Dessertes de la Table: a Fancy French term for “Leftovers”

It was SUPPOSED to look something like this. It didn't.

It’s easy enough to eat the leftovers from successful parts of Christmas dinner, but what about the spectacular failures I came up with?  What was I to do with the giant vat of Southern Style Mac & Cheese, (henceforth the “Rubber Style Mac & Cheese”)?

What is it they say about the best intentions? Something about paving the road to a rubbery culinary Hell, I think.  The dish was comprised of bypass inducing ingredients like Manchego Cheese, cream, butter, and Corn Flake crumbs. Before I put it in the oven, I couldn’t keep my spoon out of the bowl.  This dish was giving the Hot Boyfriend a run for his money—I was about to remove my clothes in front of the oven and run my hands all over this creamy, cheesy delight. But then, something happened in the oven. Something that would change all of us forever… OK. Perhaps I’m being slightly hyperbolic, but the damn thing really did go from Hot Stuff to Trailer Trash in no time flat.

Southern Style Mac & Cheese is usually comprised of some mixture of cooked macaroni, milk, cheese, and egg, breading on top and then baked in the oven for a short while.  It tends to be pretty fail-proof.  Not in this kitchen.  My best guess is that I used an extra large size macaroni and that, due to its size, it expanded even further in the oven and sucked up every last bit of liquid from my delicious sauce like some dirty, trailer park boy drinking a 40 oz.

So, how was anyone supposed to make leftovers, or Dessertes de la Table as the French would say, of such a poor dish? Was it destined for the garbage disposal? Actually, we had friends over (they brought pirojkis and they were outrageous!) and they took two bags of this rubbery stuff home (that’s right, Ziploc bags…there was NO chance of it leaking) and made an interesting breakfast dish: they chopped it up into small bits, mixed it with a bit of egg and butter and fried it like pancakes. Genius!

Looks pretty. Tasted decent. But it apparently didn't stack up to the Danish Grandmother's version.

As for the rest of the evening, there were 2 successful dishes (my carrot and beet relish and the Danish Grandmother’s *poppyseed cake) and one dish that offered up a foodgasm to everyone at the grownup table; even the vegetarian had some… it was the Danish Grandmother’s Super Ham Balls.  Dear. God. I begged the Hot Boyfriend, I pleaded with him, I offered him favors I can’t mention in a public blog.  But, alas, I cannot give you the recipe.  He accused me of trying to ruin a sacred childhood memory.  He threatened to break up with me if I told anyone the recipe.  So the best thing I can offer is for you to google ham balls. Maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll try one of the 3 or 4 recipes I found that were similar, and you too will have a Holiday Foodgasm.

*A sidenote on the poppyseed cake: the Danish Grandmother’s recipe (which I can’t share either) called for sifted flour.  It was supposed to have 3 layers.  I couldn’t figure out why I only had enough batter for 2 cakes, and then I realized that perhaps there was a reason to say “sifted”.  If you don’t sift, you end up with too much flour.  The cake was good, but according to the Hot Boyfriend, not as good as Grandma used to make it.  Ouch.

And finally, I must share my favorite Christmas gift with you:

The Wusthoff. Henceforth, "Ex Calibur"

She’s everything you could ever want in a woman: she’s sharp, has a cutting wit, and she’s beautiful.  I have named her Ex Calibur.  I’m going to have a special knife block made for her that looks like a big stone. Happy Holidays.

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