Good heavens it was busy, but also, wondrously, totally fun. For Christmas eve dinner we had two extremely good things. The first was a country ham from Benton's in Tennessee. Have you ever had a country ham? Have you ever seen one? They look like giant loaves of bread, or huge sandstone formations. They smell like a smokehouse (I had to put ours outside). But oh man—I have never in my life had anything like it to eat. Except, that's wrong; I have: it was like a leg of the best prosciutto ever. Rich and chewy and subtle and amazingly unlike anything I'd ever called "ham" before. Butchering it was a challenge, and next time I'll order one pre-sliced, but I am a convert. The second thing we had was a vegetable lasagna I made, and if I say it myself, it was excellent. I have discovered that the key to lasagna happiness for me is parboiling the noodles. If I cook them all the way they are slimy and impossible to work with; this time I boiled them til just pliable (about six minutes) and then let them cool on sheets of parchment. Everything else was a breeze (though time-consuming): bottled tomato sauce, ricotta cheese, sauteed mushrooms, spinach, and eggplant.
The pictured quiche was last night's dinner, and contained brussels sprouts and mushrooms sauteed in country ham fat.