Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Dinner At The Hawthornes'.

Once again,
I wish you a Happy Easter. The Hawthornes had their Easter Dinner on Saturday since Middle Hawthorne came home for the weekend and had to go back to school on Sunday. Daughter Hawthorne surprised us too with her visit on Saturday afternoon This was so nice. We could all have a meal together. Believe me, that doesn't happen often. It was special for me.  
Our Menu: 
 Leg of lamb 
Pineapple/cheddar casserole
 Corn custard casserole 
 Homemade Parker House Rolls
 Smashed potatoes
 Green peas 
Let's start with the Smithfield Hardwood Smoked Ham.
Surprise! Rosie got a deal on her ham.
Put the ham, sliced side down/fat side up in your baking dish. Add a little water. I trimmed some of the fat off the top, then scored it.
I tooth-picked pineapple slices over the ham and poured the pineapple juice in.
Speared in Maraschino cherries. Add plenty of clove studs.
And you have a tasty looking porcupine.
I baked this at 350 degrees until the ham reached an internal temperature of 155 degrees. Cover with foil and let sit for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
On to the lamb.
Rosie had a li-ttle lamb, li-ttle lamb, li-ttle lamb. Say it liltingly.
And she saved a whopping $5.06!
Trim off that top layer of fat, leaving a little bit.
Next, I poured boiling water over my lamb. All sides. Because that was the way Mama Hawthorne did it. And Mama Hawthorne made a mean leg-o'-lamb.
I put the lamb in at 450 degrees for 20 minutes, then I reduced the heat to 350 and cooked until it reached an internal temperature of 155 degrees for medium rare. Because Mr. Hawthorne wanted it that way. I don't like it that way. I've never done it that way before. I've never used a thermometer on a lamb before. I always figgered on 20 minutes a pound and then some. And it's always worked for me. If you like it more done, go for 165 degrees. Remove from oven, cover with foil, and let sit for at least 10 minutes. I would have preferred this lamb cooked to 165 or even 170. I think lamb cooked to this temperature has more flavor than the lamb cooked to 155. I noticed there was no carry over cooking after I took it out at (actually) 157 degrees. To me, both texture and flavor are better with the longer cook time. Flavor and texture were sacrificed by cooking the way I did. And after eating it, Mr. Hawthorne agreed with me.
Next up is a little dish I got from Maxine - Pineapple Casserole. I halved this since we already had so much but the recipe below is for the whole thing. My mise en place is halved.
Maxine's Pineapple Casserole
 2 16 ounce cans pineapple chunks, drained
6 TB flour
1 cup sugar 
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated 
1 stick butter, melted 
1 stack Ritz crackers, crushed 
(Don't crush to uniform crumbs. Leave different sized crumbs - large/medium/small.)
 Put pineapple in 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Mix sugar and flour. Sprinkle evenly over pineapple. Layer cheese, then crushed crackers over top. Pour melted butter over dish. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. And Rosie shows you step by step:
Pineapples go in pan. Maxine didn't mention anything about buttering the pan. Probably don't need to what with the melted butter you pour in. But, it doesn't hurt or detract. I love that one little chunk I caught falling into the pan.
Mix the flour and sugar.
Sprinkle evenly over pineapple chunks.
Grated cheddar cheese on top.
Crumbly mixture of Ritz crackers.
Pour melted butter over top.
And bake 30 minutes at 350.
Purty. Cover and keep warm. You know, I'm thinkin' about sumpin' now. And that can be a dangerous thang. Think about it. Add some oatmeal and brown sugar on top before baking.
 Cooking is evolving.
Cooking is adapting.
  Cooking is going with what you have.
 Cooking is feeling.
  Cooking is living.
  Cooking is love.
 Next, I wanted something with corn in it. I'm thinking some sort of corn custard.
Rosie's Ingredients for her Corn Custard 
1 can corn, drained 
1 can cream style corn
 3 eggs, beaten
 1/4 cup Masa Harina or fine corn meal
(You could use regular corn meal.) 
1/2 stick butter, melted 
1 TB sugar
 1 cup 1% milk
 1 cup heavy cream
 salt and pepper
 1/4 cup diced red pepper
 1/4 cup diced zucchini 
1/4 cup diced squash
