Easter perfection

March 27, 2016

What does this Easter dinner lack, to make it perfect?

What does this Easter dinner lack, to make it perfect?


Just this. God is a better pastry chef than I'll ever be.

Just this. God is a better pastry chef than I’ll ever be.

Or maybe this. Key lime pie. Take me to the islands.

Or maybe this. Key lime pie. Take me to the islands.

Some years, the stars align to make a perfectly glorious Easter. This was one such year.

Spectacularly gorgeous weather (windows open, breeze blowing, sun shining). Kids all spic and span, shined up and dressed up for church (even if two of them were in Jackson, Miss., with two-thirds of my grandchildren. Bacon, sausage and pancakes for Easter breakfast at church after the early service, and a marvelous Easter dinner that didn’t leave me exhausted, because I did most everything the night before.

And six hours, including a two-hour nap, after Sunday dinner, and I am just NOW getting past the point of being miserably full.

Our menu included ham, corn casserole, mac and cheese, asparagus, spring pea salad, deviled eggs and pickled quail eggs, and homemade rolls. AND Key lime pie and strawberries, pound cake and whipped cream for dessert.

In my defense, I did not eat mac and cheese. I may or may not have eaten three slices of ham.

This ham, y’all. We had our first Honeybaked ham at Christmas, one a vendor at my daughter’s office had given her for Christmas. I thought then it was one of the best hams I’d ever had. So I determined that, despite the hefty price tag, I’d get one for Easter, on the basis that your get what you pay for.

I opted for boneless, four-pounder at a little over $40. There were four of us eating dinner. (Ham is not on the AGC 2-approved protein list, which includes only chicken nuggets and fish sticks, and we’d already fed him lunch and put him down for a nap anyway.) We ate between a quarter and a third of it. And we are NOT shy or small of appetite where ham’s concerned, either. I sent a good two meals’ worth home with Child C and SIL 2, put three packages in the freezer for us, and left one package in the fridge for the Cubanos we will have one day this week. By my calculations, that’s seven meals from that $40 chunk of ham. I don’t feel bad about the price at all. No waste with the boneless, either, and the fact it’s cooked, sliced and glazed means all you do is warm it up.

If I ever quit being miserably full, I may have a ham sandwich for dinner. If not, it will certainly be on my menu for tomorrow.

Pea salad and deviled eggs were both done early yesterday and stashed in the fridge. Deviled eggs are standard — mayo, mustard, sweet pickle relish, paprika. I get creative with ’em sometimes when they’re )for more adventurous eaters, but for the family crowd, basic is Just Fine. The pea salad is pretty simple, too — barely blanch the spring peas (I had a bag of frozen that I nuked) and add grated cheddar, chopped crispy bacon, and a dressing made of mayo, lemon juice and a touch of sugar. Lots of people put red onion in it; I don’t like raw onion, so I don’t. For one bag of peas, the rough proportions are 3/4 cup grated cheese, three strips of bacon cut into lardons and fried crisp, a half-cup of mayo, 2 tsp each sugar and lemon juice. Use a good mayo — Hellman’s — or make your own. Don’t be goin’ with no Miracle Whip up in here on this one. Top it with some sliced radishes for crunch and peppery pop.

The pickled quail eggs were pretty good, though I think I’m the only one who ate them. I hard-boiled and peeled the little sweeties, and pickled them in a brine of rice vinegar, soy sauce, water, and sriracha. They were fine by themselves, but will be perfect with a hot cup of tom yum soup, or pho.

Made the mac and cheese in the usual stovetop fashion, and then transferred it to the Instant Pot liner to refrigerate overnight. This morning, I put the pot together, set it to slow-cook for two hours and then switch to the “keep warm” function, added a splash of cream and one of milk, and stirred it up. It appeared to work just fine; a lot of it disappeared. Corn casserole got made up last night, and slipped into the oven to bake just as soon as I got in from church. Ditto the rolls, which I’d made  yesterday and frozen, and took out early this morning to let them thaw and rise. (See the recipes for Jiffy corn casserole and Miss Mary Lloyd’s rolls, both blogged several times here.) They had too long to do so (and I gave them a kick start in a warm oven because I was afraid they wouldn’t have ENOUGH time), and they’d fallen, so they weren’t too pretty but they sure were good. I’d prepped the asparagus last night, so it just needed a quick saute’ and steam.

Actually made desserts on Friday. Big, luscious strawberries (I’ll see those in breakfast this week!), sliced up and macerated with some sugar and white balsamic vinegar. Basic pound cake. Basic whipped cream. Basic spring. One ought not go overboard with fancy desserts in the spring, when God has such marvelous ones ready for us. The Key lime pie was a bit more complex (details to come in another post), but still simple. And wonderful.

The scales will not be kind to me tomorrow. I don’t care. This was worth it.

I hope you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em enjoyed a lovely day and celebrated a most glorious Easter. You want a ham sandwich this week, come on by.




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