The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

April 4, 2012

Easter Greats

FOR THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Karen Freeman

TARBORO — Everyone get to hide Easter eggs. It’s a tradition that I love to hold up. I  enjoy every aspect of the egg from dying and decorating them to figuring out what to do with the leftovers. Even though I don’t have kids at home any more, doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy Easter eggs.

Easter is also a great time for other tasty foods. We will look a few of them here. Our first recipe is a glazed ham. It uses organge and orange juice and is delicious. While it’s cooking, the house smells wonderful. It’s so easy that it almost cooks itself.

Our second dish is great scalloped potatoes. This one uses four cheeses. What could be better than that?

Our last recipe is actually for the leftover eggs! It’s an easy egg salad. You can’t have an Easter without at least one recipe for using the leftover eggs. Of course, you can just eat the eggs as they are. I often use them up that way.



Orange Glazed Easter Ham with Baby Carrots

1 (8-10 lb) smoked ham, bone-in, skin on

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch fresh sage leaves

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter; cut into chunks

2 oranges, sliced thin, seeds removed

2 cups orange juice

2 cups light brown sugar, packed

1 cup water

1/4 teaspoon whole cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

11/2 pounds carrots, peeled



Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Put the ham in a large roasting pan, fat-side up. Using a sharp knife, score the ham with cuts across the skin, about 2-inches apart and about a 1/2-inch deep. Cut diagonally down the slashes to form a diamond pattern; season the meat generously with salt and pepper. Chop about 8 of the sage leaves and put it in a bowl; mix with the oil to make a paste. Rub the sage-oil all over the ham, being sure to get the flavor into all the slits. Bake the ham for 2 hours.

For the glaze: Place a saucepan over medium heat. Add the chunks of butter, oranges, orange juice, brown sugar, water, and spices. Slowly cook the liquid down to a syrupy glaze; this should take about 30 to 40 minutes.

After the ham has baking for a couple of hours, pour the orange glaze all over it, with the pieces of fruit and all. Scatter the remaining sage leaves on top and stick the ham back in the oven and continue to cook for 1-1/2 hours, basting with the juices every 30 minutes.

Scatter the carrots around the ham and coat in the orange glaze. Stick the ham back in the oven and cook for a 30 additional minutes, until the carrots are tender, the ham is dark and crispy, and glistening with the sugary glaze.

Set the ham on a cutting board to rest before carving.



Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for brushing

1/2 clove garlic

1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup shredded asiago cheese

1/3 cup shredded raclette or comte cheese

2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 cups heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

4 fresh bay leaves

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese



Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Generously brush a large skillet with butter, then rub with the garlic. Combine the mozzarella, asiago and raclette in a bowl.

Heat the skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the potatoes, spreading them out. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt, half of the cut-up butter, half of the shredded cheese blend, and pepper to taste. Arrange the remaining potatoes on top. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Pour the cream over the potatoes, then add the nutmeg and bay leaves; simmer 3 minutes. Dot the potatoes with the remaining cut-up butter.

Generously brush a shallow baking dish with butter; slide the potatoes into the dish; arrange with a fork, if desired. (If your skillet is ovenproof, you can skip this step and bake the potatoes in the skillet.)

Sprinkle the potatoes with the parmesan and the remaining shredded cheese blend. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Discard the bay leaves.

Easter Egg Salad

7 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

Salt and pepper, for taste

Paprika, for garnishing

Sweet gherkin pickles sliced, for garnishing

Pimentos, for garnishing



Halve 7 eggs lengthwise. Remove yolks and place in a small bowl.

Mash yolks with a fork and stir in mayonnaise, pickle relish, and mustard. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Fill egg whites evenly with yolk mixture. Garnish with paprika, pickles and pimentos. Store covered in refrigerator.



   Did You Know?



Easter Egg Decorating Tips



Traditional method: Hard boil eggs. Fill several mugs with boiling water and add 1-2 tsp. vinegar. Place a few drops of desired food coloring in each mug. Place eggs in mugs for several minutes until eggs reach desired shades.

Remove with a spoon. Place on paper towel to dry. When dry, polish with a small amount of shortening on a paper towel. Buff until glossy.

You can draw or write on the eggs with a light colored or white crayon before dipping. The drawing will remain white after the egg is dipped.

To clean out mugs, put a little bleach water in the cups and soak for a few minutes.

Natural Easter Egg Dyes: If you would like to try dying eggs naturally, try the following:

Yellow-- yellow onion skins, turmeric (1/2 tsp. per cup water) celery leaves

Orange--any yellow dye plus beet juice

Red--beets, paprika, red onion skins

Pink -cranberry juice

Blue--blackberries, grape juice concentrate, red cabbage

Brown--black tea, white oak, juniper berry, coffee, barberry

Light purple--blackberries, grapes, violets

Green--alfalfa, spinach, kale, violet blossom plus 1/4  tsp. baking soda, tansy, nettle, chervil, sorrel, parsley, carrot tops, beet tops or dip yellow egg in blue dye

Hard boil eggs with 1 tsp. vinegar in the water. Place dying ingredients in non-aluminum pans, cover with water and boil 5 minutes to 1 hour until desired color is achieved. Use enough material to make at least 1-cup dye. Crush ingredients as they boil to extract as much dye as possible. Strain the dye. Most dyes should be used hot. Let each egg sit in the dye until it reaches the desired color. Some dyes will take longer than others to make the desired colored on the egg. Remove the egg and let dry.

Glitter Eggs- Place 1 tablespoon each of glue and water in a cup. Stir the mixture and then paint the eggs with it. Sprinkle with glitter. This can also add sparkle to already dyed eggs!

Crepe Paper Eggs- Wet a white or dyed egg. Dab torn pieces of colored tissue paper or pieces of pretty colored napkins on the eggs. When the paper dries, the paper falls off and leaves the color behind on the egg.

Decoupaged eggs - Tear small pieces of wrapping paper, napkins, stickers, or clip art. Mix equal amounts of glue and water. Paint egg with glue mixture. Place paper on top and then cover with more glue mixture. Let dry.

Spotted Eggs- Place 1 tsp. of cooking oil in dye. Dip the egg. The oil will cause the dye to make an irregular pattern on the egg.

Waxed Eggs- Dip a portion of the eggs in melted paraffin or candle wax. Then dip them in the dye. Remove from dye. Dry and peel off the wax. The egg will be white on one half and colored on the other half. You can also dip in dye before waxing to get two colors.

Hollow Eggs- Poke a hole in one end of an egg with a very small needle. Poke another slightly larger hole in the other end. Then blow on the small end and the egg will come out the other side. Decorate as desired.