mmm, that sure looks good!

Today we have a guest. Matt H, as he is known (we have 4 guys named Matt that work at Zaycon Foods), is one of our drivers. I introduced him in a post here. Matt LOVES to cook, and a few weeks ago told me about this ham glaze he made. Then he sent some photos and told me that he was starting his own cooking blog. Well, being that Easter is this Sunday and some of you may have purchased Zaycon ham, you might like to try this glaze.

I asked Matt to send me a recipe and boy, did he deliver. And so, I give you Matt…and his ham.

Zaycon ham-6

As I write this, I’m trying desperately to come up with some happy memory of ham. Short term memory serves up more than plenty, but growing up, the only memory I can come up with is that mother of mine handing me this oddly shaped can, and telling me to pry the key off of the top and open it. Huh? You’d pry this key thing off of the top, wiggle it into a little band of metal on the side of the “can” (the “can” was not a can shape, but rather almost an egg shaped container) then you would twist the key around the top. Then, you’d have a top that would come off revealing what I now would call a catastrophe. One look at the contents and you’d spend precious minutes trying to figure out how to put that metal band back on and erase what just happened from your memory. Good heavens, it was a sight. The word “slurry” should NEVER be used to describe meat.

To be sure, this was meat, just whizzed up meat from all sorts of parts & bits. Then it was nicely encased in jelly. Meat jelly. Oh goodie. Must everything in my life jiggle?

So that’s my memory of ham.cooking-10

Sub-par. At best. Ham is typically served at some type of celebration. Christmas. Easter. Thursday. But just how is canned ham celebratory of anything except maybe parole?

Fast forward to me throwing meat all over the country for Zaycon Foods. Boy, do we have ham! No slurry here, no ma’am. This is one solid muscle. If I didn’t know better I’d say that these porcine fellows have been doing their squats.

If you haven’t tried them, you owe it to yourself to do so. They are all meat! And what meat it is. The hams come fully cooked, so all you need to do is put them in a hot oven, come up with a glaze of your choosing (notwithstanding my surpreme humility, mine is rockin!) and your entree is done!Zaycon ham-1

For my glaze, you’ll need a hot pepper jelly, some pineapple preserves, brown sugar, moleasses & a dash of cloves. If you can’t find pineapple preserves (and they can be trixy to find), feel free to use apricot/pineapple preserves. I’ve used both and both are wonderful. Next time I make this I’m going to try a habanero jelly – I’m getting bold. The reason for the moleasses is all I had was a light brown sugar. I wanted a little deeper flavour, so used the moleasses. You don’t need much. And you certainly don’t need a lot of cloves.

Put the ham in a roasting pan, cover with aluminum foil and bake it. During the last 20-25 minutes, baste with the glaze.

Yes, you could serve it with a box of Au Gratin potatoes, and as yummy as they are, this ham deserves to be pampered. I’ve come up with “Duke Potatoes”. As I was making them, I started making Duchess potatoes, but decided that they needed a little more substance. “Strong enough for a Duke, but made for a Duchess” is how I describe them. (And made by an Empress Dowager, but I digress)Zaycon-4

Zaycon Bacon is a subject that will be delt with in some detail in a later post. For now, just trust me, use Zaycon Bacon. You’ll need a full 3 pound pack for this recipe. In reality, you’ll just need about 5 slices, but Nicole won’t stop picking at it, so shoot, just cook it up. I like to blame her, but it’s really all of us.Zaycon-3

Use a potato ricer. You’ll thank me. If you don’t have one, don’t worry – just mix as many lumps out as you can. If you can’t get them all out, just call them “rustic”. We love rustic.

