Things I learned this past Easter:
1) Small framed women have a secret hidden power when it comes to the Lithuanian Easter Egg Smackdown. The pig fell quickly and winner take all was the Mrs.’ cousin
Winner is the smashee, her mom was the smasher.
2) You can NEVER have enough cold cuts. The table resembled a Polish deli counter menu board.
3) If you add Peeps to hot cupcakes, they will turn into a substance suitable for wetsuits. It was determined that, after many attempts to squish them only to have them regain their shape, they must have the same chemical structure as Neoprene.
4) You can make take 5 highly intelligent women, add in several glasses of wine and champagne and put them at the table with filled with sugary goodness and unexplainable silliness will occur.
Like dressing up Peeps and Lindt chocolate bunnies like extras on ‘Jersey Shore.’
6) Michael Psilkais “Roasted Leg of Lamb” recipe is off the hook.
I marinated the flattened, boneless leg–3 3/4 pounds for about 14 people–in:
Smashed garlic cloves
Ras el Hanout–purchased at the Portland Winter Market from Gryffon Ridge Spice
Then when patted dry, and after it was stuffed, it was rubbed with a mixture of kosher salt and the Ras el Hanout.
Roast Leg of Lamb
For the Stuffing:
11/2 cups large, plump sun-dried
tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/4 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted(I used caperberries, instead)
1 teaspoon minced rosemary
Leaves only from 3 small sprigs thyme
1 teaspoon dry Greek oregano
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
15 cloves Garlic Confit or 1/3 cup Garlic Purée (I used raw garlic)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
11/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
About 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
For the Lamb:
3 to 31/2 pound boneless leg of lamb,
butterflied to flatten, some of the fat trimmed off
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
11/2 cup water
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Garlic Purée, or 2 to 3 cloves Garlic Confit (CLICK HERE for recipe), if you have it
3 large sprigs rosemary
3 tablespoons blended oil (90 percent canola, 10 percent extra-virgin olive)
In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients for the stuffing and purée to a smooth, thick paste, about 45 to 60 seconds. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of the stuffing.
Lay the lamb out on a work surface with the fattier side down. Season generously with kosher salt and pepper and spread an even layer of stuffing over it, pressing the stuffing down into the crevices. Drizzle with a little olive oil and roll the lamb up in a spiral, seasoning the fatty side with salt and pepper as you roll. Tie in 3 or 4 places crosswise and 1 or 2 places lengthwise (twist the string around itself 3 times instead of just once before you pull it tight, so it won’t loosen as soon as you let go). Ideally, allow the meat to sit on a rack, uncovered, in the refrigerator overnight, to dry the surface well and develop all the Greek flavors.
Bring the lamb to room temperature while you preheat the oven to 375°F. In a small roasting pan, whisk the reserved stuffing with the water, mustard, and Garlic Purée. Throw in the rosemary sprigs. Place a rack in the pan; the rack should not touch the liquid.
Again, season the lamb on all sides very generously with kosher salt and pepper. In a large, heavy skillet, warm the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot, sear the lamb well on all sides, using tongs and leaning the meat up against the sides ofthe pan to sear the thinner sides and cut ends. Transfer the lamb to the rack seam-side up and roast for about 1 hour, basting every 15 minutes with the pan liquid. (When the meat is medium-rare—140°F—a skewer inserted at the thickest point should feel warm when pressed against your lower lip.)
Rest the meat for about 15 minutes. Slice 1/4-inch-thick pieces, drizzle with the pan sauce, and finish with a little extra-virgin olive oil.
7) We have started the Easter Baby tradition. In honor of my Aunt-in-law, whom was quite angered by being shafted out of a King Cake Baby this past February when her Whole Foods Mardi Gras cake did not have said baby anywhere in it or the box, we have started the Easter Baby. To start this new tradition, I hid a small plastic baby inside of the Pashka that I made. Next year…who knows where the baby will appear…
It’s not so pretty when you unearth from that much cheese.
Not one bit.