you’re invited: easter 2013.

you're invited: easter 2013.

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!

asparagus tart.

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.

easter carrots.

Carrots – an obvious requirement – which cooked in an orange marmalade sauce and received a little candied walnut treatment at the end. Also incredibly easy.

creamed onions.

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.

ac perfect biscuits.

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.

peeled pear salad.

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.

tortellini skewers.

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.

Desserts!

almond lemon passover cake.

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.

sableuse.

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:

easter 2013.

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,

Shannon

25 Comments on "you’re invited: easter 2013."

  1. Willow says:

    Oh my gosh, I’m so excited for that butter cake recipe. And also the dijon vinaigrette recipe. And also the almond cake recipe. Everything sounds delicious – what an awesome Easter brunch!

    It was super warm and sunny here, so we spent lots of time outside, but there was very little celebratory food involved (*gasp!*). Everyone else had plans, so The Fiance and I were kind of on our own for the weekend and didn’t feel like making a fuss with just the two of us. Makes me kinda jealous of your feast, haha!

    • Willow says:

      Oh, and P.S., those are the best looking naturally dyed eggs I’ve ever seen! I love the ‘wood grain’ coffee one, and the beet one is so vibrant I could’ve sworn it came from food coloring. Amazing! :)

      • shannon says:

        Willow, thank you: trying to go through comments to see which ones i somehow missed made me get to this one and get re-motivated to type both the butter cake and the lemon almond cake recipes up! I promise i’ll be posting them soon, because i loved both of them.
        so good to hear your weather was sunny and warm! Easter is one of those holidays where it’s nice to be outside if you can be. I felt a little silly making all the food i did for our own feast (because truly, i don’t need to, b/c i’m not cooking for 58 people), but it was fun, for sure.
        the coffee egg was my biggest surprise; i get that coffee can stain things, but i never realized how well it would work on eggs! Probably that one was my favorite, and i can’t wait to try more next year. :)

  2. Wow, that was quite a delectable spread you had! Glad your Passover dessert turned out all right…you never can tell with those. Your eggs are totally gorgeous! Maybe next year I’ll try something natural like that :) Oh, and i love the wee one’s dress! Wish you had another shot….

    • shannon says:

      i’ll say this about my jewish holiday research/recipe making; it’s been so interesting, but you’re right; i guess it can be tricky, yes? I feel like so far, it’s been about things you can’t eat or specific things you should eat, and that can be interesting to try and work around. Certainly it’s quite a talent to be able to pull these holidays off and make them delicious at the same time, and i’m just trying to learn the tricks as I go. I need to post that lemon almond Passover cake b/c it was delicious, and everyone loved it. I normally do a lemon tart, but this was my lemon offering and no one seemed to mind that one bit. :)
      the wee one’s dress was my favorite thing about Easter. she looked so cute! she calls it her “dancing dress” and it was.

  3. Ashley says:

    What glorious fun and food! And sunshine too boot! Sounds like a fantastic Easter!
    I’m excited for all the coming recipes! The sableuse intrigues me and I’m a dill fanatic, so you know what I’ll try first!

    • shannon says:

      Ashley, you are so excited! :) I’m really happy so many of the recipes we did turned out so well this time; that doesn’t always happen, at least in a “worthy of an official writeup” way. The sableuse was so interesting to make; like it’s seriously a must-do if you are a pound cake/butter cake lover, because it’s so similar but so different.

  4. Monica says:

    What a feast! Everything looks so delicious! Makes me want to make an asparagus tart right away! I have not made one in too long and asparagus is so good right now. Also would live that almond lemon cake recipe. I love cakes like that – simple, moist, bright and with nuts! It does taste like that, doesn’t it? I can taste it… : P

    • shannon says:

      Monica, i totally agree; asparagus is incredible right now; i had a big plate of it solo for dinner last night, it was that good. The almond lemon cake was really stellar; I don’t know about you, but when something is made for a holiday that requires you avoid things, I feel like there’s always a 50/50 chance it will lack in an area – flavor, texture, etc. This one, i assure you, does not, and i can’t wait to share it!

  5. Looks like a good time was had by all. And it looks like we have a lot to look forward to!

    • shannon says:

      Abbe, we had quite a bit of fun, yes, and I hope you like some of the recipes that came out of it! I need to get to writing now so i can get them all out there. :)

  6. OMG. I want tortellini skewers more than I want dry feet right now. (it’s pouring rain and I had to go shopping)

  7. sister table says:

    i had a can of tuna fish and an avocado. obviously, i’ve already made plans to come to your house for easter 2014. please plan to remake all of the above.

    • shannon says:

      This is upsetting, for obvious reasons. You should have come this year, and you could make this up to me by letting me cook for you in May (a month which I think would be perfect for a visit).

  8. Shannon, it sounds like you had a lovely, and delicious, Easter. Mmm, those “Old Lady” onions look so good. And the wee one’s dress is super cute. We were on vacation, so we went out for dinner. The best part–not having to do the dishes!

