Why my brother-in-law is awesome

J’s brother:

I’m going by central market after work to pick up the beef for tomorrow and want to try and incorporate some parmacotto ham. (If you haven’t tried this, it’s AMAZING.)  Any idea on something to make with that that would go well with burgers?

Me:

Is it thin sliced like proscuitto or would you have a big hunk of it like a Virginia ham?  You could do a gourmet takeoff on am ham and cheese sandwich.  Slice some ciabatta or focaccia in lengthwise to make a sandwich, put the ham in with a nice fontina, add some shaved parmesan and grill.

J’s Brother:

They can cut it any way I need. I was thinking finger food of some sort.  Perhaps mini sandwiches as a side?  Know of any crackers that would work well with that idea?

Me:

Everything I am thinking of other than ham and cheese would be bad for your deviated uvula.  That kind of ham pairs great with fruit because the salty-smokiness pairs really well with the sweet acidity of an apple, pear, fig, or peach.  Definitely mini sandwiches is the direction I’d go.

J’s Brother:

Oooo I really like the idea of apple wedges with it.  Thanks for the sounding board!

Me:

One more suggestion – balsamic reduction.  Take a cup of balsamic vinegar, simmer it until it reduced by a half to a third.  Drizzle on your ham.  The sweet/sharp flavor really enhances stuff like proscuitto.

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One Response to Why my brother-in-law is awesome

  1. The brother says:

    Suppose I can update this. Things went over excellently.

    Burgers – 2 pounds of chuck mixed with 1 pound of sirloin from Central Market. Mixed them together with one egg, a tablespoon of cayenne and a tablespoon of onion powder. Next day when making the patties I rubbed them with an equal mix of fresh ground pepper, garlic, and salt.

    These came out really good. You’ve had the burgers I’m trying to replicate and we’re definitely on the right track with cayenne. These were the best BBQ burgers I’ve ever had, but not quite to RJ’s level. Needs a little more flavor, but I think the cayenne was right where it needs to be so they aren’t too spicy.

    Went with watermelon instead of apple and spiked it with coconut rum. Everywhere I looked said to take out a plug, fill it, and replace the plug. That didn’t do much of anything at all so I ended up just soaking the pieces in a bowl with rum in it.

    Raspberry-Lemon cupcakes – (stolen from Bon Appetit)

    3/4c unsalted butter, room temp
    3c powdered sugar, divided
    4 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon peel, divided
    2 large eggs
    1 1/4c SELF RISING flour
    1/4c buttermilk
    4 tbsp lemon juice, divided
    12tsp +1tbsp seedless raspberry jam (seeds worked fine for me)

    Preaheat oven to 350. Line 12 muffin cups with liners.

    Using an elec. mixer, mix 1 1/2c powdered sugar and 3 tsp lemon peel, and the butter until blended. Beat until pale yellow and fluffy.

    Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until blended, then beat in half the flour. Add the buttermilk and 2tbsp of the lemon juice. Beat until blended then beat in the rest of the flour.

    Drop 1 rounded tbsp full of batter into each liner. Spoon in 1 tsp of jam into each then cover with the rest of the batter.

    Bake about 22 minutes until tester comes out of the middle clean.

    While they’re baking, whisk the rest of the sugar, 2tbsp of lemon juice (I used a bit more) and 1 1/2 tsp of the peel together. Spoon that over half of the cupcakes after they’re done. Whisk in 1tbsp of
    jam into the remaining icing and use that to top the rest. Added some food coloring to each icing, but I still can’t get it looking as cool as it did on the magazine.

    I used strawberry jam this time instead of raspberry and these were a huge hit.

    Also served chips from Central Market – they have a new beer chip in a gold package and they’re just delicious.

    I have pics up on facebook, feel free to steal them and add them in here if you want.

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