Cooking and baking – for Easter and everyday

In my last food post – Cooking with vegetables – something new, something different – I mentioned that there a couple of new pasta dishes that I wanted to try.

I have made Pasta With Parsnips and Bacon twice now. It is delicious, although not particularly healthy (lots of saturated fat). Bacon, cream, grated cheese – what’s not to like?

The first time I didn’t have any leeks, so I used a mix of sweet onion and scallions instead. The second time I had leeks, but also added some carrots to the roast parsnips.

The leeks are great in this dish, but be sure to wash them thoroughly, as they often have sand or dirt between the layers of leaves. The carrots were okay, but I wouldn’t add them again. I also added about 1/4 cup of dry white wine to the sauce, which I think is a good addition; you just have to make sure that the sauce bubbles a bit before proceeding with the recipe to “cook” the wine, and to reduce the sauce. Don’t skip the fresh parsley. It adds flavor and color, and it keeps in the frig for a while, so you can add it to other dishes. If you are interested, here is the recipe:

Pasta With Parsnips and Bacon (courtesy of the New York Times)

3 medium parsnips (3/4 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
Kosher salt and black pepper, as needed
½ pound dried campanelle or farfalle pasta
¼ pound bacon, diced
1 medium leek, thinly sliced
¾ cup heavy cream
⅔ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss parsnips with oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast, tossing occasionally, until parsnips are golden and tender, about 25 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package
instructions until 1 minute before it’s al dente. Drain.

3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes;
use a slotted spoon to transfer bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Discard all
but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan.

4. Return skillet to heat and add leeks. Cook in remaining bacon fat until softened, about 5
minutes. Stir in heavy cream and cooked bacon. Simmer mixture until slightly
thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.

5. Stir in pasta, parsnips and cheese. Simmer until heated through and cheese is melted,
then remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper; toss with parsley. Serve drizzled
with olive oil, with plenty of black pepper on top.

Menagerie mentioned this morning that she has to get on with her Easter baking. Perhaps she will share her recipes, if not the actual baked goods!

I made Chewy Italian Rolls from King Arthur Flour earlier this week. It’s an easy recipe, but requires a sponge (or biga) that percolates for a long period (up to 20 hours) to develop flavor and feed the yeast before proceeding with the recipe.

Just mix up the sponge in the evening, and make the bread the next day. The rolls are really miniature ciabatta loaves. Great for sandwiches, or just toasted, with butter. They freeze well too.

I made a pot roast yesterday. Here is how I do it, usually. I used a 3# boneless chuck eye roast, but any beef suitable for braising will do. Brown the roast well in a dutch oven, and salt and pepper on both sides. Spread horseradish on the top of the roast, then add a mixture of dry red wine and water (or stock if you prefer) to the pot so that the liquid reaches at least 1/2 way up the side of the roast. Add bay leaves and thyme, and a quartered onion to the pot. Cover and cook in a 325 oven for 2-3 hours. Check periodically for doneness, and to be sure that the liquid has not evaporated. You can cook veggies with the roast during the last 45 minutes or so, if you like (potatoes, carrots, onions). I like this with mushrooms!

I also made red flannel hash yesterday with the last of the corned beef. It was pretty good, but not as good as I expected it to be, so I don’t know that I would do it again.

What’s on the menu at your house this week? What do you plan to make for Easter?



This entry was posted in baking, cooking, Recipes, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to Cooking and baking – for Easter and everyday

  1. stella says:

    Here’s the sponge (biga) for my Italian rolls bubbling away after about 14 hours:

    Liked by 3 people

    • Menagerie says:

      Looks delicious.

