Deviled Ham and Pickle Sandwiches from Gourmet Magazine, April 2009

So. Let’s play deli. I get [have] to play store with Dudette all the time, so I’m more than capable of walking you through this little game.

Our make-believe deli isn’t fancy. We don’t serve wraps or meats whose names we can’t pronounce. There’s no sriracha mayo, horseradish and pepper-laced cheese, or roasted vegetables to oomph up what we offer.

In fact, there’s a loaf of white bread (or as in this case, white wheat). A big ‘ole blue-and-white package of pillowy softness and minimal nutrition. No, your colon will not thank you for this lunch.

In this game we will take turns being deli owner and customer. As the customer, you get to ask for a sandwich. As the person behind the counter, I will prove my acting prowess by making what you want with a flourish. Or I will mercilessly shot down your request as too hoity toity.

And so you stand there looking at white bread.

And the stuff you think of to slather between the slices is _____________________.

The Process

We all have our favorite simple sandwich filling, don’t we. For me, it’s egg salad. I love the simple kind; egg, mayo, a little minced onion and celery, salt and pepper. Dudette heads straight for the peanut butter and grape jelly, while Hubby is pulling out the container with tuna salad. When given a choice, that’s just how we roll.

The truth is that I’ve never had ham salad before. The thought of minced meat isn’t appealing to me. But, since I’m attempting to break out of the box of eating certain foods only at certain times, like ham at Easter or turkey at Thanksgiving, I’m finding myself with leftovers and in need of ways to serve them.

There are five recipes for leftover ham in the April 2009 issue of Gourmet, including one for deviled ham. Using my food processor, it took about three minutes to throw this together

The Verdict

I didn’t give Hubby or Dudette an option about trying this, but just set out the sandwiches for dinner last night. I wasn’t surprised that hubby finished his quickly and enjoyed it, but my jaw just about dropped to the ground when Dudette devoured her sandwich, even the crusts, without stopping to breathe. She loved it. We all did. The mustard, Worcestershire and Tabasco give the perfect amount of kick without overshadowing the ham. The crunch that the pickles and onion adds is perfect.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

For Hubby, I’d increase the amount of Tabasco to a half teaspoon, but not if I knew Dudette would be eating the ham salad too.

Deviled Ham and Pickle Sandwiches from Gourmet Magazine, April 2009
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Sandwich
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups chopped cooked ham (1/2 pound)
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons grainy mustard
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon Tabasco
  • Sliced cornichons or dill pickles
  • Thinly sliced sweet onion
  • 8 slices sandwich bread
Instructions
  1. Pulse ham with mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco in a food processor until finely chopped.
  2. Make sandwiches with ham mixture, pickles, onion, and bread.
Notes
For Hubby, I'd increase the amount of Tabasco to a half teaspoon, but not if I knew Dudette would be eating the ham salad too.

 

I still have more of the ham so I’m looking forward to making a couple other recipes with it, but I was thrilled at how well-received this was, especially by me. I think it’ll be a regular sandwich offering in our house.

Pasta in Garlic-Almond Sauce from Gourmet Magazine, April 2009

If I had a dime for every time I wished that Hubby spoke French, I’d be a rich woman.

For those whose minds took a dive straight into the nearest gutter, c’mon, this is a family blog. Let me explain.

My parents, French and Belgian immigrants that they are, speak French. While it was (and still is) the main language they spoke at home, it was also the ultimate secret-keeping and private conversation weapon they used against us nosy little ones.

Fast forward forty years or so and here I am, married to an English-speaking American, and raising a nosy little one of our own. Oh, and I speak French. Of course I learned. Both my brother and I did. We may have kept our new found skill a secret from our parents though. Don’t judge; you’d have done the same thing.

So, one might think that having been on the receiving end of second-language, secret-keeping parents would give me a certain amount of empathy now. After all, I have first-hand experience with the frustration of listening to my folks talk and understanding what they were saying as well as anyone can understand Charlie Brown’s parents when they ‘Wha-wah-wah’ him.

Yeah, not the case. There’s only so much conversating that can happen with meaningful gazes and body language. It used to be that we could get away with using a graduate school level vocabulary when we wanted to talk around Dudette without her knowing what we were talking about. But even that’s not working anymore.

