Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I woke up pre-dawn this Christmas morning, not because I was eager to see what Santa brought, but because despite what I thought was a light workout at the gym yesterday, what I really wanted Santa to leave was some Advil and coffee.  (It's kind of funny how as you age, the true aches from exercise visit you in the night like the ghosts of Christmas past).

Fortified with pain relievers and caffeine, thoughts of breakfast danced in my head.  A quick tour of the refrigerator produced eggs, Gruyere, an open bottle of roasted red peppers, a bunch of rapini, a hunk of ham purchased for ham salad, and some grapefruits. Miraculously, the leftover chunk of Challah was stale, but not moldy, so a strata was born.

I doused the sliced grapefruit with a little of the Finger Lakes Distilling Maplejack, then made a crumb topping with a few tablespoons of Plugra butter and Wondra flour, then finished with a pinch of Tangerine finishing salt, then broiled.

I opened a bottle of Red Tail Ridge Dry Rose last night with dinner, and it seemed like a good excuse to drink at 8:30 am, so I had a glass with breakfast.

While breakfast was baking, I prepped a riff on my Grandma's Christmas Broiled Ham Salad.  As a child, I spent Christmas afternoons at my paternal grandparents and we had the classic (dry as a bone) turkey dinner with the trimmings, then later in the evening we went to my maternal grandmothers.

Since it was later, and definitely more casual, broiled ham salad was what we had when hunger struck again.  Basically ground ham, a little mustard, sweet onion, sweet pickle relish, enough Miracle Whip to hold it together, and a bag of shredded cheddar, mounded onto Kaiser roll halves, then broiled til melted and bubbly.

My riff on the recipe - I used chopped Tony Packo's Sweet Hots instead of relish, mayo, only because I don't have any Miracle Whip on hand, and Adams Reserve New York Cheddar, because I still have some of my winnings in the frig.  (And hey - check out their site - I am on there grinning with my winnings and Robin Swoboda, plus the cheese ball recipe is there).

There's no real recipe, or measurements, much to my anal, measuring carefully sister's dismay, just chop some ham in the food processor, throw in some chopped onion, relish (or chopped sweet hots), squirt in some mustard and mayo (or Miracle Whip), and mix until you get a consistency that holds together slightly.  Then add grated cheese.  Mound on your roll halves and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly (and the smoke alarm goes off, but preferably before). 

So, I fear I need a little more Advil, and maybe a soak in the jetted tub, but I will be definitely well fed this Christmas, and hope you will be too.

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