Monday, April 05, 2010
So, how was your Easter? Did you have a killer time? We did! The had less than stellar beginnings as you might expect for a very disorganized, easily distracted perfectionist who has to get herself, two children and a lamb for the feast ready before church. One thing I can say for the stress of Thanksgiving and Christmas is that, thankfully, the feast day doesn't usually require church finery.
I did NOT get photos (I was too busy!), but dinner was a roaring success. Except for the cake. The cake was a limping...well..not disaster, exactly, but it was very anticlimactic. This was a case of my inexperience biting me in the butt. Having never made a chiffon cake before, I was unaware of the ease with which such a confection will collapse on you. I followed the recipe meticulously and when I took it out of the oven, it was beautifully light, lofty, foamy and golden. But, alas, at some point in the three-hour cooling period, it got sulky and deflated itself to half its former glorious height. The brat. I shed a few hot tears over it, but what could I do? I had nothing else for dessert and no time to Amelia Bedelia something up. It was Lobelia who talked me off the ledge and convinced me to serve it anyway with its delectable glaze. And we all agreed that it was very, very tasty, if a little dense.
So the cake was not the dessert of legends I had hoped it would be. But the lamb, the lamb! Mrs. C came through once more. I had never made leg of lamb and was understandably nervous. But The Viking and I put our pointed, little heads together and decided to cull and combine the best wisdom of both America's Test Kitchen and the Chambers Idle Hour Cookbook. We prepped the leg according to ATK (trimmed the fat, made slits all over and filled them with garlic slivers, then rubbed it with a fresh herb rub of rosemary, thyme and fresh parsley) and cooked it according to Chambers (preheated the oven at 500 degrees for 10 minutes, roasted the leg uncovered for 30 minutes, then covered it, turned the gas off and left it for 3 1/2 hours).
I know I've said it before, but I love, love, love cooking with the gas turned off. We turned it off, left for church and were happy and confident in the knowledge that dear, ducky Mrs. C was cooking our lamb safely and perfectly while we were gone. And perfect it was. Browned, tender, succulent, not to rare, not to dark, MMM-MMM-GOOD! I made mint sauce to go with it that was just the perfect accompaniment. And the roasted potatoes and asparagus were no-brainers--I can probably make those in my sleep. The only downside is that the lamb was so picked over there wasn't any left for Shepherd's Pie today. I was really looking forward to making my first ever Shepherd's Pie. Oh well, there's always next time.
Lobelia and Lenny stayed until twilight and we all just sat shootin the breeze while sitting in the breeze from the open windows. The kids ran around hiding, finding, re-hiding and re-finding Easter eggs (the Find The Ribbon idea never panned out) and swapping candy while the adults just lolled and laughed. It was the perfect afternoon and evening.
As for the new week, I am beyond thankful that the kids are off! I got to sleep in and felt so rested and refreshed when I awoke! I felt so good I decided to put the kids to work! Dharma, Vance and the wee ones are coming for a nice, long visit at the end of the week so we have a lot of clearing out, cleaning and rearranging to do and today was the perfect opportunity to get started.
It was (and still is, as I type) an almost sinfully glorious day. We threw all the windows open (I can never simply open windows when the weather is accommodating, I have to throw them open) and stripped our beds to the bare mattresses and pillows. All the pillow and mattress covers got a nice hot, sudsy, bleachy bath before being sent out to lounge in the sunshine on the clothesline. The flannel linens were washed, carefully folded and packed away until October (rather sad, but I just think of how excited I'll be when we're reunited next Autumn). Redheaded Snippet cleaned her room, Man-Cub worked on his room and I cleared out the library before torturing Man-Cub (his words, not mine) by going through his clothes and making him try them on before packing away his winter wear and unpacking his summer wear. Quite a satisfying day's work.
As a reward for our labors, we are taking a nice, long break before dinner. Redheaded Snippet is going out for a snack with Gram, Man-Cub is luxuriating in some uninterrupted TV and Lego time and I get to blog! There are also corn muffins cooling on the counter so in a few minutes, I get to blog while eating a hot, buttery corn muffin with a cold glass of milk! Sigh, what a lovely afternoon.
I'm sure I'll have plenty more to blog about in the days ahead as we prepare for Dharma & Co's arrival and then, of course, as we enjoy their company. I am so excited they are coming and staying with us! I haven't seen them since Christmas and the girls have just gotten too big too fast!
Well, the muffins are cooled so I'd better split a few and top them with butter for Man-Cub...