Recipes and Stories

30 March 2018: Fresh for Easter V

March 30, 2018

Tags: Easter Dinner, Easter Lamb, Irish-Style Butterflied Leg of Lamb, Lamb, Easter, Traditional Irish cooking

Irish Butterflied Leg of Lamb Roasted to Medium, the temperature I prefer for lamb
I always have lamb at Easter, following the older tradition even though most Southerners have ham of some kind, and now my household is divided between the ham and lamb camps, so I usually have both. This year, someone else is bringing the ham, so I’m doing a simple butterflied leg of lamb Irish-style, in honor of our Irish priest associate who’ll be joining us for dinner. (more…)

30 March 2018: Fresh for Easter IV

March 30, 2018

Tags: Easter Dinner, Easter Side Dish, Old-Fashioned Macaroni Pie, Macaroni Pie, Macaroni, Easter

Old-Fashioned Southern Baked Macaroni or Macaroni Pie – Photography by John Carrington
My maternal grandfather, Levis Holmes, first made his way in the world as a farmer, but I knew him as a grocer and butcher. He was also a fine cook. Though entirely self-taught, his instincts were solid.

His version of the old American standard was a fixture on our table for any holiday meal, and we’ll be having a variation of it for our Easter Dinner this Sunday. (more…)

30 March 2018: Fresh for Easter III

March 30, 2018

Tags: Easter Dinner, Easter Appetizers, Potted Whiskey Cheese, Potted Irish Whiskey Cheese, Spring, Easter

Potted Whiskey Cheese
For most of us Southerners (I suspect, Americans in general) it would not be Easter without deviled eggs, but it’s always nice to have an extra nibble or two in case dinner is delayed by the roast or by a long-winded Easter sermon.

This lovely potted cheese is from one of my newspaper columns on traditional Irish fare for Savannah’s notorious St. Patrick’s Day celebration, but potted whiskey cheese is also found in England and Scotland and here in the South, where it’s usually made with bourbon. (more…)

30 March 2018: Fresh for Easter II

March 30, 2018

Tags: Easter Dinner, Carrot Gratin, Skillet Carrot Gratin, Easter, Easter Side Dish, Spring

Skillet Carrot Gratin is a fine side dish for either lamb or ham
While we’re on gratins, carrots just seem to go with Easter, and this goes equally well with lamb or ham (or poultry, for that matter). It can be doubled easily: If you’re making it for a crowd and don’t have a skillet big enough to do it all in one, make it in two pans or do the initial cooking in batches and transfer it to one large gratin for the final baking. (more…)

30 March 2018: Fresh for Easter I

March 30, 2018

Tags: Easter Dinner, Potato Gratin, New Potato Gratin with Spring Onions, Easter

Spring-Fresh Gratin of New Potatoes and Spring Onions
This year, my own Easter table is being shared with a family that has its own long-standing traditions and so rather than imposing one or the other, we’re blending our menus together. In that same spirit of sharing and blending, instead of my usual make-ahead Easter dinner menu and recipes, I thought I’d offer some fresh ideas for changing up the menu.

To begin, here’s a simple potato gratin, developed for my newspaper column on fresh spring gratins, that’s lighter than the usual cream-based concoction. It’s an ideal Easter side dish whether you have ham, lamb, turkey, or fried chicken . . . or all of the above. (more…)

26 March 2016: Mastering the Make-Ahead Easter Dinner IV—Butterflied Leg of Lamb

March 26, 2016

Tags: Lamb, Roast Lamb, Easter Dinner, Classic French Cooking, Classic Southern Cooking, Classic American Cooking, Roast Leg of Lamb

Roast Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Herbs, Garlic, and White Wine
If you’re doing a ham for Easter, you’re pretty much home free from here, but if you like to have lamb for the feast, as I do, you can’t cook it ahead unless you just want to have it cold on purpose.

Fortunately, a boned and butterflied leg cooks quickly with a minimum of last minute fuss. (more…)

26 March 2016: Mastering the Make-Ahead Easter III—Classic Potato Gratin

March 26, 2016

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

Classic French Potato Gratin with caramelized onions, cream, and Gruyere cheese
The classic French potato gratin with sliced potatoes, cream, and good cheese has been my Easter potato dish for years. The ingredients are simple, its preparation requires almost no skill on the part of the cook, and yet nothing is more elegant or satisfying to eat.

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

26 March 2016: Mastering the Make-Ahead Easter Dinner II

March 26, 2016

Tags: Make-Ahead Easter, Chocolate Pots De Crème, Dean Owens, Easter Dinner

Dean's Chocolate Pots de Creme, rich, luscious, and so easy it's almost embarrassing. Almost.
26 March 2016: Mastering the Make-Ahead Easter Dinner II

Once I have the first course and dessert ready for a dinner or a cooking class, I feel as if I’m home free, so I always opt for a sweet that can be made well ahead. At Easter, that sweet has for the last twenty years has been these chocolate pots de crème, a specialty of my late friend Dean Owens, one of Savannah’s great wits and hosts.

Not only are they luscious, they can be made several days ahead, and are easy and quick: (more…)

25 March 2016: Make-Ahead Easter I, Carrot Puree

March 25, 2016

Tags: Easter, Easter Dinner, Carrot Puree, Make-Ahead, Classic French Cooking, Soup

Carrot Puree, a simple yet luscious beginning for Easter Dinner that can be made well ahead of time
My favorite beginning for Easter dinner, or, for that matter, any other spring celebration meal, is with a simple puree of fresh, spring carrots.

It’s so easy to make: though they were originally pureed by rubbing them through a wire mesh sieve, a process that took no particular skill but a fair amount of elbow-grease, if your kitchen is equipped with a blender, food processor, or that favorite modern chef’s tool, the hand blender, there’s nothing to it.

Best of all for the busy host, it can not only be made ahead, but is actually improved by it, (more…)

19 April 2014: Easter V—Asparagus Hollandaise

April 19, 2014

Tags: Easter Dinner, Classic French Cooking, Hollandaise, Dutch Sauce, Asparagus, Asparagus Hollandaise

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…)

18 April 2014 Easter IV—The Potatoes

April 18, 2014

Tags: Easter Dinner, Potatoes, Potato Gratin, Classic French Cooking

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…)

17 April 2014: Easter III—Paschal Lamb

April 17, 2014

Tags: Easter, Easter Lamb, Roast Lamb, Paschal Lamb, Easter Dinner

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…)

14 April 2014: Easter II Spring Purees

April 14, 2014

Tags: Easter Dinner, Classic French Cooking, Purees, Spring Purees, Classic Southern Cooking, Soup

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…)

9 April 2014: Easter I, Classic Deviled Eggs

April 9, 2014

Tags: Easter, Easter Dinner, Deviled Eggs, Eggs, Classic Southern Cooking, Essentials of Southern Cooking

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…)