Sunday, December 23, 2012

Baking a green ham.

* Vegetarian folks... this is a post you might want to skip.

Sometimes, I take for granted the things I learned from my folks.  A favorite uncle (perhaps actually a great uncle once removed) was a college professor and he loved to have dinner parties for his friends.  He taught me the basics with several types of meat that have never failed me in 30 years.

This week, a sweet friend took on the task of cooking a green ham for her family. She called for instructions.  Her single request was that it not be dry.

This recipe works for roasting a green (raw, fresh, non cured) ham or for a large pork roast.
Green ham does NOT have anything green on it.  Green is merely the phrase used to signify meat that is not cured in any way, but has just come fresh off the hog.   A few butchers still can get you a fresh ham and a few folks still raise and butcher their own hogs.  Most of us these days get them from the grocery store.

Open the package and wash the meat thoroughly with water.

Mix 1 teaspoon of sugar and 4 teaspoons of salt and rub into the ham or roast on all sides.
Line your pan with heavy duty foil.  
Place ham skin side up, cut side down on the foil.
Score the skin side of the ham.  I score one way and then at an angle so that you have 'squares' about an inch in size.  You want to score into the fat about 1/3 of an inch.
The skin is tough, use a sharp knife.

Pour a single cup of water into the  pan.  Cover the pan tightly with foil.

Bake for 17 to 20 minutes per pound at 325 degrees.  Instant meat thermometer should read 160 degrees for appropriate doneness.

I start to check at the early side of (17 minutes x ___pounds of meat) and check every 20 to 30 minutes (depending upon how fast it's going) until it reaches 160 degrees. 

Bone and skin will have pulled away from the meat.  Let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

This has never failed me, nor have I ever had a dry ham.

Let me know how this turns out!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Meteor shower

It's just a little past midnight...
a brand new day ticked into place while I was outside,

standing along side my son,
watching shooting star,
       after shooting star,
              after shooting star.

... and remembering how many nights like tonight, I wrapped a little one in a big warm blanket
and wiggled
and giggled our way into a yard,
         or a field
                or a pasture,
                       to look up and behold the night sky.

Tonight, I stood there with a grown man
and we each made wishes... 

in some respects, little difference...
mother and son, in full appreciation of the beauty of the firmament... 
watching little streaking lights as they burn away.

In some respects, quite a lot of difference...
where I would have, twenty years ago, had to bounce him from one hip to the other,
little monkey arms and legs hanging on tight,
standing there with little boy breath against my cheek,
waiting to get so cold that one of us began to shake before turning for the lights of the house,
warm and beckoning.

I made him promise me that should he have little ones someday, that he will wrap them up and carry them out that they too should see and know the night sky.

And he agreed that he would... and then we began to shiver... and we turned and came in
surrounded by the lights in the inky blackness on our way back to the warmth.