      THis is first on my list to make, but as I said on the discussion thread, I’m thinking of using dried blueberries rather than cranberries. I have another few recipes to post. I’ll be back!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Jenny Hatch says:

      I have a bunch or bread recipes on my blog here:

      Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 2 people

    • czarina33 says:

      Love to make chibatta. Love to eat it!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Brenda says:

      Just discovered “The Last Refuge” and saw your post with the pasta recipe, and had to comment on your apology: “It is delicious, although not particularly healthy (lots of saturated fat).”
      On the contrary, saturated fat is VERY healthy! It is essential for healthy brains in babies, children and adults.
      A BIG lie, started in 1950 by Ancel Keys, a shill for the vegetable oil lobby! From his “cherry-picked” stats, the American public has been fed (pardon the pun) nutritional lies that were implemented by George McGovern down to the wife of the former “leader” of our country.
      From the over consumption of “vegetable” oil, grains and sugar, we now have a nation
      of obese, sick citizens. Just what the elite ordered.
      I have a degree in nutrition (when our country still taught Home Economics in high schools and universities), and have watched as the food pyramid was turned upside-down and inside-out!
      The more REAL fats one consumes, the more the body will use that fat as energy. Eating
      excessive sugar/carbs turn to fat in the body and are stored, hence the over-weight and ill population.
      Real fats are butter, tallow & lard from pastured animals (not the processed chemically treated type) and olive oil. Canola is highly toxic, and soy oil and all soy that is not fermented is gender-bending. (Transgender rise in the population?)
      I snack on European-style butter in the afternoon and my husband and I eat a diet of 50-60% fat. I’m nearly 67, slim, healthy and have very few wrinkles (another benefit of fat).
      I could go on for a while, but everyone will get it; just eat real food that your grandparents/great grandparents ate and enjoy all the fat!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Menagerie says:

    This one is tasty and easy. I put some notes about it on the General Discussion thread if anyone is thinking of making it. It turns out so beautiful. My little grandson calls it sun bread.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Menagerie says:

    I found this video weeks ago, and although it does not have a recipe for challah bread, the techniques are fascinating. I’m going to get the ingredients and try a few loaves, as I am thinking of baking these loaves as Easter gifts for my family.

    My problem is in deciding on a recipe. Im also guessing that the very capable and experienced lady in the video makes this look a lot easier than it will be. Fun to try something new and special though.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Menagerie says:

    Of course this one has to be shared. I’ve never made them, actually. iIRC, they have raisins in them. My husband doesn’t like raisins in baked goods, so I’d have to substitute.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Menagerie says:

    I would love to have a tried and true recipe for roast lamb. I have tried several and not had great results. I have only cooked lamb a couple of times. The biggest problem for me was getting it done. We like our meat medium rare usually, but every recipe I used, the meat was virtually uncooked in the middle. I have a great convection oven, and I don’t understand the problem with the meat not getting done.

    Anyhow, I’d like to give it one more try.


    • stella says:

      This is the way I have done it (recipe from a friend who caters):

      Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

      Use whole New Zealand boned leg of lamb (Costco). Remove wrapping except for small ‘girdle’ around the center to hold it together.

      Make slits in meat. Insert 1/2 cloves of garlic and fresh rosemary. Rub with olive oil, salt with kosher salt and heavily pepper with fresh cracked pepper. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the leg. (The idea is to create a heavy crust on the roast) Place on rack over roasting pan.

      Roast at 425 degrees for the first 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 degrees. Baste every 30 minute with more fresh lemon juice (squeeze over). Cook to internal temperature of 140 degrees; roast will increase temp to 145 degrees while resting. Remove roast on rack to a platter (cover with foil).

      Remove fat from roasting pan. Deglaze pan with white wine, then put drippings into a sauce pan. Make gravy, adding chicken stock and more lemon juice to taste; thicken with slurry of cornstarch and water or stock.

      Be sure to use an instant read thermometer to check internal temperature of the roast. That’s the only way you can be sure it is done enough for you. 145 degrees is medium rare. 160 is medium. Remove from the oven when about 5 degrees less than what you want.

      Another thing – remove the meat from the refrigerator and allow it to warm a bit before cooking, and always allow the meat to rest 15 – 30 minutes after removing it from the oven. My beef roast at Christmas was much more uniform in color because I followed these two rules, particularly the resting time.

      Liked by 2 people

    • John Denney says:

      Another technique is to brown it, then put it into a covered pan and bake for 10 hours or so at the desired final internal temp, say 145 degrees.
      The reverse also works. Cook covered for hours at the desired final temp, let cool a bit, then quickly brown the outside.

