Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Martha Stewart - Uber Haus Frau or Madwoman?

You decide!

"Fresh Ham Baked in Herbs and Cut Green Grass appeared in the Martha Stewart Cookbook. It's the grass thing that has me worried Miz Martha may have been on acid -- tripping on a vision of herself, barefoot in a little gingham dress, dancing through the fields, waving to the birdies ("Such dear little things") snipping grass and tossing it in her apron.

Few city yards have long-stemmed grass and if they do, the City will be on the home owner like a duck on a June bug to mow it -- "But, officer, it's for my Easter ham dinner!" isn't going to cut any mustard at all.

Out in the country? Long grass galore -- but who knows what peed on it? Rabbits, raccoons, possums? Not a pleasant thought and I don't care that cooking might possibly sterilize it. (I also think she 'way over-spiced it and garlic and ham do not go together.)

I can only assume that she was serious about this recipe as she is not really well-known for a sense of humor.

One 18 lb. fresh ham
18 garlic cloves
1 bunch fresh chervil with flowers
1 bunch fresh basil
1 bunch fresh thyme
10 tender bay leaves
1 bunch fresh chives
1 bunch fresh tarragon
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
2 oranges, sliced thick
1 bottle dry rose or white wine
Pepper to taste
1/2 lb. fresh-cut grass, 6 to 10 in. long, washed and stored in cold water

Preheat the oven to 325. Trim the fat, makes slits for the garlic and alternate with springs of chervil, basil, thyme and bay leaves. The herbs and garlic should almost cover the meat.

Crush the remaining 8 garlic cloves leaving them in their peels and set aside.

Line the roasting pan 5 3/4 in. high and 16 in. in diameter with the grass, 1 in. thick on the bottom and round the sides. Reserve some grass and herbs for presentation.

Layer the chives, tarragon and parsley on the bottom and sides of the pan. Put the orange slices on top of the herbs and cover them with basil. Put the ham in the pan with the crushed cloves of garlic and gently pour the entire bottle of wine around the meat. (No sips, Martha - you said "entire.")

Bake for 30 minutes, then cover loosely with foil. Continue to braise for another 5 hours, basting if necessary. Remove the foil for the last half-hour of cooking to lightly brown the meat.

While the ham is resting, strain the juices from the pan, saving the orange slices. Add them to this liquid. Gently boil and reduce the sauce by half. Skim off the fat and strain again to remove the orange slices.

Martha, honey? We hide our Easter eggs in the grass -- not our hams!

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