Category Archives: Holiday

Baked Ham with Bellevue Bourbon Glaze

Bourbon Glazed Ham

Bourbon Glazed Ham


1 Fully cooked 8-10 pound Ham

1/2 to 3/4 Cup medium quality Bourbon I used 1/2 cup for a thicker glaze

2 Cups brown sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp ground Mustard

1/2 Tsp ground coriander.

Preheat oven to 300-325

Mix all ingredients in a bowl making sure there are no lumps of sugar.

Make Diamond shaped cuts about 1/2 an in deep across the skin and fat of the ham.

Roast the ham covered for 1 1/2 hours covered.

Remove roast from oven and increase temperature to 350-375

Stir glaze and spoon over entire ham. Do not use all the glaze; reserve half. Return ham to oven uncovered for 30 minutes. If there is no liquid; add a little.

Remove ham and add more glaze and add a little water to bottom of the pan if needed. return to oven for a final 20-30 minutes.

Remove ham from oven and allow to rest covered for 20 minutes.

Pour the remaining juices from the pan over the sliced ham.




Lechon, Cuban/Puerto Rican Roast Pork; Recipe


This recipe is dedicated to my good friends Rick Garcia who took me to my first Cuban restaurant (Ambassador on Ashland Ave) and Julian “Jumpin Perez who’s family fed me very well and treated me like family.

Growing up in Chicago and having many Cuban and Puerto Rican friends I was fortunate to have been exposed to great Caribbean food. Arroz con pollo, arroz con gondules, pasteles, relleno de papa (papa relleno for Cubans) morcilla, alcapurrias and of course the grand daddy of the them all…. Lechon! I remember driving to  North Ave to Sabor Latino for a hunk of Lechon served in foil and a Coco Rico soda. I have found nothing in Cincinnati like Sabor Latino but thankfully I can do Lechon myself. This recipe is great for holidays and special occasions. The finished Lechon is decadent and not healthy at all but… sometimes we need a little pork fat in our lives  to make us feel good!

I made this for some coworkers and they loved it. Not bad for a White Guy!


1 Pork shoulder 6-8 pounds

2 Medium onions

3 Cups sour orange juice or 2 cups orange juice and 1 cup lime juice

2 Cups olive oil

30 cloves of garlic

2 Tbsp oregano

2-3 Tsp salt

2 1/2 Tsp cracked peppercorns

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Juice the sour oranges through a strainer until you have 3 cups of juice. Combine onions, garlic, oregano salt and pepper in a food processor or large blender. Mix until you achieve a soupy mixture. Pour contents into a bowl and combine with the sour orange juice. In a large skillet or sauce pan heat olive oil to no more than 220-230 degrees. Add your mixture to the hot oil and immediately remove from heat whisking constantly for a couple minutes.

Important Tips: Do not add mixture to oil if it’s hotter than 230 degrees; this could be dangerous causing oil to splatter and burn you severely.

Do not cover roast with hot liquid; let the liquid cool completely or the liquid will sear the outside layer making it hard for the marinade to penetrate.

Prepare the roast by inserting a knife into the roast all over so the liquid can penetrate; 20-30 times. Place the pork shoulder in a large bowl with high sides. Pour cooled liquid over the pork shoulder and cover with lid or foil. The marinade should completely cover the pork Shoulder. Let pork should marinate in the refrigerator over night. The following morning remove the roast from the liquid and let come to room temperature for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees:

Place pork shoulder in a shallow roasting pan fat side up; a disposable foil pan is not a bad idea. Put the Pork shoulder in the oven uncovered and immediately reduce heat to 220 degrees. Cook the pork shoulder until the internal temperature is 200 basting with the reserved marinade every 2 hours. A 6-8 pound shoulder can take up to 9 hours. When the internal temperature has reached 190-200 degrees test for tenderness. We are looking for the pork shoulder to be very tender; easily torn with fork or fingers. Don’t get hung up on cooking time, it’s done when it’s done! Toward the end I like to cut the Shoulder into chunks and raise my heat to 400 for 15-20 minutes to crisp it up. Taste for salt and add more at this point. This dish is supposed to be somewhat salty. Make sure the chunks get to soak up the juices on the bottom of the pan. Serve with cold coconut soda (Coco Rico) or some ice cold beer. Maybe an IPA or Left Hand Sawtooth Ale.

