Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ham and the end of the world

Hellloooooo, everybody!!! The Fresh Pioneer is back and I have nothing really fresh to tempt you. Nor any sugar. Nor any handsome men.

No, wait, that last one I can probably remedy.
hahahaha! Isn't that great! Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy in the 2005 'Pride and Prejudice'.... but he's texting! *smirkle*

 I'm not a huge fan of that movie, but I did just give away a copy on my blog to celebrate my 3,000th sale of 'Pride, Prejudice, and Cheese Grits'. Yay!

And then Vince Mooney gave it a hilarious write-up on 'The Philosophy of Romance' here. I just love that guy. My favorite line? "To begin with, I think this title is a great example why editors don’t let writers choose their own titles."

(Let me just say, I have no idea why the fonts have just gone wonky. I blame Vince. That makes much more sense than considering the possibility that I can't even handle blog fonts. *sigh*)

ANYHOO, Yes, it's been a fun week, and Spring is here and life is wonderful, despite having the head cold from Hades.
Honestly, I forgot what it's like to be sick. I'm never sick. You know, that sort of never that's really ALMOST NEVER. *sigh*
But I did manage to cook a little. Well, I always cook because I like to eat. And my husband likes to eat and all those kids... yes... like to eat.

Irma S. Rombauer wrote in the Joy of Cooking that "one definition of eternity is a ham and two people."
We have more than two people in this house, but there is something about left-over ham that makes me wonder what we can possibly do, besides eat cold ham sandwiches for the entire week.
I remembered a  friend of mine made a delicious quiche with a grated potato crust and I wondered if that might be one possible reincarnation of Easter ham. So, we set to work...
My kids had a great time grating potatos, with the skins. Here's approximately seven potatoes, or 6 cups. I think the original recipe was 3 cups of hasbrowns per pie plate. You can use prepared hashbrowns. Add 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper and 4 TBS of melted butter. I was wary of adding salt because I knew the ham would be salty.
(Oh, excuse me. We have a call. A very important call on the banana phone. See his brother giving him the 'whaddya doing' look. Big brothers have no appreciation for the importance of produce communication. One must answer, speak politely, and pass it to the mother... who then must answer, listen intently, and take instructions for a play date at the park. That is the way of the banana phone.)
After pressing the grated potatoes into your pie pan (it covered several pie pans and one small casserole dish), put in an oven that has warmed to 450F, for about 20 minutes. I was afraid it would burn so I took it out as soon as the crust was cooked, but the edges were only slightly crispy at 15 minutes. Next time I might leave it longer. I nibbled just a bit at it and YUMMY. Anyway, we're tryin to use up the ham...
Lay cooked ham in the bottom of the potato crust.

About 3 cups of cheddar cheese. The original recipe was 1 1/2 cups of cheese, but I was making a big batch. Add 8 eggs and 1 cup milk (or 4 eggs and 1/2 cup milk). Mix well. Add 1/2 tsp salt a dash of tabasco sauce, and sprinkle of pepper.
Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes until puffy. I was afraid this would spill over, so I set it on a cookie sheet. But everything was fine. I think, all in all, I prefer this potato crust over the usual quiche crust, but I might make a more traditional Quiche Lorraine (with Swiss cheese). It seemed very cheesey with the cheddar. The kids devoured it, and husband ate it (that's all we can ask for, he's not a fan of cheese), but I'm imagining broccoli-Swiss-mushroom version in my future.

  One more picture to lighten your day...
Awwww. Such nice eyes. :)
And now I must be off. Someone is calling on my banana phone. I wonder who it is? And after we're done, I'll be singing this song by Raffi. Click it. You won't be sorry. Unless it gets stuck in your head...

 Until next time! And Edna waves hello! She's made a wonderful friend and they will be taking over the blog next week to show off their skillz in the kitchen. It's a combined effort... No, I'm not telling, so stop asking.


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  2. OMGosh!!! That banana phone conversation is priceless! Love the photo of your son. LOL!! It must be so fun to be in your home and with your family. I'm going to hide that fact from my kids or they'll be wanting to move!

    Also, I'm totally CRACKING UP at the quote about eternity!!! Hysterical! I read it to hubby because I can't tell you have many bags of ham we've had in the freezer over the years. :) And that's with 5 people! :) :)

    Thanks for the yummy recipe! I'm too lazy to grate potatoes (and don't have little ones to help) so will add frozen hashbrowns to my grocery list. :)

    1. It was really tasty! I was wondering about trying it because it seemed so close to scalloped potatoes, but not. And those recipes are rarely good.
      But it worked out pretty well. My daughter mentioned it could have used ketchup, so you know how cheesey this was.
      And yes, we call our house the zoo. You can buy a ticket, but like to give them away for free. :D

  3. I agree Missy, I was laughing at the banana phone conversation too, but that sly look on the brother's face that is barely visible is cute too. He's like, "Get with it man, you are talking to a banana!" Hilarious!

