What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Pinto Bean Cottage Ham Stew! Whenever I make a main course meat, I usually have enough excess to freeze a portion or two for recipes down the road. It keeps us from growing weary of eating the same thing over and over until it’s gone. This recipe is one of those “second meals” from the cottage ham dinner recently. It can easily be substituted with ham or completely omitted for a vegetarian meal. It’s nice to have options, isn’t it?
PINTO BEAN COTTAGE HAM STEW
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup celery, diced
6 mini carrots, sliced
15-ounce can pinto beans, with liquid
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups water or broth from cottage ham*
1 cup cottage ham, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
1-2 bay leaves
In an iron skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion, diced celery, and sliced carrots. Cook 10 minutes, or until tender. Add the pinto beans with liquid, garlic powder, marjoram, thyme, liquid smoke, and black pepper. Stir. Slowly add water and cottage ham pieces. Stir to combine. Place the bay leaves on top. Bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover. Cook for 30 minutes. For a thicker stew, lightly mash some of the pinto beans. Remove bay leaves before serving.
*Broth was saved from the original preparation of the cottage ham.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Cottage Ham! I’ve made this dense cottage ham three different ways: slow-cooker, stove-top, and oven-bake. The best results came when I used the Le Creuset cast iron enameled Dutch oven.* It seemed to distribute the heat more evenly. The ham was fork-tender, moist, and juicy. Because the pan locks in the moisture, you can keep it warm in the oven until dinner time by reducing the oven temperature after the first three hours. Any leftover cooking water can be used as a soup base the following day.
2 pound smoked shoulder butt
8-10 black peppercorns
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 bay leaves
Preheat oven to 350°. Rinse cottage ham to remove excess salt. Place cottage ham in a 3.5-quart Dutch oven. Add enough water to fill 2 inches above ham. Add black peppercorns, brown sugar, and bay leaves. Cover with lid. Bake cottage ham two hours. Check water level to keep the pan from going dry. If it does, add a little more water. The absorption allows the ham to be fork-tender, not chewy. Bake one hour longer, if necessary. The ham is done when the internal temperature is 160°. Serve with potatoes and vegetables of choice.
*I receive no recompense for mentioning this product.
Dining Outside the Home: Tom Ham’s Lighthouse in San Diego, California. Did you ever wish, as a kid, that you could eat in a real lighthouse? How cool is that?! Tom Ham understood the allure of making dreams comes true. This is the only restaurant in the United States to have a USCG operated and maintained lighthouse attached to it. Its location is even listed on nautical maps as Beacon #9, making Tom Ham’s Lighthouse an architectural landmark. Dine outside on a sunny day with a view of Harbor Island, Coronado Bridge, the San Diego Bay, and skyline. Munch away on Corn and Shrimp fritters before ordering the fresh Tuna Niçoise Salad. This is just a sampling of the fabulous food you’ll experience from the restaurant on the water’s edge. Thank you, Mr. Ham, for making dreams come true.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Equal Measures: Broiled Bay Scallops! Tender and sweet, bay scallops are a miniature version of the large-size sea scallops. When sautéed in garlic butter and dill, with a light squeeze of lemon juice, the end result is a splendid appetizer. Be festive and serve them on a half shell.
BROILED BAY SCALLOPS
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound bay scallops
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat oven to 350°. Warm olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic clove; sauté until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add scallops. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, dill weed, and sea salt. Sauté until lightly browned. Squeeze lemon juice over all. Remove from heat. Combine mayonnaise, grated parmesan cheese, and garlic powder. Gently fold in bay scallops. Transfer mixture to a greased casserole dish or clam shells. Bake 20 minutes. Broil 3-4 minutes on High until tops are golden. Watch carefully. Remove from oven. Serve with bagel chips.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? A Burst of Flavor: White Bean Hot Dish! One of the secrets of being a seasoned cook is knowing when to use quality ingredients to your advantage. Especially when you’re short on time or just needing a mid-week break. I keep my pantry stocked with what I refer to as “staples”; standby products that produce excellent results. Then on the nights when we are on the go, I can turn to a delicious alternative while serving another food-lover’s favorite. Pat yourself on the back and make yourself a hero, too.
WHITE BEAN HOT DISH
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 sweet yellow onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 24-ounce jar Randall’s Great Northern Beans*
16 ounces ham, cooked and shredded
16 ounces baby carrots
14.5 ounces diced potatoes, including liquid
3 bay leaves
In a large deep skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Sauté chopped onions in seasoned salt and pepper until they turn opaque. Reduce heat to medium. Add beans, ham, carrots, and potatoes. Stir to combine thoroughly. Add bay leaves and celery seed. Cover and reduce to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove lid and simmer longer for thicker results. Before serving remove bay leaves.
*I receive no recompense for promoting their product.
Dining Outside the Home: Hilton Garden Inn Pavilion Lounge on Wailua Bay, Kauai. You’re always on holiday here glamorously soaking up the rays and sipping on tropical Mai Tais, garnished with mellow paper umbrellas, at the edge of turquoise seas. Is this real, you wonder? Pinch me if I’m dreaming. But don’t wake me. Please. Instead “Hang Loose” with aloha spirit. Absorb the open-air lounge that is true Hawaii. Order a side of Crispy Popcorn Shrimp garnished with seaweed furikake, for starters. The Paniola Burger topped with chipotle pineapple and applewood bacon drizzled with barbecue sauce can come later. After all, you have all the time in the world. Let the seasoned bartenders introduce you to their crafted cocktails. They have a story to tell.
Dining Outside the Home: Duke’s Kauai! You won’t want to miss the Aloha Hour at this beachfront bar located a few footsteps from Kalapaki Bay. Live music is sure to entertain with classic tunes and old favorites. These guys know what they’re doing. The beach drinks, like Duke’s featured Mai Tai, is the perfect blend of local rum and Hawaiian fruit juices. The dark rum floater balances out the orange curaçao nicely. Pair it with a pupu order of Breaded Coconut Shrimp. The spicy lilikoi sauce will have you practically licking your fingers. Don’t forget to look around and enjoy the view. This is Kauai, after all.