Saturday, May 10, 2008
Ham Loaf (and great potatoes!)
I'm sure you're wondering why the pause between blogs. Or you're smart and figured with three kids, life gets a bit out of control at times. It's not that I haven't been cooking. In fact, I've been accessing my blog to cook a lot over the last few weeks, which is one of the reasons I take the time to write here. (As a side note, I also really like writing and I like sharing recipes and my love for cooking.) Lately, I've used several recipes here: whole wheat bread, chocolate-chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, carrot soup (also great with butternut squash in lieu of the carrots), granola, Rice Krispies treats (frequently), and - for Mother's Day - cheesecake.
Which is why I'm desperate to be eating healthier, but also resistant to give up such deliciousness.
So, as part of my farewell to heavy winter food, I made ham loaf. If you tell me you're not familiar with such a dish, I promise not to be shocked. From what I can tell, it's generally familiar to Midwesterners, and the rage never really took off elsewhere. It's just what it sounds like, mostly. A meatloaf-style dish made with ground ham and ground pork, then topped with a sweet vinegar-mustard glaze. And if you make it, you, too will feel truly transported to the 1950's. Just look at the picture. It could only be more perfect with maraschino cherries and a side of jell-o salad.
But don't get the wrong impression. If you like ham and meatloaf, you will also like ham loaf. I like the sweet glaze the best. And if you're from the Midwest, it will probably taste like home.
As for the potatoes, you may be disappointed to hear I don't have an exact recipe for them, but do you use an exact recipe when making mashed potatoes? I'll tell you how I made them, and you should be able to figure out amounts fairly well. The best part is that they taste like a dressed baked potato, and my 14-month old couldn't stop eating them. That's really impressive, because her list is very short for well-loved food, and includes chicken, beef, pork, lamb, fish, lasagne, pizza, and these potatoes. You may not share her palate, but I bet you'll both like the potatoes.
1 1/2 lb. ground ham (whatever you've got, grind it up!)
1 lb. ground pork
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. milk
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 c. bread crumbs
1/3 c. finely chopped onion
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 T. prepared mustard
1/4 c. hot water
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
Preheat the oven to 350˚. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
Combine the basting sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes.
Combine all loaf ingredients. Mold into a loaf form on the baking sheet. Bake for 2 hours, basting frequently the last 45 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.
Note: this makes a generous-sized loaf, so invite company, or put half in the freezer for another day.
Mashed Baked Potatoes
4 large leftover baked Russet potatoes
freshly ground black pepper
chives, chopped (optional)
Bring a large saucepan of water to boil. Meanwhile, chop up the cold baked potatoes into one- or two-inch chunks. If you don't have a potato ricer, remove the peels first. When the water comes to a boil, gently drop the potatoes in for 1-2 minutes, until hot, then drain. Using your ricer or potato masher, mash the potatoes. Stir in 6-8 T. soft or melted butter, 1-2 t. salt to start, and some pepper. Add about 1/2 warm milk and 1/2 c. sour cream. Stir. Taste for salt, and add additional salt as necessary and chives if you have them. Enjoyed by all children!