Sorry, for some reason this did not go out as planned.... so here it is !
Every year we have a sizable party for friends and family. Every year I try to include some traditional dishes, but also some things to surprise and delight. Right now I am letting you in on the menu planning process.
This year, Passover does not coincide with Easter. Most years, it seems like it does. Since I am Jewish we do not have leavened bread on those years. However, this year, we will be able to.
Last week’s Food Friday went over many of the traditional foods from around the world. Because Easter occurs so early in the spring, it is before crops are really coming in. Thus even the festive menus include foods made from preserved things, like cured meats and fish. But, when you think about it, dried wheat ground into flour is a preserved thing, and so breads are among the traditional dishes, especially if they contain dried fruits and candied citrus peel.
For our bread this year, I am looking forward to a traditional Russian Easter Bread made by one of my Russian friends. My mother in law usually brings lamb, which is herb encrusted. My daughter is quite the chocolatiere, and I am going to try to persuade her to make a batch of handmade chocolates in fanciful shapes on Saturday. We like to make bugs and butterflies from molds. Her husband is the salad expert and produces an extraordinary spinach salad with candied walnuts and sliced strawberries. I will handle the new potatoes, smoked salmon with cream cheese and pickles, and new asparagus. Also I cannot resist making a meringue cookie in honor of one of the great grandmothers in the family. For them I will use only the whites of the egg, and so will liberate numerous yolks. To utilize these, I will make lemon curd. I have discovered that just about everyone in my family loves it. Few here in the states eat it. It is more popular in Britain. It is a rich lemony spread made with butter, sugar, yolks and lemon juice. You can even make it with lime juice. People use it like jam. It is a beautiful sunny color.
And that is quite enough for the cooked sweets, since there will be the egg hunt in the nearby forest. There will be lots of treasures, such as spools of thread, coins, buttons, ribbon and more, but there will also be candy. Some of the eggs will be wooden and painted, and some will even be stone. In the past I found some that rang like bells. They went to the permanent egg collection.
Make no mistake these gatherings are for more than fun and food. They forge the social bonds we need to be happy and healthy. So regardless of your religious , political, familial or cultural affiliations, get together and make something nice. Renew old bonds and forge new friendships.
Welcome to my spring holiday table. I would love to hear about yours.