Honey Baked Ham

April 22, 2011

It’s not a holiday at our house without some kind of baked ham. With that said, we don’t normally have baked ham unless it’s a holiday🙂. Last year, I experimented baking our own honey baked ham at home to see whether it would really make a difference.  And yes it did! This ham did not disappoint. It was tender, juicy and full of flavor. I love how thew red pepper flakes added a little bit of tang to the sweetness of the honey glaze. Skip the store-bought ham, and try this one instead. While it takes time to make, it’s really worth the wait.

Recipe courtesy the Neely’s via Food Network

Ingredients

6 pounds bone-in ham
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a standard size roasting pan with aluminum foil, and place ham with rounded side up. Bake for an hour.

In the meantime, mix the rest of the ingredients in a medium sauce pan, oven medium heat. Stir occasionally until it forms a thick glaze.

Use 1/2 of the glaze to coat the ham, and continue to bake for another 30 minutes. (If the glaze thickens up, let it heat back up for a few minutes until it reaches the consistency to coat).

Flip the ham, use the remaining 1/2 of the glaze, and finish baking for another hour.

Let stand for 30 minutes before slicing to serve.

Yield: 8 Servings


Easy Banana Bread {Lightened Up}

April 5, 2011

As many of my readers probably know by now, I really love quick breads and eat them almost everyday (on the days that I don’t eat them, I get really grouchy). A few of my friends have asked me whether I have tried to make my banana bread lighter.  And the answer is yes, of course I have! I honestly don’t recall where the source of this recipe was, I have had this for over 15-years, but it is a lighter version of this Easy Banana Bread recipe that I posted earlier this year.

Of all of the other quick breads that I have made, this is the only version that I must say transformed beautifully into a “lighter” bread without losing its beautiful flavor and texture.  I substitute half of the butter with unsweetened apple sauce, use white wheat flour, omit the walnuts, and add a little bit more of mashed bananas into the mixture. Finally, I add a couple of tablespoons of dark chocolate chip morsels because dark chocolate has been said to be healthy! But feel free to omit those. The key here is to make sure that the bananas are very ripe; to ensure that they are tender and have excreted all of that sweet goodness. With this lighter version, I think I can have an extra slice! By the way, I’m absolutely in love with this cinnamon pecan streussel, so I added some for topping–and they were divine. Happy baking!🙂

Source: Blissfully Delicious original

Ingredients
1-3/4 cups white wheat flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup butter/margarine, softened
1/3 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cup mashed ripened bananas (make sure that the banana skin is almost black)
2 tablespoons of dark chocolate chip

Directions

Blend in everything, bake at 350 degree for an hour in a 10Ă—4 pan or, in 2 loaves of 8×3.

Yield: 8 servings per loaf.


Slow Cooker Smothered Pork Chops

April 2, 2011

I’m always on the lookout for a new delicious dish that can be prepared in a slow-cooker. My weekly recipe rotation consists of one slow-cooker dish; and I don’t know about you guys, but I need variety!!! Trust me, I understand first hand how difficult it is to get a nice dinner on the table during the week where we seem to be on the race against time. This recipe is attractive to me because I have never cooked pork chops in a slow cooker before; and it also uses bone-in blade cut pork chops.


This dish requires a little bit of prep time in the beginning but I promise you that the end result is worth it. I also don’t have time in the mornings to prepare my slow cooker, therefore I prepare everything the night before, cover the slow cooker insert with the lid, and leave in the refrigerator overnight. That way, I can just put the insert into the slow cooker in the morning and turn it on, which only takes two minutes. These pork chops were fork-tender, melt-in your mouth delicious, with gravy that was equally rich and decadent, without being too heavy. Finally, I love how beautiful the final product was. We enjoyed this with another household favorite Mustard Roasted Potatoes, but I think they’re great with hot egg noodles, rice pilaf, or mashed potatoes. Yum! I will be making this again very soon. Happy cooking!

Adapted from The Best of American Test Kitchen 2008

Ingredients
4 slices bacon, chopped fine
Vegetable oil if necessary
6 bone-in blade-cut pork chops, about 3/4-inch thick
Salt and Pepper
3 onions, halved and sliced into 1/2-inch thick (I used my mini food processor to do this)
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Directions
Fry the bacon in a skillet until they are crisp. Transfer bacon to paper-towel lined plate, and leave the bacon fat in the skillet. Refrigerate the bacon.

