Today is December 25, 2012; another Christmas is here.
In 1969 we left Brooklyn and moved to Brentwood, Long Island. Talk about a drastic change from what we were used to in Brooklyn!
The move however, did not change our holidays in any way. Nana kept to her traditions, cooking boatloads of delicious food; but it was made a little more challenging because she went from a gas stove to an electric one with those horrible coils. The same was true for Aunt Liz.
In Brentwood, every Christmas was spent at Aunt Liz and Uncle Johnny’s house down the street. They went from living upstairs in our Brownstone in Brooklyn to down the street in Brentwood; so, we cousins were still able to spend every day with each other.
On Christmas day, while the ham was in the oven, Uncle Johnny would be at his post frying dozens and dozens of empanadas. Aunt Liz made Brandy Alexanders for the adults. The empanadas were meat-filled dough pockets that were fried to a golden perfection. Aunt Liz and Uncle Johnny spent hours in the days leading to Christmas preparing them. They were so yummy!
Around one o’clock we’d all gather in the dining room and sit down to antipasti with all of the accoutrements followed by pasta; and finally, a Virginia ham with vegetables, sweet and regular potatoes and salad. I’m not a big ham fan; and like Turkey have only made it once a year because it’s tradition.
Today the boys are coming over for Christmas dinner and they asked me to make a ham. I scoured the internet for a good honey glaze recipe and I’ve been frustrated to find that so many of them call for corn syrup; yuk! I finally found one that does not. I’ve modified it a bit by adding honey mustard. I’m sharing it with you in the hopes that we can experiment together.
Here it is:
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup pineapple juice
1 orange – juiced and zested
2 tbsp. honey mustard
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup bourbon
Combine all of the ingredients, except the cloves into a sauce pot
heat on low heat for 10 minutes, until all is combined
Meanwhile; score the ham into a diamond pattern and stick the cloves into the ham in various locations
Add toothpicks into the ham and hang pineapple rings on it
Once the glaze is done, brush a little on top of the ham and place in the oven
Bake at 350º temperature for an hour; basting every 15 minutes
After an hour, baste again then cover with foil
Let bake most of the way; until 30 minutes before it’s supposed to be done, then remove foil
Baste again and let the ham finish cooking uncovered (this will give the ham a little crunch)
Remove the ham from the oven and let it rest for another 30 minutes before slicing