      Liked by 1 person

    • DiU says:

      Hey…my family’s lamb recipe (originally a sheep farm girl from the Mallee in Vic, Aus 🙂 )

      Good size leg of lamb – Australian lamb is the best 🙂
      1/2 – 3/4 cup of blackberry jam
      Garlic leaves (if you don’t have the leaves, 2-3 garlic bulbs, cut in halves and placed under the lamb)
      2 – 4 sprigs rosemary

      Heat oven to 160C / 320F
      Place lamb in large pan and cover with the jam, lay the garlic leaves & sprigs of rosemary over the lamb & cook in oven for between 2 1/2 – 3 hours
      When you slice the lamb, try to include a little of “rind” with each slice

      Serve with roast veg and mushy peas & mint jelly

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Menagerie says:

    Sorry for hogging the thread. This one and I might be done! To my knowledge I have not a smidge of Polish blood in me, but I have a niece who moved to Poland, and lately I’ve tried a recipe or two. I know the Poles, very devout people who still live in closely tied communities, even in cities and towns, love to celebrate with special foods on Easter and Christmas.

    Here is a popular one.

    If we have a get together, I am going to make my aebleskivers, a Danish pancake. I’ve shared the recipe many times, and Sharon has talked about her family making them as a child. They require a special pan to make them in, and you can fill them with anything you choose.

    I love to do it because my family all gather around waiting for each batch, each juggling for their favorite version. It just pulls eveyone into the kitchen for a laughing and happy time. And they are fun to make and delicious as well.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Menagerie says:

    Reblogged this on The Last Refuge and commented:
    Check out some good recipes for your Easter treats and meal. We also would love to have yours. Stella has an excellent thread at her place. Come on over and share!

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Pingback: Cooking and baking – for Easter and everyday - Novus Vero

  9. stella says:

    Here is a recipe I have used many times for buffets, and it is really good! Best served at room temperature.

    Asparagus & Rice Salad
    (Robin Mathers, Detroit News)

    1 C. uncooked long-grain White Rice
    1 Lb. Asparagus trimmed and cut diagonally in 1″ pieces
    1/4 C. Pignoli (pine nuts)
    1/4 C. Mild-flavored Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
    3 Tb. Freshly squeezed Lime or Lemon juice
    1 Tsp. Grated Lime or Lemon zest
    1/2 Tsp. Salt
    Freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste
    1/2 C. Trimmed Green Onions sliced thin diagonally
    6 Thick curls Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (see note)

    Stir the rice into 2 cups boiling salted water. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand uncovered, until slightly cooled. Fluff with a fork.

    Meanwhile, place the asparagus in a vegetable steamer over simmering water. Steam, covered until crisp tender, about 3 minutes. Lift the steamer from the saucepan, then rinse the asparagus with cold water. Drain and cool.

    Toast the pine nuts in a small, heavy, dry skillet over low heat about 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until golden.

    Whisk together the oil, juice, zest, salt, and pepper until blended in a large bowl. Add the rice, asparagus and green onions and toss to blend. Spoon into a large platter or shallow bowl. Sprinkle with the toasted pignoli and curls of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

    Makes 4-6 servings.

    NOTE: To make the curls, use a vegetable peeler to shave a wedge of Parmigiano.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Cooking and baking – for Easter and everyday – American Divide

  11. “Discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan.” I think they mean to save All the remaining bacon fat to fry eggs in &/or fry up potatoes, onions, & garlic for a yummy treat…

    We usually have a ham for Easter. If I make it it usually goes into the crock pot with sliced pineapple toothpicked all over the meat with a mixture of the pineapple juice, honey, & mustard poured over it. It’s usually very tender & flavorful & the liquid is wonderful to dip each bite of ham into. My mom or sister-in-law usually do the ham in the oven & skip the pineapple…

    My mom often makes a huge pan of a cheesy potato mixture. Sometimes she just cuts potatoes into 1″ pieces & adds lots of butter, garlic, & seasoning salt (& occasionally Parmesan cheese). Other times there is a base of frozen cubed potatoes that have onion, sour cream, & various cheeses & spices added, I don’t know the exact recipes. Both dishes quickly disappear!

