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Kitchen Story: Everything is Better with Horseradish (except cake and ice cream and pie and…oh never mind)

April 28, 2011

There is something about the fiery kick of horseradish that speaks to my soul. It is an ancient plant, cultivated and written about for as far back as people have been talking about food.  I’m sure some grunty pre-linguistic cave-dweller loved smearing horseradish on his neighbor’s mastodon steak and watching him sweat. A rather homely root, the stuff is potent and it makes sense that it was used for medicinal purposes long before it was thought of as a condiment.  So when I spotted a recipe that called for horseradish on a ham, I was intrigued.  Add that it’s combined with marmalade, sealed the deal. I’m familiar with baked ham recipes with sweet flavors like apricot and apple, and even with some heat like cayenne or even garlic, but a marriage of gooey, bitter-sweet marmalade, brown sugar, and creamy horseradish called to me. As it turns out, the glaze is so good, you can eat it with a spoon.  But like many glazes, it makes the top of the ham taste good, but the rest is plain…tasty, and hammy, but not the burning sweet flavor that I was hoping for.  So during the next few nights of leftovers, I mixed up more of the glaze and heated it so it was pourable and served it over the slices of ham.  That’s what I was looking for – and now I want to eat the glaze on everything.  Everything except the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.  The cake doesn’t need anything, except a little whipped cream.  It was far easier than I expected and is like a thin angel food cake with a gooey, sweet pineapple topping.  Now that I know how easy this one is, and how good, I’m going to “upside-down” some other fruit/flavor combinations – thinking ahead to the Italian Plums that are available in summer and roasting them and then making this cake, with a little brandy in the sugar mix.  But I digress…at it’s heart, Pineapple Upside-Down Cake is one that most folks have memories of, and I think this recipe delivers them in every maraschino cherry decked slice.  It also doesn’t require a cast iron skillet like many recipes call for and is quite easy to make. My ham world is a little upside down now, and my upside-down world is only just beginning.

Baked Ham With Marmalade-Horseradish Glaze

Bon Appétit  December 2002

20 servings

1 18-pound fully cooked bone-in smoked ham, room temperature

48 (about) whole cloves

4 cups water

1 cup orange marmalade

1/4 cup prepared cream style horseradish

1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

2 cups fresh orange juice

Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 325°F. Place ham on rack set in large roasting pan. Using sharp knife, score ham in diamond pattern. Press 1 clove into center of each diamond. Pour 4 cups water into roasting pan. Roast ham 1 hour 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, blend marmalade, horseradish, and sugar in medium bowl.

Remove ham from oven. Transfer ham to baking sheet. Discard pan juices. Return ham to roasting pan. Add orange juice to roasting pan. Brush top of ham with 1/3 of marmalade glaze. Bake ham 10 minutes. Baste with orange juice in pan, then brush with half of remaining glaze. Bake ham 10 minutes. Baste with orange juice in pan and brush with remaining glaze. Roast ham until heated through, basting every 5 minutes, about 20 minutes longer. Let ham rest 15 minutes. Transfer to platter. Serve ham hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Pillsbury Complete Book of Baking

6 servings

½ cup firmly packed brown sugar

¼ cup margarine or butter, melted

6 canned pineapple slices, drained

6 maraschino cherries

2 eggs, separated

½ cup sugar

¾ cup all purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup pineapple juice

Whipped cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In small bowl, combine brown sugar and butter; blend well. Spread in bottom of ungreased 9-inch round cake pan. Arrange pineapple slices and maraschino cherries over brown sugar mixture. Set aside.

In small bowl, beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. Gradually add sugar; beat well. Add flour, baking powder, salt and pineapple juice to egg yolk mixture; mix well. In another small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter. Pour batter evenly over pineapple slices and cherries.

Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool upright in pan 2 minutes; invert onto serving plate. Serve warm with whipped cream.

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