Tuesday, December 30

Ham | Beans | Cornbread

Living with only two people (plus a cat and a dog), means there are always plenty of leftovers in the refrigerator. Sadly, none of us, except maybe the dog, are really all that into leftovers. So when the holiday's come around and I feel the urge to cook giant turkeys and bake entire hams I have to get creative when the - literally - pounds of meat we have leftover. 

Growing up, ham, beans, and cornbread was one of my favorite ways mom disguised the leftover hams from Christmas and Easter. To carry on the tradition (and in honor of her birthday today!) I present to you the most delicious beans with ham on earth. 


1 lb of white beans - cannellini or great northern
2 1/2 quarts of water
3-4 lbs of ham hocks or shanks
2 teaspoons (or more) of Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 ribs of celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste
fresh parsely

Preparation Instructions 

Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the beans and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and add your beans. Allow beans to soak overnight (or for at least 8 hours). 

Make your ham broth by putting the shanks or hocks into a large pot and covering them 2 1/2 quarts of water. Add the Italian seasoning and heat on high until the water comes to a simmer. Lower the heat, maintaining a simmer, and partially cover for about an hour. 

About 10 minutes before the ham broth is complete, heat olive oil in a small pan and saute the onion and garlic on medium heat. At this point, you may want to go ahead and pull your ham off the bone (discard the bone) and shred your ham in the pot.

Once the onion, garlic, and ham is ready add all the vegetables as well as your soaked beans to your pot.  Cook for another 40 minutes to an hour, uncovered, until the vegetables are soft. Add salt and pepper to taste and more water if needed. Serve with chopped fresh parsley, and of course, cornbread.

Three Easy Bark Recipes for any Celebration!

I have never met a short cut I didn't like, and for any celebration homemade bark feels like the ultimate short cut. Not only is bark the perfect excuse to eat straight chocolate. You can make these three different varieties in under 2 hours (including the hour they set up in the fridge while you take a shower/check instagram/walk your dog/whatever).

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bark with Toffee

1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups peanut butter chips
1 teaspoon shortening
1/2 cup Skor toffee bits 

First, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Then, in a microwave safe bowl, melt the milk chocolate chips on medium heat for about 1 minute, check the chocolate by stirring it, if not melted you can turn on again for 30 seconds. Continue to check and stir again until chocolate is smooth.

In a second microwave safe bowl combine the shortening and peanut butter chips and microwave on medium heat for 1 minute, check the peanut butter chips by stirring it, if not melted you can turn on again for 30 seconds. Repeat as necessary, until smooth.

Spoon the chocolate and peanut butter alternately in lines on your cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Continue until all the melted chocolate and peanut butter is on the sheet. To create a marbled effect, pull a butter knife through the mixture.

Sprinkle the skor toffee bits on top, and place the cookie sheet in the fridge for about an hour to set up. Once bark is hard, remove from the fridge and break into pieces.

Recipe adapted from the Cravings of a Lunatic Blog

Dark Chocolate and Coffee Bark with Sea Salt Roasted Almonds

300 grams of dark chocolate
2 tbsp strong, dark coffee
1/2 cup roasted almonds, roughly chopped
Sea salt to taste
Line a baking sheet with silver foil.

Place almonds on baking sheet, sprinkle with sea salt, then roast at 400 for 20 minutes, or until fragrant and darker in color. Roughly chop once cool or room temperature.

Finely chop the chocolate and melt it in a double boiler. I used a bowl placed on a pot of boiling water to do this. When the chocolate is nearly all  melted, add the coffee and stir well. Then mix in about 1/4 cup of the nuts.

Pour the chocolate and nut mixture on to the silver foil lined baking sheet (I used the same one used for the almonds). Spread it into a layer of about 1/2 cm thickness. Add the remaining almonds on top. Then allow mixture to harden in the refrigerator for about an hour.  

Once hard, break it into small pieces and store in an airtight container.

Recipe adapted from the blog, Love Food Eat

Chocolate Cake Batter Bark with Sprinkles 

8-10 ounces high quality dark chocolat
12-14 ounces high quality white chocolate
3 teaspoons yellow cake mix
sprinkles of your choice

Melt dark chocolate either in the microwave or a double boiler. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour chocolate on. You can smooth it with a spatula to the thickness you desire. Stick in the freeze for 20 minutes.

Melt while chocolate. Whisk in cake mix slowly, stirring well until no lumps remain. Let it set for 3 full minutes (or at least until it slightly thickens). Remove baking sheet with chocolate from the freezer and immediately pour white chocolate on top. Sprinkle on sprinkles. Place in the refrigerator for about an hour to harden. Once hard, break into small pieces.

Recipe adapted from the blog, How Sweet It Is.