Monthly Archives: April 2010

Episode 10: Ham

Here at Spilled Milk, our Easter party is still raging, because we can’t stop eating ham. Dry-cured, wet-cured, we don’t care: we love and investigate them all, with stops in Spain, the mall, and the Middle Ages. Recipe: Greens with ham and cheesy grits.

Brought to you by Sur La Table.

Sur La Table

Greens with Ham and Cheesy Grits (Recipe from Episode 10)


*For the greens:*
2 tablespoons lard or other fat
1 medium onion, diced
1 bunch kale or collard greens
1 cup wet-cured ham (such as Hormel Cure 81), diced
1 cup water
salt and pepper

1. *Prepare the greens.* Remove the stems and slice the leaves into 1/2-inch strips.

2. Heat the lard in a stockpot over medium-high. Add the onion and cook until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the greens and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until they begin to wilt.

3. Add the water and ham and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the greens are very tender, about 1 hour (or maybe more for especially thick collards). Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve atop cheesy polenta.

*For the cheesy grits:*
1 cup polenta or quick (not instant) grits
4 cups water
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir together the polenta, water, salt, and 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan. Place the uncovered saucepan in the oven and bake 45 minutes. Stir well and bake another 5 to 15 minutes, or until grits reach desired texture. Stir in the remaining butter and cheese, check for salt, and serve in big bowls, topped with greens and ham.

Episode 9: Crispy Potatoes

Do you smell something burning? Sorry, that was us. Not even the smoke alarm can deter us from our mission to make crispy potatoes two ways. Plus, Matthew’s freezer contains an embarrassing secret. Again. Recipes: Smashed Roasted Potatoes; Cold-Oil French Fries.

Cold Oil French Fries (recipe from Episode 9)

*Cold Oil French Fries*
Cook’s Illustrated, August 2009

*IMPORTANT NOTE:* If you’re using an electric stove, high heat is too high; try medium-high. In any case, don’t step away from the pot while frying.

2 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes (about 6 medium), scrubbed, dried, sides squared off, and cut lengthwise in 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch batons
6 cups peanut oil
1/4 cup bacon fat, strained, optional
Kosher Salt

1. Combine potatoes, oil, and bacon fat (if using) in large Dutch oven. Cook over high heat until oil has reached rolling boil, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook, without stirring, until potatoes are limp but exteriors are beginning to firm, about 15 minutes.

2. Using tongs, stir potatoes, gently scraping up any that stick, and continue to cook, stirring ocacasionally, until golden and crisp, 5 to 10 minutes longer. Using skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer fries to thick paper bag or paper towels. Season with salt and serve immediately.

Smashed Roasted Potatoes (recipe from Episode 9)

Adapted from Fine Cooking, January 2007

12 to 15 baby red or yellow potatoes, 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil

1. In a saucepan, boil the potatoes with in salted water. Simmer until cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes total. Drain and place the potatoes on a dishtowel.

2. Using a folded second dishtowel, smash each potato to about a half-inch thick.

3. Line a half-sheet pan with foil and then parchment. Put the smashed potatoes on the parchment and let cool completely.

4. Preheat oven to 450°F. Sprinkle potatoes with salt and drizzle with olive oil, lifting each potato to get the oil underneath. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, flipping them halfway through the baking time.

Yield: Oh, about two servings.

Message to the faithful

We’ve been on the road and are therefore behind on our responsibility to you, our beloved listeners. _Do not fear._ We’ll have an all-new episode for you next week.