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Preview of Next Week's Themes

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December 11, 2009

It's hard to believe it but we're already at Week 26, our halfway point in the food52 book project -- thanks for taking part and making the past six months really fun for us! If you'd like to see how the book is shaping up, you can see all the winning recipes here.

Starting at midnight on Sunday, you'll be able to submit entries for:

Shop the Story

Your Best Baked Ham

Your Best Holiday Cookie

18 Comments

Amanda H. December 15, 2009
Once again, pierino has stepped in and done our work for us! Buying ham is tricky, and in fact the ham pictured above was uncured -- which we didn't realize until we unwrapped it -- so it ended up basically just a glazed pork roast. When you're making a baked ham with a glaze, you can use either a wet-cured or dry-cured ham, and it can be smoked or not. Hams come from both the shoulder (picnic ham) and the hindquarters -- it doesn't matter which you use, although picnic hams tend to be smaller. Smithfield hams, which are among the best, are fully cooked and ready to be glazed; here are two sources for ordering: http://www.smithfieldhams.com/product/453/3, http://www.padows.com/index.cfm/sid.242/cid.33/pid.5 As pierino notes, the current issue of Saveur is a great resource for information on ham. - A&M
 
AntoniaJames December 15, 2009
Please note, anyone who hasn't had one, that Smithfield hams (and similar cured hams such as Gwaltneys, and the other companies that cure and offer what were traditionally peanut-fed-only hog products) are very, very salty. I grew up in Virginia, where I had the good fortune of having had these on special occasions. (Did you know that cured pork products are actually their own food group in Virginia, i.e., those foods that you are required to eat at least X number of servings per day?) ;o) It's one of many important we-really-know-how-to-live traditions in that great Commonwealth . . . . .
 
dymnyno December 15, 2009
I think that I will try and find the "right" ham and give it a try...a heritage ham. Bruce Aidells is always raving about them. There is a fabulous shop in Napa called The Fatted Calf. I will also ask them for advice and check on Bruce's advice.
 
dymnyno December 13, 2009
Interesting comments...sound like a few of Food 52ers like myself just don't go there anymore when it comes to ham...too much sodium, fat and most recipes call for adding sugar in some form. This will be an interesting week...I probably won't submit anything because I have'nt cooked a ham in many years.
 
WinnieAb December 14, 2009
I'm not a ham person either. I enjoy it but have never made one, so I am looking forward to watching this one from the sidelines. Now if this was brisket, that would be another story. I know lots of yummy ways to make that!
 
Teri December 13, 2009
While we wait for the holiday ham, could you offer any suggestions on shopping for ham? It's the one piece of meat that's always scared me because no matter what the package says, I'm afraid that I'll get it home and it will either have some pre-applied syrupy glaze or will require a day in the oven. What should we look for? Fresh? Smoked? Non-glazed? And can you (should you) buy frozen ham?
 
pierino December 13, 2009
I'm looking forward to what Merrill and Amanda have to say about this, but you can also check out the current issue of SAVEUR (December 2009)
 
Teri December 14, 2009
Thanks! The SAVEUR article is helpful and tempting, as are the recipes. They look straightforward and simple, as long as you have a five-gallon pot. I'm still a little confused about what ham really is, what to look for at the grocery, and what exactly I'm eating. Is it a rump/leg roast that has been cured, maybe smoked, but not yet boiled or baked? Fresh, it seems, might not really mean fresh, especially since the SAVEUR author gives into temptation and gnaws away at one before cooking it. Ham is pretty much the only cut?preparation? of meat that I've never cooked because I don't understand it, which is a shame because when done right it's so good. Or did I miss this lesson somehow? To me, it seems like it's one of the few things that remain in modern cookbooks that comes with more assumptions than explanations.<br />
 
pierino December 14, 2009
"Ham" if you want to be technical, would be the hindquarters. But that said, there are almost no parts of a pig's anatomy that can't be cured---bacon is made from the belly (and traded on the commodities market), but guanciale is cured jowl. I think I'm correct on this but I believe the forequarters are described as "picnic". The latter is the cut I substitute for a whole suckling pig when I'm making porchetta, and that I buy fresh and uncured, as in raw pig parts. But you are correct in inferring that there is some mystery behind it. But let's allow A and M to comment on this.
 
Merrill S. December 15, 2009
Once again, pierino has stepped in and done our work for us! Buying ham is tricky, and in fact the ham pictured above was uncured -- which we didn't realize until we unwrapped it -- so it ended up basically just a glazed pork roast. When you're making a baked ham with a glaze, you can use either a wet-cured or dry-cured ham, and it can be smoked or not. Hams come from both the shoulder (picnic ham) and the hindquarters -- it doesn't matter which you use, although picnic hams tend to be smaller. Smithfield hams, which are among the best, are fully cooked and ready to be glazed; here are two sources for ordering: http://www.smithfieldhams.com/product/453/3, http://www.padows.com/index.cfm/sid.242/cid.33/pid.5<br />As pierino notes, the current issue of Saveur is a great resource for information on ham. - A&M
 
Merrill S. December 15, 2009
Stay tuned for a bean theme...
 
pierino December 15, 2009
I'm happy to serve my country. That would be pig country. And don't forget zingermans.com when it comes to pig assembling; stuff like fennel pollen----can't live without that.
 
pierino December 12, 2009
If I could suggest another theme, halfway into the competition, it would be "nose to tail." All of those animal parts that Americans used to eat and now are making a comeback; tripe, sweetbreads, marrow bones, pig feet and so on. This past week when I was working in NYC I enjoyed a wonderful marrow bone at DBGB. <br /> <br />The first edition of the New York Times Cookbook (1961) included eight recipes for tripe. The most recent that I've looked at had only one, a la Caen.
 
Merrill S. December 13, 2009
Great idea!
 
AntoniaJames December 13, 2009
On the topic of topics . . . . how about best bean (legume) dish? (With the cold weather upon those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, I suspect that many of us are cooking heartier, comfort-food type meals, so this would be particularly timely for January). Another topic I'd love to see is "Quick Weeknight Dinners," for us home cooks with a lot of other stuff going on in our lives (such as full-time jobs not in or around kitchens) --- and for anyone else who needs a break now and then. Who couldn't benefit from a repertoire of fast meals for when the unexpected comes up, or one otherwise doesn't have much time to prepare a meal?
 
pierino December 13, 2009
Well, with the New Year approaching there is always Hoppin' John. And for my own inner Umbrian[on days when I'm not in touch with my inner David Foster Wallace] there is cotechino with lenticchie di Castellucio (lentils from Castelluccio). But of course you have to have the cotechcino. Try Corti bros.
 
Kelsey B. December 11, 2009
oh dear, you have hit on my favorite subject... again!
 
Merrill S. December 13, 2009
We actually say it differently, but I'm guessing from your comment that Amanda pronounces it correctly and I don't!