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Celery Stir Fry

We found the best way to julienne the celery is to slice off the root end and any part of the celery beyond the main stalk. Cut the stalks in thirds, or if they are very long, quarters, and then cut each of those pieces in half lengthwise. This gives you a manageable, flat surface to slice into matchsticks. Nancy’s original recipe calls for using a high quality rapeseed oil (another name for canola oil) and/or light sesame oil. We added a little dark sesame oil at the finish which was just lovely, so you might want to try that too.

Method

Heat the oils and chiles in a wok or frying pan over high heat for 90 seconds, or until the chiles become fragrant and the seeds sizzle. Add the celery and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce and stir-fry one more minute. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Yield: Serves 6 as a side dish.

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Christmas Hamlets – To Eat or Not to Eat Will Not Be a Question

I had been fantasizing for weeks about doing a whole,
home-cured ham for the holidays. I always get lots of requests for this kind of
thing, and was fully prepared to give it a go, but then a strange thing
happened, I heard the word “Hamlet.” 

It was on TV, and completely unrelated to
cured pork, but for whatever reason the word made me think of cute little,
individually sized hams. That’s all it took, and off I went trying to figure out how
to make this thing happen. I knew I wanted a process that wouldn’t require the
pink curing salts used in commercially produced hams, not because they are
unhealthy, they’re not, but because it would be hard for some of you to find.


I’ve read things in the past about using celery’s naturally
occurring nitrates to accomplish the same thing, so that’s what I used, and as
you’ll hear me say several times in the video, I was thrilled with the results!
While not exactly like a classic city ham, this was very close. The firm, moist
texture was great, the salt level was spot on, and since we used loin instead
of leg, there’s even a little less fat.

I’m afraid I won’t be able to help much with questions about
how to do this with bigger or different cuts, as this was my first foray into
home-cured ham, so if you are going to attempt this, please go to a good
butcher to get the exact same size “chops” that I used. If you do, and follow
these simple steps, I think you will have a holiday meal “to die for.” Sorry, but you didn’t expect me to do this entire post without one forced reference to
the play, did you? Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 Hamlets:
4 thick-cut (10-12 oz) center cut, boneless pork loin
“chops”
For the brine:
1/2 cup *kosher salt plus 1 tablespoon
(*if using fine table salt, you’d only need barely 1/3 cup)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp finely ground black pepper
1 tsp allspice
1/2 ground cloves
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups boiling water to dissolve salt and sugar
3 celery stalks (about 2 cups chopped)
1/2 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
2 cups cold water to puree vegetables in blender, plus add
enough cold water to make 2 quarts total volume of brine
Brine for 48 hours before roasting

For the glaze:
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
pinch of cayenne
whole cloves as needed

Roast at 325 degrees F. until an internal temp of 145
degrees F. is reached.

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