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It’s time to move past the ham and turkey!

Angelia Hensley Community contributor • Dec 26, 2018 at 4:30 PM

Fun Fact: Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states including Alaska and Hawaii. What is not factual is when it is acceptable to put up the tree and when to take it down. If you determine your put-up date by the stores displaying decorations for sale, you probably will start decorating right after Labor Day. 

Many people try to wait until Thanksgiving is over — when pumpkin lattes are replaced with the peppermint mochas. If you are using a live tree, the closer to Christmas Day is better because of the amount of needles on the floor and the constant watering. 

In Victorian times, it was put up on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Seinfeld fans will back it up a day to Dec. 23 to celebrate Festivus  — “A Festivus for the rest of us.” Traditionalists believe the correct time is Dec. 13, which is 12 days before Christmas. 

I always wait until after Thanksgiving, but when do you think it is acceptable to take it down? I am in agreement with my mother — take it down the minute the last present is opened. I believe when it’s over, it’s over. If I am not exhausted and expect no more visitors, there won’t be a trace of Christmas in my house by 10 p.m. on Dec. 25.

Another thing that has to be done and gone on Dec. 25 is the ham and turkey. From the fourth Thursday in November until Dec. 25, it has been a barrage of these two meats and all the leftovers you can think of. I hear of more and more people who are ditching the ham and turkey on Christmas and replacing it with lasagna or spaghetti, which is a great idea if you can talk the grandmothers into changing. 

Here is a recipe which is far from the traditional meals served during the holidays. It’s time to move past the ham and turkey! Enjoy a change of pace with this Salisbury steak, a dish that has been around since 1897, and named after an American physician, Dr. J.H. Salisbury.

Salisbury Steak

For the steaks:

1½ pounds of ground chuck

2 Tbsp. of minced onions

1/4 cup of fresh parsley or 1 Tbsp. of dried

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

Combine the ground chuck, onion, parsley and salt/pepper. Form the mixture into oval patties and dredge each patty in the flour, reserving about 1 teaspoon of the flour for later. In 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, thoroughly brown the patties on both sides and then remove them from the pan.

For the sauce:

2  to 3 cups sliced onions

1 tsp. sugar

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

2 cups beef broth

1/4 cup red wine

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. thyme

Add the onions and the sugar to the original pan and sauté for about 5 minutes, getting all of the num-nums off of the bottom of the pan. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and sauté until it begins to brown. Sprinkle this mixture with the teaspoon of flour and cook it for another minute or two. Then add the broth, wine, salt and thyme. Simmer for a few minutes then return the meat to the pan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about 20 minutes to ensure the meat patties are thoroughly cooked. Your life will not be complete if you don’t serve this with mashed potatoes! Enjoy!!

Mount Carmel’s Angelia Hensley is a community contributor for the Kingsport Times News.