As a side dish try my Black Beans and Rice Recipe

Slow Cooked Standing Prime Rib Roast

Slow Cooked Standing Rib Roast Recipe

I cooked this last night for my New Year Meal. It turned out so good I had to post pictures and the link to my recipe.

Perfect Prime Rib Roast


Standing Rib Roast

Roast Leg of Lamb with Rosemary Garlic Paste; Recipe

Perfect Roast Leg of Lamb

Perfect Roast Leg of Lamb

I have always loved lamb, it doesn’t matter how you cook it! Lamb curry, roast leg of lamb, lamb kabobs, gyros, and souvlaki! I love it! I cooked this dish the day after Christmas as my holiday meal! Check it out.


Leg of lamb bone in 5-7 poundsRoast Leg of Lamb

3-4 sprigs of rosemary

Handful fresh parsley

5-7 cloves garlic

Olive Oil

Cracked black pepper


Preheat oven to 300 degrees

Combine parsley, rosemary, garlic and black pepper in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Pushing down the sides to ensure uniform chop. Slowly add olive oil while mixing until you achieve a paste. Do not add salt to this mixture, it will draw out the moisture! Salt and pepper all sides of your leg of lamb. generously apply the paste to the lamb on all sides. Place the roast fat side down for first hour of cooking then rotate to fat side up. Apply more paste if needed. After 1 hour and 45 minutes insert a meat thermometer in the thickest portion of the roast away from the bone. We are looking for 145-150 degrees for medium rare. If you like it rare… 135 degrees. Remove roast and let rest for 20 Minutes before carving.

Pair this dish with a nice red wine. The wine experts at The Party Source recommend Renacer Enamore a nice Malbec/Cab Franc blend from Argentina!

Red Wine Reduction Sauce

2 cups full bodied red wine such as Cabernet or Zinfandel.

1 cup minced shallot or onion

3-4 tablespoons butter

1-2 cups beef stock

1-2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

Coat the bottom of a sauce pan with olive oil over medium high heat. Saute shallots until translucent. Add wine and beef stock. Cook over medium/high heat until reduced by half.

Tip: Be careful  if using high sodium beef stock. As the sauce reduces the salt will become more concentrated.

Add butter and rosemary. Continue to cook for additional 10-15 minutes. Drizzle the sauce over lamb.

Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole;Recipe

Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole

I made this for Thanksgiving by special request. I did some research reviewing recipes by James Beard, Jeff Smith and the Food Network. James Beard’s recipe called for Cognac but I wanted to use Bourbon. So I did! It’s important not to use too much liquid allowing the eggs to set up the casserole.


5 large sweet potatoes


3-4 eggs beaten with fork

1/2 cup softened butter

1/4 cup Bourbon

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp nutmeg; I use fresh grated

1/2 tsp ground mace

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup brown sugar

For the topping

Chopped pecans

1/2 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Poke holes the sweep potatoes with a fork 3 or 4 times. Place sweet potatoes on a foil or parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake for at least an hour. When the sweet potatoes are soft let cool and remove skin. Turn oven down to 350 degrees. The smell of baking sweet potatoes is intoxicating and makes me think of the holidays.

In a mixing bowl mash the sweet potatoes and butter with a hand masher until butter is melted. Add remaining ingredients except for the eggs. Mix by using the hand masher or electric mixer. Add eggs and stir into mixture until incorporated. Pour mixture into a casserole dish. Top with brown sugar and enough pecans to generously cover. Bake for 40-60 minutes considering the depth of the casserole dish. My dish was deeper so I cooked for an hour. Use your judgement on cooking time. Test with a knife inserting it into the middle of the casserole to test for temperature. The casserole should be very hot in the middle.

This is a great holiday side dish to turkey and most notably baked ham!

Roast Duck with Chinese Spices and Hoisin Sauce


Ready for the oven!

1 Duck 4-6 Pounds

1 tbsp Chinese Five Spice powder

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp kosher salt

1 small white onion cut into eighths

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Prepare the duck by trimming excess neck skin and fat around the cavity opening. Poke holes in skin being careful not to pierce the meat. This will help some fat to escape, self baste and produce a crispier skin. Pat the duck dry with a paper towel until the skin is dry on all sides. Mix all dry ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle generously over the duck making sure to coat the wings and legs. Stuff the duck with the onion.