Start with whatever potato you like. I find that Yukon Golds are SUPER creamy. Reds are good too. My mother was from Idaho, bless her heart (I work in the South and know fully well what that means), so she liked to use Russets. They work quite well for this dish, so I used them here as an homage to my mom, which is funny to me, because not in a million years would she have made these. 99% of the time, her potatoes were begrudgingly sprinkled from a box into boiling water. She would sprinkle too fast and not stir quick enough. The poor old girl could have used them to hang wallpaper. I wish she had. Try as hard as I have, I just can’t forget it.Zaycon-2

Boil the potatoes until they are fork tender, drain, then send them through a ricer. Add cheddar cheese, Zaycon Bacon, sour cream, butter, chives, freshly cracked pepper & salt. All to taste. I’ll post my measurements, but this is your dinner, not mine. Please do it as your family would like it. My personal opinion is that recipes are there as a guide, not as scripture. Unless it’s baking. Or candy. Or meth. Or if you’re trying to re-create great grandma’s meatloaf. For those things, prescion is key.

I like to use a stand mixer, but if you don’t have one, not a big deal.

Don’t add milk to this, you want these to be as firm as you can get them, so they will stand up after piping. I guess you could use powdered milk, but it seems to me there are laws against that. Duchess potatoes call for egg yolks, but I didn’t care for the texture that they imparted, so I skipped them. You’ll have a taller product if you use them, but then if you don’t like the taste or texture, you just wasted that Zaycon Bacon! So they stayed out this time.Zaycon-8

After mixing, take a piece of parchment paper and on one side, using a biscuit cutter or glass, or other round objet, pencil a circle. Put it onto your baking sheet marked side down, you’ll then be able to see the outline of the circle. This is your guide. Using a giant star tip, and a large (18″) piping bag, (don’t even think about using that stupid ziploc trick you learned on the cooking show from Aunt Sandie – she’s crazy) pipe a pretty mound. Keep it up and fill that baking sheet! You’ll want a hot oven 375 and get them browned just a bit.Zaycon-11

Fresh green beans sprinkled with sliced almonds round it out. Please don’t serve it with canned, grey beans. They should be green beans, not “grey beans” Life’s too short to eat canned beans.cooking-9

 

Did you get your order in for that Zaycon ham?

Who knows, maybe I delivered it!

See ‘ya in the parking lot!

Matt H.

Feels like spring around here.

Mmm. The sun is finally shining here in the Pacific Northwest and that means that its time for BBQing. We have 4 distinct seasons here and I like to enjoy every second of the grilling seasons.  As soon as the weather is remotely decent, out comes the grill. This year we decided to make something in our yard that would be more useful and here is what I came up with, thanks to Pinterest:DSC_8902a My husband’s family was in the household appliance business for quite a few years. Anytime we had a BBQ with them, they used a stainless steel washer drum for a fire pit. We were given one a couple of years ago. It had been sitting near our shed, until this week. Zaycon Foods-steel drum fire pit I didn’t ever feel they were safe and maybe because when I was 8, I fell onto a dutch oven that had just come off the fire. I used my hand to catch myself and came away from the incident with 2nd degree burns and blisters. I can still remember the pain. So I decided to build an enclosure around the drum. It’s actually a simple and easy project, but does take some time.

I went to a local store and bought enough garden wall stones to go around my steel drum 4 times, for us, that was 36 stones total. Zaycon Foods-steel drum fire pitI cut the grass big enough to fit the steel drum and the garden wall stones.

Zaycon Foods -steel drum fire pitI actually ended up cutting out more grass once I realized that I wouldnt be able to get rocks between the drum and stones.
DSC_8611aThis picture makes the garden stones look crooked, but I was careful to adjust and make sure that the stones were straight.

Zaycon Foods- steel drum fire pitOnce I got all 4 rows placed, I added the rocks.  4 bags of these rocks was the perfect amount for our pit. Zaycon Foods- steel drum fire pitDSC_8632a

I just dumped the rocks down in the crack. DSC_8633aThe garden stones came right up to the top of the steel drum. Zaycon Foods- steel drum fire pitThe last bag of rocks gave the pit a finished look.
Zaycon Foods- steel drum fire pitWe took the grill off of our BBQ and added it to the fire pit so we could cook up some hot dogs and chicken. We used it the same evening to test it out. Zaycon Foods- steel drum fire pit
Zaycon Foods- steel drum fire pit

It worked amazing and everything tasted so good!Zaycon Foods- steel drum fire pitSuch an easy project and perfect for the grilling season. Speaking of, our grill pack events are open for ordering!! Just head over to Zaycon Foods to find out the details.