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Lewes, Delaware
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April 21, 2000     Cape Gazette
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April 21, 2000

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56 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, April 21 - April 27, 2000 FO,C)D & DRINK Ham is the centerpiece of Easter feasts Traditional dish is a holiday hit A big part of this holiday is entertaining friends and family. Thanks to tradition, cured hams are the centerpieces of Easter feasts across the country. Add a perfect mix of cheese, vegetables and biscuits, and you have a spread that looks gorgeous on the table, feeds a large group and is easy to pre- pare. This collection of orginal hol- iday recipes with ham is perfect for every springtime holiday occasion - breathing new life into delicious family meals. Warm up the occasion with a hearty hot spinach dip, combin- ing convenient chopped spinach, ham, Parmesan and Ricotta cheeses and greefi onions for a bread-dipping de- light. Begin your spring dinner with a light citrus toss, combin- ing salad greens, cheeses, or- anges, grapefruit, grapes and water chestnuts. The star attraction is a cured ham, basted with a sugary raisin glaze. And finally, treat the palate to dessert with a confec- tion of fruited cheesecake. Keep the family and other loved ones around the house the next day with ham and cheese brunch strata. Use that leftover ham and bread, along with some fresh broccoli and cheese, for a post- holiday, no-fuss meal. HAM AND CHEESE BRUNCH STRATA 1 loaf (8 oz) French or Italian bread, preferably day old 1/2 lb. ham Cured hams are the centerpieces of holiday feasts across the country. Leftover ham can be used to create delicious post-holiday meals. 1 1/2 C small broccoli florets 2 C Sargent 4 Cheese Creamy Melt Homestyle Blend or Chefstyle Cheddar shredded cheese, divided 6 eggs 2 T Dijon mustard 2 1/2 C milk 2 T butter or margarine Cut bread into 3/4-inch cubes. Cut ham into 1/2-inch cubes. Layer half the bread, then half the ham, all the broc- coli and 1 cup cheese into but- tered 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Repeat layering with remaining bread, ham and 1 cup cheese. Press lightly. Dish will be very full. In a large bowl, combine eggs and mustard. Stir in milk and butter; mix well. Pour evenly over cheese mix- ture. Let stand 15 minutes or cover and refriderate up to 24 hours. Bake at 350 F 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown and set. HOT SPINACH DIP 2 C (15 oz.) light Ricotta cheese I C sour cream I pkg. (I0 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry. 1/4 lb. ham, diced 3/4 C Parmesan shredded cheese 2 green onions, thinly sliced 1 round loaf (16 oz.) bread, unsliced In a food processor, blender or electric mixer, combine Ri- c0tta cheese and sour cream; process until smooth. Stir in spinach, ham, Parmesan cheese and green onions. Remove bread from inside loaf, retaining a 3/4-inch shell; cut bread from inside loaf into bite-size cubes. Pour cheese mixture into bread shell, re- place top, wrap in foil and place on baking sheet. Bake at 350 F for 60 to 75 minutes or until heated through, Arrange heated/gaf and bread cubes on large serving platter. Use wooden skewers to dip bread into cheese mixture. Don't overlook the red Meursault The red Meursault of Ropiteau Freres is a case in point for ratings and wine tasting notes. Since most people think of Meur- sauit as a great white burgundy, they will tend tO overlook a red Meursault with an 85 rating. Generally, this wine can be pur- chased at about half the price of bur- gundies of comparable style. You see, less than 5 percent of Meursault production is red wine and most of it is sold under the name you will recognize - "Volnay" - if you enjoy red Burgundies. In this particular case, Ropiteau Freres' home village is in fact Meursault and there native pride has influenced them to bottle the wine under the Meursault name. Most ex- perts agree this wine would bring a mini- mum double price if bottled as Volnay, which would be entirely legal under the French wine regulations. These are sleek, with good solid struc- ture, and the nose has a hint of violets with typical cherry flavor that every god red burgundy exhibits. There is another sticker shock solution that good research can provide. Look at vintage charts carefully. Often very good years are so overshadowed by a great vin- tage in their midst that they languish in in- ventory. The slang term "vintage fever" is often used for this phenomenon. Probably the most famous recent case of "fever" was the '82 Bordeaux. The ratings were so high for all vintage Bordeaux and the notes so Continued on page 57 / Jazz up your dhlners while sparing the Spam FOCUS ON FOOD Anne Graham talking about, but she said you will if I say, "Spam, spam, spam and ham, and hold the ham." Well, that's my tribute to Spam. I am Spam Burger. Spare Burger. Re- member when a friend insisted I buy a can of Spam to prepare my- self for the would-be Why2K shutdown? And then when I survived, I said I was going to put the spare in a time capsule for those who will witness Why3K. Well, a colleague at the Cape Gazette razzed me about this. She lived in Hawaii and told me that in Hawaii, Spam is considered a delicacy. She told me Hawaiians love Spam as an appetizer. They love Spam on a stick. They love Spam with pineapple. Well, they can have Spam. My colleague at the Cape Gazette told me to mention Monty Python. I do not know what she is going out back to bury my can. Even Prudence will not dig this up for dinner. So much for Spare, which is ex- actly one decimal above the mys- tery meat I ate in school. I am be- coming lower slower Delaware, though. I did not think anything about the fact that when I asked a painter if the room was finished, he responded "pretty much." And I did not think anything when I asked the guy who installed the new refrigerator when it would be cold and he said, "not too long." I guess my friend who says not to drink the water is right. I guess Spam and the water would go real well together. Welcome to lower, slower. Happy Easter and Passover. Here are a few recipes to jazz up your dinners. " MUSSELS VINAIGRETTE 2 lbs. mussels 1/2 C olive oil 3 T red wine vinegar 2 t Dijon mustard salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 2 shallots, finely chopped 3 T finely chopped parsley 2 T capers lettuce leaves for garnish Clean the mussels, removing beard with a knife. Place the mus- sels in a large pot with a tightly fitting lid and do not add any liq- uid or seasoning. Cover the pot and cook over high heat for 5 to 6 minutes, shaking the pot occa- sionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool enough to handle. Remove the mussels from the shells and discard the shells as well as any mussels that did not open. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Add the mussels and remaining ingredients, stirring gently to combine. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until ready to serve. Serve on a bed of lettuce leaves. CREAM OF ENDIVE SOUP 2 T butter 1 medium onion, finely chopped 1 medium leek, white and light green part only, rinsed and fine- ly chopped 1 rib celery, finely chopped 4 to 5 large Belgian Endives, coarsely chopped Continued on page 57