Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter, However one Celebrates

We are going to be with family for Easter dinner tomorrow. Every family has its own special Easter foods. My background being Slovak and Serbian had us enjoying ham, kielbasa or other smoked sausage, sirets, beets with horseradish and Pascha bread. My parents and grandparents are long gone now, and my husband's family celebrate with some other foods to accompany their Easter ham. Here is my recipe for Beets with Horseradish:

Beets with Horseradish

Beets with Horseradish

This combination has been a favored condiment to go with Easter ham (or for me, any time we have ham). It was traditional from my Serbian grandmother, and has remained so with me. I have seen it possibly called Hren, Ren, Chrin and many other things, I do not recall ever hearing it called anything but Beets with Horseradish in our household. This was served as a condiment in my family, to be eaten next to the ham, Sirets, and kielbasa with the Pascha bread. Alternatively, we put it on the ham in a sandwich, which is my favorite usage.

Amount is flexible, make as much as desired

1 (1-lb) can or jar beets, well drained
1 small jar horseradish, start with 1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon sugar

Using a rotary grater (mouli) or hand grater with small holes, shred the beets into a bowl. Add in horseradish, to taste. Use one teaspoon, one tablespoon, or however much to make is as hot as you will enjoy. Add in the sugar, to taste. Pack into jars for use over Easter with the ham.

NOTES: If the beets are pickled, meaning they already have sugar added, the added sugar is not necessary in this recipe.

Silk Dyed Eggs
However it is celebrated, one never forgets their roots, and it is always good to have some of those comforting things amid all the rest. I made my beets with horseradish. Just cannot live without that when it comes to ham. I made my Pascha loaf to take to my sister-in-law. I don't bother making lots of Easter eggs. I do not have any small children around to have Easter egg hunts. I did, however, make some silk dyed eggs after watching The Chew on TV the other day. They turned out really lovely, and they can be decorations at any time of the year.
Pascha Bread

As my contribution to the Easter dinner tomorrow I was asked to make Hot Cross Buns. Though I have been making bread for over 40 years now, Hot Cross Buns are one iteration I had not made before. I used the recipe from my husband's grandmother. It is very similar to the recipe for my mom and grandma's Pascha bread, but I decided to follow the Hot Cross Buns recipe as it was written. They look wonderful, so I imagine they will taste great, too.

Hot Cross Buns
Since neither my husband nor I need extra sweets around the house, I have long since stopped buying Easter candies. However, for the sake of recipes to go in my website or blog, I have been wanting to make Brigadeiros, a Brazilian Truffle, for a long while. I made them yesterday, and they are as good as I recalled, though it has been a long time since I made my recipe last, 



These Brazilian truffles are about as quick as is possible for a caramel type candy. Traditionally rolled in chocolate sprinkles, they may be rolled into any coating desired. I used chopped pecans for some here. These are my token Easter candies this year.

Makes about 15 - 20 truffles

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoon butter
sprinkles or other for coating

Mix ion a medium saucepan the milk, cocoa and butter. Bring to a boil, stirring vigorously so it does not stick to the pan. Continue stirring constantly for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until the mixture starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and clumps around the spoon.

Allow to cool slightly and scoop out balls about 1 inch in diameter. With buttered hands, roll the mixture into a neat ball and roll into the coating of your choice.

The other thing I made to take to Easter dinner is a lemon meringue pie. Last year I was asked to bring a lemon meringue pie and a coconut cream pie. Both were hideous messes. Both the fillings turned out hopelessly runny. I tried to make an Italian Meringue and failed at that. I tried making a stabilized whipped cream and ruined that. Alas. No matter how good a baker I am, and I pride myself on my baking, those two types of pies are not ones I have ever really made. I recall living in Guatemala, once making a lemon meringue pie. I used an old fashioned egg beater to whip the meringue. I like lemon meringue pie, though I am not wild about meringue, itself. I cannot recall how it turned out, overall. I love coconut cream pie, but as luck has it, my husband does not like coconut, so I have not made one of those. In the course of this last year, I found Rose Levy Berenbaum's Lemon Curd recipe. It comes out beautifully firm, so I used that as the filling for this year's pie. I also found references to making a meringue with cooked cornstarch to stabilize it. The pie looks good. Tomorrow I will find out how these things came out!

For now, I am sharing photos of some of the things I made, and hope all of you have wonderful foods to share this Easter 2013.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.