11 hours ago
Saturday, December 26, 2009
K made it home a couple of hours early from the Spike on Christmas Eve. We had the traditional Porcupine Meatballs by candlelight. J enjoyed playing with the domestic goddess hidden deep within by setting a pretty table for Christmas Eve Dinner and then changing it up just a tad for Christmas Day. We are overwhelmingly blessed, had gobs of presents to open and food to eat, and simply enjoyed our time together.
Activities included sleeping in (K dragged himself out of bed at 10:45 a.m. on Christmas Morning--one of J's gifts to him since she grew up with the rule of "no Christmas before 6:00 a.m.!"), watching television (NBA games for K) and DVD's (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency for J), reading The Christmas Story from Luke 2 in the New Testament of the King James Version of the Holy Bible, talking to family by phone, reading books and newspapers, playing Aggravation (K beat J two out of three), and cooking (big thanks to K for all of his efforts in preparing yummy food AND cleaning the dishes).
For Christmas Dinner we had Honey-baked spiral cut ham, mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy, green bean casserole, crescent rolls, and apricot salad. The apricot salad is a recipe from K's family. Here's the original recipe:
APRICOT FRUIT SALAD
1 can Apricot Pie Filling
2 eleven-ounce cans Mandarin Oranges
1 can Pineapple Bits/Chunks
1 can White Grapes
3-4 Sliced Bananas
2 cups Mini-Marshmallows
Drain all canned fruit and mix with pie filling. Chill thoroughly. Add bananas and marshmallows. Serve.
Well, there's just so much to be said about this recipe! First of all, when I married into this wonderful family and heard about this salad, I was taken off guard. Is there anyone else out there who has never heard of apricot pie filling? Honestly, do waitresses in diners all across America rattle it off on their well-memorized and quickly-recited list of pies? No! I've lived in eight states and one foreign country. People around here grow entire orchards of apricots and I've been making the jam for years. Never heard of apricot pie or filling. Never. Okay, so then I tried some at my first Christmas Dinner on Grandpa's farm. Wasn't impressed. It was too sweet, too much "unmatching" fruit, and I couldn't sort out the flavors and textures. Wasn't sold. One year, Ken made it for his faculty party. We couldn't locate apricot pie filling after searching many stores, so he substituted peach. Not a go.
Fast forward to Christmas 2009. K had a hankering for Apricot Salad. He bought a can of apricot pie filling in Iowa and carried it across the plains. He doesn't even like Mandarin oranges or apricots. We couldn't find a can of white grapes anywhere (another item I'd never heard of...), so K bought fresh (spendy, shipped up from Brazil this time of year). K got an idea to make a last-minute substitution because he couldn't find canned grapes--he bought a can of Bing Cherries instead. So, on Christmas Eve, we drained the oranges, pineapple, and cherries and saved the juice! The juice all mixed together is beautiful and tasty. We mixed in the apricot pie filling and threw it in the fridge overnight. Christmas Day found us slicing three bananas and folding in the marshmallows. It was DIVINE! We don't know if it's the cherries, the marrying of the flavors with the overnight chilling (at the farm, the salad is usually put together that morning and not-so-chilled), or the fact that we put a lot of effort and soul into this thing. While typing this post I had to dish some of the stuff up and taste it again before I could go on. So now you know everything we've learned about this one dish. Definitely picture-worthy.