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: https://www.thespruceeats.com/real-british-mint-sauce…

Roast leg of lamb: https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-roast-a-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): https://www.thepioneerwoman.com/…/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. 🙂

A Low-Key Thanksgiving

We’re having a VERY low-key Thanksgiving here — after the travel of last week, we’re just doing the four of us for the holiday, and are mostly still in bed. I made my signature stuffing on Tuesday, and I might not cook at all for the rest of today — we’ll see.

I did manage to get to the store to pick up the turkey dinner for four that Kevin ordered for us while I was out of town — I also picked up some restorative orange juice with pineapple and ginger, because we’re all a little sick.

Also some vanilla ice cream, because I’m a grown-up now, and if I decide I want a restorative orange-pineapple-ginger ice cream float, I get to do that. I had it in my fancy Thanksgiving drink glass too, with my little fox looking on in appreciation.

Now I’m going back to my cheesy Alyssa Cole romance novel, because that’s about all I have the brain for. It is sweet and comforting and altogether predictable. Sounds about right.

All DELICIOUS

I know many of you are prepping feasts today — here’s one I got to enjoy last week when visiting my relatives in Connecticut. AFTER Marina Aunty’s plethora of appetizers (see photos from a few days ago), she ALSO put all this on the table.

Various curries (beef, shrimp, chicken, cuttlefish), potato poriyal, chicken roast, pittu, stringhoppers (red and white) and sothi, and a really excellent pol (coconut) sambol.

Not the most balanced meal, but this is what we do often for parties — I think the vast array of meats and seafoods are traditional for celebrating in my (Christian Tamil Sri Lankan) family. I promise, there are also lots of vegetable dishes in the cuisine — otherwise, I’d have had a lot more trouble putting together a vegan cookbook. 🙂

It was all DELICIOUS.

The Word You Want Is Amma

Most of the evening was very parental; at dinner, Kavi was having a bit of a meltdown about being behind on homework, spiraling and catastrophizing, so I took her outside for some fresh air to clear her head. I let her work in my writing shed for a little while, which is a pretty special privilege, which she appreciated. Normally, it’s strictly off-limits.

I built a fire and she came to join me once it got going and we sat by the fire together and read on our Kindles for a couple of hours (Kevin joined for some of that with his audio book, feeding the fire), and eventually I got some food into her. All of that managed to calm her down and she got her homework done, or at least enough of it so as to not stress anymore, so that was good. Then we came inside for dessert.

I’d told Kevin that what I wanted for Mother’s Day was to have the kids cook something Sri Lankan for me — something new to them, that they hadn’t cooked before. This is a bit of a tall order, because to be honest, mostly they still don’t eat Sri Lankan food, esp. Anand who is scared of anything spicy. Kavi can eat and enjoy beef curry, but Anand, not so much.

They have cooking bombatoast down, but I wasn’t sure what they might add this year — they both love the ginger-garlic chicken, but are squeamish about touching / cutting raw meat.

But they did just fine — Kevin taught them how to make mango fluff (using my cookbook). Which I suppose is really sort of a fusion recipe, since I’m sure its development was colonially influenced. But they’re fusion kids, so it all works out. 🙂

I went in to tell Anand goodnight; Kevin was lying down with him and they were in the midst of a video game discussion of some kind. I’ll leave you with this bit of our bedtime dialogue:

Me: Thanks for a really nice Mother’s Day, Anand.
Anand: [silence for a moment, then…] “I want to say mother in the other language, but I can’t remember the word.”
Me, laughing: “Amma. The word you want is Amma.”
Anand: “You’re welcome, Amma.”
Me: [melting — the kids know how to get me]
Kevin: “So, how do you say ‘You’re welcome’ in Tamil?”

Me: “I have to go ask my dad…”