Monday, April 12, 2010

Woe is me

This will be my last "woe is me" entry regarding Easter. Did I even tell you what the menu was going to be? So remiss with my readers. Forgive me.

My guests were charged with bringing beverages and hors d'oeuvres. I was then going to make pork tenderloin with green peppercorn sauce, roasted broccoli and fennel, Swiss chard cakes, mushroom cakes, and pea panzanella. For dessert, a lemon tart. My good friend EB agreed to have Sam and me, plus their good friends, the Wienses, over at her house instead... so I didn't spend Easter crying. EB came over after church to get the pork, and Sam and I went over to their house after his nap. I did end up making the mushroom cakes and two sauces, although they didn't end up as good as they did the first time, I don't think.

Sam and I were greeted at the Walkers with a cocktail and a lovely meat and cheese platter. Then the Wienses showed up with lumpia, which I really need to get a recipe for because Sam loves it. Crazy. A solid mass of meat he likes? Don't question it, just make it, I know.

But I told you that I would show you what I did with all my ingredients instead of making a feast, and I don't intend to disappoint. EB sent me home with leftover pork, so here we shall continue. You already saw that I made the chard/kale cakes and the tart. Next.

I used the leftover pork (and rice) to make fried rice. I have tried to make fried rice before, and it's been okay ... but this was the best one yet. It's the egg that's so tricky. Also, the sauce. I never know what to add. Sherry? Broth? Soy sauce? Some combo? I added just soy sauce, to dispense with the mystery. With the egg, I kept the wok over high heat, made a space in the center of my rice mixture, poured the egg into added peanut oil, and kept the egg moving with chopsticks. I need some long wooden ones, though. I kept looking at the end of my plastic ones expecting to see warped and melted tips. Best homemade fried rice ever. Nice.
I mentioned that I made the mushroom cakes and sauces, but I had leftovers because I was going to make a double batch for my feast. Since we would only be five adults at EB's, I decided not to bother with so many. That meant leftover everything for those. I sauteed mushrooms and put them over my eggs with some roasted red pepper sauce. Delicious! That roasted sauce is awesome, by the way. You should make it.
Oh, I also made the roasted broccoli to have with plain leftover pork and peppercorn sauce.
But the panzanella was going to be the show-stopper. This is, as my compatriot Lisa put it, a recipe within a recipe. Those are a turnoff, for sure, but this is just so good. It's a Michael Chiarello recipe that I got off after I saw him make it on TV. It's pretty quick too. The parts are: the bread cubes, the pea puree, the salad. It's long, so I won't write it out here, but if you really want it, just let me know. For my readers, I will type.

So that's the menu. We are out of leftovers. I poured the leftover chunky whipping cream down the drain the other day. I finished all the salad greens for lunch today. I substituted shallot for onion in something I made yesterday, so I only have one of those left. Josh and I managed to eat avocado (for the mushrooms sauce) on everything this week. Oh, and I just used the bottle of New Zealand white I bought for a sauce. I think that means I put everything I bought for the dinner party to use. Goody gumdrops.

I turn 35 tomorrow, Tuesday. I'm feeling a bit blue, for some reason. But I've made ice cream.


  1. Chiarello sure knows his panzanella! Everything looks quite yummy! Your food colors are coming out so vibrant in your photos, what is your secret?

  2. I use a basic camera, but I think the shots come out so well lit because there is a "best shot" function that you can choose. Among said best shots is a "food" setting. I choose that every time. It certainly helps to make the food look good because I really can't be bothered with garnish and setup when I'm just trying to squeeze a shot in before I eat.

    I think I might get a Chiarello book. I'm checking them out from the library to see which one would be best.