Suzi's Blog

Easter Dinner Ideas [Or Other Spring and Summer Feasts]

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Yes, I know, Easter was last Sunday. But there will be an Easter again, short of a meteor strike. And there are other times during the spring and summer that you may be celebrating. Here is the menu we had on Sunday. The next few days will see a post with each recipe. Suzen and I spent Easter morning shopping and Easter afternoon in the kitchen. It was a perfect holiday, complete with dinner guests and our table set for this feast.

Menu for a Special Sunday Meal

  • Chipotle and Cheddar Biscuits with Honey Butter
  • Red Pepper Hummus with Toasted Home Made Bread
  • Shoulder of Lamb with Salsa Verde
  • Potato Gratin with Cauliflower and Cheese of Your Choice

Oh, no dessert? Our guests bought a fruit tart and we had some chocolate gelato on hand. I did have in mind a very special chocolate cookie that will appear here soon. Truth is, after four hours in the kitchen, Suzen and I were low on gas. Planning on doing this meal or another feast? Then you want to space out the effort, ideally over 2-3 days. Biscuits and hummus the day before, for example. We all want quality for our dinner parties and that quality quite simply takes a bit of time.

To conclude, about that meteor strike. I was not joking. Today is Earth Day and this evening in Seattle at the incredible Museum of Flight three astronauts will present evidence about the possibility of a major meteor strike that could wipe out a city. Remember that meteor over Siberia last year? That explosion is now calibrated at a half a megaton. Tonight, the presentation will show that the chances of a major disaster are 3 to 10 times more likely than previously thought. New sensor information, originally developed to detect man-made nuclear weapons tests, confirms that we have far more collisions with large objects from space. There are lots and lots of uncharted meteors in the 100-meter range out there. Close encounters are common, actual collisions much more likely than previously thought. More and more of a growing planet population is in urban areas that sprawl. Target creep.

If I were you, I would order up my lamb soon.

 

All-Purpose Honey Mustard Salad Dressing

Taste of Honey

Marie Simmons is a friend  and very trusted author. Trusted? Take any recipe, from any of her 20+ cookbooks, and you just have to follow the simple, totally clear directions. Your results will be, well not just results, but a culinary accomplishment that will truly please you.

Marie’s latest venture is Taste of Honey. Here’s the first taste test that Suzen tried: a salad dressing that has “the usual suspects” coupled with a good dose of honey. The fun thing here is playing with the amount of honey —Suzen displayed a heavy hand here so there was a distinctly honey tang to her dressing.

And, of course, changing honey varieties can generate enormous flavor shifts. Unlike other foods where you have to struggle to notice the “difference” that “experts” announce, with honey you can be tongue-dead and still be very aware of a flavor difference.

So with this recipe as a template, you can pair different honey flavors with different ingredients. Chicory versus romaine, for example, gives you room for mix and match.

Suzen and I are working our way through this lovely book recipe by recipe. More tasting results to come. No testing is necessary: these are all Simmons perfect.

All-Purpose Honey Mustard Salad Dressing

Yield: 2/3 cup

Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon full-bodies red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey [or more!]
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 small clove garlic, grated
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until emulsified. If making by hand, combine all of the ingredients except the olive oil in small deep bow. Add the olive oil a few drops at a time, continuously whisking until emulsified.

Store in a glass jar at room temperature for up to 1 day or refrigerate and keep for up to 1 week.

Source: Taste of Honey by Marie Simmons