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14 December 2005 @ 09:39 am
Menu for Yule/Solstice gathering ideas  
Hello, all!

I'm having a few friends over for an informal observance of the Winter Solstice next week (the 21st). I was planning to take the afternoon off work to bake a ham, but I just found I can't leave early that day. Rats!!!

Does anyone have prep-ahead or crockpot meal ideas for me? I would like to keep the menu traditionally holiday-ish. If I didn't care about mood, I'd just make crockpot carnitas. =D I get home from work at 4:00 and people will be gathering at 5:00. So I do have an hour at least to pull stuff together, and I plan to do items like the dessert ahead of time. Nobody involved has food allergies or dietary restrictions. I do have a few venison tenderloins left from last hunting season, so if you've got venison recipes, I'll take 'em.

To show my gratitude in advance, I give you to you what I was planning to make:
My uncle's slightly modified baked ham recipe from the 1953 Joy of Cooking
I got the recipe from the 1953 edition before they sucked the life out of it by making it "now" and trendy. This was originally meant to be a sauce added over the ham about an hour before baking is complete. I added the extra liquid in the form of wine to make it into more of a basting sauce because I find basting to be very Zen like. The sauce is as follows with my variations:

1 and 1/3 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/3 cup fine bread crumbs (which I omitted because I thought the baster would likely get clogged)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons wine (any type as long as it's not Muscatel)

Mix it well and pour over the ham. Baste frequently, but not so frequent that it's impossible to keep your oven at the desired temperature, which by-the-by, is 325 degrees. If you're going to bake a whole ham like I did for Thanksgiving, bake the ham about halfway first and then add the basting sauce. I felt the sauce got a little dark and thick, as did the outside of the ham. It was still tasty, but the appearance left something to be desired. Also, I basted it so frequently that the center did not get cooked to the full 170 degrees the recipe called for.

Hear and obey the words of Uncle Bruce.

Thanks in advance! I'm very much enjoying this community.
Miškamschaos on December 14th, 2005 03:59 pm (UTC)
would your ham fit in the crock pot?

you could do that and then finish it in the oven maybe?

tho I like spiced wine done in the crock pot (but basically to keep it warm) add orange zest,cinamin sticks, peppercorns, nutmeg and clove to the wine...you can also cut that with some apple cider...it is a tasty and lovely holiday drink

you can also prep lots of veggies and dips and snacks ahead of time as well...
Clever Mankaclevermanka on December 14th, 2005 04:10 pm (UTC)
I'm definitely doing mulled wine. I can make that a day ahead, too. I've found mulled wine goes in the fridge and re-heats just fine! LOL!

Alas, for the number of people (six--all of us fairly large eaters) the ham I want isn't gonna fit in my crockpot. Boo.

Good call on the snackies ahead of time. Hm. Maybe I'll just do a little smorgasbord of hors douvres... Who doesn't love meatballs?
Miškamschaos on December 14th, 2005 04:25 pm (UTC)
exactly! and meatballs CAN go into a crockpot

yea, you can do a very ellegant setting with some good cheese and crackers...maybe an olive tampenade served with endive leaves, I often make a salmon whip (cream cheese, green onion, capers and tinned salmon with salt pepper and a dash or 2 of hot sauce whipped together) and pipe that on some melba toast
Clever Mankaclevermanka on December 14th, 2005 04:28 pm (UTC)
This is sounding better all the time. Hey, what are you doing next Wednesday? =)
Miškamschaos on December 14th, 2005 07:00 pm (UTC)
alas, I will be in AZ, and with my mother (gawds above help me)

Catperkyrusalka on December 14th, 2005 06:28 pm (UTC)
The venison tenderloin: The best way to do this is pan fried-slice it up, coat in a little bit of flour and seasoning (I'm from LA, so we used Paul Prudhomme's seasoning mixes, but a little pepper and salt or whatever you like) and pan fry. Serve with biscuits-I can hunt up my recipe for yeast biscuits, if you're interested. This is better than steak in my humble opinion. ;)

With less tender tenderloin, my grandmother sliced it up and baked it with a cream of mushroom soup sauce. It isn't fancy, but it's tasty.

You can also cook the venison like a roast, with potatoes, carrots and onions. I wouldn't use the tenderloin for that, but that's just me. If your guests are wary of venison, it can be a way to sneak it on them.

I don't know if you were looking for something fancier. I know there are a lot of more interesting recipes with wine or fruit sauces, but I personally don't like sweet flavors with venison.
This doesn't sound bad, though: http://www.exoticmeats.com/recipes/120.html.
Clever Mankaclevermanka on December 14th, 2005 06:50 pm (UTC)
Ooooh. That Venison Fillet with Pecan Sauce sounds pretty tasty, and rather festive. Thanks!
dorinne on December 14th, 2005 06:34 pm (UTC)
You could buy a pre-cooked spiral ham. They don't take long to heat up in the oven, you could marinate it before you pop it in there and add any glazes you like.

My favorite is pineapple, raisins, cherries and brown sugar. :)
Clever Mankaclevermanka on December 14th, 2005 06:54 pm (UTC)
The spiral sliced hams are kinda pricey, though. I think I'm just gonna go with mschaos's suggestion and do an appetizer table.

Thanks for the reply, though! I've never considered adding my own glaze to a pre-baked ham. Definitely something to consider when money's not so tight.
Annequeenmaggie on December 14th, 2005 08:52 pm (UTC)
I always do my own glaze on the spiral sliced hams... and if you can find a sale, they aren't all that expensive: my local Giant is selling their store bran for $1.29/lb this week... and the Costco always hasthem at ~ $2.00. I buy two or three on asale and keep some in the freezer: right next to the extra turkeys bought at Thanksgiving!
Clever Mankaclevermanka on December 14th, 2005 09:59 pm (UTC)
*forehead slap*

I always remember to buy dry goods from SAM's (alas we didn't get a CostCo until recently and I'm considering switching my membership), but I never think to look at their meats or produce. Dunno why...