May the freshness of spring remind you of new hope, new life, and new beginnings. This Easter felt extra special because it was the first one in 3 years where we were surrounded by family and friends back in our own country. We enjoyed a feast full of fresh spring produce, ham that came from a happy (and local) TLC Ranch pig, a few ping-pong games, and of course an egg hunt or two! I’ll be posting some recipes in a few separate posts, but in this one I’ll paint the general picture and share the first of two springy salads.
Farro Salad with Marinated Baby Artichokes:
Farro is my new favorite grain. I’m glad that I recently became aware of its existence. It takes longer to cook than other grains, but its sweet, nutty flavor and slightly chewy texture in the end is worth the wait, especially in this simple salad with baby artichokes, bell pepper, rosemary and lemon. When my mom and I went shopping for Easter dinner ingredients, we were immediately attracted to some cute little artichokes. When we got home, we boiled them, pulled off the leaves until the tender ones were exposed, trimmed the stems, cut them in half lengthwise and threw them into a bowl, where they mingled with the juice of a lemon, chopped fresh garlic, olive oil and parsley overnight … resulting in the perfect DIY marinated artichokes!
We toasted the farro in some olive oil in the bottom of a heavy pot until it was fragrant and nicely coated with oil, about 3 minutes. Then we added water to the pot, brought it to a boil, and cooked the farro until tender (according to package directions, about 20 minutes). After draining the farro, it cooled on a cookie sheet for a little while. Meanwhile, we cut bell peppers into strips, chopped some green onions, and some fresh rosemary. When the farro was cool enough to touch, we poured it into a large bowl, added the marinated baby artichokes from the day before, the bell pepper, green onion, rosemary, more lemon juice to taste, and seasoned with salt.
Colorful flower pots containing spring seeds, chocolate, and other springy surprises awaited each “kid” (though most of us have grown up):
Easter is that special day on which you can keep a bowl of pastel-colored candy on the counter and eat it all day.
My brother unveiled the 3rd batch of his beer – this time an Irish Porter. We enjoyed its refreshing, complex flavor while devouring a cheese plate. Then we piled as much of this menu as we could onto our plates and ate outdoors on the deck, taking in one of the first warm days of spring:
*recipe coming soon … these are the things that I helped make this year.
Thyme Honey Glazed Ham
Grilled Asparagus with my brother’s homemade Green Garlic Aioli
Farro Salad with Baby Artichokes
Couscous with Peas, Lemon, Mint & Pea Shoots*
Roasted Beet Salad with Pine Nuts & Goat Cheese
Mixed Greens with Edible Flowers
And of course something sweet:
Pashka (a traditional Russian Easter dessert)*
Chef Panisse Almond Cake
Rhubarb Tarts with Orange Glaze*
Faith takes a moment to rest. It takes a lot of energy to beg for Easter ham.