Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter at the Scampwalker's

'Twas a nice and leisurely Easter Sunday at Casa Scampwalker.  After Sunday services, Mrs. S and I whipped up a couple of brandy milk punches.  It's an old family tradition of mine, and one I can remember my parents savoring many years ago when I was my son's age.  The ingredients sound a bit odd, but they almost taste like a melted milkshake.  A decidedly grown-up one.

The centerpiece of our Easter meal was a ham that I prepared from scratch.  I bought a 14-pound fresh ham from Bichelmeyer Meats, and, using the recipe in Michael Ruhlman's Charcuterie,  brined it in a cooler for about six days.  It wasn't a fancy brine -- just kosher salt, brown sugar, and some pink salt.  I smoked it up on Friday (about 7 hours total, until the internal temp hit 155 degrees).  It was delicious!  I always thought a ham required a lot more knowledge, skill, and equipment than the average home cook could muster, but I can gladly report that we'll be doing this again -- just as soon as we eat the other 13 pounds of this one.

The ham was accompanied by a terrific blue cheese and chipotle scalloped potato recipe taken from Homesick Texan, and some gently steamed asparagus drizzled with some lemon juice.  It was all paired with a 2009 Becker Prairie Rotie, a really tasty Rhone-style blend that complemented the flavors of the meal.  And a fresh strawberry pie for dessert.

After a prodigious nap on the couch, we engaged in another Scampwalker ritual: cascarones.  A south Texas and Mexican custom, a cascarone is a dyed eggshell filled with confetti.  A spirited battle at a nearby park ensued, and the Scampwalker tradition of "It Ain't Easter Until Someone Cries or Bleeds" was fulfilled.

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