This was the first big holiday meal that my beau and I hosted…ever. We’ve (meaning my beau, not me) cooked the turkey a couple times when my aunt’s oven was on the outs for Thanksgiving but this was the first big holiday that neither of us ‘went home’ to celebrate. Except that one time we spent Thanksgiving in Paris. Forgot that one for a moment. My love fell asleep at the table and we had a bit of a paparazzi moment when my fellow students realized this! How could I ever forget that? Love, if you pop by to read this, I’m sorry but it was too amusing to stop! I loved that you flew over to visit me after four months apart!
As for this meal, we invited a bunch of local friends to come over with a contribution of some sort to add to the ham and pineapple stuffing we’d be serving. I wish our table was bigger but as it was, it was pretty full!
To start the ham, my beau got up at the crack of dawn (11a) to poke it with some cloves and top it with a few other spices mixed into maple syrup and vinegar. Then he started in on our breakfast! Remember the Easter kielbasa and babka I mentioned last week? Well, I stopped by Baltic then had my basket blessed at the local parish before returning home to finish prepping the apartment. While I ended up deciding against the babka since I’d be the only one eating a huge loaf of bread, the kielbasa was delicious! While I missed my family gathering at home, I am trying to meld those traditions into my own future.
The other dish we made was a pineapple stuffing. I got it from my sister who got it from our aunt who first had it at a friend’s house if I remember correctly (original recipe here). Its one of those sweet and savory pairings that are just perfect. This was also the one dish that my beau needed to have on the Easter table with the ham. He doesn’t make too many requests like that, either. Then again, there I times I think he could live on meat, stuffing and gravy alone…
fat to grease pan (think butter or some other sort of spreadable/spray-able fat)
1 loaf of bread, cubed
1.5 sticks of butter (3/4 cup or 6 oz), just/barely melted
1 cup sugar
3/4 fresh pineapple, chopped (about 2 cans pineapple, drained)
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter the pan (or pans if they’re small like mine were; I used two 2x7x11 inches).
3. Bake for about 1 hour with tin foil on top. You’re looking for a browned crust on the bottom of the dish to form and the egg mixture to rise slightly within the pan.
The final notes: make sure to grease the dish well or the crusty, brown bits won’t necessarily come out with the stuffing and they are delicious. Feel free to use a larger dish and really stuff it with the bread. My cubes weren’t as closely packed as my aunt makes them. Finally, be sure to make enough stuffing! My love ended up putting multiple scoops of the stuffing onto his plate throughout the evening after everyone else had finished their meals. And he wasn’t the only one; I may have caught a guest stealing a few pieces of stuffing at random intervals, too!