Dark Days Challenge Extra Credit: Christmas Dinner

Jeremy and I had no fewer than 4 meals commemorating the Christmas holiday through the end of last week and the weekend. Needless to say, I’m all “pie-ed” out. And, I still have a fridge full of leftovers, almost all of which are no where near healthy. Ham, mashed potatoes, baked beans, pie, pie and more pie, and cake and cookies… I feel like I could benefit from one of those Beyonce cleanse diets.

I supposed I should be grateful that we have enough to eat, because I know that many families did not this holiday season. At any rate, without even planning it, I realized as I was making Christmas dinner at my house for my dad and brother, that I was making a Dark Days meal. That’s what’s so nice about doing this for a few years, you just grow accustomed to eating this way, and you do it without thinking.

I made a fresh ham, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy and rolls. My dad and his wife brought a dessert and so did my brother and his girlfriend. It was quite a spread and everyone got their bellies full on a delicious SOLE dinner.
The ham was from Little Brown Cow Farm via the Monroe Farm Market. It had a glaze made from orange-infused local honey, Makers Mark, and some peach jam I canned from local peaches last summer. The potatoes were from Larry Williams (I mentioned him in my last post–he is a farmer in the northern part of the state that I see from time to time through my job). They were made with 2% milk from Homestead Creamery, Organic Valley pasture butter, and some Kroger brand all-natural sour cream. The beans were grown by by father in law and canned by my mother in law. I put some bacon grease on them from bacon I bought from Sandy Creek Farms in Ravenswood, WV. The rolls were made from local flour from Reeds Mill Flours in Monroe County. I even used my newly-bought fancy Florida Crystals sugar in the rolls so they could be 100% SOLE.
I’ve never had fresh ham (that I know of) before. It was a challenge. You have to bake it long enough to get it up to the proper temperature, unlike a cured or pre-cooked ham. And, it wasn’t smoked, so I needed to flavor it. I soaked it in a brine of kosher salt and brown sugar for a day before I baked it. Then, I found a recipe for a simple bourbon glaze that called for honey and orange marmalade. I’ll definitely try this again. My house smelled AMAZING while it was baking. I probably overcooked the ham, but I was trying to get it up to 165 degrees. I couldn’t have gotten by with a little less oven time, but it was still delicious.

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