We’re on to episode 1.06 – Rory’s Birthday Parties, one of my favorites! And what’s a party without Sookie’s cooking? From the looks of Lorelai’s kitchen, Sookie went all out for the Star’s Hallow party, but for our records, we caught just the tail end of what she had planned for the hors d’oeuvres: mini orange biscuits with honey mustard ham and cheddar cheese, angel wings with dipping sauce and onion dip with ground turkey and garlic. O. M. G. Okay.
For the sake of my sanity, we’ll go slow and take it one appetizer at a time.
I was actually really excited about this recipe. It’s the first really unique recipe that seemed true to Sookie’s culinary style. I’ve also recently found the secret sweet spot to making buttermilk biscuits, so this one was guaranteed to be a fun one. It couldn’t have come at a better time too, with Easter just two weeks away (how did that happen??), so bookmark this one for your Easter dinner leftovers. You won’t be disappointed!
So, at the beginning of this project I mentioned that part of my purpose is to find out if Sookie was really the culinary genius she was written to be, or if the writers just jumbled a bunch of fancy ingredients together and called it gourmet. Being nine recipes in now, I think I can confidently say that the next time someone asks if I could have dinner with anyone whether dead or alive, my answer would be Amy Sherman Palladino. Girl knows how to eat! Seems fitting, right?
I started by glazing a hickory smoked half-ham with a homemade honey mustard glaze and cooking it through for about 2 1/2 hours. I must really be getting into character because I definitely almost took my finger off with our electric carving knife as I was slicing the ham. Luckily I made it out with only a small cut and my inaugural finger bandaid. I have a long road ahead of me… anyway, I digress.
If you’ve never made buttermilk biscuits from scratch, I invite you to give it a try. You will never buy the can again! Of course, since buttermilk biscuits are a longstanding art form, I consulted my surrogate grandmother Irma Rombauer from the Joy of Cooking as I often do for these kinds recipes for a starting base. Adding just a little bit of orange zest to the flour and juice from half an orange to the buttermilk before combining gives the biscuits just enough of an orange essence to compliment the rest of the sandwich. It is absolutely the secret weapon to taking these ham and cheese biscuits to the next level.
Now, I don’t want to get too sappy on you guys, but I think it’s healthy that I share some cheese-filled life updates in between the sarcasm we’re so drenched in from constantly watching this show. I love the early episodes of GG because honestly, they make me feel safe. When I watch the first season I can feel all of Rory’s emotions the same way I did when I was 16. Mostly because I was watching this show when I was 16 too. Things were easy, because my only obligations were to do well in school (obvi not as well as Rory, but I did alright), hang out with my friends and watch lifetime movies with my mom. I think there was also a lot of unfulfilled opportunity during that time too. Like Rory, I could look to the future and get excited because I was blessed to be in a position to choose where I went next.
Lorelai didn’t have that opportunity and I can relate to that now as an adult. After highschool I made a lot of decisions my friends and most nineteen-year-olds didn’t make. I pulled a Dean and got married at 20 years old, which makes me completely cringe by the way because the comparison absolutely stops there. We’ve been married for seven years this year and together for nine and we have had no incidents of infidelity with exes. So there’s that.
I chose to get married at a young age because I was ready. I know that sounds naive, and I pray that I’m never proven wrong (I can hear Paris in my head, “Two married 19-year-olds won’t make it- boy, that’s a risky bet.”) But even in closing certain doors in my life in order to begin a new one, it was what I needed, and honestly I don’t think I would be the person I am today without doing so. I absolutely think that’s something Lorelai would identify with.
Because I watch Gilmore Girls on repeat I have gotten to see each girl’s perspective from both sides of being a mother and daughter now. I’m sure I’ll continue doing so until I get to see it from Emily’s side, too. Lol. I’m still young though – I’m only 27 – and I can still feel like season one Rory every now and again. In these first four months of 2019 I have challenged myself more than I have ever challenged myself before. With this blog, and with some other areas that I feel like I have held myself back from due to fear. My word for this year has been discipline, and while I have fallen off the wagon in some respects, I haven’t lost my determination to see some real change in my life this year. I definitely have the stubbornness of a Gilmore Girl, and I’m excited to see where that takes me.
Final Review: I know I went on a pretty long somewhat aimless tangent there, but circling back to these ham and cheese biscuits. They were fan-freakin-tastic. Cooking a ham isn’t as intimidating as it sounds, you just brush on the glaze and leave it for a few hours. The real work comes in carving it (watch your fingers!). Even the orange biscuits are low commitment. Five to ten minutes to mix and 12 minutes to bake and you’re good to go! I chose to make my own honey mustard, but I’m sure store-bought would work just as well too. Because I’m the only one in my household who actually likes ham, I will be sharing the additional eight pounds of leftovers with friends. More reviews to come, I’m sure.
Rating: Perfect for Easter leftovers! Try it out and tell me what you think!
Mini Orange Biscuits with Honey Mustard Ham and Cheddar Cheese
Honey Mustard Ham
1 Half-ham (8 – 9 lbs)
Honey Mustard Glaze
½ c Brown sugar
¼ c honey
¼ c dijon mustard
1 tbsp orange juice
Orange Biscuits (Adapted from the Joy of Cooking)
1 ¾ c flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
6 tbsp cold unsalted butter
Zest of half an orange
1 c buttermilk
Squeezed juice of half an orange
Homemade Honey Mustard
3 tablespoons Dijon
4 tablespoons Honey
1 tablespoon Yellow Mustard
Pinch of Paprika
Deli-sliced cheddar cheese
Prepare the ham cut-side down and score the back in a diagonal pattern with a sharp knife. Place on a rack in roasting pan and set aside. Preheat the oven to 325° and place a small saucepan on medium heat to prepare the glaze. Heat all the glaze ingredients in the saucepan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved and the glaze is thick and bubbly, no more than 5 minutes. Brush half the glaze on the scored-side of the ham and cover loosely with foil and cook for 2 hours. Brush the rest of the glaze onto the ham and continue to cook for 15 – 30 minutes, depending on the weight of the ham. The recommended cooking time is 15 minutes per pound, and should read to 140 – 145° internally, depending on weather your ham was pre-cooked. Slice thinly once cooled.
For the biscuits:
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, and then cut in the cold butter using your fingertips or a pastry cutter. The mix should resemble cornmeal once combined. Zest in half on a orange and stir. In a measuring cup, mix the juice of half an orange with one cup of buttermilk. Create a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the orange buttermilk. Mix with a fork until just combined and turn onto a floured surface. Turn the dough 8 to 10 times and roll out to about ½ a inch. Use a floured cookie cutter to cut the biscuits and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with butter, and zest the other half of the orange to the tops of the biscuits. Cook for 12 minutes until golden. Makes 8 to 10 2-inch biscuits.
For the honey mustard:
While the biscuits are cooling, combine all of the honey mustard ingredients in a small bowl. I estimate this should be enough for 8 to 10 biscuits.
Prepare the sandwiches by applying honey mustard to both insides of a cut biscuit. Pile on the ham and half a slice of deli-sliced cheddar cheese. Repeat until all biscuit sandwiches are prepared.