 Last three items added because they were languishing in my fridge and needed to go into something. Milk/cream combo because I needed an easy medium and I always have 1% milk and heavy cream in my fridge. Mix everything together. Bake at 325 degrees until custard is set, about 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 hours. Start checking at 1 hour by sticking a knife into center. The knife should come out clean. Cover and let sit about 10 minutes before cutting. 
I had the red pepper, zuke, and squash in the fridge from something I had made a few days ago. Decided to use them in the corn custard since I had them, but if you don't have 'em, don't worry. Just use the corn. Use what you have, within reason. Just don't waste anything. Waste is Evil.
Whup the eggs.
Add in melted butter and mix well.
Sugar in.
Cornmeal in.
Freshly ground salt, pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg - to taste. Mix well.
Add in milk/cream mixture.
Drained corn goes in.
Creamed corn in.
Diced red peppers in.
Zucchini and squash in.
Pour into a greased 9 x 13 casserole. I wasn't sure on the times on this. I started at 325 degrees and baked for one hour. When I looked at it after one hour, it was still very watery. I raised the temperature to 350 degrees and kept checking every 10 - 15 minutes. Eventually, the custard set. I'm thinking it took at least 1 1/2 hours, probably longer. Just keep checking with a knife. The knife should come out clean. And the custard should just barely jiggle. When done, let sit, covered, for at least 10 minutes. Dang it. Can't believe I didn't do an after picture. So's it's really good I shot pictures the next day before it was all gone. I like the confetti. This really had a good body of custard in it. I failed to photograph it. Sorry. Should have done it last night. But still looks good, right? It was. It was Mr. Hawthorne's Surprise Favorite. I really wanted some Parker House Rolls, so why buy them when you can spend hours making them from scratch?
Parker House Rolls
 2 pkgs yeast
 1/2 cup 1% milk 
1/2 cup heavy cream
 1/2 cup butter, melted
 1/2 tsp salt
 1/4 cup sugar
 2 eggs, beaten
 4 + cups flour 
I nuked my milk/cream mixture for about 30 seconds until warm. Then I added the yeast to about 1/3 cup of the milk mixture. Always rinse out your yeast packets to get every little granule. I sprinkled in about a teaspoon or so of sugar to nourish the yeast. Let yeast "proof" or get bubbly. This way you know the yeast is active. Takes about 5-10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine remaining milk/cream, melted butter, salt, and sugar, and beat until sugar is dissolved. Add in the beaten eggs and bubbly yeast/milk/cream mixture. Add in flour, 1/4 cup at a time, beating with mixer, just until dough gets too stiff to beat. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and work in rest of flour by hand - just enough to make a soft dough. Knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth, elastic, and satiny. Place dough into buttered or oiled bowl, turning to butter or oil all over. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place. 
 Rosie Tip # 213: Nuke a damp kitchen towel for about 90 secs. Cover bowl of dough with towel. Place in microwave or other enclosed space. Steam + heat = good rise.
  Let rise until doubled in size. I probably overdid it. Wasn't paying attention. Punch down and roll out on lightly floured surface to 1/2" thickness. Cut with 3-inch cookie cutter round. Brush each round with melted butter and fold in half, crimping edges to seal. Place half-rounds in 2 greased 9 x 13 pans, cover, and let rise again, until doubled. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  
Rosie shows you how:
Add 2 packages of yeast to about 1/3 cup warm milk/cream mixture.
Add about a teaspoon or tablespoon of sugar so the yeast can snack.
Add rest (2/3 cup) of milk/cream to melted stick of butter.
1/2 teaspoon salt in.
1/4 cup sugar.
Whisk well.
Add in two beaten eggs.
Return attention to the yeast/milk/cream/sugar mixture. It's bubbling and happy. Proof the yeast is alive and kickin'.
Pour yeast mixture into the egg/butter/whatever mixture.
Start adding in flour 1/4 cup at a time. If I were Pauler Dean, I'da sed, "quartah cup at the time."
Beat with mixer. Keep adding flour, 1/4 cup increments. Stop before the beater strains. That was about 2 1/2 to 3 cups of flour for me.
Turn blob onto lightly floured surface.
Knead until you have a smooth, satiny, elastic dough. Only add in sprinkles of flour as needed. You'll know it. The dough will start sticking to the board or your hands. Just be miserly with the flour.
Oil a large bowl and turn dough over to coat.

