Christmas has come and gone. The gifts have been thought out, purchased, wrapped, received, unwrapped and put away. The guests have come and gone. What remains, however, is a lot of leftovers. Fred and I have done all sorts of things imaginable with all of the leftovers in the fridge - the most creative being a shepherd pie of sorts. We took the leftover prime rib, chopped it up with some carrots, celery and red wine and turned it into a boeuf bourguignon. Then we took the scraps leftover from the domino potatoes, boiled them and made a mash. We put the remains of the winter greens gratin in the mash and stirred it all together. Then we put the bourguignon in a casserole, topped it with the mash and baked it. That was dinner one night. And a snack the next day. The funny thing is that now we have that leftover in the fridge.
I feel like Sisyphus, but my rock is leftover food. Actually, my rock is the ham. We weren’t entirely certain we would have enough food to feed our seven, possibly eight, guests for Christmas dinner (a thought, that in hindsight, was absurd) so we asked Fred’s mom’s boyfriend to bring a ham (he had offered). Needless to say, the ham never even saw the dinner table on Christmas as we had an over abundance of food.
So I sent everyone home with some ham that night. And the next day there were ham sandwiches. And some ham biscuits the day after that. We even had ham and eggs for breakfast the next morning.
But even yesterday, when I opened the fridge, the ham was still there. And a lot of it. I wanted to get the hock to make ham and beans, but there was still so much ham left to use. So, I did what I often do in these situations; I called Mom. You see, my mom makes a killer ham salad.
My mom is also moving back to Virginia in less than two weeks. So right now, any excuse to see, or talk to her is welcomed. In fact, lately, we’ve been talking about five or six times a day. Yesterday it was about ham salad. She told me her recipe and her technique, and while Fred watched football in the den, I took every last shred of meat on that ham, got two chefs knives, and went cray cray on some ham salad. My mom told me Uncle Dougerton especially loves her ham salad, so I delivered some to him today. I also took some to my girls at Lindy & Grundy, since they love anything my mom makes.
Today is New Year’s Eve, and I’m sitting on the sofa, writing this, completely swaddled in the blanket my mom knitted me for this Christmas. She has been working on it for well over a year and it shows. It’s huge. It’s like twenty feet long huge. It’s bright and colorful and filled with different textures and shapes. I know it will be in my life forever. My kids and grandkids will love this blanket. I look at the blanket and I know she touched, and thought about, and poured love into every thread, every millimeter of it. Did she know what she was giving me right before she is moving away? My favorite leftover of them all. An heirloom.
And this recipe for ham salad.
Kathy's Deviled Ham Salad
2 cups ham, really finely chopped
1/4 cup sweet onion, finely diced
1/4 cup celery, finely diced
1 large dill pickle, diced
3 tablespoons mayo
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Dash of sherry vinegar
Salt and black pepper to taste
Mix all the ingredients together until blended but not too smooth as you want a bit of texture. Taste and adjust any seasoning or add more mayonnaise if you like. A little drizzle of pickle juice is excellent as well.
Yield: About 3 cups. Keeps in the refrigerator for a few days.
One year ago: Domino potatoes
Two years ago: Linguine with pancetta mushroom cream sauce
Three years ago: 2009: The Year of the Food Truck