Sunday, April 4, 2010

Scalloped potatoes I (p. 296), Roasted asparagus (p. 250), Brown sugar glaze (p. 583), Parmesan vinaigrette (p. 574)

Easter is actually a little depressing when you live far away from your friends and family but I decided to cook a big Easter dinner even though it was just the two of us. I thought that Scalloped potatoes I (p. 296) would be a perfect side dish. I was optimistic because I loved the other scalloped potato recipe.

I parboiled some thinly sliced potatoes and drained them:

Then I layered the potatoes--1/3 of the potatoes (in a buttered dish) topped with some flour, butter, bacon, and cheese (the cheese wasn't called for but I thought would make the potatoes even better).

There were three layers of potatoes. I then heated some cream in a saucepan and added some salt, paprika, and dry mustard and poured the concoction over the top:

Popped the whole thing into the oven:

Cook it until you think it's done and then cook it five more minutes. Raw potatoes are not very delicious. The potatoes are good but they weren't nearly as good as Scalloped potatoes II--plus the other recipe is more simple because you don't have to parboil anything. These potatoes are RICH. Between all the butter and cream it is not fooling around. When you reheat the leftovers, there is about a inch of butter at the bottom of the dish which is a little distressing to even me. That being said, the potatoes are good and I would happily eat them again if someone else made them (I'll make the other recipe in the future).

I thought that Roasted asparagus (p. 250) would be a perfect vegetable for an Easter meal! Asparagus is such a delicious vegetable and is so briefly in season that I like to eat it as often as possible in the Spring.

I broke the stem ends off of the asparagus, spread it in a single layer, and drizzled olive oil over the top. That being said, I think my idea of drizzling (probably more of a pour) and TJOCs might not be the same.

I popped it in the oven for about 8 minutes and done!

It looked almost exactly the same! I thought the roasted asparagus was good but I like it steamed move (I have terrible taste and actually like my veggies a little mushy). The olive oil and salt really brought out the flavor and it was really simple.

What is more Easter-y than a ham? Nothing! And I decided to make one of TJOC's glazes for it--I thought the Brown sugar glaze (p. 583) looked tasty and simple (a plus when you are making a big meal).

I mixed brown sugar and some dry mustard:

And then slowly added some orange juice until it was spreadable:

And over the ham it went:

This glaze was amazing! It was simple and tasty. I was afraid it would burn because of the high sugar content but I poured it on for the last thirty minutes and it was fine. And the drippings became a great sauce. I like brown sugar glazes and this one was just as simple as using the one that came with the ham (but better).

I thought, for once, that maybe a salad would be a nice addition to the meal. My family is big on salads but I tend not to make them. I have recently came to the conclusion that you should never buy salad dressing--it's so fast to make and sooooo much better. My rule of thumb is that to make something homemade it should either be significantly better or cheaper than store-bought. Dressing always is better homemade. I thought that Parmesan vinaigrette (p. 574) looked delicious.

It was a simple recipe--I whisked balsamic vinegar, Parmesan, peppercorn, a shallot, and a garlic clove together:

Then I slowly added some olive oil in a steady stream:

And done! This vinaigrette was absolutely amazing--it was sooo good. It's strong and heavily spiced--between the vinegar, the shallot, the garlic, and the peppercorn there is a lot going on and it's strong but perfectly balanced. I can't recommend this vinaigrette enough and it was so simple. I need to remember to make salads more often--I like them and it makes me feel healthy (although my salads are more a vessel to get dressing to my mouth than a healthy option).

It seemed like a stupidly large amount of food for two people but that's what happens when you live 600 miles from all of your friends and family. I emailed my aunt about graduation the next day and told her what I made for Easter--and she had made almost the exact same meal! So it must have been a pretty traditional Easter meal.

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