I am the human equivalent of a mutt, with roots in Hawaii, Portugal, Ireland, Liechtenstein, and Spain. Each branch of the family identified itself through its cooking, and with two Portuguese grandfathers, that country's cuisine showed up a lot. Where I grew up in California, in the East Bay, has a huge Portuguese community. Recently, on a FB page celebrating my California hometown of San Lorenzo, there was a big discussion about one of our "local" specialities--vinho d'alhos.
Whether you are planning a buffet or a sit-down dinner, baked ham is a great choice for your main course. I have created many a baked ham recipe over the years, but this is my go-to recipe. It touches all of the bases--an easy recipe for a sweet, sticky, and fruity glaze with a little savory kick to balance the salty meat. Always start with a bone-in ham. When I bought a ham for my mom recently, she told me NOT to bring back one of the pre-sliced ones because they are too salty for her. She's right--in order to compensate for the juices lost from pre-slicing, most companies pump the meat with "sodium solution" a.k.a. salt water. If you can't find pineapple preserves, use peach or apricot.
For a guy who has created hundreds (if not thousands...it's true!) recipes over the years, it is difficult to choose my favorite recipes. But, this roast pork, which I created for the folks at Driscoll's Berries, is up at the top of the list. It is absolutely perfect for the holidays. The roast can be wrapped in the pancetta a day ahead and roasted just before dinner, and the pan deglazed with the premade sweet and savory sauce. Blackberries are not a traditional holiday ingredient, but they are in season in California and you will find plump, sweet purple berries in your market this week. They add an element of surprise to the classic holiday roast.
I have written many recipes for spareribs in my time. So, when I was asked my the National Pork Council to come up with some fresh ideas for the backyard staple, I knew what I wanted--a sticky, lick-your-fingers sauce with sweet and sour in perfect balance to complement tender, smoky meat. Sounds about right to you? Here's the recipe. And start the grill.
I was gone all week at the Greenbrier Professional Food Writer’s Symposium, and when I got home, there wasn’t much in the refrigerator except for a Cyrovac-ed bag of baby back ribs that I had forgotten about. Working quickly to use them before the expiration, I threw these incredible ribs together for dinner with friends. Sticky, sweet, salty, meaty—they have everything that I ask for from ribs, except for low fat content.