In a small roasting pan place the duck on a rack and roast uncovered for 30 minutes breast side up. Remove the duck from the oven and turn over to breast side down. Reduce heat after returning the duck to the oven and cook roast for 30 more minutes. Remove duck and turn over again to breast side up. Return to oven and cook for 20 more minutes.  Cooking times may vary so use your judgment on the roasting time. If the duck is still running pink when you chop it, it’s okay because it’ going back in the oven after being chopped.

Raise heat back to 425 after removing the duck.

Let the duck rest for 15 minutes with a foil cover. Remove wings, legs and thighs with a boning knife. Using a large very sharp knife or Chinese cleaver cut, the breasts down the middle and cleave through the backbone. Place the halved breasts with backbone on a large cutting board and chop with cleaver into pieces. Chop the thighs with the cleaver as well. See photo below.

Chop the breast with cleaver using strong chops being careful not to remove any fingers. Do not try to hold the breast.

Chopped duck ready to go back in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Place the entire chopped duck including backbone back into a 425 degree oven for 10-15 minutes to crisp up the duck. Remove duck and serve immediately with Hoisin sauce in a dipping bowl. This is a very savory and rich dish. Serve with a dry Riesling.

Holiday Crime Prevention & Personal Protection

The Holidays can be a wonderful time of year year for most bringing cheer, holiday parties and good times. However, the holidays bring burglary, larceny, scams, internet scams and credit card fraud. There are record numbers of people out of work and some communities are seeing a significant rise in drug use. Heroin is a major problem in my area of Cincinnati and Northern KY. Unfortunately these  people turn to crime to fund their habits or provide for their own.

Protecting Your Home

One of the best things you can do to protect your home is to get a home alarm system. Alarm systems along with the yard signs and window stickers lets burglars know to choose another home.  I have also put up “No Trespassing” & “No Soliciting” signs to keep the scammers away from my property. Security cameras are also a great idea; no criminals want to be on camera anywhere. Just having and alarm system is not enough; you have to use it! Set your alarms every time you leave and even when your home. Make sure all your windows & doors are locked and shades drawn when home or away. Don’t take your safety for granted because you live in a low crime area; crime can happen anywhere.  Do not leave valuables or purses in plain view of windows or doors. In my city, people have opened doors or windows to grab valuables quickly and leave. This happens even when residents are home in the middle of the day. Porch lights or motion sensor lights are a great idea. Criminals like to work in darkness; don’t make it easier for them! Criminals and scammers take advantage of the the holidays spirit to prey on the generous and unsuspecting. Don’t open the door until you are sure it is okay. Even then, you don’t need to answer. I have told people “No Thank You” or “Get Lost” through a closed door. Call the police if you feel someone is scamming or scoping out the neighborhood homes. Here’s a good video by self defense instructor Massad Ayoob on how to deal with strangers at your door (Don’t Answer The Door). Reporting suspicious activity is one of the best ways we can aid the police to prevent crime and identify criminals. Having a firearm in the home is your last line of defense in my opinion. It’s not for everyone but if you do; make sure you know how to use it as well as knowing the use of deadly force laws for your state.

Your Vehicle:

It’s never a good idea to leave valuables in your vehicle; there are junkies out there that will break your window for some spare change! Do not leave any valuables in your passenger compartment, even if you’re parked in your driveway. Don’t leave coats/clothing, GPS, phone, change, gift cards, wallets, purses, firearms or any personal identifying information in your vehicle. Putting these items under seats or in your glove compartment is not a solution; put them in your trunk if you have to. One of the biggest mistakes people make is leaving multiple chargers plugged in telling a criminal you put the electronics in the glove compartment or center console. Try to park under street lights or as close to your home as possible. And lastly, always check your back seat before getting in your car.

Parking Lots & Garages

Parking lots and parking garages are areas to be very mindful of. Be careful of scammers that stage accidents. The scammers wait for a victim to back out of a space or turn a corner then get purposely hit to claim medical damages. The scammers could be on foot or in a vehicle. Do not park next to vans or cars with dark tinted windows. Park in well lit areas that allow you to see the area around your car. Don’t leave your car running unoccupied with children in the car. Be aware of your surroundings, scan the parking area for potential threats. Make sure to remember exactly where you parked. Do not approach your vehicle if there are potential threats around it. Have your keys in your hand before you get to your car. Something we see a lot of in my area are people begging for money in parking lots with the terrible stories about “a sick relative that they just need $10 in gas money to go see before they die”. Do not give them the time of day! I usually call store security or the police to alert them. If they’re there begging for money; they will most certainly break into cars or take advantage of a door left open. And lastly; do not leave packages in your back seat; it’s likely you will return to a broken window and no packages.


