As per our usual Hungry Family tradition, we had our Easter celebration today, starting when the Easter Penguin delivered a small present--a stone figurine of the Easter Penguin itself!--leaving behind wet footprints. Then my in-laws--Ma, Gong, and Goo--came up for a big Easter lunch and some egg decorating, after kung fu and ice skating that is.
We had considered going out for lunch, still feeling some of the effects of jet lag and not having gone shopping yet, but decided yesterday that we'd rather just make a ham. Easy enough. It's the fixin's that are all the work. And Bud wanted Eton Mess, his favorite dessert from our trip, and he repeatedly told me that he just knew that homemade meringues were going to make it the best ever.
And so, we had baked ham, macaroni and cheese, "wrinkled" green beans, salad, baked potatoes (oiled, salted, and pierced, for 60-90 minutes@ 350F), drop biscuits, and Eton Mess with lots of different berries. And homemade meringues.
Afterwards, we experimented with rubber-cement decorating of eggs, with the cement blocking color and allowing us to make different patterns. Sis and Bud each peeled an egg and decorated its wobbly insides! And Bud drew a TARDIS on one blue egg and covered another in foil to make a Cyberman.
Now all the eggs are outside in Easter nests, not made of the grass and wildflowers of my childhood because NOTHING is growing up here in cold Connecticut, but made from leftover seashells and some boxwood branches and just a few hearty purple flowers.
Let's just hope it's warm enough to hunt for eggs in the morning without coats!
Always ham for Easter and we’d pick off the chewy dark bits as soon as it was out of the oven. Very good the next day cut up into macaroni and cheese.
To make red eye gravy, merely boil ham drippings and add water. Some people add coffee.
Bake uncovered at 325°F for 1 1/2-2 hours.
Whole Foods Macaroni and Cheese
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Dash hot sauce (optional)
grated nutmeg to taste
cooked pasta and/or vegetables
In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk thoroughly to incorporate into a roux. Cook roux briefly till it is bubbling,then slowly add the milk, whisking constantly till all the ingredients are incorporated. Add remaining ingredients and cook a few minutes til sauce is thickened and all ingredients are incorporated. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary (salt and nutmeg.) Serve with your favorite pasta or vegetables.
"Wrinkled" Green Beans
green beans, washed and trimmed and cut into preferred size
garlic, minced--as much as you like (garlic powder suffices)
If green beans are tough or old, steam or blanch first. I steamed ours in a covered dish in the microwave for 5 minutes.
Heat oil and saute minced garlic. Add green beans and cook on medium high until green beans begin to wrinkle. Add soy sauce and Maggi to taste, along with about 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook until desired tenderness. Serve immediately.
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
Preheat to 450F.
Combine dry ingredients. But in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk and stir just until dough clings together. Drop by tablespoon onto baking sheet. Bake until golden, approximately 10-12 minutes.
Makes 10-12 biscuits.
Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
berries and/or jam
Crumble meringue cookies into whipped cream and layer with berries and/or jam. Serve immediately.
• 3 large egg whites
• pinch of salt
• 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1) Preheat the oven to 200°F. Prepare a sheet of parchment paper by tracing a 9" round cake pan with a pencil to create a circle. Flip the paper pencil-side down and place on a baking sheet. You should still be able to see the circle outline through the paper.
2) In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.
3) Combine the Baker's Special sugar and cornstarch and slowly add it to the whites, as you continue to beat. The mixture will thicken and turn glossy. Beat for about 1 more minute. Remove from the mixer and stir the lemon juice in by hand.
4) Spread the meringue on the parchment, staying within the circle. Use about 1 1/4 cups meringue to pipe a tall border around the edge of the meringue in the circle. When baked, this will form a ring to keep the cream and fruit from spilling over.
5) Bake for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and leave the door closed. Cool the meringue in the oven for at least another hour, or up to overnight. The pavlova will color slightly from white to light tan. Small cracks are normal.
from the Pavlova recipe of King Arthur Flour