Apricot Oatmeal Loaf

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I’m always looking for new ways to put more fibre into my baking that don’t necessarily involve bran (I feel like that sentence alone puts me in the “grown-up” category.  And you know what’s good for you if you’re not getting enough fibre? APRICOTS. So I made an apricot loaf. And if you like apricots you can make one too.

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Preheat your oven to 350°F and spray or butter a loaf pan in preparation. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. I don’t even have a picture of it because it’s just a bowl of white (and because maybe I forgot). Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon nutmeg for colour (and flavour).

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Because I forgot, you get a slightly more interesting picture of chopped apricots instead.

In a small bowl, scramble together 2 large eggs.

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Then tip in 1/2 cup melted butter, 1/2 cup plain yogurt (or fruity yogurt, maybe apricot yogurt, it’s up to you), 1/3-1/2 cup apricot jam, and 1/2 cup milk.

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Pour that wet stuff into the dry stuff and stir until combined. Then pour in 1 cup oats and 3/4 cup chopped dried apricots. Stir stir stir!

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Smooth that into your pan and then bake for about 1 hour, until a deep caramel brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let it mostly cool in the pan and tip it out onto a rack to cool completely.

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I’m really enjoying it toasted, with butter, for breakfast.

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Ham with Spiced Apricot Glaze

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We cooked this up for Easter dinner last weekend and it was so easy and delicious I think I’m going to have to do it again sometime soon.  It came from the most recent issue of the LCBO’s Food & Drink magazine. This recipe is aimed towards a bone-in ham that is about 7-8lb (3.1-3.8kg).  Mine was 5.3kg so I just doubled the amounts.  It’s not an exact science, after all.  The only ham we could get this size happened to be precut in a spiral, but I think you’ll probably have better results if you use an uncut ham.

Apricot Glazed Ham 1

Preheat your oven to 325°F and take the net and plastic off the ham.  Mine also came with a honey glaze that I discarded. Line a roasting pan with foil such that there’s enough hanging off the sides to completely cover the ham.

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Set the ham in the pan, fat side up.

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Trim off the excess fat.  This was a little harder to do with a spiral cut ham.

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Score the ham in a diamond pattern, sprinkle liberally with pepper, and then jam whole cloves into the diamond criss-crosses.  Or, if it’s already cut, wedge the cloves between the slices.

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Wrap the foil around the ham and seal the edges.  Bake for about three hours (or 15 minutes per pound), until a thermometer inserted into the ham (but not touching the bone) reads 140°F.

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When that’s nearly done baking, grab a small saucepan and mix together 3/4 cup apricot jam, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon ground ginger.

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Heat the jam on low until it’s melted and bubbly.

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Open the foil on your ham when it’s ready and cover it with glaze (don’t forget to remove the cloves!).  Continue to bake, uncovered, for a further 15 minutes, until the glaze is starting to caramelize.

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Tent the foil over the ham to keep it from drying out and let it stand for another 15 minutes before carving.

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To carve a spiral ham, simply twist the knife at the bone to separate the ham, Then cut along the sinew lines for clean slices. I love apricot jam.  And this just gave me another reason to love it more.

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The Egg Monte Cristo

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When I saw this recipe on Design*Sponge a while back, I remember thinking, I don’t know what that is, but it sure looks good.  After finally getting around to making it, I know that it tastes as good as it looks.  I’ve never had a classic Monte Cristo, but this recipe has given me a new appreciation for fried sandwiches in general, so that *could* be next on my list.  In any case, this adaptation of an original is tops.  It’s fantastic as both breakfast AND lunch (and probably your evening meal, too, though I wouldn’t eat this more than once a day if I were you).

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This version of the recipe requires you to refrigerate the sandwich prior to frying it, so make sure you give yourself enough time.  If you’re planning it for breakfast, try making it up the night before and chilling it overnight — and be sure to make enough to share!

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Start with some nice bread.

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This is a rustic sourdough.  I like sourdough.

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For each sandwich, spread two slices of bread generously with apricot jam.  Apricot jam is my favourite, so this is one of the reasons I decided to try this recipe.

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Then, on one side of your sandwiches, spread some soft plain goat cheese (chèvre).  On the other, artistically drape a few slices prosciutto (the original calls for ham, so you could use that if you prefer, and for those of you who are kosher or halal, there is another variant with deli turkey, or forego the meat altogether).

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For each sandwich, you’re going to need 1 egg, fried over easy.  I’m not very good at frying eggs neatly but I did okay with these ones.  Feel free to season with salt and pepper.

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Carefully lay your fried egg on top of one side of your sandwich, then just as carefully lay the other side of the sandwich over top.

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I may have pressed too hard.  Oops.  Wrap the sandwich in Saran wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.  I guess you do this so everything congeals together before frying.

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When you’re ready to eat, you need to make yourself some batter.  For each sandwich, you’ll need 1 egg, 2 tablespoons milk (I used cream to be extra luxurious and it was SO worth it), and a sprinkling of cinnamon (two sandwiches, two eggs, etc.).  Whisk that all together.

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Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a hot skillet (I used the same one I fried the eggs in).  If you think that’s a lot of butter, keep in mind that some versions of this sandwich are DEEP FRIED, so count your blessings.

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Carefully dip both sides of each sandwich into the batter.

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Set it in the skillet to fry in the butter.  It truly smells fantastic.

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Flip (carefully) and cook the other side as well.  You want the outside to cook enough that the inside gets all warm and gooey, but not so much that it burns.  This all depends on your skillet and stove and the thickness of your bread.  You’ll just have to experiment with timing and temperature.

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Eat it piping hot.  Fantastic with a cup of coffee and a glass of cranberry juice.  Very filling!

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