So, here I sit, wishing Hubby spoke French. C’est la vie.

The Process

Our family is fairly basic as far as food goes. While Hubby has to avoid lactose, his needs are met sufficiently by my buying Lactaid milk and ice cream. We have no gluten intolerances, love meat too much to consider a vegetarian diet, enjoy cooked vegetables as much as raw, and are not rich enough to even consider going paleo.

I say all that because this dish is milk free, even though it has a wonderfully creamy sauce. Yes, I know almond milk is all the rage now, but it wasn’t back in 2009 when Gourmet printed this recipe and it’s not in our house. So, it was fun to see how the family would respond when I served the pasta, if they’d notice a difference.

As far as the process, it’s fairly easy and quick. I used my Magic Bullet and the mug attachment since I was only making about a cup of sauce. It worked perfectly at turning almonds, garlic and water into a creamy liquid.

While I usually complete the rest of a dish while the pasta cooks, in this case, the pasta needs to be finished first because the pasta water is used to create the sauce. It’ll get heated up again, so go ahead and make your pasta, drain it, and reserve the liquid.

The magazine also calls for a 12-inch skillet, but seeing as the pasta, peas, sauce and herbs all get dumped together, twelve inches barely contains everything. No, I take it back. It doesn’t contain everything. I have blackened peas and pasta all around my burner to prove it. I recommend just using the biggest straight-sided skillet in the cabinet.

The Verdict

Hubby and I both enjoyed this because of the strong garlic infusion. I kept trying to taste almond, but the sauce really just tastes like a garlic cream sauce. The basil and mint do complement each other well and provide excellent flavor.

For a quick, easy, light meal, this was delicious. At least Hubby and I thought so.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

In order to make this a more filling meal, I’d probably add some chopped ham.

Pasta in Garlic-Almond Sauce from Gourmet Magazine, April 2009
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup whole blanched almonds (4 ounces)
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 pound cavatappi or other small tubular pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 (10-ounces) package frozen peas
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano plus additional for serving
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup basil leaves (torn if large), divided
  • ⅓ cup mint leaves (torn if large), divided
  • ⅓ cup chopped roasted almonds (2 ounces)
Instructions
  1. Purée blanched almonds and garlic with water and ¼ teaspoon salt in a blender until smooth.
  2. Cook cavatappi in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (3 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) until almost al dente. Reserve 3 cups pasta-cooking water and drain pasta.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet (preferably straight-sided) over medium heat until foam subsides. Add almond purée and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Add 2½ cups reserved cooking water, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and simmer, whisking occasionally, until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons butter until melted. Add pasta and peas and cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente (sauce will be thin), 2 to 3 minutes. Add cheese and lemon juice and stir until combined well. Remove from heat and stir in half of basil and mint and salt and pepper to taste. Serve pasta in bowls topped with chopped almonds, remaining herbs, and additional cheese.
Notes
In order to make this a more filling meal, I'd probably add some chopped ham.

 

Brandied Pumpkin Pie from Gourmet Magazine, November 1992

If I said, ‘impulse buyer,’ what reaction would I get out of you?

Would you hang your head sheepishly? Grin like the Cheshire cat proudly? Make sure your spouse isn’t looking as you show me your collection of late night infomercial purchase?

I am not an impulse buyer. I’m too much of a critical observer for that. In fact, my husband says that I’ve ruined movie-watching for him because one time long ago I shared with him my way of getting through a movie that I don’t find all that exciting.

You see, I look for mistakes. And they’re always there. Airplane contrails and electric wires in period films. An actor with an ear piercing hole or watch on when there weren’t pierced ears or earrings yet. Big changes in actor position or scenery when a shot moves from one camera to the other.

One of my favorites is in Red Dawn. It’s a poignant scene where Toni, who is already dying, is going to save the rest of the group by releasing a hand grenade when the Russians reach her. As Patrick Swayze says good bye, he begins to cry, making it very realistic when he blows a snot bubble during his close-up. Such a touching moment. If you want to check it out yourself, you can right here.