Meanwhile, pat the pork chops with paper towel until they are dry and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the bacon fat until it smoking. Fry 3 chops at a time, about 3 minutes on each sides until they are golden brown. Then transfer to the slow cooker insert. Repeat process with remaining chops.

Pour off all but 1 tsp of bacon fat from the skillet; add onions, 1 tsp light brown sugar, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 cup water to the now-empty skillet. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the browned bits from the pan and cook over medium high heat until the onions are soft, approximately 6 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, approximately 30 seconds.

Pour this mixture into the slow cooker insert over the pork chops. Add broth, soy sauce, and remaining 1 tbsp brown sugar to the skillet, bring to a boil and add the bay leaves. Pour the mixture in the slow cooker.

Cover the slow cooker, and cook either on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

When ready to serve, reheat the bacon in a large saute pan until crisp. Transfer bacon to a small bowl. Slowly, transfer the pork chops into a large platter, and tent the plate with an aluminum foil. Remove bay leaves from the crock pot, and pour the liquid through mesh strainer into a large saucepan.

Transfer the solids into a blender along with 1 cup of the cooking liquid, and blend until smooth. Stir back into the remaining liquid in the saucepan. Mix the cornstarch and remaining 2 tbsp water together in a small bowl and stir into the sauce. Cook over medium heat for approximately 8 minutes.

Add vinegar, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the chops and sprinkle with bacon and parsley. Serve.

Yield: 6


Buttermilk Oatmeal Muffins

March 30, 2011

The March’s What’s Baking Challenge was baking something from my heritage. Unfortunately I didn’t have a lot of luck finding ingredients for any of the Indonesian recipes that I had. Since I still wanted to participate, I decided to blog about these muffins instead, because the flavor reminded me of a similar cupcake/muffin recipe that I grew up eating in Indonesia (minus the chocolate chips). The quick cooking oats were moistened by the buttermilk; and really added a nice delicate texture to these muffins. These muffins, however, aren’t very sweet, which is why the chocolate chips are important if you have a sweet tooth, or just skip them if you want something less sweet :)  To see what delicious goodies everyone else baked up this month, check out our host Amanda’s round up, on Our Italian Kitchen. Happy baking!!

Adapted from Sweet Savory Southern as seen on And then I do the Dishes

Directions
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Handful of chocolate chips (optional)

Ingredients
In a large mixing bowl, soak the quick cooking oats in buttermilk for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a muffin tin or line with paper muffin cups.

Mix in eggs, sugar, oil, applesauce and vanilla in the oat and buttermilk mixture.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir into oat mixture just until moistened.

Fill prepared muffin tin three-fourths full. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, if using. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center of muffin comes out clean.

Cool in pan 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Yield: 16 muffins


Sour Cream Coffee Cake

March 26, 2011

I have to admit that I am a huge sucker for baked goods with sour cream in it. I think sour cream adds that creaminess and a tang flavor that contrasts nicely the sweetness of any sugary treats. This recipe was especially attractive for me since it makes 2 rounds of cakes; and freezes well for future use. I love being able to pull out a dish like this on a weekend when I am tight on time but I still would love the goodness of something fresh out of the oven. This cake was really delightful with its delicate crumbs and covered in crispy and crunchy streusel topping. I am even more impressed that it still retains all of its winning features after stored in the freezer. Happy Baking!

Adapted from The Best of American Test Kitchen 2008

Ingredients
Cake
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-3/4 cups sour cream
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Streusel
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup pecans, almonds, or walnuts, chopped

Directions

For the Streusel

Mix everything, except the nuts, into a small bowl. Crumble the ingredients using your fingers to resemble coarse meal. Add nuts, stir, and set aside.

For the Cake

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Adjust your oven rack to the middle position. Lightly oil 2 9-inch round cake pans with vegetable spray and set aside.

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and ground cinnamon in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk sour cream, sugars, eggs, and melted butter together. Gently whisk the egg mixture into the dry flour ingredient in the large bowl until smooth (do not overmix).

Scrape the batter into the two prepared pans, and smooth top with rubber spatula. Divide the streusel into two, and sprinkle each half on top of each cake.

