KITCHEN WIT AND WISDOM: Bring back those Easter traditions

Columnist Cathi Litzenberger takes a look at some culinary treats for the holiday

Does anyone remember Easter bonnets,  aka hats? New clothes sewn or bought for Easter? Polishing shoes Saturday evening for church Sunday?  Colouring eggs Easter Saturday? Building “nests” on the porch for the Easter Bunny to leave treats in? Easter egg hunts around the house or outside?  Sunrise services or always attending church Easter morning? How about enjoying a huge Easter feast of a ham dinner? I’ve experienced all of the aforementioned traditions at one point or another in my life and I think it’s a shame that a few of them have disappeared. Wouldn’t it be something to see women all decked out in their finery with a gorgeous Easter hat?

In early Canada, pork was plentiful. It was slaughtered in the fall and what wasn’t eaten fresh before Lent was cured for spring. Sometime during the 1930s cooks started making sugary glazes to enhance their hams. Today we can use an endless variety of ingredients to glaze our hams, and brushing it on every 20 minutes while baking will bring the best results. Partially cooked hams need 20 minutes per pound in a moderate oven (350 F) and fully cooked hams need at least 10 minutes per pound to heat all the way through. To be certain, the internal temperature needs to reach 160 F (80 C) to be ready for serving. Whether you choose a partially or fully cooked,  a bone-in or boneless, or even a boneless ham, enjoy a delicious ham and a blessed Easter.

Apricot

Brown Sugar Ham

1 (10 pound) fully-cooked spiral cut ham

2/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup apricot jam

1 teaspoon dry mustard powder

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C).  Place the ham cut side down onto a sheet of aluminum foil. I like to put the shiny side up.

Mix together brown sugar, apricot jam and mustard powder in small bowl. Brush onto ham using pastry brush. Reserve any leftover glaze. Enclose foil around ham and place on rimmed baking sheet.

Roast 2 hours in the preheated oven, or if your ham is a different size, figure 20 minutes per pound. Apply remaining glaze 20 minutes before ham is done.

Orange Glaze Ham

1 cup orange juice

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 cup honey

2 tsp. soy sauce

First, make a slit in the rind of the ham. Trim the rind and fat at the same time, leaving 1/4 inch layer of fat on ham. Make diagonal cuts along surface of ham, on the fat layer, making sure not to penetrate the meat. Now, make diagonal cuts in opposite direction, forming diamond shapes in the fat layer.

Take a bowl and put all the ingredients in it. Mix ingredients well and brush over ham. As ham cooks, brush it with extra glaze every 20 minutes. Let stand at least 10 minutes before slicing.