Ok, so I may have just gotten a bit off track. What also keeps me from being an impulse buyer is my dislike of window shopping. And malls. And crowds. And rampant commercialism (especially around Christmas). When I shop, I know what I need. I go in; I buy it; I leave. Hubby loves that about me.

Except. There’s always an except. Except when it comes to cooking. That means impulse cookbook and magazine purchases. It also means impulse buying when I’m in the grocery store.

This pie is a good case in point. I have a favorite pumpkin pie. It’s the one my mom made during my time living at home and the one that I’ve made since moving out of my own. That’s decades of the same pie. And I’m not tired of it.

Enter seeing a 1992 issue of Gourmet Magazine with a Brandied Pumpkin Pie on the cover and I HAD to have the copy so I could make the pie. Impulse took over. I bought the magazine and yesterday, I made the pie.

The Process

The preparation of this pie is similar to any that you would make. The crust is a pretty typical pâte brisée (pie crust), including a fair amount of ‘do this, then chill for an hour’ kind of thing.

Added, of course, is a quarter cup of brandy. Missing (at least in my book) is nutmeg. Otherwise, you’ll just need a whisk to combine the filling. It gets poured in the unbaked shell and baked.

Regarding the shell, it also has leaf decorations (I made stars since it’s closer to Christmas now). The directions call for them to be made and baked first, and the pie afterwards. I think you could easily do both at the same time, removing the tray of cut-out pastry after 15 minutes, leaving the pie to continue baking an additional 45 minutes.

The Verdict

We had a friend over for dinner and he was very willing to be a pie guinea pig for me. Dudette, who isn’t a fan of pumpkin (she takes after her Papa), opted for chocolate ice cream.

All three of us enjoyed this immensely. It’s definitely grown up pumpkin pie and quite boozy.  The guys, being guys, inhaled their pieces, letting occasional grunts of satisfaction suffice as commentary.

While I did enjoy the pie a lot, I have to admit that I missed the pure pumpkin taste of the regular variety. Pumpkin got overwhelmed by brandy. I also thought there was too much cinnamon.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

I’d cut the brandy to two tablespoons, cut the cinnamon to one teaspoon and add a quarter teaspoon of nutmeg.

Brandied Pumpkin Pie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Pie
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1½ recipes pâte brisée
  • an egg wash made by beating 1 large egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water
  • 2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
  • ⅔ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ⅔ cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup Cognac or other brandy
  • ginger whipped cream as an accompaniment
Instructions
  1. Roll out three fourths of the dough ⅛ inch thick on a lightly floured surface, fit it into a 10-inch (6-cup capacity) pie plate, and trim the edge, leaving a ½-inch overhang. Fold the overhang under the dough flush with the edge of the pie plate and with a sharp knife make ½-inch-long cuts at ¾-inch intervals all the way around the edge of the shell. Turn every other section of the dough in toward the center of the shell to form a decorative edge and chill the shell for 30 minutes.
  2. Roll out the remaining dough ⅛ inch thick on the lightly floured surface and with a 3-inch leaf-shaped cutter cut out 3 leaves. Transfer the pastry leaves to a baking sheet, score them lightly with the back of a knife to form veins, and chill them for 15 minutes, or until they are firm. Brush the leaves lightly with some of the egg wash and bake them in the middle of a preheated 375°F. oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are golden. Transfer the leaves to a rack and let them cool completely.
  3. In a bowl whisk together the pumpkin, the brown sugar, the cinnamon, the ginger, the salt, the heavy cream, the milk, the eggs, and the Cognac until the filling is smooth and pour the filling into the shell. Brush the edge of the shell lightly with some of the remaining egg wash if desired and bake the pie in the middle of a preheated 375°F. oven for 1 hour, or until the filling is set but the center still shakes slightly. (The filling will continue to set as the pie cools.) Transfer the pie to a rack and let it cool completely. Garnish the pie with the pastry leaves just before serving and serve it with the ginger whipped cream.

 
Brandied Pumpkin Pie
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Pie Crust
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
  • 2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl blend the flour, the butter, the vegetable shortening, and the salt until the mixture resembles meal. Add 3 tablespoons ice water, toss the mixture until the water is incorporated, and form the dough into a ball. Knead the dough lightly with the heel of the hand against a smooth surface for a few seconds to distribute the fat evenly and re-form it into a ball. Dust the dough with flour and chill it, wrapped in wax paper, for 1 hour.

Don’t forget to enter this week’s giveaway. You could win ‘The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook.” Click the link to read more and enter: Enter To Win The Cookbook.

North Carolina Pulled Pork Barbecue from Gourmet Magazine, July 2008

After I’ve gone through a magazine, there are always tabs left; paper reminders of recipes that I didn’t have time to get to. They hang around in the recesses of my mind, whispering ‘hello’ once in a while. It’s because of this that I’ve created Turn Back Time Tuesday. It’s a chance to go pull out an old magazine and make one of those recipes that doesn’t deserve to be forgotten. Care to join me?

You’ve heard me mention a few times that while I love being in the kitchen, I adore (wo)manning the grill even more. We use ours year-round and there’s always a bag of charcoal open and ready to be used sitting in the cabinet on the deck.

I’ll even admit to watching grill competitions on television. Can you believe it? I won’t go near reality shows but I’ll watch smoke coming out of a closed grill for hours on end. In hopes of dispelling your growing feeling that I might be crazy, I’m doing two things while I watch. First, I’m looking at technique; how the grillers place their coals, what the grills look like, how they rub the meat, etc. Second, I’m gleaning tidbits of information; looking for a slip of the tongue that will give away a secret ingredient in the rub, mop or sauce. See? Method to the madness.

So, imagine what happened in our house when grillmeister, Jason Griffin, from Griffin’s Grub, wrote and asked if I’d do a guest post for him while he was out of the country. There was noooo hesitation. There was the obligatory, very embarrassing, behind closed doors happy dance (I’m stereotypically white; can’t dance or jump [somewhat in part because I’m 5’3″]). Anyhooo.

I felt honored, over-joyed, thrilled.

And challenged.

You see, Jason, in addition to being a stellar griller, lives in Texas, the land where beef rules. I live in North Carolina, home of real barbecue.

No worries, I rose to that challenge and to the one that inherently comes when you’re asked to guest post on a griller’s blog; I grilled.

No, no, I take it back, I didn’t grill.

I barbecued.

But you can’t see it here. You’ll have to head to Griffin’s Grub for the barbecue.  What you get here is the coleslaw that sits atop the world’s most awesome way to prepare pork. So, head over there, read about the pulled-pork on this sandwich, then come back and find out how to make the slaw that covers it so you can make this weekend’s meal. Carolina style.

Just so you know, since I’m the only one in the family that will eat cabbage in any form, you’ll have to put up with just my opinion of this coleslaw (the rest chime in on the barbecue).

The Process

You need two things for this to really do it right. First, a food processor with a shredding blade. Second,  a small lidded bowl or jar for shaking up the dressing. Third,a big bowl in which to put the shredded veggies and mix it all together.

Shred. Shake. Mix. Done.

The Verdict

There are two kinds of slaw, mayo-based and vinegar-based. At least, there have been two kinds of slaw up until now. May I introduce slaw number three; a perfect blend of mayo and vinegar based.

I like both original kinds, but if I was forced at knife-point to choose one, I have to admit that I’d lean toward vinegar-based because the mayo kind can get a bit heavy. So, this is an absolutely perfect compromise. The amount of vinegar cuts the mayo so you’re left with a light, delicious-tasting coleslaw.

Needless to say, I love this and will have no problem eating the whole batch, on and off my barbecue sandwich.

What I’d Do Differently Next Time

Absolutely nothing.

Coleslaw- print this recipe
from Gourmet Magazine, July 2008

North Carolina Pulled Pork Barbecue from Gourmet Magazine, July 2008
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2½ pound green cabbage, cored and cut into 3-inch chunks, then finely chopped or shredded
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, coarsely grated
  • 1¼ cups mayonnaise
  • ⅓ cup cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
Instructions
  1. Toss all vegetables in a large bowl with 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar, then toss with slaw.
  2. Chill, covered, stirring occasionally, at least 1 hour so vegetables will wilt and flavors will blend.