For Day 3 of the Reject Pantry Project, I decided to tackle the jar of prepared horseradish that had languished in obscurity since, perhaps, 2001. It seemed like cheating to mix it with mayonnaise and make a roast beef sandwich, so I found a recipe for a cheese spread (the Food of the Gods for my husband and son) that required a bit of horseradish. It was a hit, and although I still have lots of the stuff left, it has moved to cushier quarters in the refrigerator door and will be used again to recreate the cheese spread. Edited to add: we have subsequently discovered that this spread makes a great sandwich filling. We like it on toasted regular or marble rye, with a little salt and pepper. Its like Deviled Ham that died and went to heaven.
Ham and Swiss Cheese Spread Recipe
(Adapted from From Dip It! by Rick Rodgers (William Morrow & Co., via About.com)
- 1 (3 ounces) package cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp prepared horseradish
- 1/2 pound smoked ham, finely chopped in a food processor
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp Swiss cheese
- 1 Tbsp shredded onion (use the large holes on a box grater)
(I doubled this recipe and substituted shredded sharp cheddar for Swiss because I had some to use up). In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the onion until it is almost pureed. Add the ham and pulse until it is in large chunks or strips, but not yet “ground.” Add remaining ingredients and pulse until blended (its okay if your ham loses all structural integrity; its a spread). Move dip from food processor bowl into serving bowl, and stir in shredded cheese. Cover and chill.
Much to Sam’s dismay, I did not serve the cheese spread on crackers as our actual dinner. I did, however, made Barbara Kafka’s gazpacho, which is really, really good. I like it chunky, which this is, although it could easily be processed until it was smoother. Its also easy to adjust the heat – I gave half of this to my parents with no chili pepper, and then added a small jalapeno to our half. Based on this recipe, and last night’s Zucchini Custard, I can now endorse Barbara Kafka’s Vegetable Love without reservations. The recipes I’ve tried have been clear, inventive and delicious, and the book includes lots of useful information about identifying, buying, picking cooking and storing a wide array of familiar and unfamiliar vegetables to get me through farmer’s market season and the Season of Root Vegetables. Who knows; maybe next week I’ll try the Nettle Soup…. I’m not putting the recipe on the blog, because there are millions of great gazpacho recipes floating around right now, but if you really want it, and you ask me nicely, I’ll give it to you.