I hope I never lose my sense of wonder. If that makes me naive, then so be it.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

a ham story

Once upon a time, I bought a whole ham, bone-in. It cost about $16. So I decided to make a week of it. Because it's the sort of thing I like to do, often for no apparent reason. This is the story of the ham. 
The eponymous ham.
Day 1 
The whole ham would be roasted in all its glory. I cut off the plastic to find cheesecloth around the whole thing. I've never seen that before, but cheesecloth has a sort of small-scale artisan-created sense about it when it's around food (though I could be biased, having just wrapped some duck proscuitto in cheesecloth to cure). So in a completely arbitrary way, finding cheesecloth around the ham was encouraging. But I figured it shouldn't be roasted so I removed the cloth, scored the thick skin, and popped it in the oven. Uh... 375F for a couple of hours? I forget. This isn't a recipe. 
Day 1 meal

 Some maple syrup and brown sugar were added later for two reasons: 

  1. to glaze the ham, and 
  2. maple syrup needs no reason. It's sort of like liquid bacon that way.
This made a dinner for five, a slice of the ham along with small red potatoes (boiled and then sauteed in a bit of duck fat for flavour) and Swiss chard (sauteed with bacon and mushrooms) from the garden. 

And then the once-majestic ham looked like this: 

Not so pretty any more, are you.
Day 2 
Ham on rye, a.k.a. cliché sandwich.
After a chilly night in the fridge, the ham came out to be sliced. Cold slices on dark rye bread with grainy Dijon mustard and some baby greens gleaned from the garden - spinach, chard, and beet greens - served with boiled corn on the cob I picked from the field. 

Corn! When it's picked mere minutes before it's boiled, the sugars in the plant haven't yet converted to starches and OH the sweetness. Yum. Simple but so good.

The ham is disappearing fast. 

Day 3

Due to popular request at supper last night, I sent ham on rye for three work/school lunches.

Pasta took the lead tonight, penne with an alfredo-style sauce (basic white sauce with garlic and Parmesan) and chopped ham warmed up in the sauce. This served four, with leftovers for D to take to work tomorrow. So altogether, five meals this time.

I forgot to take a pic of the meal. DON'T JUDGE ME. Here's the ham after, though.

Day 4 

Two more sandwiches, this time on homemade whole wheat bread, for school lunches. I'm having to get creative now while I slice it, to avoid the bone that runs through it. 
going, going...

This evening - omelets. Bright yellow thanks to eggs from free-range hens who are loving the grass on their pasture these days. With, for a change, ham. We're at the end of this puppy. If the ham was a puppy. Which it's not, to be clear. 

Speaking of the puppy, he has watched the ham decimation with marked interest.
Day 5 
Waste not, want not, and all those proverbs. The ham bone went into a pot of water with onions, a few cloves, peppercorns, and a bay leaf. And there it simmered, leaching the last bits of its flavour to make stock. Onions were cooked in bacon and the stock added, along with potatoes and dried split peas. Cozy soup was a great finish to the week.

Split-pea soup with homemade sourdough bread.

Our meat purchase for the week (30 servings, between suppers and lunches): $16. Not bad.

And puppy was finally happy.

~ fin ~

1 comment:

futsaldreamer said...

Miss you ! Love your writing !