Let rise until doubled. Looks like it rose then shrank a bit. My bad. Not paying attention. Let it rise until it's perfectly round on top. Then punch down.

Ahhh. I love the PUNCHDOWN. Gives me great relief.
I kneaded again, maybe adding a sprinkling of flour, then rolled the dough out to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut with about a 3" round cutter.
Pull up excess, knead, roll, cut again.
Brush discs with melted butter ...
... then fold in half and crimp to seal.
I filled up two of these dishes.
Brush with melted butter.
Cover and set in microwave on top of nuked damp hot and steamy towel.
Let rise until doubled in bulk. Here's where I screwed up. These are more than doubled. I let 'em go. I blame my family. It's their fault. They distracted me. What with all the dogs and kids and everything.
Well, it's too late to do anything. They're still going to be fab-yooo-lust.
Since these little boogers were over-risen, they didn't rise in the oven. Actually, they squished. As in collapsed. And squished even more throughout the next 24 hours. I made ham sandwiches the next day and everybody raved about my rolls. I babied these rolls when I saw what was happening, which was about 10 minutes into cooking time. They were not browning and they were shrinking into themselves. After 20 minutes, I brushed more melted butter on top, turned the broiler on to 300, sat on my stool, and watched the rolls. I only wanted them to have a nice toasty golden brown on top. I was determined to get it.
And I did. Despite everything I did to screw up, we all still liked these rolls. Flavor and texture were good. When I do this recipe again, I will not let myself be distracted and let the second rising go beyond what it's supposed to be. Or the first one for that matter. I think I let the first one go too long. Plating:
Left side: Clove studded ham with pineapple and cherries Maxine's pineapple/cheddar casserole Smashed potatoes (Mr. H.) Middle: Lamb Corn/veggie custard Right side: Parker House Rolls Green peas (Mr. H.)
I must say the corn custard is unique. This was a surprise to Mr. H. It was a surprise that he liked it. I liked the corn so much I had it for lunch the next day. The smashed potatoes were almost perfect. After Mr. Hawthorne finished them, I went over to taste. Quick taste. RH: "They need more butter." MH: "But there's plenty of butter in there." RH: "Needs more butter." MH: "I was hoping you'd say that." Green peas were a delightful fresh green punch.
You simply must try the Pineapple/Cheddar casserole. It's made for baked ham. I loved the outside slices of ham which were lightly infused with clove. Perfect pairing.
Just look at the custardy goodness of the corn/veggie melange. Smooth and light. I love fruity ham. The pineapples and cherries and clove along with the pineapple casserole rocked the ham. Lamb? I've had better, flavor-wise. I think it's because I listened to Mr. Hawthorne this time and didn't cook it to the temperature I like. Makes a difference in both texture and flavor. Even though I didn't do the Parker House Rolls properly, they still were very good. Lots of flavor and surprisingly good texture in spite of my efforts. As for the peas, I would have preferred the pea dish I make in which I saute mushrooms in butter, then add in frozen peas to thaw, throw in roughed-chopped onion wedgies, sweat, then add some iceberg lettuce wedges, cover and wilt. But Mr. Hawthorne was doing the peas so it was his call. I had too much on my plate, so to speak, so I deferred to him.
All in all, a Happy Meal. Happy Easter, my friends. Please tell me about your Easter: Your Easter Breakfast. Your Easter Lunch. Your Easter Suppah. Your Easter Thoughts. ... Stay tuned for a Hawthorne Easter Breakfast ...


Anonymous said...

I like it better when you give us the money shot 1st. Looks like a fantastic dinner. Happy Easter Rosie.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Thanks, Anon.

Will try to shoot out the $ shots first.


PS Dinner was divine.

Happy Easter to you and yours!

Marilyn said...

I will have to try the pineapple casserole. I know the Foodie Boyfriend will love it.

Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Anonymous said...

Ditto on the pineapple casserole. Wish I had the recipe when I made my Easter Ham yesterday. Thanks as always for a look at a delicious meal!!

Phyllis said...

Ok, love the pineapple ritz casserole--I've made it with crushed pineapple--deelish. I can't wait to try your corn custard--even leftover pictures look fabulous.

Our Easter Dinner for 10 follows:
Appy-tizers: Cowboy Caviar (a relish of black eyed peas, jalepeno, sweet peppers, green onion, vinegar & oil--a nice change from salsa), assorted crudite, assorted deli meats (HT had em on sale, buy 2, get 3 free!) & small sandwich rolls & mustards.

Dinner: Spiral Sliced glazed ham, Turduckin cooked on the grill, Andouille Dirty Rice, Grilled & Chilled Asparagus in a lemon vinegarette, Fannie Farmer's Mac & Cheese, Deviled Eggs with bacon & horseradish and, finally, Sister Schubert's rolls.

Dessert: Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle.

No leftovers and I was plum tuckered out after cooking for 2 days, but it was worth it Rosie. Course, I didn't make my own rolls, (you're such a showoff):0)~ but nobody complained about Sister Schuberts, and I had a coupon to boot!

Now breakfast, it was strawberry yogurt out of a container. I woulda much preferred your delightful potato cups with perfectly cooked eggs and Mr. H's sausage & milk gravy. Color me jealous.

Thanks for sharing and here's hoping you & Mr. H. have a Blessed Spring!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Miss Phyllis, will you invite me to dinner? Yours sounds delicious.