Happy Easter, everyone! I hope all of you had a lovely, relaxing day, whether it was in the kitchen, on the nearest sofa, or outside hunting easter eggs in the yard. Whatever, as long as you had a great time. It was warm here – I almost said “unseasonably” due to the 39 feet of snow just last week, but no; the weather was completely seasonal, and sunny, so we were thrilled. So what did everyone do: lunch, brunch, or dinner? We typically do a brunch at Easter, and I try to do mix the dishes up each time. I decided to not muscle in with the camera when everything was set up; I could see the hunger on everyone’s faces, and I knew no one was waiting for me to take photos, so what you see here is after the demolition.
Since this was my first year with a juicer, it was also my first time experimenting with natural egg dye: we used beet juice, spinach juice, and coffee, and I was thrilled with the results. Next year, I’m doing a natural dye rainbow. My favorite? The coffee one, which – if you look closely – I made using my own little “faux bois” technique; if you’re interesting, I’ll add them to one of my future Easter food posts because it’s very simple to do, and it makes your eggs look wooden. Adorable.
We made a ham this year, which was amusing, as I have little to no interest in the eating or preparing of ham. Meat, as you know, is not my forte, but I could have gotten excited about a rack of lamb, because it just seems more elegant. Problem? No one but me would eat the lamb, I’m sure. So ham it was. On to the things I was more excited about: the sides!
This asparagus tart, for example, was delightful and simple: pre-bake the pastry, throw some asparagus and Gruyère and Parmesan on there, bake again, and you’re done. You could squeeze a lemon over the top if you wish.
Carrots – an obvious requirement – which cooked in an orange marmalade sauce and received a little candied walnut treatment at the end. Also incredibly easy.
These were my favorite side, I think; creamed old lady onions. I say “old lady” because honestly, I almost never see these anywhere except on my grandma and great aunt’s table, but they are phenomenal. They do the tiny pearl onions, so this is a different take on them, but they turned out so full of flavor and perfect, they’ll be a blog post later in the week. Nothing to them, then go wonderfully with meat or on their own, and you can (partially) make them a day ahead if you need to.
Biscuits! I made Andrew Carmellini’s “Best Ever Biscuits” and let me just say I strongly agree with the name. They’re incredible. So fluffy, not at all dry, and perfect for those who wanted ham and cheese biscuits on their plate. They come topped with a little homemade honey butter, and I’ll share both recipes on the blog. I’m embarrassed to say this, but this marks probably the first time that I’ve made biscuits properly – cutting in the butter with two knives and everything! – and it’s not as hard as I thought it would be.
Side note: I tweeted Mr. Carmellini about making his biscuits, and he tweeted me back. I realize that happens, but it still made my day knowing that my biscuit-making may have occupied 2 seconds of his time.
I’ve decided this may be the ideal salad to throw together for big meals when, ahem, no one cares about the salad but me. I don’t know how everyone else does parties, but salads seem to break up the heaviness of the plate. This one is a a very un-boring trio of arugula, radicchio, and endive, topped only with Parmesan and a little peeled pear. Peeled pear? Yes; basically you take a firm pear and use a vegetable peeler to peel it in strips over top just before serving. Add Parmesan and season and you’ve got yourself a gorgeous dish that takes 3 minutes total. I served it with both a classic balsamic and a Dijon dill vinaigrette, both of which were wonderful, although I liked the Dijon dill one the best. This is another “coming soon” to the blog although I’m sure you could cobble this together from my description.
I should thank these tortellini skewers for being both totally easy and providing me a reason to make that Dijon dill vinaigrette I just told you about; these were not for Easter, but rather the night before when we went to Mr. Table’s dad’s house. Although these so obviously would work for Christmas (and that’s only just occurring to me now as I look at this photo), they make a fantastic side to travel with. Simply assemble, scoot on a plate, and dress them upon arrival. If only I could do that with the Wee One. I think the picture is recipe enough for how to make the skewers, and the Dijon dill vinaigrette will be in the peeled pear salad post.
So those were the dishes I put together. Mr. Table’s mom provided a classic potato casserole and deviled eggs, and we had (as usual) a relish tray and buns and cheese for sandwiches.
This is my (belated) Passover offering, the almond lemon cake. It’s fabulous, and has both ground and finely chopped almonds in it, which gives it a really great texture. It’s one of those “let cook and then poke it and pour the syrup over top slowly” cakes, which reduces me to a ball of worry every time I make one, because I just know this will be the time that I’ll cut into the cake only to have it be a soggy, formless mass due to over-syruping.
But that didn’t happen, as it never does, and it was a perfectly moist, bouncy little cake that I’ll be sharing with you soon.
I’m still finding words to describe this one, but I found it in my newest Food & Wine cookbook (1997, which is bordering on ‘vintage’ in the food world) and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It’s called a sableuse, which (and please tell me if you’ve made one) is a French butter cake, similar to a classic yellow pound cake yet lacking any of that daunting weight. It’s light as a feather when you slice it, yet has all the density and pure butteriness of a normal pound cake. Even more interesting is that when you make the cake, you bake it in an aluminum cocoon, which makes for some tricky cake-testing. I’ll tell you all about it when I post this (so many posts coming up!) to the blog, because it’s such an interesting way to make a cake, and the results are superb.
So that’s what we did! I have zero good photos of the Wee One in her dress; she’s going through some sort of “practicing to be a teenager” stage where she hates getting her picture taken some days. This is all I managed to get:
She didn’t see me because she was far too busy doctoring up a leg. She’s a surgeon, you know; always on call, even during holidays.
So that was Easter for us; I’ll be doing my best to crank out some post-Easter recipes from our feast. In the meantime, I hope everyone’s kitchens have returned to normal.
See you soon,