Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Easter Recipes Using Virginia Foods

Easter is April 24 this year. In the United States, ham is a traditional Easter food. In the early days, meat was slaughtered in the fall. There was no refrigeration, and the fresh pork that wasn't consumed during the winter months before Lent was cured for spring. The curing process took a long time, and the first hams were ready around the time Easter rolled around. Thus, ham was a natural choice for the celebratory Easter dinner. Here's some tasty recipes to try.

Southern-Style Peach Honey Ham Bake is a great way to dress up Smithfield's Spiral Ham for a special occasion. 1 fully cooked, Smithfield Spiral Ham, 1 cup peach preserves, 2 tbsp. spicy mustard, 2 tbsp. peach nectar, 1 1/2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup honey. In a small saucepan combine all ingredients and bring to a simmer. Brush 1/3 of the mixture over the ham and bake uncovered for approximately 1 hour or until a meat thermometer reads 130 degrees F., brushing with the glaze every 20 minutes. Let the ham stand 10 minutes before carving. Serve with any remaining sauce.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Easter Eggs is a fun dessert the kids with love to help make and the adults will love to eat. 2 cups The Peanut Shop of Willamsburg Natural Creamy Peanut Butter, 3/4 cup butter, room temperature, 3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted 3 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal, 1 1/2 packages (18 ounces) dark chocolate chips, 2 tbsp. vegetable shortening, 1/2 bag (6 ounces), white chocoalte chips (optional) Coconut (optional). In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine peanut butter and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sifted confectioner's sugar. Reduce the speed to low and add the crispy rice cereal just until combined. Cover and place the bowl in the refrigerator for about an hour (do not skip this step). Line a baking tray with wax paper. Remove the bowl from the refrigerator. Shape the mixture into egg shapes and place on the wax lined baking tray. Recipe makes approximately 20 eggs. Place baking tray in the freezer for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spring is Here

Spring has arrived. Some spring vegetables we look forward to are peas and asparagus. Here are some recipes to try using these spring vegetables and Smithfield products. Spring Pea, Mint and Bacon Salad: This bright spring green salad of sugar snap peas and sweet green peas is loaded with crispy bacon and tossed in a lemony vinaigrette. Ingredients: 1 lb. Smithfield bacon, cooked until crisp an roughly chopped 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen peas 1 lb. sugar snap peas, strings removed 2 tsp. sugar 2 tbsp. Champagne vinegar (can substitute white wine vinegar) 3 tbsp. olive oil Juice and zest from 1 lemon 1/4 cup fresh mint Steps: Prepare a medium bowl of ice water. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the mint to the peas and drizzle with the dressing. Toss to coat. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. When ready to serve, add chopped bacon. Toss and arrange attractively on serving plates. Garnish with fresh mint. Serve with grilled pork or lamb.

Elegant Ham, Sausage and Asparagus Brunch Bake Ingredients: 12 oz. Paula Deen Ham Sausage 1/2 lb. fresh Asparagus 1- 1 1/2 cup seasoned croutons 2 tbsp. butter, melted 1/4 cup green onions, sliced 1- 1 1/2 cup sharp cheddar 2 tbsp. parsley, chopped 4 eggs, beaten 1 3/4 cup milk 1/2 tsp. dry mustard 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper Directions: Cook ham sausage according to package directions. Drain and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside. Cut asparagus into 1-inch diagonal pieces. Cook in boilng salted water 2 minutes or until just tender. Drain and set aside. Grease a 13X9X2 inch baking pan. Place half of croutons in dish; drizzle with half of butter. Layer with half of the cooked ham sausage, asparagus, green onions, cheese and parsley. Repeat layers. Beat together remaining ingredients. Pour over casserole. Cover; refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Uncover casserole and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and set. Makes 6 to 8 servings.