easter bunny

Recipe: Jezebel Ham

On the day that celebrates the resurrection of the Savior of the World it is common to serve a glazed ham.  I have never understood the correlation between Honey Baked Ham and the salvation of mankind.  I mean, it kind of bucks against the Biblical nature of the holiday after all Leviticus 11:7 tells us that pork is unclean.  Perhaps ham is served because it is an illustration of how tempting sin is.  Speaking of temptation, 1st and 2nd Kings tells us the story of Queen Jezebal who met her end after a lifetime of opulence, greed and excess.  I’m still confused as to where the Easter bunny or Deviled eggs comes in.

Fresh HamTo put a bow on this metaphysical musing I present a ham recipe for your Easter Brunch.  Jezebel Ham is a fresh baked ham glazed in Jezebel sauce.  Jezebel sauce, for the unindoctrinated, is a sweet and spicy melange that embodies the spirit of the Baal worshiping queen of Northern Israel.  It was once a standard of the Southern Sunday dinners of the early 20th century.  Today it remains an eccentric delicacy in Dixie showing up on everything from cream cheese bagels to cheese burgers.

I use the Jezebel sauce to put a zing into the old fashioned glazed ham scenario.  And because unclean pork and a glaze named after pagan roaylty aren’t sinful enough how about braising the whole thing with Jack and Coke?  Lord, forgive me.

Recipe: Jezebel Sauce


  1. 1 jar (16 oz) pineapple preserves
  2. 1 jar (16 oz) apple jelly
  3. 1/2 cup fresh grated horseradish
  4. 3 tablespoons dry mustard
  5. 2 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper
  6. 1 tsp Tabasco sauce (optional)


  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours and preferably overnight. Makes about 4 cups.


Jezebel sauce can also be made using apricot preserves instead of pineapple but the latter is more common with ham.

Culinary tradition: USA (Southern)

Recipe: Jezebel Ham


  1. 1 (8-10 pound) fresh ham (shank and leg of pork)
  2. 2 teaspoons salt
  3. 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  4. 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  5. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (may omit if using Tabasco in Jezebel sauce)
  6. 1 cup Jezebel sauce
  7. 1/2 cup Jack Daniels Old #7 Tennessee Whiskey
  8. 4 cups Coke (no Pepsi will not do)


  1. Score the skin of the ham with a knife to make parallel 1/2-inch-deep cuts. Turn the ham and repeat to make a diamond pattern.
  2. Combine the salt, Cajun seasoning, pepper and cayenne (if using) in a small bowl . Vigorously rub evenly over the ham. Place the ham with the scored side up into a large roasting pan.
  3. Spackle with Jezebel over the entire ham. Pour 2 cups of Coke into the bottom of the roasting pan and bake for 1 hour.
  4. Combine the Jack and the remaining 2 cups of Coke in a medium bowl to form a rather large cocktail. Baste the ham with the cocktail then continue baking, basting every 15 or so minutes with a combination of the cocktail and pot liquer. The ham is done when the skin is crispy and dark and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees (American), roughly 2 1/2 hours give or take.
  5. When done, let rest at least 20 minutes before carving. To serve, slice the meat thinly across the grain with more Jezebel on the side.


You may use a pre-smoked ham for this recipe. If so use the instructions on the package using the Jezebel in place of recommended or provided glaze. Jack and Coke are optional.

Culinary tradition: USA (Southern)

Be sure to check out my full Easter Brunch Menu HERE.

Easter Brunch Recipe: Seafood Gumbo

In the South it is not at all uncommon to find seafood gumbo as part of a traditional meal like Christmas dinner or Easter brunch.  It is the official soup of the Gulf Coast and highlights the local ingredients especially oysters and crawfish which are at their peak in early Spring.  Before giving you my recipe for gumbo I’ll invite you to watch this short film from the Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off in which Alton Brown was in attendance and even offered his approach to making roux.  If you don’t care to watch the video just scroll on down for the recipe.

