Monday, May 6, 2013

ham it up

Deviled Ham might be the witch's cauldron of pasty meats, but as it is my first foray into the genre, I may find they are all like this!  Faced with a significant chunk of leftover spiral ham and a sudden desire for this odd spread most people only eat on a dare, I scoured the internet for recipes.  After the first half dozen, I realized it comes down to this:

about 2 cups of diced ham
a scant quarter cup of mayo
a healthy squeeze of mustard
a few spoonfuls of something pickled
a quarter of an onion, coursely chopped
1/2 tsp paprika
a few dashes of hot sauce
a pinch of cayenne
salt, pepper to taste

Optional items range from maple syrup to horseradish and include Worcestershire Sauce, white vinegar, chopped bell pepper, caraway seeds, coriander seed, mustard powder in addition to prepared mustard, smoked paprika, unsalted butter in lieu of you can see, an eye of newt would not be out of the question in this recipe!

I opted to use real mayonnaise over Miracle Whip, dijon mustard (you can see how varying the mustards would significantly change the taste), capers for my pickle (other options were dill, bread and butter, and sweet relish, so sky's the limit here) and red onion (shallots?  white onion?  vidalias?  leaks???).  I also added  some smoked hot paprika.

Experiment and share!

For days, I couldn't walk by the refrigerator without grabbing a bit on a cracker!

sweet surprise

When Marissa McClellan of Food in Jars fame says something is good, I tend to believe her.  I do have to admit that I looked at her Canteloupe Jam with Vanilla with a raised eyebrow so that, and the fact that I had a melon in the refrigerator that was harder than anyone in my family wanted to eat, meant it had to be tried.   A quick glance in the Narnia I call my pantry turned up a vanilla bean and I was off!

I am hotlinking the recipe to an online newspaper article about her fabulous book, which I really suggest you either buy.  At least check it out of the library for a test run!  I know hot linking is typically frowned upon but in this case, the newspaper has permission from Ms McClellan to publish her recipe and I do not, so in the interests of getting you to the recipe legally, there it is.  And it is not widely available in multiple forms over the internet so...

Seeded and chopped, I dumped the melon into my biggest stock pot - it never pays to have hot sugar glomming up the top of your stove and spraying onto your arms - with sugar, vanilla bean scrapings, and the pod itself and cooked it as directed for 8 to 10 minutes.   

All went swimmingly well and when it says "until the bubbles look thick"...well, they really did, so that is a valuable marker.  I used exactly 2 1/2 cups of melon and somehow ended up with two 8oz jars instead of three, but they taste like a really sophisticated childhood sweet.  Definitely one to make again.

all the usual suspects in the pot

the delightful outcome