I try to predict what people are going to do when they are driving based on their body language. You’d be surprised how well this works. My son laughs when I tell him to watch this car or that car; he knows someone is about to do something stupid. At stop lights never stop directly behind other vehicles; leave yourself enough space to get out in the case of trouble. While stopped, be aware or your surroundings. Use mirrors and look around for any potential threats. I like to make eye contact with people for an instant to let them know I’m aware of them. Do not get involved with your smartphone, facebook, texting, stuffing your face with food or fixing your makeup. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you get into an accident; there is no need to leave your vehicle until the police come unless you feel the situation is safe and can be resolved quickly. This is a personal decision, but in the interest of security, trust instincts.


Try to shop with and a companion; groups of people are less appealing to criminals. For women I would suggest carrying a small purse or even a wallet with only the essentials for shopping. By not carrying a purse it frees up your hands and you won’t have to lug that purse around all day. Some women may use their purse to conceal a firearm. I applaud the carrying of a firearm but I don’t like the idea of it being in a purse; It’s much better concealed on your person.  All we really need is a drivers license, credit card and cash. I don’t think checkbooks are are a good idea because they contain bank account, routing numbers and personal information. A debit card acts the same way as a check nowadays and takes a lot less time at checkout with more security. Leave the checkbooks at home! Do not carry passports, social security cards, pin numbers, or account information. All I carry in my wallet is my drivers license, debit card, grocery plus card and my Concealed Deadly Weapons Permit. I very rarely carry cash because I think its unnecessary (most of the time) and very dirty; but when I do carry cash it goes in my front pockets. When I’m carrying large amounts of cash I keep the bulk of my money in my left pocket and a smaller amount in my right pocket. This way I can pay for things without revealing all my cash. I learned this practice while traveling to foreign countries.  Never set your wallet or purse down on or near the register. Thankfully stores have credit card machines that allow you to swipe your own card and select a method of payment. If allowed, this is a good place to get cash back for debit transactions. Just be aware of the people in line around you. Much safer than outdoor ATMs.


I avoid ATMs at all costs. Avoid ATMs at night if possible. Scan parking lots and areas around drive through area. Secure your vehicle and  do not leave it running. Bring someone with you if possible. Shield your transaction and limit your time at the ATM. Continually scan your surroundings. ATMs are a prime location for robberies. I would much rather go into a convenient store and buy a water and  get cash back. ATMs located inside other businesses are a better option than stand alone outdoor ATMS. Avoid ATMs that obstruct your view or are not well lit. Do not leave your receipt or conduct more than one transaction. Get your money and get out!  Respect the space of other people getting money from ATMs. Stand back or wait in your car. This will make others feel at ease when they are making transactions. I generally think ATMs are a bad idea. Maybe the worst place to get money.

Personal Safety:

Having good “Situation Awareness” is probably the best way to avoid being the victim of a crime. Pay attention to your surroundings and the body language of people around you. Check out this video about “Street Survival” and body language. Trust your instincts, if it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t. Walk and conduct yourself with confidence. Criminals choose victims. Many people are potential victims and they don’t even know it. Quite simply, don’t look like a victim. Avoid conflict while out or driving. Don’t take shortcuts through unfamiliar areas. A few extra minutes is worth the safety. Identify potential threats before you get too close. Take alternate routes around threats or undesirable people. Make eye contact with people and keep your head up when walking. Ipods and musical devices can distract you and limit your ability to identify trouble. Don’t walk around wile texting or facebooking. Wear clothing that will allow you to get away from trouble. High heels, skirts and dresses are very hard to run in or quickly get out of danger.

More and more states are allowing citizens to carry openly carried or concealed firearms. Carrying a firearm is not for everyone but I do recommend it if you feel comfortable with it and have received the proper training with the weapon and know your use of deadly force laws. OC and pepper sprays are another way to protect yourself if you’re not comfortable with a firearm.

I hope this helps enlighten and keep you safe!

Enjoy The Holidays!

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