Cook’s Corner

Pudding-mix cookies offer endless flavor combinations

 

Main dish

Caribbean Style Ham Glazed with Rum and Mustard

10- to 12-pound bone-in fully cooked half ham

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup dark rum

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1/4 cup maple syrup

Lightly score the ham, crisscross style, and place in a roasting pan.

Mix the brown sugar, rum, mustard and syrup. Spoon sauce over the ham and bake in 425-degree oven for 30 minutes. Lower temperature to 375 degrees and continue to roast for another hour. Baste frequently. The top should be well browned and crispy.

Let sit for 30 minutes covered with foil before carving. Makes 24 servings.

Source: Adapted by Linda Cicero for Cook’s Corner from the Caribbean Shopping Channel.

Per serving: 393 calories (48 percent from fat), 21 g fat (6.7 g saturated, 9.7 g monounsaturated), 117 mg cholesterol, 42.3 g protein, 5.8 g carbohydrate, 0 fiber, 1,501 mg sodium.


Main dish

Low Country Turkey Hash Cakes

2 medium red potatoes, peeled, boiled till tender and coarsely chopped

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature, divided

3 cups chopped cooked turkey

1 medium onion, chopped

1 celery rib, chopped

1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

3 large eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoons salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 teaspoon curry powder

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups fine dry breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

In a bowl, mash the potatoes to a puree with a potato masher or fork, add 4 tablespoons of the butter in pieces, and beat with a wooden spoon or electric mixer till smooth and the butter is completely absorbed.

In a blender or food processor, grind the turkey, onions, celery and bell pepper to a medium texture and transfer to the bowl with the potatoes. Add the egg and stir till well blended. Add the cream, salt, pepper and curry powder and beat till the mixture is smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to firm up the texture and allow the flavors to develop.

Shape the hash into 6 patties, dust each evenly in the flour, dip in the beaten eggs, roll in the breadcrumbs, and chill for 30 minutes.

In a large, heavy skillet, heat the remaining 4 tablespoons butter with the oil over moderate heat. Add the cakes and fry on both sides until golden brown and crusty, about 10 minutes in all. Serve hot. Makes 6 servings.

Source: Reprinted with permission from “Southern Fried” by James Villas (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

Per serving: 639 calories (50 percent from fat), 35 g fat (17 g saturated, 9.4 g monounsaturated), 212 mg cholesterol, 31 g protein, 47.7 g carbohydrate, 3.3 g fiber, 1,205 mg sodium.


Cookies

Pudding Mix Cookies

Favorite combinations include butterscotch pudding and chips, pistachio pudding with chopped pistachios and cranberries, chocolate pudding with white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts, vanilla pudding with chocolate chips and hazelnuts and chocolate pudding with peanut butter or mint chips.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

4-serving size box instant pudding mix (any flavor)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups flour

6 ounces chocolate chips or bar chocolate, chopped

1 cup chopped nuts or dried fruits (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy. Add dry pudding mix and beat to blend well. Add eggs one at a time. Whisk the baking soda into the flour, then gradually beat into the batter. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving 2 inches between. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool 1 minute on baking sheets; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 3 dozen.

Source: Linda Cicero for Cook’s Corner

Per cookie: 145 calories (41 percent from fat), 6.8 g fat (4.2 g saturated, 1.9 g monounsaturated), 23.9 mg cholesterol, 1.3 g protein, 20.6 g carbohydrate, 0.8 g fiber, 225 mg sodium.


Sleuth’s corner

Q: I was reminded recently of an old Greek tradition wherein you serve a sweet bread with a coin baked in it on New Year’s Day and whoever gets the coin has good luck for the year. Can you ask your readers if anyone knows how to make this bread, and also what it is called, and if there are any stories about it? My grandmother made this for us when we were children and I am now almost 80. I won’t be able to make it this year, but maybe the next!

Gail C. , North Miami


Q: I had the best cookies at our company party this year. They were chocolate and crisp on the outside but soft and cake-like in the middle. They also had white chocolate chips. They didn’t look like much, but everyone who had them went back for another.

I asked for the recipe, but my coworker keeps telling me she forgot to bring it. She told another person the secret ingredient was chocolate pudding. Can you help?

Sarah , Miami

A: I do have the recipe, and it is no secret — I think in one form or another it has appeared on pudding boxes. For those who enjoy doctoring cake mixes and building from convenience foods, this is an easy recipe with nearly limitless flavor combinations.

Cookbook Corner

I will never forsake cookbooks for Internet recipes as long as there are people who not only can cook but can write evocatively about food. Calvin Trillin, Johnny Apple, Edna Lewis, M.F.K. Fisher, Gael Greene, Anthony Bourdain, John McPhee and James Villas are among my favorites.

So when I sat down with a copy of Villas’ new cookbook, Southern Fried (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $29.99), I knew I’d not only learn to fight my fear of frying but also would enjoy the anecdotes and descriptive prose that are hallmarks of his writing.

The beautifully flavored turkey hash recipe is a wonderful way to use holiday leftovers. Villas says he was inspired by hash cakes he was served in the coastal Carolina low country many years ago. He suggests adding other ingredients such as minced capers, olives, crumbled bacon and herbs and spices.

My take was to add heat from chopped green chiles and use cornbread crumbs. Next time I think I’ll add some dried cranberries or chopped apples – or both! The cakes do not absorb much fat during the frying, “so there’s no need to lose the wonderful buttery flavor by draining them,” Villas writes.

Ham glaze

I’m always on the lookout for a new glaze for my New Year’s Day ham, and I love the tropical flavors in the recipe here, from the Caribbean Shopping Channel website, which sells Caribbean products and globally respected brands, including harder-to-find ingredients, spices, convenience foods and recipes from Caribbean nations.

Send questions and responses to LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com or Food, The Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172. Replies cannot be guaranteed.

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