Mom’s favorite way to use up leftover country ham was in a spread with cream cheese – just two ingredients, that’s it! While her simple method is delicious, I decided to jazz it up a bit by adding a whopping two more ingredients – a bit of mayonnaise and some chopped fresh chives. Instead of chives, I have added chopped green onions before and that was also quite tasty. If you don’t have any leftover country ham, you can substitute cooked ham from the deli that has been ground up in a food processor. Enjoy!
Country Ham Cheese Spread
(Makes around 2 cups)
Using a fork, mix together all ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper (may not need any salt, depending on the saltiness of your ham). Refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavors blend. Serve with crackers.
Note: I throw the leftover pieces from the country ham in the food processor and chop it into fine bits. In addition to this dish, the ground ham is great in salads, omelets – any dish where you might add cooked bacon bits.
Make ahead: spread can be made up to 2 days ahead, covered and refrigerated.
What could be better – the ingredients in a BLT sandwich (minus the bread) in a bite size morsel! A wonderfully refreshing and delicious addition to any cocktail party menu.
BLT in a Cherry Tomato
(Serves 8 to 10)
8 slices bacon
20 cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1/2 cup finely chopped romaine lettuce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Cook bacon until crisp; drain and crumble.
Take the green stem off of the top of each tomato, cut a slice off the bottom and carefully scoop out seeds and discard. Lightly salt inside of tomato shells and invert on paper towels for 15 minutes.
Mix together the onion, bacon crumbles, lettuce and mayonnaise. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fill each tomato with bacon mixture. Cover and chill. Place on a platter and garnish with chopped parsley.
Variation: Substitute 10 plum tomatoes for 20 cherry tomatoes. Slice plum tomatoes, season with salt and pepper. Place heaping teaspoonful of bacon mixture onto each tomato slice.
Make ahead: Tomatoes can be assembled, covered and chilled earlier in the day.
Having friends over to watch the Pro Bowl or the Super Bowl? This scrumptious cheese torte recipe, from mom’s home state of Kentucky, can be made up to one month ahead and frozen, allowing for stress-free entertaining.
Kentucky Cheese Torte
(Serves 20 or more)
16 ounces grated extra sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 to 1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 packages (8 ounce) cream cheese, at room temperature, separated
1/3 cup mango chutney, large mango pieces chopped
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/3 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and wrung dry
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Line a 6-inch spring form pan with plastic wrap.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cheddar cheese, pecans, chopped onion and enough mayonnaise to hold the mixture together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread half of mixture into prepared dish. Place the dish, but not the remaining cheese mixture, in the refrigerator.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese with the chutney and cayenne pepper. Spread evenly over the cheese layer in the dish. Return to the refrigerator.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the remaining package of cream cheese, bacon, spinach, garlic and oregano. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread evenly over chutney mixture. Top with remaining cheddar cheese mixture. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down on top layer. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve. Serve with crackers.
Make ahead: torte can be made up to 1 month ahead and frozen. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then at room temperature for several hours.
This delicious and unusual dish comes from a friend of my childhood friend Katey Hartwell, who now lives in Mexico. It’s best if made at least 24 hours before serving to allow the flavors to blend.
(Serves 16 or more)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Maggi “Jugo” seasoning sauce (see Note)
juice of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1/2 lime (or more to taste)
2 bunches fresh cilantro – around 4 to 5 cups (leaves only)
2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 to 5 tablespoons canned chopped jalapeno peppers
250 ml light cream (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons powdered chicken stock
1/2 cup cold water
2 envelopes gelatin
Put all ingredients except water and gelatin in blender or food processor and process until well blended. Set aside.
Place water in a small saucepan and sprinkle gelatin evenly over the top and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, stir, and then cook over low heat until gelatin gets clear. Add to other ingredients. Pour mousse into oiled mold and refrigerate to set.
To unmold, dip mold briefly in hot water – for around 30 seconds. Place a large plate on top of the mold, hold together and carefully invert. Once the mousse plops out onto the plate, remove the mold. Serve with crackers.
Make ahead: Mousse can be made up to 3 days ahead, covered and stored in the refrigerator in its mold. Unmold just before serving.
Note: Maggi seasoning is available in Mexican markets and some larger grocery stores. The “Jugo” sauce is different from the Asian and European versions of Maggi seasoning sauce. Can substitute 1/2 teaspoon soy and 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce for 1 teaspoon Maggi Jugo.
I mentioned this delicious coleslaw in a posting during our airstream trip last month. I made it one night for dinner, to serve alongside of my husband Robert’s Grilled Sausages with Peppers and Onions (recipe to follow in another post!). As a shortcut, you can use bagged coleslaw mix with green and red cabbage and carrots. Delish! Great for Fall tailgating.
Coleslaw with Lemon-Mayonnaise Dressing
2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons celery seeds
1 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
2 large carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 large jicama, peeled and grated, moisture rung out
1/4 cup chopped green onions
In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, celery seeds and celery salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, toss together the cabbages, carrots, jicama and green onion (I like to use my hands). Add around half of the mayonnaise mixture and toss; add more dressing as needed (you may have some dressing left over). Season with salt and ground pepper to taste (won’t need much, if any, salt).
Make ahead: Dressing can be made up to 24 hours in advance, covered and refrigerated. Toss just before serving.
Robert decided he wanted to make burgers for dinner last night. We particularly like buffalo burgers made with Bear Mountain Bison ground meat – which comes from our friends Anne and John Draper’s ranch of the same name. I decided to make my favorite french fry recipe to go with the burgers – Sweet Potato Fries. The Garlic Aoili I created to go with these fries is also delicious on the burgers! This recipe is a snap to make if you use frozen sweet potato fries; you can also make it with fresh peeled and sliced potatoes, just decrease the cooking time a bit.
(Note: the aioli is a slight modification from the lemon-garlic aioli in A Well-Seasoned Kitchen – this one has less lemon juice, which blends better with these fries.)
Sweet Potato Fries with Garlic Aioli
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons chopped fresh garlic
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 bag (15 ounce) of frozen sweet potato fries, unthawed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon onion salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, garlic and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Place frozen fries on a large, rimmed cookie sheet. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the oil, curry powder, cumin and onion salt. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over the fries and toss to coat. Bake for around 20 minutes, stirring once or twice, until crispy and lightly browned. Serve hot with the Garlic Aioli.