The time-honored way of showing love in an Italian family is to offer food. Whether we're celebrating, mourning, happy, sad--if we're breathing, there's a table filled with great things to eat. Life's too short, so eat what you love and love what you eat.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Holiday Ham Loaf
I've been a fan of Penny's Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen since I started blogging 6 years ago. I've tried other recipes she's blogged about and found them to be reliable, not to mention delicious. When I saw her post about her mother's holiday ham loaf, I knew I'd have to make it. My mother never made a ham loaf, but she and I both loved ham salad. In fact, her mother introduced it to me. There was a little luncheonette across the street from the children's store where my grandmother worked part time. I loved visiting her so we could go to Doughty's and split a ham salad sandwich. I got my own chocolate egg cream. In retrospect, the combination doesn't sound too harmonious, but to the 5 year old palate, it was heaven. Years later, my mother and I rediscovered ham salad in the Amish country in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. So you can understand why I had to make this ham loaf in honor of Penny's mom and my own.
1 pound ham steak, ground 1 pound ground round or lean ground beef 2 eggs, beaten 1 cup whole milk 2 cups saltine crackers, crushed (about 1 sleeve)
2 teaspoons mustard 1/2 cup cider vinegar 2/3 cup brown sugar
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Form into a loaf and place in a 9″x 13″ baking dish. Score the top diagonally in both directions with a knife (about 1/4-inch deep). Bake the ham loaf in a 325 degree oven for one hour.
Meanwhile, mix together the mustard, vinegar and brown sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
Pour sauce over meat and bake an additional one hour, basting frequently, especially during the last 1/2 hour. Place on platter, slice and serve.
I loved the smell of the glaze during the second hour of cooking. I should have scored my ham loaf more deeply, then run it under the broiler for a little browning (next time). I really liked the taste of the ham loaf and wished there were even more glaze to pour over. I sliced the loaf, which is large, into 12 generous slices. Since there are just two of us, I froze half the loaf for another meal and will use the other slices for sandwiches tomorrow. With a large tossed salad and some baked yams, this meal was a hit. Thank you, Penny!