The Eve of Christmas Eve

With Christmas upon me, I was experiencing a dilemma as you know from this post. I refused to spend $25 on a turkey just for me. While I believe, I'm worth it, that's just gouging-at-the-grocery. Supermarket highway robbery. Remember this post about smoked ham shanks? After all my whining and searching and finally giving up, today, I stumbled upon "smoked ham shanks"...the "real" thing, not just some Von's Grocery/West coast idea of them. I almost fell over. I bought two. So this is going to be my Christmas dinner. I'm totally amazed that I ran across them out of the blue! I bought a bag of black beans and a can of garbanzos while shopping, so I'm all set. No, it's not a Christmas memory type of meal, but how can one not just say "mmmm...mmm...mmmm" to this?

(Once again, picture courtesy of Jerry at Cooking by the seat of my Pants blog.) As a kid, my mom always made appetizers to munch on for Christmas day. If we were flush at the time, it might be shrimp or a dip made with crabmeat, if not, it was cheese and crackers and cream cheese mixed with chopped chives on celery. While I was out at Costco last week, I was lucky enough to sample the Kirkland brand of smoked salmon. Holy cow! It was divine! Yes, divine! I broke down and bought a package of it. So for Christmas day I'll have a little platter made up of crackers topped with a bit of cream cheese and smoked salmon on top. I also splurged and bought a wedge of Brie (I can hear my arteries slamming shut as I type this). I'd hoped to get pate at Trader Joe's. Apparently I haven't bought that in quite a while because they no longer carry it. How sad. It was the best! Oh well. I did get egg nog, so it'll be quite a festive little day while the ham shanks are braising away.

This is exactly what I was talking about in this post. Picking one or two small, special things to focus on to avoid the alone-by-the-phone-holiday-blues. I'm creating what will be a happy little holiday afternoon and a long anticipated dinner. I figure since I stumbled on the shanks from out of nowhere that they count as the universe's Christmas present to me, as well as solution to my holiday dinner. It should be noted however, that with my track record of trying brand spanking new recipes out on a holiday, I took the precaution of getting the makings of spaghetti and meatballs...just in case.

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