises me when I have responses to my blog. It hits me like a bolt out of the blue….Gee, people DO read it! Occasionally they are not positive responses, but thankfully, that doesn’t happen often.

I started my blog almost 2 years ago, never dreaming that it would be popping up all over the globe! When I receive notice that I have a response, I figure it is a friend or relative telling me to keep up the good work, but never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d find a response from South Africa! Or Lyon, France! Or Tokyo, Japan! I send a notice to my regular readers, now close to 500, but they send it on to friends and relatives….and then they send it on to their friends……on, and on it goes! Amazing….and THANK YOU! Please keep passing it on, I love hearing from people who have been inspired by a recipe or painting.

Another positive result is the association with companies that I mention in my blog.

One of my new connections is with Larry Santure of Smithfield Foods in Smithfield, Virginia. After reading my last blog posting, Larry emailed me with a recipe he came up with, using a country ham product. I asked for his permission to share it with you, which he very generously granted. Thank You, Larry!

Caribbean Country Ham
Concocted and Developed by Larry Santure
Director of Country Meat Sales

A touch of the Caribbean melds with the Southern tradition of good ol’ country ham for an upscale dish.

2 packages of Smithfield Biscuit Slices (16 oz)
12 ounces of Coke – not diet
16 ounces of dried fruit any combination
(a combination of apple, cranberry and pineapple is really good)
Lime juice, about 2 oz.
4 to five ounces of dark rum (Optional) may use rum flavoring as an alternative
1/2 cup of water

Chop the dried fruit in a processor to the point of being approximately one fourth the original sized pieces. Put the water, lime juice, 2 to 3 ounces of rum, and half the Coke in a sauce pan with the dried fruit and bring to a boil. Let simmer ten minutes and let cool. Drain the fruit with a strainer and save the remaining liquid. Place the ham in a shallow pan then add the remaining Coke and rum to the liquid from the sauce pan. Pour the mixture over the ham and let marinate for twenty minutes. Pre heat an oven to 350 degrees. Remove the ham from marinate and place flat on a large sheet pan. Cook in the oven no more than fifteen minutes and let cool for several minutes. (To hurry the process place in a microwave safe vessel and microwave for about 90 seconds or until fully cooked.)
To serve:
Arrange the ham in a circular pattern on a plate or platter and spoon the dried fruit in the middle. Garnish with thin slices of fresh mango.
Serves 6 to 8 persons (2 – one oz ham portions)

Another email I received was from Jan in Colorado Springs. She said my blog had brought back memories of her childhood in Pennsylvania. When I said there was “no dressing except my Grandmother Ogg’s Cornbread Dressing”, she started thinking about a Pennsylvania Dutch recipe referred to as “Filling”. I Googled it and low and behold, I’m not sure how I lived all these years without hearing about it before! Pennsylvania Dutch Filling is a stuffing/dressing recipe using mashed potatoes and bread along with a ton of butter, so naturally, I decided I must try it. It is on my test-cooking list for next week. In the meantime, here is the recipe. Thank you, Jan!
Pennsylvania Dutch Filling
5 pounds Idaho potatoes
1 cup diced celery
1-1/2 cup diced onion
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
3 cups cubed bread , good country white, without crust
1-2 cups milk, or enough to moisten bread cubes
Salt, pepper and celery salt
Butter for top of casserole

Cook potatoes with salt until tender. Sauté celery and onions with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in 2 tablespoons oil until tender and slightly browned. Push to one side of the pan; add 1/2 stick of the butter and soak parsley in butter, then mix with celery and onions.
Drain potatoes; put in large enough container to hold all ingredients. Add the remaining 1-1/2 sticks butter, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1-1/4 teaspoons celery salt. Mix with electric beater. Add eggs and mix thoroughly. Add celery and onion mixture and mix. In the same pan used for the celery and onion mixture, soak bread cubes in enough milk to moisten thoroughly and heat. Add to potatoes and mix. If mixture is too thick, add milk. Add dry bread cubes if too thin. Also use more or less of seasoning to taste.
Put in greased baking dish (or dishes), dot top with butter, and bake at 400° for 1 hour until golden brown.

My Goodness! Doesn’t Smithfield Ham and Pennsylvania Dutch Filling sound wonderful together! Add a salad and a dessert, and you have a great dinner! I think this particular meal calls for a rustic dessert. May I suggest this one. It is from Bette in Lyon, France. I have replaced Bette’s European measurements with those used in America, along with the baking temperature. I have tested it with my changes, and it is wonderful! Merci, Bette!

French Poached Pear and Brown Butter Tart
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Pinch salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled
1 large egg yolk mixed with 4 tablespoons of ice water
6 cups water
2 cups semidry white wine, (may I suggest Somerset Ridge Oktoberfest!)
2 cups sugar
1 sage leaf
4 whole cloves
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
4 Bosc pears-peeled, quartered and cored
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 Pinch salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1. Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 375°. Spray an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom with vegetable oil spray. In a food processor, combine the flour with the sugar and salt and pulse once or twice until combined. Add the butter and pulse until it is the size of small peas. Lift the lid and sprinkle with the egg- yolk mixture. Pulse 5 or 6 times, until the dough is crumbly.
2. Pour the dough into the prepared tart pan and press to form an even crust. Use a flat-bottomed glass dipped in flour to tamp it down. Bake the crust in the lower third of the oven for about 25 minutes, until it is golden brown. Lower the oven temperature to 350°.
3. Meanwhile, poach the pears: In a large saucepan, combine the water with the wine, sugar, sage, cloves, cinnamon and vanilla bean and seeds and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the quartered pears. Cover with a large sheet of parchment paper and a lid slightly smaller than the saucepan and cook over moderate heat until the pears are just softened, 25 to 30 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the poached pears to a paper towel-lined plate and let cool slightly. Cut each wedge in half lengthwise.
4. Make the filling: In a small skillet, cook the butter over moderate heat until golden brown and fragrant, about 4 minutes; pour browned butter into a small cup. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar, vanilla seeds, orange zest and salt. Add the flour and beat at low speed until smooth. Add the brown butter and beat the filling at low speed until incorporated.
5. Pour the filling into the baked crust. Arrange all but 3 of the pear wedges on the custard in a slightly overlapping circle, with the narrow ends pointing toward the center. Trim the remaining 3 pear wedges and arrange them neatly in the center. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour, until the custard is golden and set. Let the pear tart cool completely before serving.

Hope you enjoy our Dinner from Here and There. I'm sure there will be more soon. However, next time I think I will start blogging on Christmas Foods and Goodies.

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