Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"A Gracious Plenty" by John T. Edge & "At Grandmother's Table" & "The Church Ladies' Divine Desserts" - ham loaf, potatoes and dessert

Date I made these recipes: March 23, 2008 (Easter Sunday)

A Gracious Plenty – Recipes and Recollections from the American South by John T. Edge for the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi
Published by: G. P. Putnam’s Sons
ISBN: 0-399-14534-6 © 1999
Recipe: Ham Loaf - taken from the book Virginia Celebrates written by the Council of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Richmond, Virginia– p. 178-179

At Grandmother’s Table – Women Write about Food, Life, and the Enduring Bond between Grandmothers and Granddaughters – edited by Ellen Perry Berkeley
Published by: Fairview Press Minneapolis
ISBN: 1-57749-096-7 © 2000
Recipe: Grandmother Rushmore’s Wednesday Casserole – submitted by Susan W. Rushmore for her grandmother, Bertha Jarrett Rushmore – 1884-1962 – p. 110

The Church Ladies' Divine Desserts – Heavenly Recipes and Sweet Recollections by Brenda Rhodes Miller
Published by: G. P. Putnam’s Sons
ISBN: 0-399-14780-2 © 2001
Recipe: Sweet Potato Cake submitted by Ms. Willette Bailey of Brooklyn, NY – p. 33-34

Growing up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, you’d think I’d be used to snow falling on a major holiday and yet there I was, surprised as all get out that we had snow on the ground this Easter. I can’t tell you how many times growing up I had a perky little Easter bonnet displayed with a matching dress that was hidden under a winter coat. Phooey! Snow is also the reason that I really detest Halloween as what fun is it to dress up as some character when in the end, I always resembled Nanook of the North?!

Speaking of dressing up, in lieu of the standard ham recipe (my favorite recipe for ham was posted a while back), I decided to go for a ham loaf that was far more interesting and delicious and dresses up what can be boring ham into something fun. And then I dressed up the potatoes as well, using a potato casserole recipe that included diced ham and apple sauce. If you’re a person who ultimately merges all foods together on a plate (for me, mashed potatoes and peas always end up mushed together), you’ll like this recipe.

Finally, in lieu of sweet potatoes and ham, something we always had growing up (actually, canned yams that my mother doctored up), I made a sweet potato cake. The recipe came from The Church Ladies' Divine Desserts cookbook. Sure, it’s a little late in the game to ask for divine intervention for a warm Easter this year, but it’s never to late to open up the request line for next year!

Two of the recipes came from southern or southern-oriented cookbooks, the south being the one part of the region that has consistently had warm weather for Easter. Bet nobody down there ever had to suffer the indignity of winter coats paired with spring hats! Don't even get me started on patent leather shoes....

Ham Loaf – Makes two loafs serving 20 people (I made a half recipe)
2 pounds ground smoked ham
2 pounds fresh uncooked pork
1 ½ cups fresh cracker crumbs
½ cup chopped onion
4 eggs, well beaten
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

8 ounces (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 ½ tablespoons dry mustard

Mustard Sauce
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
½ cup prepared mustard
1 tablespoon minced chives
2 tablespoons or more horseradish

To make the ham loafs:

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the ham and pork; set aside. Combine the cracker crumbs, onion, eggs, salt, milk and parsley in a large bowl. Add the meat mixture and mix thoroughly. Shape into 2 loaves and put into two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Bake 30 minutes. Remove the loaves from the oven, baste with glaze, and bake 1 hour longer. Remove the loaves from the pans. Serve 1 tablespoon Mustard Sauce on each slice of ham loaf. Serve the remaining sauce at the table.

To make the glaze:
Combine all ingredients for the glaze in a saucepan; boil for 1 minute before using to baste ham loaves.

To make the mustard sauce:

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl; mix well before serving.

Grandmother Rushmore’s Wednesday Casserole – Serves 4 to 6 people
5 large potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup diced ham (boiled or baked)
¾ cup applesauce
Milk or cream for glazing

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Peel and quarter the potatoes; boil them until tender. Mash them with a potato masher or electric mixer until smooth.

With a fork, beat in the butter, milk, salt and pepper. The potatoes should be slightly dry.

In a large casserole dish, layer half the mashed potatoes, then all of the ham and applesauce. Top with the rest of the potatoes, brush with milk or cream, and sprinkle with paprika. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes.

Sweet Potato Cake – makes 10 to 12 servings
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cloves
2 cups sugar
1 cup peanut oil
4 large eggs, separated
1 ½ cups grated raw sweet potato
1 cup chopped pecans or sliced almonds
1/3 cup hot water
Powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350. Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and voles in a large bowl; set aside. Combine the sugar and peanut oil in another large bowl. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. Add the grated sweet potato and chopped nuts. Add the dry ingredients alternatively with the hot water, mixing thoroughly. Beat the egg whites in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold into the sweet potato batter using a spatula. Pour the batter into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake for 1 hour or until the cake springs back when touched and begins to leave the sides of the pan. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely. If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.

Note: Cake can be baked in a loan pan, sliced, and served with cream cheese.

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