My momma makes a nearly unbeatable classic cherry pie, delicately scented with almond extract and hugged by a pretty, pastry-crimped lattice top. Divine with a scoop of Bluebell vanilla ice cream, slices are best served sitting on the couch or porch reconnecting with family.
She says it’s a lot of trouble to make a pie, but I don’t know if I believe her. She always says it with a smile and quick-working hands that suggest it may not actually trouble her all that much (or maybe the reward just far outweighs the effort…).
It doesn’t matter whether you fill the crust with fresh-picked fruit from an orchard or canned summer fruit off the grocery shelf, cherry pie always tastes like love and laughs and joy. I think it’s because no matter what ingredients you use, pies are a bit of effort. Not too much, mind you – just enough. Like breaking a sweat hiking to reach a stunning mountain view, or digging in the garden under the summer sun to plant new flowers.
A little effort makes the reward sweeter.
And the HAMFEST festivities continue!
One of the most anticipated uses of leftover ham in our house is the creation of Ham Pockets, both for their sweet-salty-cheesy-crusty deliciousness and for the opportunity to sing the name Ham Pockets over and over again, a la early 90’s Hot Pocket commercials.
Don’t be fooled by the intense expressions of Hot Pocket ecstasy above – the real things manage to be both burn unit-level scalding and icy cold in the center all at once, harboring unintelligible ingredients smothered in a belly-aching combination of molten cheese and regret.
While that may not be enough to stop you (we’ve all made a regrettable Hot Pocket choice or two in our lives, right?), there is a better way – HAM POCKETS!
If you didn’t experiment with cooking rabbit or gather around a splendid haunch of lamb this Easter, you probably invoked that most classic and welcome dinner guest, the glazed holiday ham.
Salty and magenta-hued, this magnificent bastion of porky resplendence is beloved not just for its initial holiday debut, but especially for the days and days of leftovers to follow.
This is a glorious and celebratory time, a time Jason and I exuberantly declare to be HAMFEST.
As much as I love to bake, I have only a handful of dessert recipes that I rely on time and time again. I’m usually more interested in trying new recipes or experimenting with elaborate concoctions that, while fun to play with, aren’t always the most practical to whip out for an unexpected visitor or last-minute craving.
So I was much intrigued and hopeful when I ran across this classic, simple Chez Panisse Almond Torte recipe featured on Alexandra’s Kitchen. Made with pantry staples and fresh items you almost always have on hand, it was the perfect recipe – images of tender, buttery, almond-scented cake, hot out of the oven at a moment’s notice enthralled me, and I ran to the kitchen to whip up this easy masterpiece.
And it was a huge disaster.
Wondering what to do with leftover rabbit pieces from my Braised Rabbit with Charred Carrots? Or maybe you just want to experiment with the mild flavor of this highly sustainable meat?
Make this high-speed rabbit ramen broth in a pressure cooker to get hours-long flavor extracted in under an hour.