By both circumstance and design, I did a lot of cooking over the Easter weekend. Circumstantial, because Paris, like the majority of Roman Catholic Europe, is largely shut during Easter. And design, because besides having the girl from Penang over for breakfast, we baked scones to bring to church and were invited to a last-minute pot luck dinner.
Baking has always been a challenge for me, because I am not a recipe-follower by nature. In fact, imprecision is my forte. Still, I had committed to bring a snack to church for Easter service and scrounged around for an easy recipe that hopefully used as little ingredients and number of utensils as possible. I ended up making scones using Orangette’s basic recipe because she has a knack for describing her dishes with such light-hearted eloquence, substituting the fillings with whatever I had on hand, apricot & rosemary for the trial batch, and frozen berries for the final product. Simple and quick, this was a recipe even I could follow, though now I know not to over-knead the air out of the dough next time.
We were invited to Sunday dinner at chez Ds, a fellow expat couple from our young married couple group at church. Together with another couple, the six of us enjoyed an evening of cozy fellowship discussing, among other topics, things/foods from home that we missed and things we’ve come to notice and appreciate about Paris. To accompany the pork chops the Ds had prepared, I made a roasted vegetable and orzo salad based off a recipe by Ina Garten, the impeccable hostess with an oh-so-fabulous house in the Hamptons. Flavorful, healthy, simple and without the fuss of having to mix it a la minute like a regular green salad, I would recommend this recipe as a side or even, given the presence of starch, as a main course.
This morning, the girl from Penang visited, to say goodbye before she left Paris for warmer climates. The lady has played fairy godmother since we’ve arrived, helping with the apartment search, introducing us to her contacts, and gifting us with all sorts of goodies, the most useful being the shopping cart all Parisian households seem to own. Today, she played Santa Claus once more with a huge chocolate bell from La Maison du Chocolat. Thank you W, we will relish the glossy dark chocolate on your behalf!
We originally planned to have the girl from Penang over for lunch, but since she decided to make it for breakfast instead, we kept our Easter lamb for a carnivorous dinner. Tweaking yet another simple but effective recipe of Ina Garten’s, we sat down to a perfectly rare rack of lamb encrusted with a herb and mustard sauce. P & I started with forks and knives, but soon abandoned them to gnaw ungracefully on the bones. Some greens and a crusty baguette from the neighborhood boulangerie completed the meal, washed down with a bottle of juicy Saumur from the Loire Valley. A perfect ending to the long weekend.