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FOOD AND LOATHING : The Ginger Woman

March 18, 1993|MARGE POWERS | TIMES FOOD NEWS EDITOR

Ginger sends shivers up my spine, makes my throat constrict and leaves me quivering all over. I hate ginger, especially fresh or crystallized.

For the past 15 years, when we have tested recipes in The Times Test Kitchen, ginger has seemed to single me out. If a recipe has a piece of ginger in it, out of 13 tasters, I will be the one it will attack. The tiniest piece finds me. But if there is only one gigantic piece in the recipe, so I can't possibly miss it, it will hide from me until it winds up in my mouth, down my throat and in my stomach just to torture me.

Ginger has it in for me. I am certain it is looking for me around every corner. There have been times when I thought: This is the end--ginger has won. There's one comfort to this thought--I won't have to taste it anymore.

The only way I can eat ginger is if it's ground up and hidden. I'll even admit that it tastes pretty good when it blends with other ingredients in a recipe, so I do use ground ginger when I cook. Here is a favorite dish of mine--using ground ginger. I have served it many times to my family and we all love it.

MARGE POWERS' CHAMPAGNE HAM 1 (10-pound) boneless ham 1 large red onion, sliced 3 large cloves garlic, sliced 1 (1-pound) box light-brown sugar 2 (750-milliliter) bottles extra-dry Champagne 3 tablespoons honey 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard

Score ham and place on rack in baking pan. Add onion and garlic to pan. Cover top of ham with 1 cup light-brown sugar. Pour 1 bottle Champagne over top of ham. Bake at 325 degrees 2 hours.

Combine remaining bottle Champagne, remaining brown sugar, honey, ginger and mustard. Bring to rolling boil in saucepan. Lower heat and simmer while basting ham every 30 minutes until done. Add any extra sauce to bottom of pan to combine with pan juices. Serve sauce on side. Makes 20 servings.

Each serving contains about: 445 calories; 3,252 mg sodium; 107 mg cholesterol; 11 grams fat; 28 grams carbohydrates; 44 grams protein; 0.07 grams fiber.

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