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Favorite Ways to Use Leftover Ham

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Tasty Kitchen Blog: Kitchen Talk (Leftover Ham)

Happy Wednesday! We’re days away from the weekend, and you know what that means? That means many of you probably have a shelf in your refrigerator dedicated to a lovely piece of cured, smoked, or salted meat. It may or may not be scored on the outside, glazed, whole or pre-sliced. These days, it may even be made of turkey or duck. (We won’t get into the technicalities of what qualifies as “ham” right now, because, well, we’d much rather talk about sandwiches and omelets.) Whichever kind you’re serving, you probably have a lot of it and hopefully, some of it will still be around by Monday.

I say “hopefully” because there are so many creative uses for ham. So let’s talk about all the wonderful ways to use every little bit of that lovely hunk of meaty goodness from this weekend! Tell us:

What’s your favorite way to use leftover ham?

Nanci likes to fry chunks of leftover ham until crisp, then add them to fried rice with some pineapple chunks and a few other veggies. Her husband loves biscuits and ham gravy, which is a thinner cousin to Southern cream gravy with sausage. (Her tip: Ree has a great recipe for ham gravy.)

Lamentably, I will not have any leftover ham because my husband doesn’t do pork. (Sing a sad song for me, friends. A woeful dirge with bursts of pained wailing.) Growing up, Serrano ham was our family’s ham of choice and we rarely had any left over. But when we did, I loved it on pizza, in wraps, and the bone gave deep flavor to soups. Sometimes, we’d caramelize slices of ham with just a hint of butter and sugar, and enjoy that over garlic fried rice. (Sniff. I need a dirge encore, please.)

Betsy says, “We love ham and eggs in this house, and my favorite scramble with leftover ham is Ham, Spinach, and Gruyere.” Sounds perfect to me.

Now it’s your turn! Do you have any favorite ways to use ham? Maybe a killer sandwich concoction or loaded mac and cheese extravaganza? Share your ideas with us below!

 

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Growing Herbs

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Tasty Kitchen Blog: Kitchen Talk (Growing Herbs)

The birds are chirping, mornings come a little bit earlier each day, and that tickle in my throat is telling me that pollen is floating around in the air, bringing with it the promise of new life. Spring is finally here!

Many winter-weary folks have started flocking to garden centers, eager to begin work on their yards and planters. I love the garden center early in the season because the racks of herb plants are still packed, and the number of varieties that you can now bring home keeps growing. Varieties like chocolate mint, Thai basil, or my personal favorite, culantro, which I like to refer to as cilantro on steroids.

So let’s talk about herbs today! Tell us:

Do you have any tips for growing herbs at home?

I am, sadly, quite the pitiful gardener. But I keep trying, hoping that one day, I’ll be among those who have lush little pots of herbs on their kitchen windowsill, who never have to run to the store every time they need some basil for pasta, or cilantro for salsa. So I’ll be eagerly reading all your comments!

Betsy says to take the leaves off the top of the basil plant rather than the lower leaves to keep the plant growing fuller and not taller. (She also said she wasn’t quite sure and not to quote her, but sometimes I don’t hear well.)

Nanci adamantly warns never to plant mint in the ground or it will take over the world. She’d also love for someone to tell her how to grow cilantro, because it always seems to get tall and leggy and go to seed on her. (I’ll pretend I know what that means. Like I said, pitiful gardener.)

How about you? What advice do you have for growing herbs? Share your tips with us below!

 

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What Was the First Recipe You Mastered?

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Tasty Kitchen Blog: Kitchen Talk (First Recipe)

We loved reading the comments in last week’s post about favorite cookbooks. There were so many stories, not just about the cookbooks but where you got them, why they were your favorites and how you so lovingly shared the recipes with others.

Let’s continue the trip down memory lane and, this time, let’s get even more specific. For this week’s Kitchen Talk, we want to know:

What was the first recipe you ever mastered?

Every cooking enthusiast starts somewhere. My start came late, when I was in my twenties, so for me, the first recipe I truly mastered was kalbi, or Korean short ribs. (Apparently, I started late but I didn’t mess around.) It got to the point where my cousins would drop by the house 2 or 3 times a week for a midnight snack dinner of ribs, rice, and Caesar salad. My dad would get out of bed because of the commotion, find us all seated at the dinner table for a full meal at 12:30am, shake his head and go back to bed. To this day, it’s still one of my favorite things to make.

How about you? What was the first recipe you mastered, or the one that truly became your signature dish? Was it your mom’s recipe for pancakes? Cookies that everyone started asking you to make for them? Those ever-so-light biscuits you learned from your grandmother? Come tell us your story! And if you’ve posted the recipe here or elsewhere online, feel free to share the link, too!

 

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Let’s Talk Cookbooks!

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Tasty Kitchen Blog: Kitchen Talk (Cookbooks)

The other day, I decided to tackle the task of organizing my bookshelf. Growing up, my shelves used to be filled with all kinds of books on philosophy, theology, military intelligence groups, and every single one of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novels. Strange child, I was. Fast forward a few decades and now my shelves contain books covering only two major topics, with more than half of the shelves dedicated to cookbooks.

Discovering a great cookbook is, for me, like finding treasure you never even knew was out there. Some of my most loved cookbooks are the ones recommended by friends, and a few are even written by friends.

Finding treasure is always a fun activity, even better when we all can share the rewards. So let’s go hunting! Tell us:

What are some of your favorite cookbooks?

And by favorite, I mean the ones with the dog-eared pages, or with 36 makeshift bookmarks sticking out of the edges. The ones with pages wrinkled from water splashes, translucent blobs from oil spills, and hazy colored spots from “something or other, just please let it be clean.” The ones with creased spines from repeated photocopying because you just had to share a copy of it with your mom, sister, aunt, and that nice lady you always see at the library who said you had a lovely smile.

The books on my shelf are always happy to welcome new friends. So come share your favorites in the comments below!

 

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Share Your Cast Iron Tips!

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What are some of your favorite cast iron tips? We'd love to hear your tips or even your challenges when it comes to cast iron cookware. Share your thoughts and let's help each other out!

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Friday Giveaway!

Posted by in Miscellaneous

We've been enjoying reading everyone's tips in our previous Kitchen Talk post about getting organized in the kitchen, and there are lots of great ideas there! So today we're giving away two (2) gift cards worth $100 each to The Container Store, where you can stock up on all the things you need to…

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Let’s Get Organized!

Posted by in Kitchen Talk

Spring is in the air, which means my cabin fever will soon be replaced with spring cleaning fever. And I think it already started the other day, when I spent 2 hours freshening up our laundry room, followed by another 3 hours rearranging things in the closet that houses all our cleaning stuff. (And now […]

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Looks Delicious! Caramelized Onion and Sausage Pizza

Posted by in Looks Delicious!

Pizza night gets all dressed up with caramelized onions, spicy sausage, and creamy Gouda cheese. Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it? I just love simple pizzas that give every topping a chance to shine. What can I say, I’m an equal-opportunity-topping kind of girl. Don’t have time to make pizza dough? This pizza from TK member Tanya […]