Monday, April 25, 2011

Thank You Ina Garten

I enjoy watching the Food Network.  Not every show, mind you.  There are several folks on there I cannot tolerate.  But, there are two individuals that I really, really enjoy. 

One is Giada De Laurentiis.  She is entertaining, has great recipe ideas and a killer smile.  Her family, especially her Aunt Raffi, who cooks the Italian way without measuring anything, add a nice 'homey' element to her shows (and reminds me of my family growing up).

My favorite Food Network star, without question, is Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa.  In my opinion, she is phenomenal.  I own all of her cookbooks and I have never made anything from her repertoire that has not turned out just as expected.

Recently, I was working my volunteer shift in the Friendshop at the library.  There were two other women in there and we started talking about cooking.  We all agreed that Ina was our favorite and that her recipes always worked.  No kitchen flops.

I have heard trained chefs say that they never watch the food channels because the stars on there are not 'real' chefs.  As far as I am concerned, 'real' chefs are anyone who can make really good food.  Making something exotic with calf brains and haggis does not make you a 'real' chef in my book, but then I am neither a 'real' chef or a highly paid food critic. 

So, I guess in their definition, Giada, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, might rate, but not Ina, who left her job at the White House Policy Office and bought The Barefoot Contessa on Long Island.  But I come from an Italian family of some really good cooks who never even walked past a culinary school, so she is OK with me.

My reason for posting today is that the ham I made for dinner yesterday was my best ham ever.  I combined a technique from America's Test Kitchen and used Ina's glaze on top.  Yummy good. 

If you plan to make a spiral-cut ham anytime in the future, here is how I made mine.  And thank you Ina.  Your glaze was the best!

Baked Spiral-cut Ham

1 8-10 lb Busch's Spiral-cut Ham in natural juices

4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup Major Grey's Chutney
1/3 Dijon mustard
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
Zest of one orange
3 Tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice

Take ham from refrigerator and remove outer wrappings. Leave heavy plastic wrap on ham. Fill a large lexan or plastic food container with the ham, cut side down, and add very warm tap water to cover. Let sit for 45 minutes at room temperature, decant water and replace with more warm water. Let sit another 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 250 degrees.

Remove plastic wrap from ham and place ham in oven cooking bag, cut side down. Seal the bag close to the top of the ham and cut off excess wrap. Poke four holes in top of bag to allow steam to escape. Place ham in 9x13 Pyrex dish with cut side down.

Place in oven and cook to an internal temperature of 100 degrees. This will take 1 to 2 hours.

While ham is cooking, make glaze. Mince the garlic in the food processor. Add the chutney, mustard, brown sugar, orange zest, and orange juice and process until smooth. (This can be made the day before and refrigerated.)

Remove ham from oven when the internal temperature reaches 100 degrees. Turn oven up to 350 degrees.

Open bag and fold down around ham. Glaze the ham with 1/3 of the glaze. Return to hot oven for ten minutes. Remove and re-glaze with another 1/3 of glaze. Tent with foil and let sit for 15 minutes on a counter.

When ready to serve, add two Tbsp of ham juices to remaining glaze and stir to combine. Carve ham and pour remaining juices over ham slices. Serve with remaining glaze.

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