Recipes and Stories

4 April 2015: Mastering the Make-Ahead Easter V

April 4, 2015

Tags: Easter Potato Gratin, Make-Ahead Easter, Dinner Party Planning, Classic French Cooking, Classic Southern Cooking

This Classic French Potato Gratin can not only be made ahead, it's even better warmed over, and can be dressed up with herbs or bits of country ham or prosciutto
This classic, easy-to-assemble French gratin has been the potato dish for my household’s Easter for years. The ingredients are simple, its preparation requires almost no real skill on the part of the cook, and yet nothing is elegant nor satisfying to eat.

Best of all, it can be made today, and reheats beautifully. (more…)

4 April 2015 Mastering the Make-Ahead Easter Dinner IV

April 4, 2015

Tags: Make-Ahead Easter, Dinner Party Planning, Classic Southern Cooking, Classic French Cooking

Boning and butterflying makes it possible to roast a leg lamb more quickly and evenly without the tending required of a bone-in joint
For the last couple of days, I’ve been looking longingly at this beautiful whole leg of lamb that I bought and wishing it could be left that way. I kept rehearsing the impossible: Surely there was some way I could miraculously roast it whole and still have Easter Dinner done shortly after we got home from church. Well, there really isn’t.

This morning, I finally took the thing out, took one last longing look at it, and said “Get over yourself and get this job done.” (more…)

2 April 2015: Mastering the Make-Ahead Easter Dinner III

April 2, 2015

Tags: Make-Ahead Easter, Dinner Party Planning, Classic Southern Cooking, Chocolate Pots de Creme, Dean Owens

Dean’s Blender Pots De Crème, here garnished with whipped cream, mint, and, because it was flavored with Grand Marnier, candied orange peel
If you’ve planned out your menu with some forethought for things that not only can but should be made in advance, and have stocked your refrigerator and pantry with all the ingredients except the really fragile perishables (that is, asparagus and herbs), you’re almost home free. (more…)

1 April 2015 Mastering the Make-Ahead Easter Dinner II (No Fooling)

April 1, 2015

Tags: Spring Purees, Carrot Soup, Make-Ahead Easter, Dinner Party Planning, Classic French Cooking, Classic Southern Cooking

Spring Carrot Puree is a perfect make-ahead first course for Easter Dinner.
Once you have the menu fixed, today or tomorrow shop for the things that will keep: pantry staples, dairy products, the meat, potatoes, onions, and anything that you’ll need for the next make-ahead—in this case the soup.

My own menu: Puree of Spring Carrots, Butterflied Roast Leg of Lamb, Potato Gratin, Asparagus (the jury is still out on the sauce for this), and chocolate pots-de-crème. (more…)

31 March 2015: Mastering the Make-Ahead Easter Dinner I

March 31, 2015

Tags: Make-Ahead Easter, Dinner Party Planning, Classic Southern Cooking

It's not too early to set the table. Our Easter centerpiece for years has been a crystal bowl filled with alabaster eggs: They're always festive, and there's no worry that the flowers won't last or that they'll shed pollen all over the tablecloth.
If you haven’t already planned the menu, do it today. Think about things that not only stand up to being cooked ahead, but actually benefit from it.
(more…)