Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It's ham-ma time!

Lately I've been thinking about ham a lot.  In fact, I think I may have actually dreamed about hogs last night, which is vaguely disturbing.  So instead of going off to the therapist to explore this strange ham fixation, I decided to make one.

Freshly unwrapped and ready for roasting
This is a huge ham, a gorgeous mountain of yum that screamed for a killer sauce.  BuUuut, the glaze mix that comes with it is all sugar.  Most of them are, sadly, but since I'm a sauce freak I've started making my own sauces, using ingredients on hand and just letting things flow.  I love to make sauces, simmering stuff all day makes me happy.  And most of my friends are happy too at holidays and birthdays since they usually get some of whatever I've cooked up.  I make plum sauces, peach sauces, blueberry sauces, all kinds.  And thanks to a cool mustard/apricot idea a friend gave me, I'll be making some apricot jam this summer too.  Can't wait.

But I digress.  Glaze is what we're talking about here, not jam. 

I miss glaze, but I've found that with a couple of changes and a willingness to experiment you can make a good glaze with no sugar.  Give it a try, I'll bet you'll surprise yourself! 

Orangeberry Supreme Awesome Sauce

10-12 strawberries, washed, cored and finely chopped
juice and zest of one orange
2 tbsp brown sugar substitute*(more or less according to taste)
Hello Mr. Orange, I'm Miss Strawberry.
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar **
1/2-1 cup water
dash of garlic powder, just start with a sprinkle.
1/4 tsp salt
Pepper if you like it

Place all in pot or pan together, cooking on low until a good and gooey consistency, adding water as it cooks down.  You want to spend a little time cooking it, so the strawberries kind of dissolve, low and slow baby, low and slow. Just keep adding water, about 1/4 cup at a time letting it boil down in between until things are good and thick and yummy.  Feel free to add spicy sauce, make sure to start small though and taste between additions!  Give the hot sauce some time to meet and greet before you add more, it always gets spicier as it sits.  I love Rooster sauce, and if I didn't have my little one who can't deal with the spicy stuff I'd be adding that in too.

You can use a stick blender or food processor here to blend it smooth but BEWARE.  You have to be careful when blending anything hot, believe me, you don't want this exploding in your face. 

Anoint your ham and enjoy!

*I used "ideal" brand brown sugar substitute, but this is my first time using it.  I'll get back to you on results, but so far I'm impressed.

**You could totally use rice vinegar, or red wine vinegar here.  Apple cider vinegar is also a great choice, but I usually make my apple cider vinegar only 1/4 of the total vinegar I am using.  It's good for you but has a strong taste that can overwhelm. 

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