Is anyone else ready for the New Year? The first half of the year for the Bunkycooks was just fine and dandy, but then June came along with my ankle sprain and then the you know what hit the fan! things seemed to go awry. I hate when that happens!
I would say that the last week of the year has fit right in with that shit happens same pattern. First, I spent nearly $40 on really expensive ingredients (Callebaut and Perugia chocolates, hazelnuts, Kahlua, etc.) to make this fancy schmancy cake for our holiday dinner and it was a total disaster.
I wish I had read the online reviews before I wasted all that money and spent many hours of my time standing on my achy breaky ankle! It seems that everyone who attempted to make this cake experienced all the same issues that I did. Who proofed that recipe?
Then, I pulled a spiral sliced ham out of the shrink wrap for our Christmas dinner and the ham literally fell apart on one side! The meat was so lean that it barely had any fat and connective tissues to keep it together. Since this was the second nightmare of the day (where is the boozy eggnog?) and after cussing mumbling a few things under my breath, we tied it up with string and it turned out to be one of the best hams we have had. Second disaster averted.
The ham was sooo good, that I wanted to be sure to use every bit of it (and I am not a real fan of ham casseroles or ham salad), so for dinner last evening, I made this fabulous (not kidding!) French soup (coming soon!) and these scrumptious Panini sandwiches!
How can you go wrong with a fussed up and sophisticated grilled ham and cheese? Well, you can, when the bread is a bit too crunchy. Mr. Bunkycooks had a few spoonfuls of his soup (which got his stamp of approval) and then with literally the first bite of his “sammy”, he broke off a tooth (and I mean the whole tooth!). We are talking down to the root, the nerve…ouch! The dentist said it wasn’t my cooking, just a compromised tooth. Thank goodness for that, huh?
So much for dinner out, a mini vacation, etc. All Mr. B wants for New Year’s is his front tooth!
In spite of another friggin’ calamity minor mishap, the verdict is, the Panini has the perfect combination of savory and sweet with the glazed ham and English Farmhouse Cheddar (black wax). The cheddar is rich, creamy and flavorful with just a bit of a bite (we are stocking up on this stuff!). I used whole-grain mustard (which is an ingredient in the ham glaze) to cover one side of the bread and then slathered my homemade Spicy Fig Orange Jam on the other side of the Ciabatta before toasting warming the sandwich.
We made this sandwich again today and basically steamed it (with a little microwave assistance to melt the cheese) and it was just as amazing. The best news is that no one broke a tooth off! My suggestion is to make this sandwich as toasty as you like, but steaming the sandwich works just as well. Just toast it a bit before serving!
I highly recommend this recipe for Dijon Maple Glazed Spiral Ham. It is one of my favorites (courtesy of Dave Lieberman and Food Network). (By the way, I substitute two cups of apple cider for the 3/4 cup of water called for in the recipe to place in the bottom of the pan.)
If you still have some ham leftovers, this is an awesome way to use them up. This would be perfect for a light New Year’s Eve dinner or great served for a casual party with friends on New Year’s day. Just please, no overly crunchy slices of Ciabatta.
Good Riddance Goodbye to 2010 and let’s ring in the New Year! Have a safe and happy one!
Baked Ham and Farmhouse Cheddar Paninis with Spicy Fig Jam
Leftover slices of Dijon Maple Glazed Spiral Ham (or other baked, spiral sliced ham)
Thick slices English Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese (black wax)
Whole-Grain Dijon Mustard
Homemade Spicy Fig Orange Jam (or store bought spicy fig jam)
Fresh Loaf of Ciabatta Bread
Slice Ciabatta bread in desired sandwich size pieces. Cut those pieces in half horizontally. Spread one side of bread with whole-grain Dijon mustard and the other with the Spicy Fig Jam. Top bread with slices of spiral ham and cheddar cheese.
Heat sandwich on a Panini grill or steamer until sandwich is hot, toasty and the cheese has melted.