Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Holiday Ham Balls

The holidays are all about family. I was on the phone with my mother Joyce recently and we discussed family; long before the fledgling children left the nest. My mom is a terrific cook and always put on the fete during Christmas. One of my favorite hors d’oeuvres that Joyce is famous for are her Holiday Ham Balls. I therefore dedicate this month’s recipe to my mom. Blessings to one and all.


1 pound fully cooked ham, finely ground
1 pound ground pork
1 cup milk
1 cup crushed cornflakes
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon ground mustard

In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients; blend just until mixed. Shape into 1-in. balls; place in a single layer in a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine glaze ingredients; cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. Spoon the entire mixture over the ham balls. Cover and bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes. Uncover and bake 15-20 minutes more or until ham balls are just beginning to brown. Gently toss in glaze in the bottom of pan. Serve warm. Yield: about 48 ham balls. Enjoy, JW

Monday, October 5, 2015

Ridiculously Simple French Dip Sandwich

It’s been a while since I’ve cooked something in the slow cooker, so on a recent trip to the Bahamas, I thought that French Dip sandwiches would be a terrific meal. This recipe has only five ingredients and is so simple to make it’s almost embarrassing.

The Ingredients:
1. A 1.3 pound fresh brisket (not corned beef)
2. 1 package of onion soup mix

3. 14.5 ounce can of beef broth
4. Sliced Provolone cheese
5. French bread or mini-baguettes

The Preparation:

Spray the inside of the crockpot with cooking spray. Trim off any excess fat from the brisket and place it in the bottom of the crockpot. In a separate bowl, whisk together the beef broth and onion soup mix and then pour over the brisket. Set the heat on the crockpot to low and cook for 8-10 hours.  
Remove brisket from crockpot to a cutting board and slice thinly across the grain of the meat. Split the French bread or baguette and pile beef of the bottom half. Cover meat with the sliced Provolone. Butter the top half of the bread and then place sandwich, open-face, on a cookie sheet. Place on the second from top rack in a hot oven and broil for 30 seconds.

Ladle cooking liquid from crockpot into a ramekin, plate with sandwich. Incredibly good and enjoy. JW  

Pumpkin Spice Mini-Pies with Cinnamon Cream Cheese


One of my yacht owners also owns a professional minor baseball team in Sioux City, Iowa. I have been following the Sioux City Explorers all year as they set a league record of 75 wins out of a 100 game regular season; thus putting the “X’s” in the playoffs for their league’s championship. And as a fan, I traveled to Sioux City in September to cheer on our team. This trip gave me the perfect opportunity to put together a mid-west regional favorite. This delicious treat will get rave revues at any Halloween party.



1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cups white sugar
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-15oz can 100% pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/3 cup sour cream
3 cups flour
2 Tablespoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Cream Cheese Filling:

1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
4oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2-3 cups powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat butter and sugars together for 1 minute. Add egg and vanilla then beat to combine. Add pumpkin puree and sour cream then beat to combine.

In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three batches, mixing until just combined before adding the next batch.

Drop batter using a cookie scoop onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pan half way through. Let cookies cool for one minute on the baking sheet before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cooled, slice cakes in half.

For the cream cheese frosting: Beat together butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and cinnamon in a large bowl until smooth. Mix in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until desired consistency of frosting is reached. Pipe (put frosting in a gallon zip-lock and snip a corner and squeeze) cinnamon cream cheese frosting on half the cookies, then top with remaining cookies. Enjoy JW