    • shannon says:

      Jennie, i very much did; i even toyed with the idea of making your grandmother’s rolls again (because they were so delicious the first time i made them!), but i ran out of time and oven space.
      Honestly, the easter-going out thing? I totally get it, even if you had been IN town. I would probably miss the cooking part a bit, but not the dishes part. Or, by the way, that my house felt slightly furnace-like for about an hour with the oven being on high; that I could have done without, also. :)

  9. Please teach me how to make wooden-esque eggs. Also, your list of upcoming blog posts has given me the will to push through these final weeks at school. Funny how the promise of food will do that…

    • shannon says:

      i promise you woodenesque eggs and lots of recipes, if you promise me frequent updates on your last few weeks at school. Deal? deal.

      friends helping friends across countries. we’re doing it.

  10. totally logging that tip away about egg dye for the upcoming easters… and those freaking biscuits…
    i DIE over good biscuits. Die. I have to make those… in three weeks after I cleanse… or maybe as a last hoorah before I cleanse? I mean… sure there’s all that stuff about “easing in” and “easing out” but I’ve always been more of a cold turkey type of girl anyway…. I need those biscuits. Like, in my face. Like, yesterday. My mouth is seriously watering right now.
    I love putting apple/pear into my salads, along with some walnuts or something for crunch… it scares the daylights out of Aaron. who knows why. Every time he is so confused like “idk what’s going on there….” shut it. delicious. Delicious is what’s going on there. And please ignore my inconsistent capitalization and sentences/paragraphs. I just got back from vacation and my brain isn’t quite to 100% yet (not that it ever was)
    Those tortellini bites are amazing. I usually make pretty much the same thing but with bocconcini instead but I bet Aaron would die over little tortellinis in there. Do you cook them first? Or just take them straight from the package to the skewer?
    The almond cake, I’m saving those words for that post.
    And the dress. Where do you even find something that adorable? Good lord.
    Oh, HAPPY EASTER!

    • shannon says:

      we’ll work on rainbow natural eggs next year together, b/c you and i both have juicers and it seems like an appropriate use for them. :)
      i also die over good biscuits; i’ve only ever made one other recipe i liked as much, and it was a bobby flay one i did a long time ago (like when i first started the blog. those were buttery, and these were light, so i love them both for different reasons. And i’m absolutely positive that any cleanse should involve a week of “easing in” to it by eating fresh biscuits, so…here’s to health.
      i like how aaron is very guy-like in that fruit inside a salad is cause for alarm. tim is like that as well, or he used to be but now i’ve eased him into it so he’s not so petrified.
      i excuse any typos from you if you excuse me somehow reading and accidentally not replying until today, as i’m scanning recent posts looking for missed comments. i’m completely disjointed when i get back from vacation; honestly i’ve been back for what; three weeks or something and am feeling just now like i’m caught up. ridiculous.
      promise i’ll have the lemon almond cake out soon. after library week, with the butter cake. it’s going to be my mini-ode to your cake month. :)
      that little dress was at Target! i swear i need to write target a letter requesting that all their kids clothing be made into adult sizes for me. i want that dress, rainbow striped leggings…all of it.

  11. Emma says:

    I just want to know how in the heck you got those eggs so vibrant! Damn, girl, they’re incredible.

    Also, this mythical sableuse sounds ethereal and delectable and is also very fun to let roll off the tongue. Sableeuuuuuuuuse. I’m looking forward to that recipe!

    • shannon says:

      you know, emma, i want to throw down with some dye science right now, and say something about the porous nature of eggshells in relation to the vinegar and natural coloration of coffee, but i can’t. i don’t know how those eggs are that vibrant; i wasn’t expecting the beet ones to glow in the dark, THAT’S for sure. and yet…

      seriously, sableeuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse. i feel like it’s the vodka cranberry of cake, in that you will say “oh, this is so light! it goes down so easy, hand me another piece!” and then it will, at about 5 pieces in, hit you. you will be on the floor in a butter coma. it’s like a trick cake with a space helmet; more on that last part later.

      i said space helmet.

  12. There’s a lot to love here, so don’t misunderstand when I say that the Wee One’s dress is adorable! I don’t mean to imply that the food didn’t have my rapt attention, because it did. The cake at the end in particular.

    I used purple cabbage and onion peels to dye our eggs this year. I had never tried it either. I was going to do turmeric too, but that idea got lost in the crazy shuffle of Easter Eve. The cabbage ones came out well. The onion worked well, too, but in my case the dye wound up making the eggs look only slightly more orange than the brown eggs you’d get from the store!

    • shannon says:

      i completely get it; the wee one’s outfits typically steal the show. I’m used to it and embrace it. this year, as you can see, it’s a vaguely “Parisian goes neon” print, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Built in corsage, also; a bonus which should come on adult dresses.

      pretty! i wanted to do cabbage and i had read about turmeric, but ran out of time (seems both of us were caught up in the crazy of easter eve.) I wondered about onion peels; like they’re not so dark to begin with, so i didn’t know that would go. I could see how it takes on the tone of brown eggs.

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