Sunday, April 08, 2007
Ah, Easter at my parents'. One of the only feasts that could possibly follow a Peking duck pilgrimage with any real success.
The troops fell in -- Margy and me, my three sisters plus entourage, and my folks -- and Mom kicked things off, and nearly ruined my appetite for anything else, with her beloved meat pie. Its literal name is pizza piena, or stuffed pizza, but the glories of dialect and Italian-American bastardization have basically rendered it "pizza keen" (or "pizza gain"; pick your fave). Eggs, cheeses, meats and sausages, and brown, flaky crust: It's pretty much the perfect food. I swore I'd only have two slices. I had four.
Mom ran the show, as is everyone's preference (including Mom's). She made the gorgeous ham, the roasted potatoes, the artichokes, the broccolini. But the rest of us pitched in. Sister #2, who brought along a vegetarian friend (he's a great guy so we forgive him), made quinoa and black bean cakes with chipotle mayo, which I nominate as an Easter staple from now on. I made Indian tamarind sauce to go with the ham, at my mom's request. The sauce was a little spicy for certain more timid tastes, but at least I could count on my brother-in-law to slurp it up, hot peppers being his drug of choice. Kudos to my mother -- she was right that the sweet-tangy-spicy condiment would work well with ham. And sister #1 joined the dessert fray with a great-looking chocolate cream pie that sat beside my mom's Italian cheesecake.
Wait a second. I'm counting here and coming up short. Sister #3, didn't you bring anything to the Easter table? No, leftover Peking duck doesn't count! And neither does a hearty appetite! You're a baker for heaven's sake! Next year you're making me a chocolate lamb.