Sunday, April 26, 2009

"Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook - Recipes Inspired by Dr. Seuss! Concocted by Georgeanne Brennan" - Green Eggs and Ham

Date I made this recipe: April 23, 2009

Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook – Recipes inspired by Dr. Seuss! Concocted by Georgeanne Brennan
Published by: Random House
ISBN: 0-679-88440-8
Recipe: Green Eggs and Ham – 8-9

When I was a kid I read a lot and one of the books I read over and over again was Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. I can’t recall much of the book or the artwork (except that it was a little strange-agreed?) but I do recall saying “I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them Sam-I-Am!” I don’t believe that is the actual verse but that’s what stuck in this little Annie’s mind while reading it.

I also read Yertle the Turtle but that book was not as memorable as Green Eggs and Ham. I don’t believe my parents bought me How the Grinch Stole Christmas but they didn’t need to since I became addicted to the TV show the very first time I saw it. Okay, say it with me now “Cindy-Lou Who who was no more than two…” My favorite character on that show was not the Grinch, nor Cindy-Lou Who but rather Max, the dog. Yes, folks his name is Max and what’s not to love about the scene where he happily waves to the Grinch from the back of the sleigh? That scene cracks me up every time.

But that, folks, was it as far as Dr. Seuss was concerned. No Hop on Pop. No One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish and no Cat in the Hat; I know, I was a deprived child.

But fast forward to my 50th birthday last year when a friend of mine gave me this Green Eggs and Ham cookbook as a present. I took a walk down memory lane reading snippets from Dr. Seuss’ stories, complete with illustrations, while marveling at the creative mind of Georgeanne Brennan who concocted all these recipes.

Now I am no cooking instructor like Georgeanne Brennan but I did take a few liberties with the recipe (and that’s a first for me, let me tell you). First, the recipe calls for one fully-cooked ham but all I had was leftover ham pieces from our Easter meal. Now she indicated that I could make a little bit of the sauce and spread it on the ham slices but that didn’t seem like it would work very well. And so to make the glaze easier to spread on ham pieces, I cooked it down first until it was almost syrup and then spread it on the ham and then microwaved the meat and glaze for about two minutes. The only issue I had was that when refrigerated, the glaze turned into one gigantic apple/tomatillos lollipop, albeit a tasty one! (By the way, mint about makes me gag and so using mint apple jelly was out of the question but knock yourself out if you like the taste.)

Second, the recipe calls for fried eggs but we are scrambled egg people and so I went with scrambled eggs and then layered the dish as follows: ham with the sauce, guacamole then scrambled eggs. The overall result was just delicious even if I didn’t quite make it as directed. But then again folks Dr. Seuss was all about creativity so I say go ahead and experiment. And then go out to your nearest library or raid your kids’ room and immerse yourself in the joys of Dr. Seuss and his wonderful cast of characters.
Green Eggs and Ham – Serves 12
1 fully cooked and smoked ham, about 8 to 10 pounds
1 cup apple or mint apple jelly
3 medium tomatillos, husked and minced
1 cup minced cilantro leaves or ½ cup minced cilantro leaves and ½ cup minced parsley leaves
4 ripe avocados
Juice of 2 to 3 limes
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white onion, minced (optional)
2 serrano chilies, seeded and minced (optional)
4 ounces butter or 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or other light cooking oil, such as canola or sunflower
12 pasteurized eggs (pasteurization is necessary for safety when yolks aren’t fully cooked)

Heat the ham as directed by the package instructions. Let cool to almost room temperature, about 20 minutes. Mix the apple jelly and the minced tomatillos together to make a glaze. Spread the ham all over with the glaze, except on the cut side. Using your hands, gently pat the cilantro, or cilantro and parsley, into the glaze until it is solid green.

Meanwhile, cut the avocados in half and remove the pits. With a spoon, scoop the flesh out into a bowl. Mash it with a folk, then add the lime juice and salt and, if you want, the onions and chilies. Mix again.

In a large frying pan, melt the butter or heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, crack the eggs into the pan. Cover the pan and cook until the yolk has a pale white film over it and is slightly to very firm.

With a spatula, gently slide the eggs onto plates or a serving platter. Spoon the guacamole over each yolk, covering it. Serve immediately.

Note: Green eggs and ham is the cover photo of this book in case you're wondering what this should look like.

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