December 11, 2010

Country Ham ...Past and Present

The roots of this sandwich go back to my childhood in Kentucky.  My father would purchase raw hams from a local farmer and come back to my grandmother's where the curing process would begin in the smokehouse that stood between her house and her beautiful garden.  These hams hung for at least a year but the prize hams hung at least 2 years.  No fast cure here! 

Anyway, the hams would eventually find their way into my mother's kitchen where she would get out the big electric roaster and boil them for hours before removing and topping with brown sugar, cornmeal, vinegar crust and baking in the oven to finish.  Now these Baked Country Hams were special, very special ....oh, how I would love to have one of Daddy's hams right now....nothing like it.  We ate it thinly sliced as a side or on sandwiches of rye bread with swiss cheese and Durkee's Famous Sauce.....which brings me to the reason for this post.

I still enjoy the old version but have tweeked it a bit.  I now like to buy the mini rye bread squares and grill the sandwich.  They freeze beautifully (even after grilling) and are perfect to have on hand.  I use  them with soups and salads all winter long....great quick lunch or dinner.  But best of all,  I like to cut them on the diagonal,  nothing fancy here,  and use them as an hors d'oeuvre for cocktail parties.  Note that I now use Comté cheese (least expensive place to buy is Costco...actually same brand I buy in France)  but you can substitute Swiss or Emmenthaler...just not as much flavor.  However, there is no substitute for the Durkee' is just the jar will do 2 loaves of the mini you see we don't spread too much.   And since we don't have my Daddy's ham, you can find an Edward's Petite Ham, fully cooked and boned, at Fresh Markets (they will slice) as well as online

If you have frozen your sandwiches, reheat until crispy again....I do that in my oven using convection but it also works on regular bake.  I love popping a couple in my new Breville toaster oven that oven....but that's another post.

December 1, 2010


You know I love to start with food.....this was my lunch at Les Deux Garcons in Aix....Do you know what they are?  Answer is at the end .

So now with what this post is really about.....

I think most of you know that I love  technology so when I saw this new app for the IPhone (also the IPad and ITouch), I was intrigued. is a great travel aid and so easy to take along with lugging those heavy books along. These self-guided  city walking tour apps feature over 2,000 cities worldwide.  You can grab these apps on ITunes, or the Apple store for as little as $2.99.  But, read on to see how you could have 3 of them for FREE..

Right now, is sponsoring a contest featuring Aix en Provence.  Answer the 10 multiple choice questions below correctly and you will be awarded 3 city walk iPhone applications of your choice.  Send answers to No purchase necessary. 

 Aix Quiz

1. Originally, Aix-en-Provence was perceived  to be  a popular:
A. Lovers' Nest
B. Spa City
C. Delicatessen Destination

2. Home to the famous Cathedral of Saint-Sauver, Aix is also called:
A. The city of 1000 fountains
B. The city of the lit candles
C. The city of the Three Musketeers

3. The biggest annual event in Aix-en-Provence which takes place for more than fifty years each july is:
A. Festival International d’Art Lyrique
B. Fête de l'Artisanat d'été
C. Carnival des Enfants

4. Aix is known for its fabulous architecture, featuring as key elements:
A. Romanesque basilicas
B. Colorful murals
C. Intricated doors

5. Paul Cezanne was born in Aix on 19 january 1839, in the family of a :
A. Hat shop owner
B. Violonist
C. Doctor

6. It was the Greeks who planted the first olive trees in the region and now olives and olive oil have become some of the main ingredients of Provençal cuisine. The first traditional pressing of the year's olives takes place in:
A. December
B. April
C. September

7. June 21st is a declared national holiday which transforms Aix into:
A. A funny Costumes' Parade
B. An immense Concert Venue
C. An open-air cooking competition

8. Current archeological excavations in the Ville des Tours, a medieval suburb  of Aix, have unearthed the remains of :
A. An old roman amphitheatre
B. An ancient war cemetery
C. The foundations of a lost city

9. Aix-en-Provence is officially twinned among others, with one of the following cities:
A. Sibiu
B. Cologne
C. Perugia

10. Built in 1792 and have been frequented by the likes of Paul Cézanne, Émile Zola and Ernest Hemingway - Deux Garçons is Aix's most famous:
A. Bookstore
B. Brasserie
C. Perfume store

Reminder....send your answers to  Good Luck! 

And, oh yes,.... supions were my lunch at this historical brasserie...... in the family with calamari, octopus etc...They were yummy!