Thanksgiving for us this year was a bit unusual. For about as long as I can remember, it’s celebrated at our house and we do all of the cooking. As the big day approaches, we always make certain that everyone we know has a place to go on Thanksgiving. If not, they are always invited to join us. There’s just something about being alone on Thanksgiving that doesn’t seem right to us. I've actually seen tears in people's eyes that were almost strangers when we invited them to our home for Thanksgiving. When we lived in the islands, no one was near their family so everyone became everyone's family. It's a tradition we'll never change.
This year was different. We’re in Florida and Meakin’s brother Jarvis invited us to Thanksgiving dinner at his house, which is down the street from our tiny pied a terre. If you know either of us, you know the first words out of our mouth after an invitation are, “What can we bring and how can we help?”
After much discussion we settled on a things we could make in advance – a baked ham, my cranberry sauce (which I posted earlier), and an appetizer.
The baked ham recipe is from the Barefoot Contessa and the only changes I made were to cut the recipe in half (hers served 35), and substitute Grand Marnier and gold rum for the orange juice. The little specs you see in the picture are bits of orange marmalade and garlic. The ham was no trouble at all to make. Keep this recipe in mind if you’re looking for something classy for your Christmas buffet that can be served at room temperature.
Baked Ham with orange glaze Barefoot Contessa style
Adapted from the Food Network, courtesy of Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa
1 (8 to 10 pound) fully cooked, spiral-cut smoked ham on the bone
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 ¼ ounces of orange marmalade
¼ cup of Dijon mustard
½ cup brown sugar packed
Zest of half of an orange
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
1 tablespoon gold rum
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the ham in a heavy roasting pan or a heavy-duty disposable aluminum pan.
Put all of the glaze ingredients in a bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Pour the glaze over the ham. If the ham is spiral cut, carefully fan open some of the slices and let the glaze seep in between the slices. Bake for one hour until the ham is fully heated and the glaze is well browned.Garnish with slices of citrus. Serve hot or at room temperature.
This is a simple appetizer that can be put together in a matter of minutes. Bring a round of Saga blue cheese to room temperature. Remove the top rind and cover with pancake syrup, dried cranberries and toasted pecans. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and serve with assorted crackers.
I know, I know. You're shuttering at the mention of pancake syrup in this. I did too, but the first time I tasted this appetizer, all I could say was, "OMG. Get me away from this. It's much too good and it'll spoil my appetite for dinner."
It was served to us by Betsy, an old friend of ours. She's a very classy lady and really knows her stuff when it comes to food. A member of a prominant family, she's hosted many a fabulous party in her antebellum mansion and was once the mayor of her berg outside of Washington, DC in Virginia. We thought of substituting maple syrup, but decided that it would overpower the wonderful flavor of the blue cheese.