April 23, 2014
Penne with a Touch of Easter Lamb and Asparagus
One of the loveliest things about a feast day, I always think, is the leftovers. Bits of roast to eat cold with horseradish sauce or warmed in its gravy, cold ham and asparagus, potato gratin or baked macaroni, both of which warm-over so nicely. Soup that can be warmed or thinned with milk and served chilled, either as is, or with other things added to it. (more…)
April 19, 2014
Dean’s Blender Pots De Crème are drop-dead easy and never fail to impress.
For many families, Easter dessert must be a fluffy coconut cake topped with seven minute frosting, lots of flaked coconut, and often jelly bean “Easter eggs.” Or it might be trimmed into shapes that are arranged on a platter and decorated to look like an Easter bunny. If that’s your tradition, then have at it. (more…)
April 19, 2014
Classic Hollandaise begins as a Sabayon and should be fluffy and light
Over the last few years, there’s been a big fad for roasted asparagus. There’s nothing wrong with cooking this lovely vegetable in the oven, but it has become so commonplace that it’s in danger of being—no pun intended—overdone.
The preoccupation with one method has also made us forget that it’s not the only good way to cook asparagus. (more…)
April 18, 2014
Classic French pommes de terre gratinée (potato gratin)
Regardless of whether you choose lamb or ham (or neither—or both) for your Easter feast, nothing will make the dinner seem quite as special as will this classic French gratin. The ingredients are simple and few, and the preparation requires almost no real skill on the part of the cook, but you will not finding anything more elegant and yet elementally satisfying to eat. (more…)
April 17, 2014
Boned and butterflied leg of lamb, roasted with thyme and oregano
For many Americans, Southerners in particular, the centerpiece of the Easter feast must be a fat, pink ham. Why and how ham came into this role is lost in time. The older, and more easily understood tradition, is lamb.
The ancient sacrificial lamb of the Passover came to be associated directly with the Christ’s sacrifice at the Crucifixion (“Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; therefore let us keep the feast.”), and in the early church, roast lamb was at the heart of the Easter feast. (more…)
April 14, 2014
Spring Puree, in this case made with fresh young carrots.
One of the nicest ways of beginning an Easter dinner (or any other spring celebration meal) is an old-fashioned French puree. These are not the thick, mashed-potato like “purees” that have become so fashionable lately, but fresh vegetable soups that have been pulverized to a suave, elegant cream.
Not only do purees show off the fresh, full flavors of the season’s produce, they adapt beautifully to the unpredictability of the weather, being equally as good cold as hot. (more…)
April 9, 2014
Classic, Old-Fashioned Deviled Eggs, here garnished with capers and a light dusting of paprika
A recent poll on my social media author’s page confirmed something that any Southerner already knew: it isn’t Easter dinner down South if it doesn’t begin with deviled eggs. But it also gave away something I’ve long suspected: that the affection for these morsels has no geographical limits. They may come in and out of “fashion,” but they’ve never lost their front and center place on Easter’s table all across the country. (more…)
April 8, 2014
Baked Beets, cooked whole and simply split and buttered while still hot
“Beets have a finer flavor baked than boiled; it requires longer time to cook them this way.”
— Annabella Hill, Mrs. Hill’s New Cook Book, 1867
Here’s an odd and suggestive historical puzzle: many nineteenth century American cookbook authors agreed with Mrs. Hill, conceding that beets taste best when they are baked whole rather than boiled. And yet, not one of them, Mrs. Hill included, provided directions for doing it. (more…)
March 31, 2014
Butter-Braised Whole Spring Rainbow Carrots
Most of the nineteenth century cookbook authors treated all root vegetables the same way: scrubbed them well, trimmed, and sometimes “scraped them nicely” (that is, peeled them), boiled them in abundant salted water, and then dressed them with salt and butter. So long as the roots are not overcooked, it’s still a fine way to cook them. (more…)
March 29, 2014
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Here on the coastal plain of Georgia, spring carrots have been turning up at the farmers’ market for a couple of months, but it is now that they’re really hitting their prime. Friend Relinda Walker, the proprietress of Walker Farms, grows both the usual orange and colorful rainbow varieties of sweet young carrots. Laid out with their bright, fresh greens still attached, they’re as beautiful to look at as any bouquet of flowers you can imagine. (more…)