Friday, May 1, 2020

Easter Weekend Dining

With our new Covid-19 life under "stay-at-home" orders, we are inspired to explore more home-based culinary options.  For the Easter holiday, we have several days of inspiration (and some of just plain laziness).

We start the long holiday weekend by supporting a local restaurant's take-out-only service with pizza, some old favorites from East End:  Magic Carpet (béchamel sauce, aged gruyere, mushrooms, garlic, sage, and bacon) and Meat Combo (red sauce, pepperoni, sweet italian sausave, bacon, and house cheese blend).


The next day, we try a recipe from a new cookbook by one of our favorite sources of recipes, Melissa Clark of the New York Times:  Dinner in French, Artichokes with Feta-Dill Dressing.  We follow this with shrimp burgers with homemade tartar sauce that we had recently seen on the TV show Cook's Country.  While we prepare this, we also start a leg of lamb for the next day with a marinade of lemon juice, orange zest, anchovies, basil, and olive oil.  We insert spoonfuls of the marinade into inch-deep (2.5 cm) cuts in the leg and rub the remainder over the outside.  Then it's into the refrigerator for the leg for a day.

Shrimp burgers, artichoke

Lamb leg, marinating

For Easter, we roast the leg of lamb, in red wine with Kalmata olives, basting occasionally, for about an hour and a half while we prepare the accompanying dishes:  Three Cheese Pommes Anna (layers of sliced russet potatoes with Gruyère, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Pecorino Romano (along with butter, rosemary, garlic, nutmeg, panko bread crumbs, and sliced onions) and Walnut-Mortadella Green Beans.  We start with Pizettes (con Pomodoro e Mozzarella, con Gorgonzola e Funghi, and our own olive oil/anchovy version), from Italian Street Food by Paola Bacchia.


 Easter table, leg of lamb ready to serve

 Potatoes, green beans

Dinner is served!

Following Easter, we make a lighter meal from Dinner in French, Savory Mushroom Soup, with five or six different varieties of mushrooms, sauteed in butter with shallots, combined with garlic, tomato paste, thyme, rosemary, coriander, paprika, sea salt, and chickpea flour.  What a great way to finish this dining odyssey. 

Mushroom soup

Cooking is our passion and it's helping keep us sane during this time, but we're also sensitive to the needs of others and take time during the holiday to donate to our local food bank and to local and international medical organizations.  Also, T&W, a Chinese vendor with whom we have worked for many years and with whom we have many great friendships, asked if we would like some medical face masks and we arranged their donation to two local hospitals.


On a lighter note, to distract us while working at home, we added an audience and several ring-toss games from Sunnylife, an Australian beach toy manufacturer whose products we first encountered at Printemps, one of the grand department stores of Paris.


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