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Monday, January 9, 2012

The Pork Boys Do Christmas-New Year's-Kings Day-Whatever

An approximation of the ham we had last night

Last night the Pork Boys got together at my place for their long-planned holiday feed, and boy howdy, was it good.  Unfortunately, due to ongoing technical difficulties at both ends of the line, I'm still not able to post any pictures for you guys to see, so I had to rely on a stock photo above to give you an idea of the main course.

But just for the record, the menu went like this:


* Chips and onion dip
* Cheddar and Jack cheese cubes on Ritz crackers
* Smoked oysters, ditto
* Duck liver paté with bacon and mushrooms (made by M.P. with livers he saved from the roast duck he made for his family Xmas feast)

Main course:

* Baked picnic ham with orange glaze
* Mystery Dream Casserole (a collaborative effort:  see below)
* Baked sweet potatoes
* Blackeyed peas with bacon
* Hot rolls and butter
* White Zin


* Homestyle vanilla ice cream on warm slices of chocolate cake, with chocolate and caramel syrups
* Champagne
* Coffee

After all of which, we were moaning and groaning with stuffed bellies and damn near unable to get up from our chairs.  But oh my, it was good.

Now about that mystery casserole, which came about in a very peculiar way.  A week or so ago, in the middle of a sound sleep one night, I dreamed I was watching someone cook an unfamiliar dish, with just a few ingredients:  a sort of yellow cornmeal-looking mush that I interpreted as grits; some chopped leafy vegetable like spinach or turnip greens; two or three eggs; and a fourth element that seemed like cheese.

Somehow I knew - in my dream, but also in a sort of half-conscious way - that I had to tell M.P. about this, so I forced myself to repeat the ingredients, "Grits, greens, eggs, cheese," the rest of the night every time I had a half-waking moment.  Well, subsequently I called M.P. and told him about it, just for laughs, as it resembled no recipe I'd ever heard of.  However, he being a very skilled and knowledgeable cook, immediately recognized that the "grits" I was describing sounded a lot like something called polenta.  (Your Head Trucker admits he ain't too familiar with all them furrin-soundin' dishes, being just a plain home cook as you can tell by the menu). 

The end of the story is, he decided to try making it, with some collard greens instead of spinach, to bring to our dinner last night, and what do you know:  it's totally yummy!  The polenta is smooth and creamy, lighter than grits would be, and makes a great side dish.  Now he can't wait to make it again to serve at his next family get-together.

An approximation of our Mystery Dream Casserole

Which is absolutely the strangest damn thing.  I have never dreamed up a recipe in my life before.  First time for everything, I guess.

But where in the world did it come from?  I don't cook much myself, and I never try inventing new recipes.  Strange.

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