Recipe: Seafood Gumbo


  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 lb shrimp
  • 1 lb crabmeat
  • 1 lb crawfish tails
  • 1 pint oysters
  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 1 bunch celery stalks, rough chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 lb okra, sliced
  • 1/2 bottle Louisiana Hot Sauce- a whole bottle if you like it HOT!  Omit for sissies.
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Salt, cayenne pepper, File’, white pepper, & black pepper to taste
  • Bay leaves
  • 1 quart fish stock or shrimp stock



  1. Boil rice in well salted water with a bay leaf and set aside.
  2. In a large stockpot melt butter and add flour to make a roux cook until chocolate brown, roughly 20 minutes.
  3. Add onions, celery, bell peppers, and a little water if needed and simmer a few minutes then add hot sauce, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, both peppers and fish stock. Simmer for about half an hour.
  4. Add okra and seafood and simmer about another twenty minutes.
  5. Remove bay leaves. Serve hot over rice, and garnish with a sprinkle of file’.

Quick Notes

Gumbo is the African word for okra therefore okra is the one ingredient that cannot be omitted from the recipe.  However you can get creative with it if you just are not a fan like pulverizing it in a food processor or using fried okra as a garnish.  Also, smoked sausage or the French summer sausage Andouille are common additions.

Be sure to check out my full Easter Brunch Menu HERE.

Critical Easter Recipes

Well it’s Easter Morning, you’ve forgotten to plan and now you only have a few hours to get ready.  Here’s a quick reference to the recipes you need:

We’ll start with the obvious, eggs.  From the eggsperts (I know.  I want to kick me, too, but I had to do it) at incredibleegg.org:

Hard Boiled Eggs

  1. PLACE eggs in saucepan large enough to hold them in single layer. ADD cold water to cover eggs by 1 inch. HEAT over high heat just to boiling. REMOVE from burner. COVER pan.
  2. LET EGGS STAND in hot water about 15 minutes for large eggs (12 minutes for medium eggs; 18 minutes for extra large).
  3. DRAIN immediately and serve warm. OR, cool completely under cold running water or in bowl of ice water, then REFRIGERATE.
Deviled Eggs (My own)
6 Hard Boiled Eggs
1/4 cup mayo
1 tablespoon mustard
Salt & pepper to taste
  1. CUT eggs lengthwise in half. REMOVE yolks to small bowl. RESERVE whites.
  2. MASH yolks with fork. ADD mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper; mix well.
  3. SPOON 1 heaping Tbsp. yolk mixture into each egg white half. REFRIGERATE, covered, to blend flavors.

Egg Salad (My own)
6 Hard Boiled Eggs
1/4 cup mayo
1 tablespoon mustard
Salt & pepper to taste

  1. CHOP eggs.
  2. MASH eggs with fork.
  3. ADD mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper; mix well.
  4. REFRIGERATE, covered, to blend flavors.
Glazed Ham (from the folks at Coca-Cola)
1 ham (5-6 lb.)
1 cup brown sugar
1 ½ cup Coca-Cola®
1 cup crushed pineapple (optional)
  1. Wash ham thoroughly.
  2. Rub fat side with brown sugar.
  3. Pour Coca-Cola over ham.
  4. Pour crushed pineapple over ham.
  5. Bake at 450 degrees for 3 hours.

Makes 6 servings

This is a great recipe and keeps the ham very moist.
— Submitted to Coke by Carol Johnson of Turtle Lake, Wisconsin

Honey Roasted Lamb w/Sautéed Pears (from Third Coast Cuisine)

4 – 5 pound boneless leg of lamb, fat trimmed
1 1/2 cups honey (preferably orange blossom honey)
3 springs of fresh rosemary
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/2 cup Olive Oil
2 tablespoons coarse salt
3 tablespoons fresh cracked pepperPreheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Rinse and thoroughly dry rosemary and thyme.  Strip the leaves and needles from one sprig of the rosemary and the thyme, discard the stems and set aside. Strip the leaves and needles from the remaining two sprigs of the rosemary.  Place honey in a double boiler with water in bottom. Squeeze rosemary leaves to release flavor and place in honey. Bring water to a boil then bring honey to 185°F and maintain for 10 minutes. Strain and set aside.

