Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Rump Roast with Dark Rum Sauce

Back in my salad days of sailboats in the Caribbean, I did a stint at an all-inclusive resort on Martinique as a sailing instructor. Working in the French West Indies was a gas! The sailing was terrific. The island is steeped in history of colonial plantations, thick rainforests, quaint villages and pirate lore. And while the six month contract entailed 18 hour days (including putting on shows at night), the best reward was the French cuisine. Pain au chocolat, fresh tropical fruits and imported cheese was a typical breakfast. But when the sun went down, that’s what made my mouth water. This dish will make for a happy crew and is good enough for the owners.

1 teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black paper
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
3 pound rump roast, trimmed
2 tablespoons EVOO
1 cup dark rum, divided
½ cup beef broth
2 cloves garlic crushed and minced
2 whole bay leaves
½ cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup lime juice


Combine allspice, salt, pepper and cloves and rub spices into the roast. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet to medium heat and brown all sides of the roast. Transfer roast to a 6 quart slow cooker and add ½ of the rum, broth, garlic and bay leaves. Cook covered on low for 1 hour.

Combine the remaining rum, brown sugar and lime juice and whisk until blended. Pour over roast and continue cooking on low for 5-6 hours.

Remove roast to cutting board and cover with tin foil. Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Pass remaining liquid thru a sieve to remove bay leaves and garlic. Over medium heat, reduce for 10-15 minutes. Once it has thicken, spoon sauce over meat. Serve with Old Bay red roasted potatoes and roasted asparagus.  Enjoy JW

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


During the past holidays we served up a couple of glazed and smoked hams. After carving the ham, I wrap up the ham hocks and put them in the freezer. When I have saved four hocks, it’s time to make a favorite mid-western dish, Ham Hocks and Beans. This hearty meal, served with honey corn bread, it just the thing on a cold winter’s day. A little labor intensive, but well worth the effort.

4 ham hocks
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small minced sweet onion
¼ cup chopped bell pepper
¼ cup chopped celery
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup dried thyme
3 bay leaves
5 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1 pound Great Northern beans, rinsed and soaked overnight
8 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup chopped parsley
½ cup chopped green onions

In a large cast iron stockpot, bring olive oil up to a medium-high heat. Score the ham hocks and sauté them along with onion, celery, bell pepper, red pepper flakes, oregano, thyme and bay leaves for 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté one minute more. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 ½ hours stirring every 20 minutes. Carefully stir in the pre-soaked beans so as to not break the skin and simmer for another hour, until the ham hocks are tender and beans are cooked. Add salt and simmer another 30 minutes or until the meat on the ham hocks falls apart. Serve with a sprinkle of parsley and green onion and corn bread. Enjoy, JW

Sunday, January 3, 2016


 St Patrick's Day, while not a legal holiday in the United States, is nonetheless widely recognized and observed throughout the country as a celebration of Irish and Irish American culture. Celebrations include prominent displays of the color green, eating and drinking, religious observances, and parades. The holiday has been celebrated on the North American continent since the late eighteenth century. The largest celebration in the United States is of course in New York City, but what is little known is that the second largest celebration is in Savannah, Georgia.  Observed on March 17th, it commemorates the traditional death date of Saint Patrick, the celebrated patron saint of Ireland. Enjoy this holiday inspired dessert after your Saint Patty’s dinner.


9” pie crust from the frozen food section of your grocer
¼ pound butter (1 stick)
1 cup powdered sugar
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted
2 large eggs
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract

¼ cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract

In a 400 over, bake the pie crust 10-12 minutes or until it just begins to brown. While crust is cooling, cream butter and sugar until well mixed. Add chocolate, eggs, mint extract and beat until smooth. Fill pie shell with filling and refrigerate overnight.

Beat heavy cream, sugar, vanilla and mint extract until stiff peaks form. With a pastry bag, pipe whipped cream around the edge of pie and center of pie. Garnish with your choice of crushed walnuts or mint sprig.  Enjoy, JW