Bake until tops are golden or, a knife or a tooth pick inserted into the centers comes out with just a few crumbs attached, around 25-30 minutes. Cool the cakes on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving.

If you choose to freeze one for later use, wrap pan tightly with saran wrap after sprinkling with streusel. It can be refrigerated up to 24 hours or frozen up to 1 month. Do not thaw frozen cake before thawing. Bake as directed, increasing the baking time to 30-35 minutes for refrigerated, or 40-45 for frozen.

Yield: 2-cakes, 6 pieces each



S’mores Pops

March 23, 2011

I have been wanting to try making my own marshmallows for a while now. For a recent baby shower dessert-themed that I threw, I decided to try making them. I figured that if they turned out delicious; I would make them into S’mores pops and if they flop, well, I won’t need to tell anyone about the ehmm… kitchen failure!

As I was making them in the kitchen, my brother in law and I exchanged some texts, at which point he said something along… “Oh, those marshmallows would be good dipped in chocolate like at Melting Pot.” And when I mentioned this to Red, he came up with the idea of dipping these marshmallow cubes in chocolate and rolled them in graham cracker crumbs! Wow! These guys had pretty genius idea, right? Portable s’mores; how about that? The marshmallows were easy to make (just ignore the stickiness); and I used meringue powder to substitute for the egg whites–and they were yummy. The s’mores pops were even better. Happy Baking and eating!

Ingredients
For the Marshmallows (Adapted from Gourmet, December 1998, as seen on Smitten Kitchen) ~ Yield about 96 1-inch cubes

About 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar (cane sugar worked just fine)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites/reconstituted powdered egg whites/meringue powder (I used later)
1 tablespoon vanilla (or other choice of flavorings)

For the S’mores pops (Yield: 20 pops – double or triple recipes as needed)
20 candy sticks (from Hobby-Lobby or Michael’s)
4 oz of melting chocolate
1 cup of graham cracker crumbs

Directions

For the Marshmallows

Oil bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan. Dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar until thoroughly covered.

In a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold cold water, and let stand to soften. I used my standing mixer bowl.

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan, cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, second 1/2 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved.

Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture in the large bowl, stirring until gelatin is dissolved using a wooden spoon.

With a standing or a hand-held electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about six minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer.

In separate medium bowl with cleaned beaters beat egg whites (or substitutes) until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat whites and vanilla (or your choice of flavoring) into sugar mixture until just combined. Pour mixture into baking pan (you will not get everything out, just work quickly to get as much as you can).

Sift 1/4 cup confectioners sugar evenly over top. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least three hours, and up to one day.

Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up one corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and ease onto cutting board. With a large knife or oiled pizza cutter trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly one-inch cubes. Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar back into your now-empty baking pan, and roll the marshmallows through it, on all six sides, before shaking off the excess and packing them away.

For the S’mores pops

Insert a candy stick into one cube of marshmallow.

Put chocolate in a microwave/heat-safe glass bowl. Melt chocolate either in 50% power setting in microwave for approximately 3-4 minutes; or on top of a double boiler on the stove.

Dip the bottom half of marshmallow into chocolate.

Roll the bottom part on graham cracker crumbs.


Baby Shower Dessert Party

March 20, 2011

Recently, I hosted a dessert theme baby shower for a friend and co-worker. After a lot of discussions on theme and menu, we agreed on having a dessert and drink shower for a small group of her co-workers. There were only two desserts that she requested: carrot cake or cupcakes and lemon bars; and  I was basically left to go with the rest of the menu. I wanted to take more pictures of the party; but really ran out of time but here are a few pictures of the desserts I made. I thought that this was really a fun idea for a baby shower.

In addition to the desserts I listed below, her family made dessert crostini with ricotta spread, sliced strawberries and balsamic vinegar glaze and baked brie with apricot jelly, sugar cookies and Italian fried cookies (I have no recipes for those).  For drinks, we had coffee, iced tea, cold soft drinks, and bottled water.

Here are the desserts I made:

Carrot Cupcakes and Cream Cheese Frosting with Royal Icing Yellow and Purple Pansies


Chocolate Truffles

S’mores Pops (recipe coming up soon, I promise–these were divine!)

Lemon Bars (No pictures)

Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipster (No pictures)

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies (No pictures)