How Many Dishes Can I Knock Off

Chicken curry done, trifle done, lentil curry going, how many more dishes can I knock off tonight? Devilled potatoes, I think — that one, I’ve made so many times I can basically do it in my sleep.

Curries are usually better the second day, so nice to do them in advance. And then save the baking of scones and star bread for the morning, so they’re nice and fresh….

Goal — get to bed by 11, so I can get eight solid hours of sleep before getting up at 7 for phase two of party prep. 🙂

A Clean Kitchen Only a Moment Ago

I had a clean kitchen four hours ago. There comes a point in every party prep when you look at the chaos you’ve generated and ask how you could possibly get to party-ready by tomorrow. And yet somehow, it all comes together in the end. How?

I don’t know. It’s a mystery.


Very Easy, Very Pretty, Very Springtime

Last Easter pics. Roasted variegated carrots (toss in olive oil, salt and pepper, roast at 425 for 20 minutes) very easy, very pretty, very springtime.

And I got to break out our new grill for a party for the first time, and it worked really well! I had done some cooking in advance, but with the grill up on our back deck, I could just step out, turn it on to let it preheat, step back in, prep the salmon and asparagus (olive oil, salt, pepper), take them out, grill while chatting with people, serve.

I also did some chicken thighs (both plain and tikka), just to fill out the corners; I thought it would be good for making sure the kids got enough to eat.

LOVE the plumbed-in gas grill (belated gift for Kevin’s 50th birthday from me and his parents, though I admit, it’s at least as much a gift for me). No more hauling propane tanks, hooray!

Maybe eventually I’ll experiment with charcoal in a tray, or wood, but I’m really glad we went with this kind of grill, because I just have no time to futz with building a charcoal, etc. fire while I’m in party mode.

Thanks again to everyone who weighed in on my grill-buying decision last fall, even if I didn’t end up taking your suggestions. Sorry, Matt! 🙂

My Poor Trifle

My poor trifle really was a disaster — it was sort of a tasty fruity soup, but not anything you really wanted to eat a lot of. We ended up throwing most of it out, alas. Well, live and learn. Kevin also noted that he doesn’t really like jello in trifle, and usually he loves trifle, so I think my days of experimenting with jello in trifle are probably done. We’ll stick to jello in parfaits…

But thankfully, my guests brought plenty of desserts — including the 14-15 year olds, one of whom had baked a ton of yummy cookies, and another who baked this incredibly delicious cheesecake, as good as any I’ve ever had. So impressive!

Discovering a Love of Devilled Eggs

Kavi has discovered that she loves devilled eggs. She got a couple during the party, but they went fast, and after the party was over, she and I were lying on the couch watching Gilmore Girls together, and she said, pathetically, that she really wanted devilled eggs, and we didn’t have any. Tragedy!

I said, well, it would only take about 5 minutes to make some, since we had some hard-boiled eggs left in the Easter bread, and Kavi looked at me with big pleading eyes, so I laughed and got off the couch and made her some devilled eggs. 🙂

(The ham was super-easy — it’s pre-cooked and sliced, so it’s just heat in the oven, then cut off slices and serve. I like this little trio of glass jars; I decanted three ham accompaniments into them, so easy.)

Lamb with Homemade Mint Sauce

Lamb with homemade mint sauce (the vinegar kind, that cuts so nicely through the richness of the lamb). This is a dish I really love, and I only have maybe twice a year? So it’s very satisfying when I do.

Kind of funny how me and my Irish friend were super-enthusiastic about this dish, and all the Americans were fine with it, but didn’t understand why we liked it so much. 🙂

Mint sauce:…

Roast leg of lamb:…

Easter Crown Bread

Easter crown bread was both easy and surprisingly impressive — Kavi was impressed, and one of the little kids asked me how I made it, and I got to say “Magic.” 🙂 Very tasty slathered with Irish butter. The eggs were dyed raw, and they cook through while the bread is baking.

If you haven’t made yeasted bread before, it’s really not hard — my main note is that just to be aware that it takes 4-6 hours, so start it early enough. There’s very little actual hands-on cooking in there, and if you have a mixer with a dough hook, the mixing / kneading part is very easy.

As you can see in the last photo, my eggs tipped over a little while baking, but it was easy enough to lift and reset them. Do it right out of the oven if you need to; after the bread cools, the eggshells do adhere to them a bit.

Recipe here (I skipped her drizzle and sprinkles, mostly because I ran out of time, though the bread doesn’t need it for taste, and I pulled the strands a little longer so I could shape it into a crown):…/easter-bread-recipe/

Reducing the Day of Hecticness

Party tip: prep trays in advance and cover with plastic wrap (refrigerating as needed) to reduce day of hecticness. Also, Trader Joe’s really does have some fun holiday beverages. Also, I feel totally justified in buying a giant gnome platter now. 🙂