It’s Friday! It is; I checked.
This week is always pretty crazy even when there isn’t a pandemic. It’s the week after Easter and Passover, and the food situation is what we in the Association of Intermittent Food Bloggers With Complex Faith Backgrounds call “bonkers.”
And this year, my father, who loved food and who usually presides over our Passover seder, was not there, because he is dead. Good thing I definitely don’t have any deep psychological confusion concerning food and family and holidays and faith and memories. NOT AT ALL.
So! Here’s what we had:
Well, on Holy Saturday, we celebrate Passover. This is because we celebrate it like Jews (more or less), which means a tremendous amount of food and wine and dessert and singing and laughing; but also of course we’re Catholics, and Easter is preeminent. So we celebrate Passover in light of Easter, which means we need to celebrate it before Easter, and not on whichever day it happens to fall by the Jewish calendar; but we can’t do it on Holy Thursday, because there’s a tremendous amount of food and wine and dessert and singing and laughing. And also we buried my father on Holy Thursday. Which, this year, was actual Passover. So we had our seder on Holy Saturday. I’m telling you. It has been A Week.
I have once again failed to fix up the Passover recipe page I made a few years ago, but here it is in its current shambolic form. We had chicken soup with matzoh balls
and roast lamb
and roast garlic cinnamon chicken; and for dessert, sponge cake with lemon icing, chocolate cake with almonds, macaroons, red and orange chocolate-covered jelly rings, jelly fruit slices, chocolate caramel matzoh, and halvah.
Again, you can find these recipes here.
Everything turned out really well. Well, I burned the soup and had to make it again (and when I complained about it on Facebook, Pope Michael commented “How can you burn soup? It’s mostly water,” so there was that), and someone burned the sponge cake, so we had to cut it up into little pieces and try to make petits fours like in the Joy of Cooking, but there wasn’t enough icing, so they were just very small pieces of cake. But eventually, everything turned out really well!
Damien made the lamb with a new recipe posted on Twitter by Tom Nichols.
Ignore the part about not wanting your house to smell like garlic (why not?) and just follow the recipe, which is basically to murder it with garlic powder, garlic salt, and oregano. It was the tenderest, juiciest lamb I’ve ever eaten. You didn’t need a knife, no kidding.
We decided to stream the Easter Vigil on Saturday night from our home parish, and it was a delight. They had a wonderful tenor sing the full Exultet into the empty, echoing church, and I gave everyone a juice glass with a tea light in it, and . . . I know we’re supposed to feel bad because we can’t be there in person, and I know my father just died, but I was absolutely filled with joy. I know it’s Friday and everyone’s gone back to feeling bad but STILL ALLELUIA! Can’t help it.
On Sunday, of course everybody was eating hard boiled eggs and candy all day. Then Dora made potato latkes in the late afternoon. These are much more labor intensive than matzoh meal latkes, but she apparently didn’t realize there was such a thing? I didn’t get a pic of the potato latkes, but they were delish.Jump to Recipe
We had tons of leftovers of everything, and I packed up a bunch for my mother. Usually I send them home with my father after the seder so he can bring them to her in the nursing home, but I just put them in the freezer until . . .undetermined. Still, Alleluia. I mean it.
I think we had. . . chicken nuggets and chips? That seems plausible.
Meatloaf and garlic mashed potatoes
If you are wondering how I have been holding up with all the everything going on, it’s because Damien has been doing everything, including making meatloaf and mashed potatoes on Monday. I once again forgot to take a picture — actually, what it is is my phone is completely full of pictures. I actually filled up the whole entire memory with photos, and then my phone stopped working. I know there are various things you can do, and I have been working on them, but what seemed to me to be the most prudent was to sit there drinking gin and permanently deleting thousands of photos, because you have to face facts, and you can’t hold onto these things forever. Halfway through the process, it occurred to me that my behavior might have something to do with processing my father’s death. Anyway, my phone is working again. But I don’t have any photos of meatloaf.
But I will put my recipes at the end!
