Mulled Cider (Spiced Apple Cider)


4 cups apple cider
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks6 whole cloves
20 pepper corn
zest of 1 orange
4 slices of (the same) orange

Toast cinnamon, cloves and pepper corn over medium heat for a minute or so, toss occasionally to prevent burning. Add apple cider, turn to high heat, when it is warm enough, stir in and dissolve the brown sugar. After cider come to a boil, reduce heat, add the zest and simmer for 30 minutes. Pour cider into a cup over strainer, float a piece of the orange in the cup.

Substitute orange with any citrus fruit.
Substitute cinnamon sticks with 2 Tsp of ground cinnamon.
Could just toss everything in rice cooker, tastes just as good. Add cider and spice as necessary.


Fennel Orange Cranberry Sauce

8 ounces frozen or fresh whole cranberries
1/2 navel orange, zested
1 whole navel orange, juiced
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until cranberries begin to break down and water evaporates, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before serving.

fennel seed = fennel = sweet cumin
Substitutes: anise seed OR cumin OR caraway seeds OR dill

I didn't have any fennel seed or any of the possible substitutes, but I did have some Chinese 5 spices which contains some of the herbs above, so I used that. I think it was OK substitution, but I used too much.

Recipe courtesy Dave Lieberman
Show: Good Deal with Dave Lieberman
Episode: Thanksgiving For $45

Ham with Pineapple

3-4 lb boneless ham
8 oz can pineapple slices
1-2 Tbsp whole cloves

2 cups water
1 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp butter

Note: use already smoked honey ham, 1/4-1/2 lb per person. Prefer the pineapple to be canned in syrup. Cloves is rough estimate, enough to cover the ham in inch square diamond pattern. Starch is rough estimate, I had put too much in mine.

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Score the rind of the ham with a diamond pattern. Press the cloves into the ham along the corners of the diamond pattern. Place pineapple slices on the ham, securing with toothpicks. Place the ham in a baking dish with the water.
3. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter, and mix in the syrup, brown sugar, honey and syrup/juice from pineapple, until heated through. Pour 1/2 the mixture over the ham.
4. Bake the ham 1 hour and 30 minutes in the preheated oven (~15-20min per pound). Baste frequently with the remaining butter and syrup mixture.
5. Remove the ham from heat, and drain pan dripping into a saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir until thickened, and serve with the ham. Add 1 tea spoon of starch to help thicken if necessary, dissolve starch is small amount of water first then stir solution in to the sauce.

build your own burger

1/4 lb ground beef (not too lean, i think 20% fat?)
1 burger bun
1 egg
1 slice of bacon
1 slice of large tomato
1 slice of onion
1/4 ripen avocado slices
(other adding options: sliced portobello mushroom, shreds of bell pepper, slice of american or cheddar cheese, mustard, ketchup, etc)

- score avocado along the long way up to the pit, twist the 2 halves with your hand and separate them. with a heavier knife (like cleaver or chopping knife), hit the pit so the knife gets a little stuck on the pit, twist the knife and lift the pit out. with a smaller knife (like steak knife), slide it around between the meat and the shell, then remove/tear the shell away from the meat.
- cut onion at the cross section so that we get rings, cut all the veges into 1-2mm slices.
- toast the bun, with inside down to get grill mark, this make the bun stronger.
- make patty out of the ground meat with hand, don't squeezes too hard or pack the meat too tight, make it as big/wide as you can, best if as wide as the bun, but not so thin that it will fall a part, also make sure the middle of the patty is flat or lower, not bulged.
- heat up griddle, put down the bacon first, so we can use bacon fat to grease the pan.
- put the burger patty down, griddle should be in high or medium high heat, cook patty for few minute, and flip over. cook until you don't see any more juice or blood coming out from center. poke it with a fork to check the center, if you aren't sure.
- also flip the bacon and fold it/shape it so it will fit on the bun.
- grill onion and other veges, such as mushroom and bell pepper, but not avocado or tomato. don't over cook the veges, remove it after its cooked. better under cooked then over cooked.
- on a flat grill, grease pan with a little bit of oil or butter. crack the egg on it, try not to break the yolk. use spatula to prevent egg white and yolk from spreading too much, try to keep egg to size of the bun. once egg white forms shape, break the yolk and spread it over white, then flip it over and cook it thru. alternatively, scramble it before cooking, but it would be harder to keep it in shape. you can also try cooking egg on griddle, doable, but difficult to scope up. fry egg without grease does not taste very good.
- stack your burger. suggested stacking order: bottom bun, burger, [ketchup,] bacon, [cheese,] egg, onion, [mushroom and grilled veges], tomato, avocado, top bun.

burger by definition is not healthy, have to give up something for the taste =p