Easter, hanging out with bloggers, hot pepper jelly, Lithuanian eggs, lithuanian traditions

How We Made Easter Eggs

I do realize that posting about Easter nearly a week after its passed is kind of silly, but we had so much fun at Vrylena‘s Easter Egg dying party that I thought it would be silly to not post just a few photos. And, I haven’t been a good blogger lately, so I thought I had to post something.

There was Vrylena’s delightful Hot Pepper Jelly.

Dawn and Adam brought the beverages.

V. also killed it with a Spinach Souffle.

Adam was, by far, the most adept at decorating the eggs. 

But, it was Kate’s boyfriend, Mr. A., that had the best sense of humor when it came to decorating. Cracked egg be damned!

an army of Peeps, coldcutorama, Lithuanian eggs, lugen easter

A Lithuanian Easter–pt. 2

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:

Orange Juice
Canola oil
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)
  • Cooking Directions

    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.

    Leg Of Lamb on Foodista

    Easter, invoking the Pig, Lithuanian eggs

    A Lithuanian Easter

    Easter, for me, always evokes the memory of having to sell White and Milk Chocolate crosses and bunnies to raise money for my parochial grade school. It wasn’t until a bit later in my life that I realized just how generally fucked up it is to eat a chocolate reproduction of the cross that their creator died upon. But, outside of that, it was the “Ham” holiday (Turkey is Thanksgiving, Prime Rib is Christmas and Ham on Easter). We got together and ate alot, not that it made it different really than any other holiday except for the show piece in the center of the buffet table. If I lived still lived in that area, that’s what I would be doing this Sunday.

    However, that has long since changed since being adopted into my girlfriends Lithuanian family who live much, much closer than my own. Jugs of wine and Gennesse have been replaced by Krupnik and other things done in shot form. This year I’m making the Pashka recipe found in the most recent Saveur and stuffing a leg of lamb with as-yet-undetermined ingredients.
    But the best part of it, which I am told MUST be done slightly intoxicated, is the decorating of easter eggs.

    Lithuanian Easter eggs are essentially regular Easter eggs with a lot of intricate patterns made from hot wax

    usually applied with a small tipped pin or different size nail heads that are placed onto the naked egg

    dipped into the dye

    and then the wax is peeled off.

    Then a game is held where you stand in a circle, egg in hand, and tap your neighbors egg with your own as you go around. If your egg breaks the others, without cracking, you go on to the next and so fourth. If your egg cracks from being tapped, you’re out. I’m not sure exactly what the winner gets–something like a lucky year or the bottle of Krupnik–but there’s something.

    Partially because I’m not artistic and partially because I’m an ass my four eggs that I decorated in anticipation of their entry into the Egg Terrordome are not ornate or even remotely artistic. They are crude and silly.

    Like my attempt at this pig, here. One says “Eat Me” and the other is a Grateful Dead lightning bolt. I’m thinking the pig may take it this year.

    So, if you’re dying eggs over the next few days go get yourself some parafin (it came off easier than bees wax), small nails or pins, some Paas or natural dyes, something to make the time consuming effort a bit more festive and give your eggs a different spin this year. Actually, there are much better, and more in depth, instructions by someone who actually knows what they’re talking about.

    I’ll have pictures of what we actually ate next week.