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Old 02-26-2011, 11:47 AM   #1
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Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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Help with baked ham dinner

Hi, My husband and I are having people for dinner next weekend and they are very hard to feed (fussy). I would like to have baked ham and side dishes to go with it. My problem is not with the ham (I make up a paste of brown sugar, flour and prepared mustard) and also insert cloves.
I would like to have whole small potatoes (skins on) but not just boiling them in water and onto plate. Any suggestions????. Also what is the easiest way to cook fresh asparagas.
One side dish I will be doing is carrots and turnips mixed together with lots of butter and some brown sugar.
I am desperate - please help. (I must admit that I am not the best cook in the world so this makes it all the harder for me).


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Old 02-26-2011, 11:59 AM   #2
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In Northern MN where I grew up, wild aspargus grew everywhere. We would go out every 10 days and come home with THREE paper grocery bags...by the end of asparagus season, we were all sick of it. We used a coffee pot and stood the aspargus up and steam it. Some people tie the bundle together. We never bothered doing that. You can roast it, you can do all kinds of things with it, but my favorite way is steamed and served with butter...I don't like my aspargus overcooked...I'm thinking about 6-7 minutes. Freeze the cooking water to use when you make a veggie stock.

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Old 02-26-2011, 12:20 PM   #3
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As for the potatoes, you could always roast them. I use Lipton's Savory Herb and Garlic mixed with oil and toss the potatoes with it. Bake them at 400° for 30-45 mins (until done). You may want to quarter them (I do) since it makes them easier to eat. Another way to do the potatoes is to boil them in heavily salted water (1 cup salt). I know it sounds awful but when they are drained the salt crystallizes on skins and provides the perfect amount of flavor.
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Old 02-26-2011, 12:49 PM   #4
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Lots of options.
You could boil the potatoes then saute them in butter with fresh parsley, salt & pepper. Roasted is always good. Especially if the oven is already going to be on (for the ham). And roasted asparagus is always good. I like mine with EVOO and I've been on a lemon pepper kick lately. I love lemon pepper on asparagus. The easiest way to cook asparagus though is probably either boiling or microwaving. Just some butter on the cooked asparagus and you're good to go. Or you could even cut them into pieces (diagonal cuts, or on the bias always looks nice) and make a white sauce for some creamed asparagus. With a little smoked paprika... mmmm... Just don't forget to get rid of the woody end. Snap one and see where it breaks, then hold it up against the rest and cut that much off the ends of all of them. Or snap them all. Whatever you feel like doing, lol. My one dog can hear me snapping asparagus from the other room
I would definitely try to balance out the sweetness of the ham's glaze and the other veggies you are going to glaze.
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Old 02-26-2011, 04:26 PM   #5
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Location: Sumner County TN
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It sounds like you re a little intimidated by cooking for these folks and like there are two dishes on your menu that you comfortably and easily: baked ham and glazed veggies. To have a good time entertaining these folks you need sides that you have made before and have confidence in. Can you look through your repertoire and find a salad with a nice tang to balance the sweetness of the ham and glazed veg? What potato dishes do you like to make?

Are you trying to kick up the meal a notch? Adding a course might be easier than stretching yourself with sides that all have to be ready at the same time. You could serve a soup course in the living room before the meal, if you went for clear soup in cups. Desserts, much as I hate to make them, always give a lift to a fancy meal. Do you have a favorite?
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Old 02-26-2011, 04:29 PM   #6
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Asparagus does up nicely in the microwave. Just trim it, place in glass bowl covered with plastic wrap. I usually put in a couple of tablespoons of warm water to help create some steam. Microwave in high for 3 or 4 minutes depending on how much you are making.

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