Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter 2014

Like other such Easter mornings, I was awakened far too early by the sunrise service at one of the two nearby churches (or maybe both). Amplified voices are just what I need at sunrise after a long, hard dinner slog the night before. But I'm used to it and I don't really begrudge the churches their once-a-year celebrations. They didn't really get the dogs too riled this year, so it was possible to sleep on-and-off through the service. And bless Ann for getting up before me and taking the dogs outside. Not having to do that one day in my life is priceless, not that I really mind, but just this simple luxury was wonderful.

Anemones in the Morning Light
Easter to me means spring flowers, but this year, everything is 2-3 weeks late on account of our long, hard winter. So this year, I had to suffice with our earliest late winter/early spring flowers, anemones, which are quite stunning in the bed out front of the house.

Duck Eggs: Breakfast of Champions
Now that we have a steady supply of duck eggs, four weeks later than in any prior year, Ann asked me to bring some home for Easter breakfast. What a great idea! Duck eggs are so fabulous! These ended up scrambled and eaten in breakfast burritos.

Bob and Mary, Guests of Honor
After attending Easter Mass, Bob and Mary drove out from McLean to have lunch with us. Ann did a fantastic job of putting together a very simple menu that we could execute with very little effort, a good thing because I am now 51 weeks without a vacation and am whipped. My tolerance for large crowds and complex cooking is nil.

Dolmades to Start
We started with dolmades and really delicious goat cheese and green olive crostini.

Along with Green Olive and Goat Cheese Crostini
Ann picked up a recipe somewhere for the olives and they turned out wonderful. We pitted and roughly chopped them, then Ann added orange zest, fresh thyme, and garlic chives. That little pop of orange is really marvelous. Keeper!

Milk-Braised Pork Shoulder, the Main Event
For our main course, Ann decided on milk-braised pork, always a delicious thing! On Saturday, I sliced a few steaks off of a pork shoulder and braised them in milk on a bed of crushed garlic cloves, fresh thyme branches, and a couple of bay leaves. About six hours this pork spent in a slow oven, six hours of becoming super unctuous.

Twin Food Processors
To go with the pork, she decided that we should have pommes Anna, that amazing French classic potato dish. It is an old-school dish and I am an old-school kind of chef. Here you see my twin food processors: a knife and a mandoline. Even at the restaurant, it is very rare that I use our big Robot Coupe.

The Perfect Pommes Anna Pan
And likewise, I eschew the fancy copper cocottes for pommes Anna in favor of the old Griswold cast iron frying pan. As you will see, it does an amazing job at this and many other tasks. I don't understand why everyone doesn't have a cast iron pan. Well, I do. They take work to keep up and most people are lazy.

Ready for the Oven

We Really Need Smell-o-Vision for These Pommes Anna!
And so our dinner was very simple, yet with outstanding flavor. The plates, as Ann commented, were very pedestrian and a great departure from what we do at the restaurant, but the flavors were outstanding: fall-apart tender pork, sensual pommes Anna, and the first broccoli of the year. Easy to prepare and even easier to eat.

"The Most Boring Plate Ever," says Ann; but How Delicious?
Ann decided to make for dessert a batch of lemon cupcakes (because her mom loves lemon cake) with cassis buttercream.

Gearing up for Buttercream
And the result was gorgeous! I am not a dessert eater and these were outstanding. Brava Ann!

Awesome Finale! Cassis Buttercream on Lemon Cupcakes

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Girls Do Oregon

I haven't had much time or will to update the blog for the past few months. Play time has been on hold: we're in a brand new house w...