Place the remaining rosemary, thyme, and garlic into a blender or food processor and pulse into a coarse paste.  Add the olive oil and blend for 10 to 20 seconds.  Add the salt and pepper and pulse a few more times to blend.  Set leg of lamb in a roasting pan with a rack.  Rub oil-spice marinade all over the leg of lamb coating the outside and the inside.  You may want to truss the leg of lamb with butcher’s twine at this point.  Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes then lower the temperature to 350 degrees F and roast about 10 to 15 minutes more per pound.  After 30 minutes baste the lamb with rosemary infused honey (reserve 2 tablespoons for later) and return to oven until the internal temperature is 130 to 135 degrees F. for medium rare, 140 to 150 for medium.  Remove from oven and cover with aluminum foil while you prepare the sautéed pears.

4 medium firm ripe pears
4 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 tablespoons rosemary infused honey
Balsamic vinegar

Cut each pear into 8 wedges, removing the core and stem. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add honey and pears, stirring gently. Cook until lightly brown, approximately 5 minutes. Remove to serving plate, drizzle with balsamic vinegar, and top with roast leg of lamb.  You may also wish to drizzle the lamb with balsamic vinegar as well.

Lemon Pound Cake
1 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
3 cups AP flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon extract
Lemon Glaze (below)
Preheat an oven to 300 degrees.  Beat the butter in a large bowl at medium speed with a hand-held mixer; gradually add oil, beating until well blended. Slowly add sugar, beating well. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour to the creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Mix just until blended after each addition. Stir in lemon extract.
Pour the batter into a 10-inch tube pan that has been greased with butter and lightly floured. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and place it directly on the wire rack. Brush lemon glaze on sides of cake and spoon glaze over top, a little at a time. Let it cool completely before serving.

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients, stirring until sugar dissolves.

Nanner Puddin’ (there is no such thing as banana pudding)
5 ripe bananas, sliced 1/4 inch thick
60 – 70 vanilla wafer cookies
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 – 3 tablespoons butter (unsalted), sliced
3 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch

In a heavy saucepan on medium-heat combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Slowly stir in the milk making sure to fully dissolve the cornstarch.  Whisk in the eggs one at a time then add the butter.  Continue stirring until mixture starts to thicken and reduce to a simmer while stirring vigorously for 1 full minute.  Remove from heat, blend in the vanilla, and cover the puddin’ with plastic wrap (be sure to place wrap directly on the puddin’).

Line a 1½ – 2 quart backing dish with half of the vanilla wafers.  Spread half the pudding into the dish followed by half the nanners.  Layer the wafers, remaining puddin’, and nanners reserving some of the puddin’ to cover nanners to prevent browning.   Once again press plastic wrap onto the puddin’ and refrigerate 4 – 24 hours.  Just before serving top with Whipped Cream.

Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Chill a large non-reactive bowl until very cold.  Do the same with your whisk or beaters from electric mixer.  Once bowl and beaters are chilled combine the cream, honey and vanilla and beat until thickened.  Serve immediately.

Iced Tea
4 tablespoons loose black tea
1 cup Turbinado, Demerara or Sugar in the Raw
3 quarts water

In a 2 quart saucepan bring 1 quart water to a boil.  Add tea, cover, and remove from heat.  Allow to steep for five minutes BUT NO LONGER.  Strain the tea through a very fine sieve or coffee filter into a three-quart pitcher.  Add sugar and stir until all sugar is dissolved.  Add the remaining 2 quarts of water and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Be sure to check out my full Easter Brunch Menu HERE.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up


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