Friday, March 27, 2009

Home for Dinner 2009

Every year Cedarville Alumni office plans "Home for Dinner." It's an opportunity for alumni to host current students for dinner. It is so. much. fun.! We have hosted students every year since we've been married. We have had a great bunch every year! One of the best parts of Cedarville University is its student body. This was our group from this year. Again, a great bunch of students. We had one nursing student (yay!) and even a media type major (which was so fun for Ralph).
We had a very yummy planned for them and were quite pleased with the results! Our menu was:
  • Crostinis
  • Cherry Coke Ham
  • Vegetable Medley
  • Home made rolls
  • Chocolate Espresso cake w/Cafe Latte Cream
  • Sweet tea, lemonade and water
The crostinis were just hamburger buns I had frozen. I brushed them with a mixture of olive oil and butter, toasted them, topped them with a mixture of sauteed mushrooms and garlic and Parmesan cheese. So yummy!

The Cherry Coke Ham is a Nigella Lawson recipe. It ended up being Wild Cherry Pepsi ham as that was what was on sale. :) Here is the recipe:
5-6lb boneless mild cure ham
1 onion
approx. 6 12oz cans Cherry Coke

For The Glaze:
approx. 16 whole cloves
1 teaspoon
pimenton dulce or smoked paprika
3-4 tablespoons cherry jam
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Put the ham snugly into a large saucepan (you really need the tightest fir you can, so that you don't have to use lots and lots of Coke to cover it later) and fill with cold water. Put the pan on the heat and bring to the boil, then drain the ham into a colander, wash the ham under the tap and rinse the saucepan before putting the ham back in. This will get rid of some of the saltiness. Or just soak overnight [which is what I did].
Add the Cherry Coke and the onion, halved, to the ham and if the liquid doesn't cover it then add some water. Put back on the heat and bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and partially cover the pan. Cook for approx. 2-2 1/4 hours.
When you are ready to glaze the ham, preheat the over to 450. Remove the ham from the liquid, reserving it for later, and sit the ham on a board. Strip off the rind, and a little of the fat layer if it's very thick, and cut a diamond pattern into the remaining fat with a knife in lines about 3/4 inch apart. Stud each diamond with a clove.
Put the jam, pimenton dulce and red wine vinegar into a saucepan and whisk together over a high heat, bringing it to the boil. Let the pan bubble away so that the glaze reduces to a syrupy consistency that will coat the fat on the ham.
Sit the ham in a roasting pan on a layer of aluminum foil, as the sugar in the glaze will burn in the oven as it drips off. Pour the glaze over the diamond-studded ham and then put it in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the glazed fat has caught and burnished. Take the ham out of the oven and return it to the carving board to rest before you carve it.
from Feasts:Food To Celebrate Life pg.206-206

The Chocolate Espresso Cake w/Cafe Latte Cream is also a Nigella Lawson recipe. This cake is so yummy we will DEFINITELY be making it again soon! Here is that recipe:
For The Cake
5oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons butter
6 eggs
1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1/4 cup/4 tablespoons Tia Maria or other coffee liqueur

For The Caffe Latte Cream
3oz white chocolate, broken into small pieces
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
scant 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

Take anything you need out of the fridge to bring to room temperature. The only truly important thing, however, is that the eggs aren't cold, so if they are, just put them into a bowl (I use the KitchenAid bowl I'm going to whisk them in later) and cover them with water for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350. Butter and line a 9 inch springform pan.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave or double boiler and set aside to cool slightly. Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together until thick, pale and moussey. They should have at least doubled in volume, even tripled. If you're using a standing mixer, as I do, this is effortless.
Gently fold in the flour and espresso powder, taking care not to lose the air you have created, and finally add the melted chocolate and butter, folding gently again. Pour into the prepared pan and cook for 35-40 minutes, by which time the top of the cake should be firm, and the underneath still a bit gooey. Immediately pour over the Tia Maria and then let the cake cool completely on a rack before releasing it from the pan.
For the cream, melt the white chocolate either in a microwave or double boiler, and let it cool. Fold in the cream and espresso powder, whipping the latte cream together to thicken it a little. For some reason the white chocolate seems to make the cream instantly thicker; if I whisk the cream first it can seize a little when it's stirred into the chocolate.
Sit the sprung cake on a plate and fill the middle sunken crater with the caffe latte cream and dust with a little cocoa, or just put the buff-colored cream in a bowl, with a spoon, to serve alongside the cake, dusting or not with cocoa or, indeed, instant espresso powder or a mixture of both, as you wish.
from Feasts:Food To Celebrate Life pg.292-293


  1. Your dinner sounds very yummy!! What a special way to spend an evening, making new friends giving them a little bit of home!!

  2. Sounds like you had a fun time. The dinner sounds soooo good!