by Virginia Willis in Holidays, Recipes, April 18th, 2014
by Marisa McClellan in Holidays, November 29th, 2013
Fresh ham is nothing like the boozy bourbon-soaked and smoked holiday ham or the candy-sweet spiral wonder. It’s essentially a pork roast with a bone — a rather big pork roast with a bone — but a pork roast nonetheless. It’s simply the upper hind leg of a pig, not processed or cured using salt or brine, nor smoked as most hams are. Fresh ham tastes like a really moist pork loin or center-cut pork chops. And, when prepared and roasted properly, a fresh ham is capped by an exquisite, burnished-gold piece of crispy skin. It’s the perfect marriage of a bone-in pork chop and cracklin’ pork belly. Fresh ham means down-home comfort, especially when served with roasted sweet potatoes.
How did serving ham for Easter become a custom? Mediterranean celebrations, including the Jewish Passover, traditionally call for lamb at spring feasts. However, in northern Europe, pigs were the primary protein and ham was often served instead for special meals. Pigs were slaughtered in the fall and the meat was salted, smoked and cured over the winter. The resulting hams were ready to eat in the spring. At the point when refrigeration became widely available and curing hams wasn’t a necessity, someone came up with the grand idea of cooking fresh ham. I am glad they did.
by Jennifer Perillo in Family, Recipes, February 15th, 2012
I am something of a sweet potato fanatic. As soon as the weather starts to turn crisp, I stock up on those dense orange tubers and eat them at least three times a week. I’m especially fond of them when they’ve been sliced into rounds, rubbed with a little olive oil and roasted until crisp in a hot oven.
This year for Thanksgiving, I didn’t get the chance to make a sweet potato dish (I was assigned mashed potatoes), and so, in order to satisfy my obsession, I’ve been making an array of sweet potato dishes that would have fit in nicely as part of a celebratory meal.
I’ve made a vanilla-flecked puree. I’ve formed grated shreds into fritters. I folded together a batch of sweet potato biscuits for a weekend brunch with friends. And I made Bobby Flay’s Grilled Hasselback Sweet Potatoes with Molasses Nutmeg Butter.
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Sweet potatoes get lots of love during the holidays, but there’s good reason to be thankful for them year round: They’re an excellent source of vitamin C, beta carotene and fiber. Their naturally sweet, candy-like flavor also makes them a favorite among kids — or so I hear. Truth be told, my oldest is potato-phobic. I recently tried making oven-fried sweet potatoes and even those garnered thumbs down. I didn’t take this personally. It’s not me, it’s her — but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to give sweet potatoes a pink slip.
One thing I’ve always believed in is not dumbing down dinner just to get my daughters to eat it. I cook for my own enjoyment as much as their nourishment, which is why we have a one-bite policy: You can’t have an opinion about what’s served unless you actually taste it. That rule is usually my wild card and gives me license to keep playing with different sweet potato recipes in hopes I’ll come across one she eventually likes. Bacon being among her favorite foods, this recipe for Sweet Potato and Beet Hash is one I can’t wait to try. And since she loves guacamole, maybe there’s hope for Sweet Potato Fries With Avocado Dip, too.
More sweet potato recipes »