    I like the idea of a potato crust. We eat crustless quiche around here, since my fellows don't like it. :( Thanks for the idea of a new approach! I could put my one and only to work grating potatoes, but without other siblings to push him to work, I will probably have to resort to buying frozen hashbrowns!


    1. HAHAHA! That was EXACTLY the look!

      But, don't tell anyone... I have a picture of him talking to my COMPUTER MOUSE at exactly the same age. Sitting at the computer, mouse to ear, having a full convo.
      Yeah, they grow up pretty quick.

  4. Great post and so timely! We are the two people and one ham--and spending a LOT of time together since his surgery--the ham just adds to the whole situation! I have thought about pushing the ham through neighbors' fences for their dogs, but don't want to get hauled off for skulking around back yards after dark.

    Love the writing and pics! I can even see a hint of your new floor :) Get the banana ready and I will call later!

    1. YES! And do you know who he was talking to?? Of course, it was Aunt Susie.

      The visual of you being hauled to jail for feeding ham to dogs through fence slats made me cackle. Or maybe it was just the idea of you being hauled off to jail.

      But I'd visit. I'd bring a visitor and some ham...

    2. Nooo! No ham! On the other hand, might be worth it for the peace and quiet... Kidding, I love him dearly just in smaller doses lol! I am sure he feels the same way right now.

      I am making this for dinner tonight, will call with the results!

    3. Cool! You like the salt, so it shouldn't be a problem, but I did think this was a little salty. And wouldn't SWiss and ham make a great pairing??

      And don't murder the poor man. I'd hate to have to bring the kids all the way to prison just to visit with you.


    4. And the ham wins!!! Evil ham :( The recipe was easy and tasty--great dinner! However, I had forgotten that the ham juice and fat spilled in the oven right before dinner was served and I had not cleaned (um, yes it is three days past Easter--I just forgot, really!). Currently enjoying the evening with all the windows and door open trying to clear some of the smoke out.

      Ham always wins!

    5. HAHAHA! OH NO!!!! I do love ham, but perhaps there's a reason we only have it once a year??

      So, you had the smoked potato crust quiche? Sounds very... fancy.

  5. Thanks for the recipe, Virginia! I'm putting bags of leftover ham in my freezer today...but this will be my lunch. Totally. (I can do a mini, one person version, can't I?)

    And the banana phone! I was humming the song even before you put up the's a regular at our house.

    (Yes, my adult children go around singing the banana song whenever I bring them into the house....)

    I hear Julie Hilton Steele is on grandbaby watch. I'm on puppy litter watch - they're due this week, and until they're born I won't know if we're getting one from this litter or waiting for the next one.

    I keep telling myself waiting builds character.

    1. My sister introduced us to the banana phone song. Can you believe I'd never heard it?
      And I'm so jealous of you both! Or maybe just Julie. Puppies are cute but I don't want to have to take care of them. Babies are a whole 'nother matter. Bring 'em on!
      P.S. I think a one-person version is a great idea! Yum!

    2. Oh, I'd take a baby over a puppy any day!

      But since I' a certain age, and my children aren't married (yet), I'm settling for a puppy. :)

    3. What is it with the lack of newborn delivery services? I mean, how hard is it to make up a catalogue where we can order one.

      I opt for the self-cleaning model this go-round.

    4. Self-cleaning model? Virginia, you have the best ideas!

    5. That and a little clear strip over the breast so we can see how much a baby has consumed, like when it's using a bottle. I mean, not saying God did it wrong or anything. Just offering a few suggestions when I see Him. :D

  6. So much leftover ham in my house. This would never have happened before, but with me cutting back on salt... sad to say, no ham for me. :( Otherwise I'd be making this in a flash!

    Suddenly missing my Raffi days. :(

    1. I think this could be a great recipe without the ham. It was a very filling dish... but the combo of the cheddar and ham was not quite like a quiche!

  7. Okay, let me get this straight, Virginia. Potatoes, ham, and cheese.... What's not to like? This sounds like tomorrow night's dinner to me. If there's enough left over ham. We've been pickin'.

    Love the banana phone. Not touching the Raffi song though because it WILL get stuck in my head. Then I would hate you, and I don't want to hate you, Virginia:-)

    1. hahahaha! Yes, please don't hate me!!

      And really, it has too many lyrics to get stuck in your head. I didn't even know who Raffi was until my sister gave us this song on a CD. What was I doing with my life???

  8. Definitely going to make this without the ham. :-) Much smaller portions since I don't have so many helpful hands to do all that grating.

    Sorry you're feeling sick. Hopefully cyberspace won't share your germs. I wouldn't want you to feel deprived of them.

    And wait a minute -- do you have a writer alter-ego out there selling stories?

    1. I have many alter-egos! It helps if I distribute my ego around a little. *snort*
      And I am feeling better. Right now, just fuzzy. Not craving death as much as I was the last two days.

      let me know what you put in yours, Kav!!