Happy after-Easter season to those who celebrate! And happy almost-end of Passover to others. And happy spring to all. We had a lovely Easter (see below for my contributions) and now it's back to reality. But oh, I am still glowing over the fun day. My boys are at a great age for the fun. We had a mongo egg hunt, because three of the small cousins didn't show, so there were eggs for 9 kids but only 6 collecting (and one was 10 months old, so the kids who could walk made out like bandits!). The Easter Bunny came, which the littlest girls loved, and it was just a really nice day with almost all the cousins present and accounted for. My humongous mac and cheese barely made it out for seconds, and the whole brunch was excellent. So: back to reality.
Monday: Taco Monday--leftovers from Taco Thursday last week. (And yes, I finally made the sweet potato filling.)
Tuesday: It's going to be in the 80s here! Back to summer dinners. Leftover fruit salad from Easter, chicken breasts on iceberg for grownups, and with A1 sauce for kids; raw beet salad. Time to get the grill going again!
Wednesday: Pacific Rim Pork, rice, broccoli.
Thursday: Crazy activities day. Freezer/on the run food.
Friday: School event--no cooking. Phew!
I have to be honest, I'm having a little bit of a "Matrix" moment with food right now. My son's sensitivity to red dye is suddenly completely over the top, so we're pulling back on that. (This, by the way, is entertaining in Easter season.) And as to food in general, I feel a little like I swallowed whatever pill Neo did (I think; I never saw the movie). We stopped at a fast-food restaurant on the way to the beach last week and I couldn't bring myself to order anything and hated ordering anything there for my kids. Which isn't to say I can't eat out; part of my spring break "staycation" was that I only cooked dinner once this week. But it's hard to enjoy some things the way I used to.
But, not a problem when cooking at home, and while I didn't do a lot of that, there were a few things I tried this week that were new. They weren't the things I thought I would make last week, but that's part of the charm of a vacation, right?
If you read here often, you know there are some sure signs of a recipe I can't resist. Easy? Check. Ingredients on hand? Check. A little wacky? Check. I was all over Catherine Newman's Savory Lemon Jam this week. Partly I loved the idea because it had the whole lemon, pith and all, and it reminded me of the Italian priest who baptized me. He was a dear friend of my parents', and my husband and I actually stayed with him on our honeymoon. When I was about 10, he was over for dinner and asked for an orange. "Please wash it well with soap, and rinse it verrrry carefully," he said, in his big booming voice with the rolling Italian Rs. I did, and he ate the whole thing like an apple. I was still in a grossed-out-by-pith stage (which my son has faithfully followed in my footsteps) but he said, "The rind is the part that is most like an orange!" I wondered whether it was an Italian thing, or surviving World War Two thing, and certainly I never did convert to it. But every time I use the zest of a citrus fruit, I think of him.
Thanks for coming down memory lane with me. Back to the lemon jam. I had everything I needed, and so when the food processor was out anyway, I made it. And it was exactly as she said. Intense lemon flavor, a little chunky, but I like the texture, and the savory is a great little twist. Plus it looked so springy and ready for an Easter table, with all that yellow and green (I used basil). It would also be great for a baby shower. It was very good on asparagus, as suggested, and on bread by itself. Whether it was my lemons or the jam, it did not improve with age. It wasn't terrible a day or two later, but it was more pithy, and not in the good literary sense.
Also off the beaten track, though less so: the Wednesday Chef's Apple Crisp. She thought of it as breakfasty, since she used muesli instead of oats; I'm not sure I'd go that far, but since I was in charge of fruit for Easter brunch, it seemed to work. It was very easy, I had all the ingredients, and while I lacked an appropriately shallow baking dish, one of my clear Pyrexes seemed to do the trick. I brought some Greek yogurt for it to Easter and there was approximately one spoonful left at the end of the day. It was awesome, and easy, and we had everything for that too. Yum.
I was also happy to have a great recipe come through from The Best Babysitter Ever (who has long since become so much more than that to us, but I refer to her that way so you know who I'm talking about) for a minted fruit salad with a ginger syrup. The ginger syrup was easy to make one night and just have ready, so all I needed to do was get fresh fruit the day before the holiday. It was exactly what I was looking for--a classic fruit salad, but dressed up a little bit. It was delicious, and the syrup did a great job with the underripe melon, making it taste restaurant-ready instead of too crispy to be truly yummy.
I also brought the Smitten Kitchen creamed mushrooms on toast. Our hostess loves mushrooms, and I knew she'd be crazy about them; and I have a Smitten Kitchen thing going on with my niece and her husband from DC. And, happily--I had so much extra mushrooms I made a batch for home, too. Mmmm. Oh--and of course the mac-and-cheese.
The night before Easter, we made Resurrection Rolls, which apparently have been around forever, but I'd never heard of them before. For the other uninitiated, you roll a white marshmallow (purity of Jesus) in butter and cinnamon sugar (preparing for "burial"). Wrap it tight in a crescent roll from a tube (burial wrappings) then put in the tomb (oven). Bake--and the marshmallow disappears, and the wrapping is empty. All but one of ours collapsed, but they smelled great and it was a fun opportunity to teach my kids a little more about Easter in a way that might sink in. Or not. The disappointment over the "missing" marshmallow was high. Either way, it was pretty neat.
This was a really jumbled post. Sorry about that. For more cohesive posts, and other post-holiday menus, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie!