Typically, the Midsouth is the last place you would expect snow to fall. By this time, we are already getting our gardens ready for spring. Lilies begin to grow, roses start budding again, turnip green seeds are broadcasted and even weeds pop their heads out of the dirt for some sunshine. This is not the case for this year, 2011. We’ve had more snow than ever! Christmas Day, we had snow! Again in January! Now, February! God has blessed us with a white winter and those of us in the South who’ve never seen one should be grateful! (Now, you know why people further North don’t stop and say “Hi” to just anyone like we do in the South….it’s too cold!!! Don’t misunderstand it! They aren’t being rude. They are simply trying to keep warm.) For those of you who can’t wait to plant, WAIT! You can start your seeds indoors at the end of February and in March. Planting season will begin in Mid-March and April for outdoor plants or to transplant seedlings. Make sure to clear out your beds before planting by raking up any leaves and using a scuffle or action hoe to remove any weeds and to till the dirt up a bit. For larger gardens, many people use a mechanical tiller, but for the small gardens I work with using a hoe is easier. I also recommend adding some topsoil to your beds after removing weeds. Personally, I also put down Preen and Miracle Gro Plant Food and rake it into the soil. This helps get the soil ready for planting. Preen helps prevent further weed growth and the Miracle Gro helps provides nutrients that aren’t always found in the hard clay soil found in our area. (For those of you who are living in KS, our planting season is in April and these methods work for you as well. Kansas also has hard clay soil, but the composition of clay is different.) In the meantime, stock up on these items when you can and enjoy the warmth of the indoors during this snowy season. This winter is mighty cold, but it’s made my time at home very special.
This time has also been especially dear to my heart because it is Gingko’s First Winter too! She is a Great Dane and unlike my family’s other dogs, absolutely loves the snow. She will run in it and even dip down to get a scoop of “snow cream” in her mouth. She plays in it! When she sees the “white stuff” outside the window, she wags her tail and looks to me like, “Let me out to play, Mom!” Like most young children, she has her own winter coat and boots, but she still likes to dash out naked. Finally, I get her indoors and she curls up in a blanket on the sofa and lays there til she gets warm.
On days like today, it is common for my mother and I to make an old fashioned Southern recipe we ladies call Ham and White Sauce over Toast Points, but the military men down here lovingly call it S.O.S. (Sh** On a Shingle). The recipe is as follows:
Ham and White Sauce over Toast Points
- 1- 2lb ham or leftovers
- 1 can of cranberry jelly
- 1/4 cup Pickapeppa Sauce (http://www.pickapeppa.com/)
- 1/8 cup Worchestershire Sauce
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- 2 Tbsp Flour
- 1 cup Milk
- Salt and Pepper TT (I prefer White Pepper for this sauce.)
- 4-8 slices of White or Wheat bread, toasted, crust removed and cut into points (or little triangles)
Remove packaging from ham and rinse with room temperature water. Place ham in a Dutch Oven (cast iron, preferably) and set to the side. Combine cranberry jelly, Pickapeppa sauce, and worchestershire sauce in a small bowl. Pour mixture over ham. Cover with an aluminum foil tent. (Usually a few toothpicks in the ham helps the aluminum foil stand off of the ham while allowing the ideal environment for steaming and baking.) Bake at 350 F for 10-15 minutes per lb or until internal temperature is 180 F. Set aside to cool.
Heat saucepan on medium to medium high. Once the saucepan is hot, add flour and butter and stir fervently. This will produce what is called a roux. As soon as the flour and butter create a paste like mixture, begin adding milk slowly. While adding milk, continue to stir (or whisk) until all the milk is in the pan and all the lumps have disappeared. If the mixture gets too thick (gravy-like), add more milk. If the mixture is too thin (like milk), don’t be afraid to add more flour. Add salt and pepper and continue stirring. Turn on low and let the white sauce sit until service.
Arrange your 2-4 slices of toasted bread onto a plate. Slice ham into ham slices and then cube the slices to make little ham bits. Place some of the ham on top of the bread. Reserve some for a topping. Pour white sauce on top of bread and ham. Top with reserved ham and serve immediately. Everything will hold for 1-3 days after cooking, except for the white sauce. Try to eat it the day it is made.
Sides you might like with this dish: Peas, Baked Apples, Asparagus, Yams, and Brussel Sprouts with Chesnuts
I hope you enjoy this recipe and this winter weather! Hallie Hylander 🙂