The Fourth of July is anxiously waiting right around the corner. Can you believe it? It seems like just yesterday that I was decorating our neighborhood float in my driveway. My fingers would be stained in a myriad of rainbow colors from stuffing tissue squares into chicken-wire structures that would magically transform into spectacular floats for the Fourth of July parades. Every year my dad would volunteer to design, build and pull the neighborhood float behind his beloved Jeep. We (including me) would be decked out in thematic attire, role playing whatever particular character we were slated to be. I always loved the weeks leading up to the big day, as our neighborhood community bonded together almost every evening to share in hard work, fun, food & of course firefly hunting. I still remember the year that I was Mr. Greenscenes. I was to be the cheerful farmer dressed in green overalls tending to my beautiful garden. I poured pretend water out of an enormous watering can upon each beautiful human flower and then ever-so-theatrically acted AMAZED as each flower grew. After 5 miles my arm felt like lead and my face muscles where so violently spasming I was quite certain that I’d never smile again.
Such glorious memories.
The reward for all of this hard work was being awarded best overall float which set a standard and a tradition that continued for years come. Another tradition was our annual 4th of July tennis party. From the time the parade ended until the fireworks began our house was a buzz with crowds of friends and families. The adults indulged in a tennis tournament while the kids were enthralled with volleyball, croquet, Chinese jump rope, and dandelion necklaces. There were tables of food for as far as the eye could see. We would munch on a variety of salads, huge juicy watermelon wedges, chips & dips, homemade ice cream made with rock salt and my mom’s famous hot ham & Swiss sammies.
My sister and I would look forward to those 4th of July parties all year round. Still to this day I can retrieve those reels of memories that have been so carefully tucked into the crevices of my mind and enjoy them over and over again. I now have my own two daughters and the 4th of July is still a treasured holiday full of new traditions. But one thing will remain the same…hot ham & Swiss sammies. PERFECT for all of the 4th of July festivities. They are simple to make, can be prepared and baked ahead and they travel with ease.
I give to you- hot ham & Swiss sammies.
The secret to these scrumptious sammies is in the sauce, er, actually the butter. Poppy seed butter.
It’s so easy to make and gives such great taste. You’ll need softened to room temperature butter, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and poppy seeds.
The star of this spread is the unique flavor and subtle *pop* of the poppy seeds.
Mash up the softened butter with a fork in a bowl. Add the Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and finally the poppy seeds.
Isn’t that pretty?
It’s as tasty as it looks.
Now it’s time for your assembly line. You’ll need thin slices of honey baked ham, honey turkey tastes great too.
Some wonderful soft buns. That sounds funny…but roll with me here. (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) In this case soft buns are what we’re looking for. I used wheat buns, but you could use any bun that tickles your fancy.
After you’ve got all of your goodies out, begin by generously slathering the poppy seed butter on both sides of a bun.
Then a slice of Swiss cheese.
Layer on some honey baked ham.
Put the other half, slathered with poppy seed butter, on top…and you’re done!
Isn’t that a sweet little sammie?
Place your sammie on a square of aluminum foil.
And wrap it up all up like a little package. After you’ve made all of your sammies and nestled them into aluminum packages, place them on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes at 400º.
At this point in time you could take them right out of the oven and put them into your picnic basket for a parade, picnic, tailgate you name it. They bake and travel with ease.
Or you could open one right that very minute…
and indulge in the warm savory poppy butter sauce, melted cheese, sweet salty cooked ham and ever-so-crispy bun.
Wishing you a splendid fun and festive 4th of July!
May you savor the moments that will melt into memories.
Here’s the recipe:
Hot Ham & Swiss Sammies
(makes 12 sammies)
Here’s what you’ll need:
2 sticks salted butter – softened to room temperature
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
2 lbs. thinly cut honey baked ham
12 slices Swiss cheese
12 wheat buns (or any kind of bun you like)
Here’s what you’ll do:
Combine butter, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and poppy seeds. Spread mixture on both sides of buns. Add one slice of Swiss cheese and three pieces of ham. Wrap each sandwich in a square of aluminum foil and bake in a 400º for 30 minutes.