February 13th was Fat Tuesday and wife Jan asked for Louisiana food for dinner. I had decided on red beans and rice as my main dish. Since that dish is mainly meat and starch, I thought that I wanted a vegetable side dish.
Tag Archives: ham
Many weeks I will spend the entire week thinking about and planning Sunday’s dinner. I have had a rough week—broken car, broken shower, broken refrigerator—and I did not feel I had it in me to plan an elaborate meal ahead of time. A plain ham steak, steamed green beans, a simple coleslaw, and a baked sweet potato would have to do. While this is a meal that started off simply, I got carried away.
When Safeway has a half price sale on hams (after a holiday) I buy a half a ham and cut it into ¾ inch ham steaks to freeze for later. A ham steak is pretty much just a slab of meat. The trick is what glaze do you put on it to dress it up. I have been experimenting with ways to use my marmalades—in other ways than just slathering it on toast and pancakes in the morning.
Jan asked for this dish in the morning, as a result, I was not able to pre-soak my beans overnight. This left me with the “quick soak” method—bring a pot of water and beans to a boil and then let them rest for an hour off the heat. My variation to this method is that I make a rich ham broth and then soak the beans in this flavorful, salty liquid.
I made ham steak the other day and, after the meal, I had half a pound of ham left. By itself it was not enough to feed three people, but with some creativity I could make a meal of it. Stretch the meat with some vegetables—add an interesting sauce and some rice—and you have something new and different.
Jan, my wife, is an anthropologist at SJSU. When she can, she arranges for her students to do “real world” projects for their assignments. This semester, she will be and her students will be part of a team, organized by NUMU Los Gatos, interviewing relocated American Indians who live in the South Bay—having moved to the city from various reservations in the 1950s, ‘60s, and 70s—if they are not recorded now their stories will soon be lost to history.
My mother, Claudia’s recipe for deviled eggs was fairly standard for the Fifties. My wife, Jan, is very unadventurous when it comes to deviled eggs—a little mayo, raw green onion, a bit of pepper & salt, and she won’t kick if I top it with a sprinkle of paprika. When I am making deviled eggs just for myself—if she is away on a trip or something—I like to push the boundaries.
When Safeway has a half price sale on hams (after a holiday) I buy a half a ham and cut it into ¾ inch ham steaks to freeze for later. While ham steak is good just on its own, it is nice to dress it up a bit. For this Sunday’s dinner, I thought I would try to barbecue the steak and put a lemon glaze on it.
Today, as I was thinking about making a ham steak, I was wondering what I could do that was new and different from the usual brown sugar, vinegar and clove glaze. I have settled on Asian coleslaw for my salad and a sweet potato and peanut soup as my starch. I also planned orange marmalade custard for desert. This is a bit unusual for me. Normally, I decide on what I will do with the main dish and that will lead me to my side dishes.
I do not always look on-line for ideas for dinner. Sometimes, I simply say, “What do I have in my kitchen?” I had spent too much of today planning my birthday/Chinese New Year’s feast. When I pulled my head out of the computer, I noticed that it was time to start making dinner, before a hungry wife and daughter appeared on my door step.