Monday, August 2, 2010

Sunday's dinner, Monday's supper

My favorite thing is to have a nice "Sunday dinner". I used to love it even more if all my kids could be there, but with everyone going their own way and leading their own lives, jobs, etc. that seems to get less and less frequent. Still, whenever I can make one of those great, old-time Southern Sunday dinners I just really enjoy myself. Yesterday was one of those days. We had a great Smithfield ham, some fresh vegetables and and potatoes.

My "Sunday Ham" (also known in our house as "Easter Ham") is from a recipe I got from a woman who was from North Carolina. She cooks her ham in a mixture of Coca-Cola, orange juice, honey and water. I loved listening to her when she told me the recipe (not written down, of course, just "a touch of this, or a bit of that"). My favorite was her saying, "I cook the meat in "co-cola", honey...the caffeine and the sugar in there just tenderizes the livin' DAYLIGHTS outta the meat" I've done it both in the oven and in the crock pot and either way tastes great. I usually use one can of Coke, one 8 oz glass of orange juice and about 1/4 c. of honey. I add just a touch of water to blend the honey into the other liquids, it doesn't take much. If you're cooking it in the oven, I'd recommend about 3-4 hours for a 7 or 8 pound ham, and if I do it in the crock pot, I leave it cooking all day, on low.

There was some ham left over on the bone yesterday, and luckily, in my pantry, I had two partial bags of beans; one was Great Northern Beans and the other was Navy beans. I rinsed the beans and then soaked them for about an hour. Then I added them into a pot with the ham bone, covered them with water, added a few carrots, two diced up raw potatoes, some chopped onion and a garlic clove. I let THAT cook all day on the stove (again on low) and together with some fresh bread and a salad, Sunday dinner became Monday supper.

Take care in seasoning a ham when you first cook it, sometimes they can be quite salty and other times..not. Yesterday's turned out to be not salty at all, so in making today's soup I made sure to salt it, added a generous helping of pepper, some cumin, some tabasco sauce (just a few "slugs" of the bottle) and that's about it!!

Keeping your pantry stocked can be a good idea, especially if you have something you want to do with leftovers, it's good to have staples on hand (like beans....also pastas, jars of sauce, etc) and then you can save yourself a trip to the store.

Today's food quote: "One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." Virginia Woolf

To be honest, I don't know if anyone is actually READING this! lol, but in truth I'm doing it for my children. I love leaving then tips, tricks and recipes and if they're the only ones reading it that's perfectly fine with me. If others are getting any fun, enjoyment or inspiration out of it, so much the better. I had so many relatives, from so many different cultures that taught me how to cook, told me stories of food, what it meant, why it was called what it was. It kind of saddens me to think that today's family eats mostly processed foods, or fast foods. It is sad to think that people don't gather together in the kitchen, share recipes, swap stories and pass on to each other what they've learned. I hope others feel the same way.

Keep on cooking......it's just one of a number of really great things we can pass on down the line.

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