Monday, September 19, 2011

Old-Fashioned Birthday Dinner

It isn't very often that my husband gets to choose what he wants for dinner. I usually consult with him loosely during my meal-planning and then do what I need to do, taking his preferences, but also what we have to use up, what's in the freezer, and what I'm in the mood to cook, into consideration.

But this week is his birthday, so he gets to pick two meals: the family dinner last night, and what he wants to eat on his actual birthday. The poor guy is so desperate for the comfort food of his childhood, his two choices were ham and scalloped potatoes, and "ground beef turned into something with tomato sauce." I followed his request for dinner last night to a 'T', including the Brussels sprouts, which were a slight challenge to find. So here's the menu:

Slow-cooker ham in apple juice (just poured a litre of apple juice over the ham and cooked it on high for 4 or 5 hours, then glazed it in the oven, with a mixture of brown sugar, honey and Dijon mustard, for about 20 minutes)
Scalloped potatoes (I no longer use a recipe for this, just do my thing and it works out)
Steamed Brussels sprouts
Lettuce and arugula salad with creamy blue cheese dressing
Lemon meringue cake a la Nigella Lawson, using the lemon curd recipe from Saturday's blog post

I would definitely do the ham this way again, and while everything turned out very well, the cake really did take the cake. I finished assembling it so close to dinner time and it got eaten so quickly (no leftovers) that I completely forgot to take pictures. If you click on the recipe link, though, you'll see it. It turned out exactly like that. And it was surprisingly easy, for something that looks so decadent. While Baby G was all about the main course, D inhaled his cake and then asked for more.


Tonight for dinner I'm going to use the leftover ham juice and make my mom's standard leftover ham and rice gumbo, although I'm going to use brown instead of white rice. Basically, you just cook the rice in the ham juice with the ham bone, add chopped ham and a can of brown beans. I might add some onions and celery as well. Very simple, but perfect comfort food. I'm coming down with the cold that has been circulating our house for the past week or more, so I'm really looking forward to a bowl full of steaming gumbo.

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