    I brought some store bought hot crossed buns last year & my dad ended up waxing eloquent about his childhood, for he hadn’t had hcb’s in many years. Love the nostalgic tales!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. ZurichMike says:

    Comment on pasta dish: not enough bacon. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. stella says:

    Fun cooking video, with Mary Berry. Nice recipe for lamb shanks, and interesting intervals with a Swedish chef who cooks on wood fires. He has some very surprising and interesting dishes – and a Swedish version of Ebelskivers at the very end!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. John Denney says:

    “The leeks are great in this dish, but be sure to wash them thoroughly, as they often have sand or dirt between the layers of leaves.”

    Cut off the roots, then split the leeks in half lengthwise and pull all the leaves apart, swish them in plenty of plain water in a big washpan, and run each leaf between your fingers as you remove it from the pan. You can feel any grit or slippery clay that didn’t rinse off. If so, give it a gentle rub underwater and you’re good to go.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. G-d&Country says:

    My mom took cake decorating classes, and made cakes for local people. It was artistic fun for her and me. We would make an egg shaped cake, and decorate it with a cross and lillies. I can’t find a picture of one similar on the web, but I did find these 2 pics:

    You can also buy egg shapped pans now, and just put the 2 pieces together with frosting.

    We would occaisionally blow out the insides of raw eggs (NEVER LAUGH WHEN DOING THIS!), wash, let dry, and paint them. Not like the ornate eggs, but more like springtime, and some with the crosses or lillies:

    I always think of nicely decorated cakes at holidays. Probably why I’ve posted so many.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. James says:

    “It is delicious, although not particularly healthy (lots of saturated fat). Bacon, cream, grated cheese – what’s not to like?”

    The saturated fats are fine. it’s the pasta (carbs!) that’s the most unhealthy thing in the dish.
    Looks good though!

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Kathy says:

    DEVILED EGGS — 2 very short videos

    The first video shows a different method for cooking eggs before “dressing” or “devilling”. I especially liked the idea of being able to present a greater number of finished D-eggs on a flat platter than what fits on a traditional egg plate (D-eggs disappear quickly at our parties). This video shows other ingredients for seasoning the cooked yolks, which can be ignored in favor of you own choices.

    This second video is entitled “SUPER CUTE EASTER CHICKS”. It suggests using capers for the eyes, but black olives might also work (maybe cut circles with the end of a skinny straw?). Shredded lettuce could also be substituted for the julienned cabbage.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. czarina33 says:

    Spring veggies include spinach. I have made this spinach pie for over 40 years. Got the recipe from a Greek grandmother. Czar puts hot sauce on it, of course.
    Warm 4 oz cream cheese & 4 oz grated cheddar cheese in the microwave (used to do it in a pan on the stove) heating for 30 seconds at a time & stirring after each 30 seconds. Don’t let it melt or it becomes a large gooey ball. Add 4 eggs & stir thoroughly. Add 10 oz chopped spinach (if using frozen, defrost & drain it) & 4 chopped green onions. Pour into a pie shell & bake for 30+ minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Good warm or cold. I make 2 at a time because one is gone immediately!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Kathy says:

    LAYERED LETTUCE SALAD — a make-ahead recipe

    1 head iceberg lettuce, break up into pieces
    1 cup celery, chopped fine, or sliced super thin
    4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
    1 pkg. (10-oz.) uncooked frozen peas
    1 green pepper, chopped fine
    8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
    1 medium onion, chopped fine
    1 cup grated carrots
    2 cups mayonnaise (Hellman’s brand works best)
    2 tbsp. sugar
    4-oz. grated mild cheddar cheese (white if you can find it)

    Layer ingredients in above order into a 9×13-inch pan or glass dish. Mix mayonnaise and sugar together, then spread on top as if frosting a cake. Sprinkle grated cheese evenly over the top. Set at least 5 hours in the refrigerator. Can be made the day before and — if undisturbed — will stay crisp for 3 days. Serves 10-12. This recipe is from a mid-1980s Church cookbook; my thanks to “Marie” wherever you are!

    Liked by 2 people

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