Thursday, December 26, 2013

Making Christmas Memories and Some Ham Salad With Swiss and Rosemary For Boxing Day

Our Christmas was just wonderful and I hope yours was too. It wasn't so great because we won the lottery, took a big trip or bought each other cars, it was great because we were together, uninterrupted for 24 hours straight. It was also great because for the first year ever no one made a Christmas wish list. We all had to put our thinking caps on and wing it, and I think everyone felt happy and grateful not only for the presents, but for the thought that went into each one.

Oh sure it wasn't all magic, there were minor mishaps. On Christmas Eve my extender stem for my Cuisinart broke halfway through a massive cheese grating session for the next morning's egg strata.  This forced me to grate two cups of cheese by hand, making me very aware and thankful for the blessings of modern conveniences.

Then I somehow found half an egg's worth of shells at the bottom of the bowl as I poured the egg and milk mixture over the top of the casserole, making me paranoid about how much more I didn't catch. Little did I know that it was the big piece of plastic from the broken extender stem that was mixed in with the grated cheese that I really should have been worried about.

The next day after an interesting but delicious brunch, the family, along with my daughter's handsome new boyfriend, headed over to our local theater for our annual Christmas Day movie. Unfortunately on this day my husband and I found out that there isn't much worse than not doing your research and sitting through three hours of soft core porn with your kids, even if they are in their twenties. If you would like to do the same, load up the family and go see The Wolf of Wall Street. You'll see what I mean.

The good and bad of the situation was that since the small theater was packed, my husband and I had to sit separately from the three "young 'uns", which while tempering the embarrassment a bit, it also prevented us from organizing an early departure. Sheesh!

During our short drive from the theater, the sounds in the car vacillated from nervous laughter to uncomfortable silence, but we finally made our way home and quickly gave our three captives their freedom. Once alone, my husband and I settled in with a televised basketball game for him, a nice hot bath for me and a luscious dried pig snout for our dog.

All was well until my bath time bliss was abruptly interrupted by my overly fed dog having a rare accident in floor not six feet from the tub. We try to look on the bright side and call these events memories. I guess Christmas 2013 will go down in the books as a very memorable year.

Here in America, December 26th is just the day after Christmas, but in the UK, it is Boxing Day. It started out many years ago as a day off for the servants who dutifully served their employers on Christmas Day. This also happened to be the day that the employers ate cold meats due to the fact that well, the servants had the day off and they had no idea how to cook.

At my house we eat cold meats on this day because even though Mama loves to cook, she needs a day off too. I say I'm taking the day off, but I still do a little bit of prep on our cold meats to make a dish that seems a little bit new and interesting.

On Christmas Day we enjoyed a brown sugar glazed spiral sliced ham, and today we had ham salad sandwiches dressed up with Swiss and rosemary. For years I thought I didn't care for ham salad, but that was before I had fresh, homemade ham salad.  This stuff and the stuff in the little white tin with the little red devil on it don't even compare, so if you do not have any leftover ham, you might want to go out and buy some.

Ham Salad with Swiss and Rosemary

8 ounces of leftover ham
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup of grated Swiss cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary* or 1 teaspoon fresh
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
Coarsely ground black pepper to taste
4 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise

Chop ham into large pieces of uniform size.  Chop by hand or place in food processor and process until it is a crumbly, coarse texture.

Place the chopped ham, along with the rest of the ingredients into a medium size bowl. Fold ingredients together just until combined. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until chilled through.

This is a great recipe as is, but I sometimes like to dress it up with toasted pecans and/or Craisins. I love this on a sandwich with baby arugula and a little Dijon mustard. It is also great spread on toast or crackers and set under the broiler until brown. Mmmm, sometimes leftovers are almost better than the original dish.

*If using dried rosemary, I like to crush it between my fingers to keep from having long, woody pieces in my recipe.

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