It finally feels like Spring has sprung! Wooohoooo! And this is one busy spring week.
We kicked it off by celebrating Passover, and we’ll finish it up celebrating Easter. These are the joys of coming from a home with a Jewish mama and an Irish Catholic father. I always felt lucky growing up that I was immersed in twice the family, culture, food, and festivities as most folks were. I still consider myself fortunate that way.
This was the first time Adam and I created a Sedar dinner ourselves. We had planned to be with friends, since my family all lives far away. But that fell through, and I was longing for tradition. I wanted to remember the the story of the Jews being freed from slavery in Egypt and to reenact my childhood memories of being around the table with my big, boisterous family, following the children’s version of the Haggadah…hiding the afikomen, singing Dayenu, and dipping my finger into wine ten times for each of the ten plagues of Egypt. So, I did some research, and roasted a lambshank bone
to complete our Pesach Plate.
My non-practicing-Catholic-raised husband made some mean matzoh balls that my Bubbie would have been proud of,
and we floated them in some ridiculously scrumptious soup.
We slow cooked a brisket too. Because that’s what Bub would have served.
We had a fun time making Passover come to life on our own, chomping on lotsa Matzoh all the way through.
My quest to recall all of those fond memories truly came to fruition. And, as was always the case at my grandmother’s table, everything was delicious.
Now, I’ve got to start thinking about Easter! To get me in the spirit, I looked back at last year’s Easter photos .
I thought I’d share two simple recipes that are springy, fresh, colorful and yummy- just in case you are a last minute planner too. And if you’re ahead of the game for Easter, you can certainly make these dishes for another spring day.
Green Beans with Almonds and Caramelized onions:
1 1/2 lb fresh green beans, stem ends snapped off. Break them in half if you like.
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 T butter
1 T olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 Cup – 1 Cup slivered or sliced almonds, lightly toasted in a dry pan over medium low heat
zest of a lemon and juice of at least half- maybe the whole
2 sweet yellow peppers, sliced or diced (optional)
pinch of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper
First, melt your butter with olive oil in a medium sized pan over medium heat. Add your sliced onions and a pinch of salt and toss to coat. (You can add a pinch of sugar too if you like.) Turn the heat down to medium low and allow your onions to soften.
Stir them occasionally as they break down, being careful not to let them burn. If they begin to brown quickly, turn your heat down to low.
The goal is to let them become all melty-like and sweeeeeet.
While that’s happening, toast your nuts.
You can use any kinds of nuts you have on hand, really. Get some color on them, and then let them cool down.
Snap your beans and bring a pot of water to boil. Salt the water when it boils. Then, add your beans and cook for five minutes. Prepare a bowl filled with ice and water.
After your five minutes, drain the beans,
and place them in your ice bath.
Once cool, drain the green beans and set them aside.
When the onions, nuts, and beans are ready,
you can put those and all of the remaining ingredients into a bowl.
Drizzle lightly with olive oil, season to taste, and toss.
Adjust seasoning to your liking, adding extra lemon juice if it needs more zing, and put your beans in a pretty serving dish.
Voila! Sweet, savory, zesty, fresh and crunchy. Exactly what you want to balance out all of those creamy, starchy, cheesy Easter sides.
And here’s one more.
New School Peas and Carrots:
2 bunches carrots, the rainbow ones are really pretty in this dish.
2 Cups frozen sweet peas, thawed
fresh parsley, chopped- or use another fresh herb
Preheat your oven to 400°.
Peel your carrots and cut them into 2 – 3″ chunks, trying to make them uniform in size for even cooking.
Place the carrots on sheet pan. Drizzle liberally with olive oil and sprinkle on salt and pepper. Use your hands to toss the carrots in the seasoning and shake them back out into an even layer. Roast the carrots for about 10 minutes and then toss or turn the carrots with tongs. Roast another 4 – 5 minutes, and toss again. Go another 4 – 5 minutes and start testing for doneness. Pull the carrots off as they can be pierced with a fork or toothpick easily.
Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to boil and salt the water when it boils. Add your peas and let them cook just 1 minute. Transfer them to a bowl of ice water and then drain them in a colander.
Combine peas with roasted carrots and chopped parsley. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss gently, taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. You can certainly add a bit of lemon juice or a couple cloves of pressed garlic to the mix if you want a more intense flavor. But, the simple sweetness of the carrots and the peas work beautifully together.
That’s it, my friends. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’ve got to get ready for a photo shoot. Whaaat? Yes, I’m having a professional take some photos of me for my website. I need a stylist, STAT.
I am wishing you a very Happy Easter, Happy Passover, and a happy week in general. I hope you’ll celebrate with people you love and foods that bring back memories and fill your belly with goodness.
Happy cooking and eating to you,
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