Tag Archives: vinegar

Spicy-Sweet Ham Loaf

The spices really make this meatloaf—don’t skip them.

I have lots of recipes handwritten on slips of paper. Today, I would just be bookmarking them on a device. I remember where some of them came from, but not all. I used to watch the cooking shows on the local PBS station, most memorably, Nathalie Dupree’s New Southern Cooking, Marcia Adams’ Amish Cooking from Quilt Country and Heartland Cooking, and Julia Child’s The French Chef, Cooking with Master Chefs and bits and pieces of most of her other series when available. This was long before the 24/7 availability of cooking channels but most of them were available when there were VCRs. I used to tape the shows as I watched them, so I could go back and write down recipes, stopping the tape to let my writing catch up. I suppose some other recipes could have been copied from the so-called women’s magazines. What can I say? I have a long interest in home cooking. It’s too bad more people have not learned how to cook and are left to rely on pre-packaged food or eating in fast food restaurants all the time. Cooking from scratch can be much more economical.

I’m not sure where this great recipe came from. It sounds like something Marcia Adams would have created, but it’s definitely not her upside down ham loaf that is all over the web. I generally did not elaborate on instructions, which mostly works out, but sometimes it leaves me scratching my head and improvising.


I only made one  addition and one change to the recipe. The only ground pork I could find was reduced fat—fat is the whole reason you use pork!—so I added 1 tablespoon of bacon fat that I had waiting in the fridge for just such an occasion. The other change had to do with that oddly inserted line, 2 T lemon. Lemon what? Juice? Zest? Both seem like odd additions, and the line looks like it was squeezed in. Well, I didn’t have any lemons, but I have a jar of dried Valencia orange peel, so I added 1/2 teaspoon of that. I don’t know if it made a difference, but it didn’t hurt.

Spicy-Sweet Ham Loaf

  • Servings: about 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 375°


  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb ground cooked ham
  • 2 cups bread crumbs (I used soft crumbs from fresh whole wheat bread)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried orange peel or fresh citrus zest from one orange or lemon (adjusted from mystery ingredient in original recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon bacon fat or lard if your meats are too lean
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (not in original recipe)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper (not in original recipe)


Mix all ingredients and shape into loaf in large baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for about one hour or until center registers about 160°. Baste with sauce (below) for the last half hour. Remove from oven to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Basting Sauce

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vinegar (I used rice vinegar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Bring all to boil in small saucepan. It is  not a thick glaze, but it does glaze the loaf with frequent basting, plus some of it soaks in at the bottom. Pour over enough to cover the loaf after the first half hour of baking, then baste the loaf every 10 minutes thereafter, using up the rest of the mixture. You might go over the baking time with opening the door so often. This sauce makes a splattered mess of your baking dish, but it washes right off in the dishwasher.

Beef Enchiladas

Well, these happen to be beef, but they work with a variety of fillings. Today I used ground beef, but most of the time I use pulled chicken or beef from a chuck roast. Pulled pork is another great filling, or you could just use an all cheese filling. Enchiladas are always impressive in a restaurant, all filled and rolled and baked in a sauce smothered with melted cheese, but they are really easy to make. With chicken, I often make a red and white version, using two sauces, cheese and enchilada. That version does take a little more work.

I do go the extra step of making my own enchilada sauce, but maybe you have access to a good quality commercial version. I’m afraid the canned ones around here are just not as flavorful as mine—plus they have tomato sauce in them, which just doesn’t mesh with our idea of enchiladas. I think I’ve posted my enchilada sauce recipe before, but here it comes again:

Enchilada Sauce

  • Servings: about 2 cups
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Prepare Reconstituted Dried Chiles

  1. Rinse 6-8 dried ancho chiles, remove stems and seeds
  2. Tear into pieces so they fit in a small container or bowl
  3. Cover with 2 cups boiling water, submerging the peppers as much as possible; cover container with plastic wrap
  4. Set aside for at least 45 minutes; reconstituted peppers will be dark red, soft, and pliable
  5. Place reconstituted chiles in blender with half the liquid and puree, adding the rest of the liquid through the lid opening
  6. Strain puree through a fine strainer to remove large pieces of pulp; stir slowly in the strainer with a spoon until all the liquid is out and only the pepper fiber remains in the strainer

Prepare Enchilada Sauce

  1. Heat 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil  and 2 cloves of grated garlic in saucepan over medium heat until you can smell the garlic
  2. Stir in 1 tablespoon flour until smooth
  3. Stir in 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  4. Pour in pepper puree and 1 tablespoon white or rice vinegar
  5. Stir and simmer until slightly thickened

Beef Enchiladas

  • Servings: 8 enchiladas
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 350°

1 lb ground beef, 80% lean or higher

1 medium onion, diced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground ancho pepper

1 cup sour cream

1 lb cheddar cheese, grated

2 cups enchilada sauce

8 whole wheat flour tortillas (8 inch soft taco size fits well in most rectangular baking dishes)

  • Brown ground beef in large saute pan. Add onion and seasonings, continuing to stir until the onion is beginning to soften and the spices are fragrant
  • Turn off heat and stir in sour cream*
  • Spread about 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce in bottom of baking dish to prevent sticking
  • Fill each tortilla with beef mixture and top with 2-3 tablespoons of grated cheese; roll and place in baking dish
  • Top with remaining enchilada sauce; as you can see, I don’t worry about covering all the tortilla edges—the dish should not be soupy
  • Top with the remaining cheese
  • Bake at 350° for about 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and beginning to brown and sauce is bubbling at edges

Other enchilada ideas:

  1. Use a drier meat mixture, serving sour cream as a garnish at serving
  2. Mix chicken with cheese sauce for filling, using enchilada sauce for topping
  3. Prepare shredded beef or pork that has been seasoned during roasting for filling
  4. Use uncooked diced onion in filling for more texture and a stronger onion flavor
  5. Skip the enchilada sauce and use only a cheese sauce—plus grated cheese—for topping

Pickled Tomatoes

I promise this is the last post about garden tomatoes, because the plants have been ripped out, and this little bundle is all that remains from the garden. Small to medium in size and firm, they look like they can hold up to a wet recipe. I’m a little tired of the fresh tomato slices on sandwiches now that the cool autumn is here, and I have enough crushed tomatoes in the freezer for a few winter sauces. In the colder months, I think a little spice is one way of convincing yourself that you are warm. Yet I still wanted to use them as garnish or accompaniment, so I looked around to see if you can pickle a tomato. I think I’ve found the recipe elements I would like—I better like them, because my husband likes neither tomatoes nor pickles. I’m imagining them on burgers or scrambled eggs, but if you have any other ideas, let me know.

You can find the recipe here (or Google “pickled farm stand tomatoes” because it is posted everywhere): http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/pickled-farm-stand-tomatoes-with-jalapenos

The only changes I made to the recipe were not using ginger or scallions—ginger just didn’t seem right with tomatoes and I didn’t see any value to the fresh scallions—and substituting a small can of chopped chiles for the fresh jalapenos.

They are sitting in the fridge, now, in my old brown crock for eight hours. I sure hope I like them.