The return of the 2009 Christmas ham is always joyful and filled with good memories. This time we unfroze a few slices for a sandwich, melt style (Meaning, lots of cheese on top). To meat-it-up, we also added some buffalo chicken from the local grocery store. Do you ever go through life, looking at the same thing over and over again, not really thinking about what it is, but still forming an opinion that sometimes turns into solid knowledge? This is the way I feel about Butterball buffalo chicken breast. I have seen it many times at the local grocery store, and never really given it a second glance. I knew, somehow, that this gigantic ball of chicken must be a chicken breast, after all that’s what it said on the package. Last week, I then decide to try it. As soon as I see the meat cut, I realize to my horror that obviously this is not a gigantic 10 pound chicken breast, but rather another conglomerate of pressed meats of unknown origin. I could have kicked myself, but the nice lady had sliced it already, so here it is.
We just recently discovered the Spanish Valdeon cheese on an impulse buy from Trader Joe’s, and since then we’ve used it in several of our sandwiches. It’s not an overly strong blue-cheese, but not mild like Roquefort either. It sits comfortably in the middle of the spectrum, making it a great addition to sandwiches because it adds a lot of flavor without overpowering the other ingredients.
This sandwich is on freshly baked Danish rye bread, with our leftover Jamaican Christmas ham (oh soo good). The baked pineapple that’s included was actually baked with the original ham, but you can of course use a fresh one. Enjoy.
‘Twas the eve before Christmas and all through the house, the smell of Jamaican Christmas ham was tempting my nose. Okay.. a poor attempt at a rhyme, but you get the message. We were starving and still had a few hours before the traditional Scandinavian Christmas (Eve) dinner. Scandinavian countries celebrate Christmas on the 24th while Jamaicans (like Americans) reserve our celebration for the 25th. To satisfy each of our cultural programming, we have two celebrations in our home- in effect, two Christmases. We spend Scandinavian Christmas with some dear friends with whom Anders is able to reconnect with his childhood memories and reserve Jamaican Christmas for the two of us. A necessary component of any Jamaican Christmas dinner is a slowly baked ham infused with the combined flavors of cloves, pineapple and brown sugar. It was a hit at last years Scandinavian dinner (go figure) so this year we decided to make it a staple. Yeah to cultural crossovers!
In the midst of the baking of the ham, we got hungry. So to satisfy the empty stomach, but not sacrifice too much space for the barrage of food that is Christmas dinner, we created this sandwich. A fresh ciabatta from Bread and Cie in Hillcrest forms the base, and is lightly warmed until the Spanish Valdeon cheese starts melting. We are always stacked up on smoked salmon from Costco. The sandwich turned truly international when we decided to add a hint of sweetness with a spoonful of tomato relish from Meyer’s (in Denmark). The combination of ingredients may seem surprising, but it was absolutely sublime. Hunger abated, we could now wait until dinner time.
We’ve found lately that mascarpone cheese is excellent for making all sorts of delicious mixes. Mascarpone pesto for example we used on a turkey sandwich a few weeks ago. This time we are taking it a notch up, and are making a mascarpone melt with Spanish valdeon cheese and black sesame seeds plus roasted garlic. We use this as a spread for the bread and a topping for the pastrami after melting it in the microwave. Great food !