Friday, September 13, 2013

Recipe for Ham with Cola Lime Sauce and 5 Key Questions to Ask The Rental Facility Coordinator

Today I would like to share a recipe for one of the simplest, but most popular entrees served by my clients.

Spiral Sliced Ham with Cola Lime Sauce. 

I originally found this recipe in the Reno Gazette Journal.  Originally it was a very complex recipe which called for soaking the ham in a brine, baking with a complex rub and then finally serving with the sauce.  To me, the various seasonings included in the 3 different steps over whelmed the flavor of the ham.  And since the sauce is so yummy, I omitted the first two steps, and everyone raves about it as soon as they taste it, .  The preparation is simple: open a can of Coke, add brown sugar, lime juice and a few slices of jalapeño peppers - simmer for a short period of time, cool and then refrigerate until the day of the reception.  See notes regarding modifying the heat by removing the chili pieces.   I am going to make the statement that men love this dish...based on the fact that I have actually had marriage proposals at receptions where this was served.

Amount                  Item
9-1/2 lb                   Spiral Sliced Ham

Cola Lime Sauce
1 Cup Coke Classic
2 Cups Packed dark or light brown sugar
1/4 C lime juice  (2 limes)
2 ea Jalapeno chilies; cleaned and seeded, sliced crosswise into 1/4" slices

Bring Coke, lime juice, brown sugar and jalapenos to boil in a small saucepan over high heat.  I remove the chili slices after about 3 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until syrupy.  Sauce can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.

Ham can be sliced off bone before hand and placed in slide lock baggies.  Following the natural sectioning of the meat, make 3 or 4 cuts the length of the ham;  cutting completely down to the bone.  Gently removed the sections and separate the spiral slices.

To serve:  Place ham in a shallow pan and spoon the sauce over it, cover with foil and reheat in the oven, or chafer.  Do not overcook.  

As I point out in Frugally Fabulous Wedding Receptions, there could be limited oven space at a rental facility so having a meat dish that can be heated in the chafing dish is a big positive.  It should take approximately 30 - 45 minutes for a full tray of ham to become hot in a chafer over full heat.


Once you have contracted with a venue what are the five key questions to ask the rental facility coordinator?

  • How early can we get in to set-up?
  • Can we use tape?
  • Can we string lights?
  • Can we burn candles?
  • What time do we need to be out?

How early can we get in to set-up?
     If you are using a facility in high
 demand, there is a good probability
 you will be renting a "package" the 
includes a specified period of time; 
any extra time will incur an additional
charge.  You will need to budget time
 for several time frames;  room set-up
 and food set-up, the actual reception 
and clean-up.

     Allow a minimum of 2 1/2 hours for food set-up.
     The time needed for the room set-up will be determined by the extent of the room decorations, the time needed to place linens on the tables, and putting table decorations in place.  We suggest having one team work on the room decorations and another to put up the tables, get linens on and place the decorations on the tables.  Have men available to do the heavy lifting, carrying and stringing.  But have a woman on hand to direct the show.  Use the men to set up the tables as they can be quite heavy; they can then help the ladies put on the tablecloths and decorations.  Remember to allow time for everyone involved in decorating to go home and get ready for the event.  I suggest starting to decorate no less than three hours before the event, preferably four.....that way everyone has time to relax and get in a festive mood prior to the event.

I had one client (mother of the bride) who insisted that the all the bridal attendants were going to help decorate.  I express my concerns about this arrangement to her; explaining that the bridal attendants were going to be with the bride, helping her get ready.  Timing for this event was crucial because the ceremony and reception were taking place in a very small area of a local park.  It was essential that all the tables, decorations, and even the drink and buffet setup be complete before guests arrived for the start of the ceremony. 
When I arrived nothing was done and I didn't see many people setting up tables etc.....and then my client said " Well, you sure knew what you were talking about."   Fortunately there were minimal decorations, the tables were covered and everything was in place when the ceremony started. 

     But why go through that stress?  Ask close friends, or relatives, to help with the preparation.  This is an excellent way for out-of- town relatives to become acquainted with your close friends.  If you can't be 
on-site put one person in charge of setting up tables and getting the decorations in place.
Note:  The person in charge of the food prep will be taking care of the buffet and drink areas.

     If you are using a facility that is not heavily booked you can probably gain access the day before to do the decorating.  That is the ideal scenario, and it reduces the stress level for those involved in decorating.  The people overseeing the food prep still need to be on site two-and-one-half hours prior to the start of the function.
 The issues of tape, lights and candles are usually oversights that rear their heads in the middle of decorating.  Unfortunately rental facilities have had to deal with ignorant individuals that have damaged the facilities, resulting in policies that affect everyone.  Many facilities won't let you use candles due to liability issues, but will allow floating candles in a bowl of water.  The new battery operated candles are a good option, which provide a nice alternative to no candles.

      Of course, you will need to know what time you need to vacate the facility. are responsible for leaving the facility in the original condition.  You have a sizable deposit to ensure that occurs; so get a clean-up committee organized beforehand to pick up garbage, clear off and take-down tables, sweep the floor and carry out all the miscellaneous items that need to be taken home.   And yes, all the tables do have to be folded up and put away.  The more bodies the better for this task.... we have seen rooms completely broken down and cleaned in as little as 45 minutes when there is A PLAN ....which I will cover in detail in a future posting.

     By combining the length of the set-up time, the function and the clean-up time you will have a total time frame for your reception.  If there are strict time limits for your facility (and some do have them) take the total number of hours you have the facility, deduct the set-up and clean-up times and you will have a time frame for the actual reception.

     Many facilities will allow you to extend your function by paying an additional hourly fee.  But, if too much time goes are likely to lose those who are willing to pitch in and help clean-up.

Do I Need Additional Insurance If I Rent a Facility?
     Be prepared to purchase an insurance rider from your homeowner's insurance provider.  The fee could range from $50.00 to $200.00 for your event, depending on the geographical location.

     What Does the Rental Hall Provide?
      Some halls provide tables and chairs.  Be prepared to provide everything else.  Detailed lists of everything you will need to rent or bring with you will be covered as you work your way through your planning.
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