"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: ham

hambone pea soup! . . .

Like many households, we baked a glazed ham for Easter. I saw a joke somewhere that said, “What’s the definition of ‘infinity’?” and the answer was: “two people and a ham.” Well, we’re two people and we gave big chunks of ham to our neighbors and family. We still had quite a bit left over.

One night for supper, we had eggs benedict for dinner with some of the ham leftovers. It was scrumptious especially with the hollandaise sauce spiked with lots of fresh lemon in it. For the rest of the week, we stayed quiet on the ham wrapped carefully in the lower part of the fridge although we made up dinner roll ham ‘sliders’ to take to friends.

This afternoon, I took the chunk of ham out, cut most of the ham off the bone and started a pot of homemade ham and pea soup:

  1. Sauteed chopped onion and carrots in oil
  2. Soaked a pack of dried green peas in a bowl with boiling water
  3. Trimmed the hambone and put it in the onion/carrot pot to brown all over
  4. Added one can of chicken broth; and enough spring water to bring the level of the soup over the hambone. Brought the soup to a slow boil and maintained it there with the lid on for the rest of the afternoon.
  5. Will add more water if needed when I taste the broth for flavor and saltiness. Because the ham is salty and the chicken broth is too, I lean more towards a bland pea-soup with more water than broth, letting the vegetables add sweetness to the soup. (Just tasted it: not salty and full of flavor!)
  6. Let it cook a LONG TIME.

Earlier today, I made a batch of orange marmalade cinnamon rolls for my neighborhood librarians who are the nicest people in appreciation for “National Library Week.” We have a few rolls that I took out that we can steam up to have with the pea soup. I’ll check in with G. to see if he’d like some thin slices of ham on a roll with mustard, or on the side with Major Grey chutney.

That’s it for tonight’s supper: ham and pea soup, rolls and ham. I consolidated the rest of the ham pieces and put in the freezer for future eggs benedict or frittatas. So far, we’ve managed to manage this ham pretty well. C’est la Vie!


french onion soup . . .

This morning after I got dressed, I thought I’d make some soup for lunch. Since the cupboard is rather bare, I picked up three Vidalia onions from the pantry, peeled them, sliced lengthwise and then into thin strips. Half a stick of unsalted butter went into a skillet and then the onions simmered until golden brown. I don’t know what it is but the fragrance of onions cooking on the stove makes the kitchen wake up even when it’s a couple of hours before lunch.

I transferred the golden onions into a new stainless pot with a glass lid that our family friend, B., had dropped by the other night after he heard about my mishap. The compact wheelchair I’ve been using, the two walkers and the chair that the guys have been transporting me up and down the stairs came from him years ago, lying fallow here until the accident brought them to the fore. They have been a godsend and are much appreciated.

loon and babies bpHe told us about seeing a pair of loons camping out by the local pond near one of the campuses in the town we live in. Apparently, they are not that commonly found (even though I have learned since then that they are the official bird of the state of Minnesota where my daughter M. lives.) In any case, as a thank-you, I ordered a book on called “Fascinating Loons” that contains a myriad of photographs and descriptions of loon-y life! Look forward to giving it to him when he comes by for supper some time soon.

So back to the soup: after browning and softening the onions, I transferred them from the skillet to the small stockpot and added two cans of beef broth, then put the soup on a low simmer. Before serving, I plan to toast up some Thomas’s English muffins, sprinkled with some grated gruyere cheese under the broiler to add on top of the soup when we sit down to eat. G. bought some steamship ham from the grocery store last night and we might have some small sandwiches to go along with the soup.

OUR soup for lunch. . .

OUR soup for lunch. . .

Everything seems to slow down when I’m slowed down so that accounts for the detailed description of the soup, its background and our plans for it. Actually, the aroma of the soup has settled our morning down to a satisfying pace. J., one of the workmen who comes a few days a week, is due late morning and will probably have some lunch with us.

This afternoon, I’m assembling the four ripe bananas from the fridge and letting them come to room temperature; then after some business that we have on the phone, will try out a banana cake recipe that promises to be very moist, kept in the fridge and graced with a cream cheese frosting. A good accompaniment to have on hand for our weekend suppers.

Postscript: here’s the recipe for this soup which is delicious when the cupboard is almost bare:

1.  Slice three Vidalia (sweet onion) onions after peeling and slicing in half lengthwise, into narrow strips.

2.  Melt 1/2 stick unsalted butter in skillet; brown the onions over medium heat until they are soft and golden, turning occasionally (half an hour.)

3.  Transfer onions into a pot and add two cans of College Inn Beef Broth (not bouillion cubes because they are too salty and sharp tasting rather than mellow and sweet.) Simmer for 45 minutes and turn heat off until ready to serve.

4.  Broil two thin halves of Thomas’s sandwich size english muffins with grated gruyere or swiss cheese under the broiler until golden brown; cut into fourths. Ladle out the hot soup and add pieces of cheesy muffins on top. Enjoy!


breakfast. . .

Well, it’s Saturday morning and I was looking forward to a leisurely breakfast. We decided to stay here this weekend so I rummaged around in the pantry for something to cook up. I found a drum of grits with just enough for a bowl. And as I came back into the kitchen, it slipped out of my hands and white powdery grits fell all over the floor, including between the floor boards. So, after eyeing the broom, I got out the vacuum cleaner and swept it up.

Second try, I found some old-fashioned oatmeal which I put in a bowl and microwaved while I went about putting the odds and ends that were on the kitchen counter away. It was still runny after the first attempt so I ran it again. This time when I opened up the microwave, the watery oatmeal had spilled all over the glass tray. No oatmeal for breakfast, I thought, as I took the tray out and cleaned it thoroughly under the running faucet.

Each time this happened, I asked myself silently, what am I supposed to learn from this? My patience was worn pretty thin by this time but I kept on going. Before I had started with the grits, I’d been looking online for little snacks to make for tonight’s Patriots playoff game–and had come across the concept of quesadillas. Read the rest of this entry »