Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tulips, Squirrels and Ham Sandwiches

On the walk leading up to my front porch steps I have two big white planters. For every change of season I plant something different in these planters. Summer will find sweet potato vines and red and white geraniums, fall is for rust colored mums and at Christmas I use silk Poinsettias and silver twigs. Now that it is finally spring here in the Northeast I decided that it was time to plant some tulips in the planters. My local nursery had some lovely plants, just 3 for $10.00; a bargain considering each pot had at least 8 blooms. I chose 6 pots, 3 with bright yellow tulips and 3 sporting deep orange blossoms. Intermingling the colored blossoms in my planters gave me the stunning effect I was hoping for. A full 24 to 30 blooms filled each planter and brightened my walkway considerably. 

Now I have seen squirrels dig up all manner of things. But never did I imagine the havoc they would wreck on my beautiful spring planters. I could forgive the little rodents if they were hauling off my flowers to present to a fluffy tailed girlfriend. I could even look the other way if they choose one of two irresistible blooms. But no, the little devils in my neighborhood are hell bent on total destruction. Within 12 hours of my labor of love every sturdy stem had been bitten off at ground level. See, it wasn't the flowers they wanted, it was the bulbs themselves. To get to the bulbs, they bite off the flower, toss it to the side and dig up the tender, sweet bulb; scurrying up the nearest tree with their gourmet find. 

I was able to rescue the scattered blooms one by one and now have vases of yellow and deep orange tulips in every room. Sigh - at least the inside of the house echoes of spring.

Ham Paninis: makes 4 sandwiches

If you are like many people in this country you are now looking at a big platter of leftover Easter ham. And if you're like many people in this country, you are tired of leftover Easter ham. Here's an easy, tasty panini to use up the very last of that ham. 

Leftover ham (sliced thin)
Eight (8) slices rye bread
Eight (8) ounces Fontina cheese, shredded
Dijon Mustard
One (1) cup Cole Slaw, creamy style
Unsalted butter

Spread Dijon mustard on one side of all eight slices of rye bread.
Top 4 slices of bread with 1 ounce Fontina Cheese
Top with slices of ham
Top with a 1/4 cup cole slaw
Top with 1 ounce Fontina Cheese
Place 2nd slice of bread on top, mustard side down.

Melt butter and brush one side of sandwich with butter. 
Place on preheated grill pan, panini pan or fry pan buttered side down
Brush melted butter on top of sandwich.
Weight with a brick, panini press, or lid weighted with cans. 
Cook over low heat for 3 minutes. 
Check for golden crust. Turn, cook on other side 2-3 minutes until both sides have golden crust and cheese is melted.
Slice and serve piping hot with chips and a big dill pickle. 

Variation: my husband's favorite.
Use pineapple rings instead of cole slaw
Use Jarlsberg Swiss instead of Fontina. 

Eat these sandwiches indoors as I have no idea how squirrels feel about ham. 


  1. From a squirrel's point of view I can tell you those sound very,very tasty.

    Maybe try a feeder with peanuts or such. Might keep them out of your flowers, maybe, we are talking about squirrels LOL.


  2. Thanks! They seem to leave the bulbs I planted in the fall alone. Maybe these were just too good to pass up!


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