Meatloaf:Jump to Recipe
Garlic parmesan mashed potatoes:Jump to Recipe
Fried rice, egg rolls, deviled eggs
Like most of American we had some leftover ham from something or other, and a bunch of hard boiled eggs. I bought frozen egg rolls, and then I looked up a bunch of recipes for fried rice, and came away with the conclusion that the reason it tastes like that is soy sauce.
I had a pretty picture which isn’t currently cooperating. Will try again later.My rice came out too mushy, but it tasted fine. It had chopped ham, snow peas, onion, scallions, egg, and sesame oil. Almost more like one of those bullshit “just add an egg” thingies than fried rice, oh well.
I assigned the making of the deviled eggs to a middle child. You can see that an attempt was made.
Pork ribs, risotto, peas
Always popular. For the pork ribs, you just sprinkle them heavily with salt and pepper, lay them on a broiler pan, and give it several minutes on each side until they’re sizzling. Delicious.
I used the Instant Pot to make a giant amount of plain risotto, and everyone was well pleased.Jump to Recipe
Shrimp scampi with spaghetti, stuffed clams, bread
I seem to have repeatedly stocked up on frozen shrimp during the last few weeks, so now is the time to scampify it. Gotta face facts, can’t hold onto these things forever. Alleluia.
I’ll add in the recipe after I actually make it!
Serve with sour cream and/or apple sauce for Hanukkah or ANY TIME. Makes about 25+ latkes
- 4 lbs potatoes, peeled
- 6 eggs beaten
- 6 Tbsp flour (substitute matzoh meal for Passover)
- salt and pepper
- oil for frying
Grate the potatoes. Let them sit in a colander for a while, if you can, and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
Mix together the eggs, salt and pepper, and flour. Stir into the potato mixture and mix well.
Turn the oven on to 350 and put a paper-lined pan in the oven to receive the latkes and keep them warm while you're frying.
Put 1/4 to 1/2 and inch of oil in your frying pan and heat it up until a drop of batter will bubble.
Take a handful of the potato mixture, flatten it slightly, and lay it in the pan, leaving room between latkes. Repeat with the rest of the mixture, making several batches to leave room in between latkes. Fry until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Eat right away or keep warm in oven, but not too long.
Serve with sour cream and/or applesauce or apple slices.
Meatloaf (actually two giant meatloaves)
- 5 lbs ground beef
- 2 lbs ground turkey
- 8 eggs
- 4 cups breadcrumbs
- 3/4 cup milk
salt, pepper, garlic powder or fresh garlic, onion powder or minced onions, fresh parsley, etc.
- ketchup for the top
Preheat oven to 450
Mix all meat, eggs, milk, breadcrumbs, and seasonings together with your hands until well blended.
Form meat into two oblong loaves on pan with drainage
Squirt ketchup all over the outside of the loaves and spread to cover with spatula. Don't pretend you're too good for this. It's delicious.
Bake for an hour or so, until meat is cooked all the way through. Slice and serve.
Garlic parmesan mashed potatoes
- 5-6 lbs potatoes
- 8-10 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 8 Tbsp butter
- 1-1/2 cups milk
- 8 oz grated parmesan
- salt and pepper
Peel the potatoes and put them in a pot. Cover the with water. Add a bit of salt and the smashed garlic cloves.
Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer with lid loosely on until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.
Drain the water out of the pot. Add the butter and milk and mash well.
Add the parmesan and salt and pepper to taste and stir until combined.
Instant Pot Risotto
Almost as good as stovetop risotto, and ten billion times easier. Makes about eight cups.
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground sage
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 cups rice, raw
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1.5 cups grated parmesan cheese
Turn IP on sautee, add oil, and sautee the onion, garlic, salt, and sage until onions are soft.
Add rice and butter and cook for five minutes or more, stirring constantly, until rice is mostly opaque and butter is melted.
Press "cancel," add the broth and wine, and stir.
Close the top, close valve, set to high pressure for 9 minutes.
Release the pressure and carefully stir in the parmesan cheese and pepper. Add salt if necessary.