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Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter and beer, and a fun seasonal from Het Anker

When it comes to Easter, my first thoughts go to what I am having for dinner.  Being that I grew up just having excuses to cook a big meal on holidays that I was never exactly "one to observe" so to speak, I was never one to complain.  Holidays meant an excuse to eat and drink well, no matter your disposition.

However, I got quite bored and even more disgusted with the signature disk on Easter and that is of ham.

Ham I grew up with was the typical overly pink, water injected, and as I soon experienced coming to the DC area, can be hell on earth that is salty.  One Christmas I went hole hog into it and bought what I and my family will only refer to as "the salt lick" of death.  Long story short, it was a Christmas ham I wish I could forget.  "You making another Mongolian salt mine again?!" my dad sent in his email when I told him the plans I had.  If there was anything it would have to be the amount of ridicule that probably got me more motivated. I refused to be mocked, I wanted revenge on this beast, I am going to destroy this ham!

I went for it again this Easter, while in the back of my thoughts I was thinking duck... just so I could be different.  Since a duck around this time let alone a good one is probably not the most easiest to acquire, and pork was in abundance, ham just made me cave in.  My mind panicked as to how badly I would either, a) Hate this thing with strong compassion or b) how badly I would screw this up.

I grabbed a good ham from my organic farmer's market, a Mulefoot butt roast.  Huge hunk of meat, and also a huge hunk out of my wallet.  I figured this is a real bad way to screw up an expensive piece of meat at $9.99 a pound.  Examining the picture I'll let you guess how much that thing weighed (then do the math).

I closed my eyes and handed over my credit card, dreaming of the glaze that would come, the oven that could handle it, and the salt lick past ready to bury into oblivion.

A few hours of prep the day before (scoring the ham and a bit of marinating, the next daya glazing of honey and mustard and vinegar, smoke that filled my house for 30 minutes as I seared it for 20 minutes at 425 first before turning it down, I had lift off, once my instant read thermometer took nearly 4 hours to get to a good internal temperature.  ARE WE DONE YET?? I kept asking myself while friends nibbled on a turkish meze of celery root and carrots with homemade pita bread my wife made.  The die was cast, WE EAT NOW!  Friends could partake, and boy did we ever.

Pictured left was a big dent we put in it, as the jewels of fat glistened everywhere.  I grabbed my latest gadget, an electric carving knife.  My god this is my favorite kitchen items and would describe it as the best tool ever in a kitchen.  Nothing makes a man feel like a man after 4 hours of slaving a hot roast, having fat burned on your arms, lifting a giant pan, and ripping into the beast with a chainsaw to extract a hard slaving work of cooking and basting.

Along with all the food I also took part in enjoying an Easter Ale beer from Het Anker, which is a seasonal beer released specifically around this time.

Wonderful match and interesting take on a Belgian Strong Dark Ale.  Malty but also a big candy licorice and perhaps even some mint and menthol like action on the finish.  Certainly an interesting beer to imbibe on Easter.

But nope, not done.  Enter crepes again and for Easter more beer.

Chimay Bleu rounded out the evening of some beer imbibing fun.  These crepes I didn't actually prepare myself, it was from our friend (who also added Noir dark chocolate hazelnut spread from Belgium too).

Beer and Easter just works in the most peculiar way I must admit.  Now I have 8 days of ham to eat for left over.  Pork... so dam good, and take that SALT LICK!

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