GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

December 26, 2012

Food for a quiet New Year's Day

Pat's Kitchen
Patricia Altomare

---- — New Year’s Day is usually a “do very little” day in my home.

In my past I had my share of New Year’s Eve parties, when the following day would start late and be one of pure laziness (and re-energizing).

But in the years of raising a family, it turned into a day of a quiet dinner, or a brunch, sometimes “all-day grazing,” with foods that could be heated up as desired.

Most often, the afternoon would bring a football game on TV or we would get into a good movie. Or friends or family would stop over and join us for dinner when we would start talking of our New Year’s resolutions, or at least something we intended to accomplish that year. Usually we kept it simple, shying away from heavy resolutions.

When I did make a sit-down dinner, it was most usually baked ham. To me, this is the easiest and quickest “Sunday dinner” meal; just glaze it and put it into a slow oven. Later, in the early evening, it would usually turn into a great ham sandwich.

Creamed onions and carrots, which I always made a couple of days ahead, is a perfect side dish to ham. If a potato was desired, I would just put some white baking potatoes or sweet potatoes in the oven alongside the ham.

And a big bowl of fresh fruit salad is nice to have in the refrigerator for all-day snacking.

These are a few of my favorite foods for my “do nothing day,” along with an easy dinner. Add your favorites and make it the same for you.

Cider Glazed Ham

1 fully cooked ham of your choice (I like shank end, bone-in, about 5 pounds)

12 whole cloves

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

31/2 teaspoons dry mustard

1/3 cup apple cider

Heat oven to 325 degrees. With a sharp knife, score top of ham; insert cloves. Place in shallow roasting pan. Bake at 325 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Remove ham from oven and spoon glaze over ham. Return ham to oven for another 30 minutes to continue baking.

Creamed Onions & Carrots

This creamy vegetable dish can be made a day or two ahead; just reheat at dinner time. The flavor is much better if you use fresh carrots.

Cut them in small pieces; either julienne, or rounds.

Serves 10

8 cups water

2 pounds pearl onions

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

3 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups whipping cream plus 2 tablespoons

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 cups cut-up carrots

In a large kettle, bring water to a boil. Add onions and boil for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water; peel and set aside. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add cream, salt and pepper, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in carrots and onions. Taste-test for additional salt and pepper. Transfer to a buttered 2-quart baking dish. Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Fruit Salad

1 (20-ounce can) pineapple chunks, drained well

3 oranges, sectioned

3 bananas, sliced diagonally

2 apples, unpeeled, sliced

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

romaine lettuce, chopped peanuts, seeds of 1 pomegranate (optional)

In a large bowl, combine pineapple, oranges, bananas and apples.

In a small jar, combine sugar, oil, orange juice, and vinegar; shake well.

When ready to serve, pour dressing over fruit; toss gently.

Place fruit in a lettuce-lined bowl; sprinkle with peanuts and pomegranate seeds if desired.

Patricia Altomare invites feedback. Email her at patakitchen@yahoo.com, or write care of Gloucester Daily Times, 36 Whittemore St., Gloucester, MA 01930.