09 April 2007

Another wild Paschal Feast

I work at the Episcopal Chaplaincy of the University, and it's become a great tradition that S. and I cook for the group periodically. Last fall, we did a chili night and also a Make-Your-Own Taco crowd pleaser. Earlier this semester, we had a fantastic Shrove Sunday Supper, complete with pancakes, sausage, spinach and goat cheese fritatta, and - of course - syrup.

But all of these pale in comparison to preparations for Easter Dinner.

We plan Easter Dinner as a major celebration, in part because many of our students are far from the comforts of home and family, but also because gathering together is an important part of celebrating the Sunday of the Resurrection. So, it's become a tradition in my time there to celebrate Easter with a feast.

S. and I spend the weeks before planning out what to serve, this year with the wisdom of the year before. Creamed spinach? No, no, remember that it took us (me!) 3 hours to clean and stem the 6 pounds of it last year. You're right -- but what should we make? Not something else green; we're already serving asparagus and zucchini. Perhaps carrots? Yes! But wait -- do we have enough space in the oven to roast carrots and potatoes and a leg of lamb? Perhaps not. But carrots would be excellent. Should we do the carrots on the stove? The potatoes?

Eventually, we came to a conclusion: sauteed carrots, roasted herbed potatoes, the cumin-rosemary roast leg of lamb, which accompanied: chilled asparagus with citrus vinaigrette, parmesan zucchini, braised beef estouffade, pasta tossed in the braising liquid.

What am I missing? Oh yes! The desserts! "Sin," a three layer chocolate cake: chocolate hazelnut cake, chocolate mousse, and chocolate ganache in a hefty 5-inch tall delight. Plus, a trifle with orange sponge cake, macerated strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, and mascarpone whipped cream.

A fantastic meal! It took us two days to put together, and involved 48 ounces of heavy cream, 4 lbs of carrots, 5 lbs of asparagus, 6 lbs of zucchini, 10 lbs of boneless chuck roast, and several pints of berries.

Whew! Hooray for Easter Monday as a holiday! I'm exhausted, and there's a lot of cleaning up still to do.