The other day a friend and I celebrated her birthday by feasting on crème brulee and chocolate mousse at a famous restaurant. As we neared the last bite of our sweets, my friend informed me she had decided to fast for forty days.
I was appalled. Forty days with no food? That’s going to be difficult, grueling, maybe even impossible. No nutrition for more than a month? That’s dangerous: doom, gloom, sackcloth and ashes, starving, suffering—yikes!
I know, I know, holy men have fasted and achieved astounding results. But right now Dale and I would like to celebrate food and marvel with you at what a blessing it is.
Easter will be here before you know it, so we’re launching our blog with:
Scintillating Ideas for Easter Dinner
When you see fresh strawberries, leg of lamb and asparagus at affordable prices in the grocery store, you know spring has arrived. But here in Colorado Springs the weather is somewhat confused.
Nevertheless, I planned my Easter Sunday dinner with all fresh signs of spring. I even had red and yellow tulips on the table! Would you believe? It snowed that day. Oh well, the food was great anyway. [Dale]
In many parts of the world lamb is a traditional dish for Easter Sunday. You might want to serve lamb to remind yourself that Christ died for the sake of the whole world
Try this original recipe to spruce up your Roast Lamb:
|1 tablespoon Minced Shallots||1 rib of cooked Celery|
|Meat Juices||1 cooked Carrot|
|1 cup Red Wine||½ cooked Onion|
|1 Bay Leaf||4 cloves Garlic|
|1 cup Water||3 teaspoons Bouillon granules|
|¼ teaspoon Dried Thyme|
Expanding our understanding
Since Sauce Bordelaise was invented way back who knows when by who knows whom, there is more than one “right” way to do it. The basic elements are: 1. wine, 2. meat stock, 3. herbs, spices or vegetables for seasoning.
4. Then you need a thickening agent. That leaves a great deal of room for invention and creativity. Let’s explore each of the elements so you can create your own signature sauce but not be locked into always doing it the same way.
Consider the wine. Generally you use a red wine with red meat and white wine with white meat. What kind of red or white wine? What do you have on hand? What do you like to drink (if you do)? A good red Bordeaux would be excellent. RuthAnn keeps a bottle of burgundy in her cupboard. So she sometimes uses that.
Think about the stock. Homemade stock would be ideal, but few of us have the time or the scraps and meat bones to make a good stock. So we usually buy it. You can use canned broth, base which comes in a paste form, or bouillon granules or cubes.
Chicken stock for white meat and beef stock for red is a good beginning.
Remove as much fat from the roasting pan or sauté pan as you wish, then deglaze the pan with wine. Add the stock. Pour the liquid into a skillet, a sauce pan or the roasting pan you use for the meat. Add the seasonings (see below). Then turn the heat to maximum and boil until the sauce is reduced by one half.
The seasoning could be garlic, bay leaf, thyme, lemon, tomato paste, salt, pepper or shallots. I like to place a mirepoix (celery, carrot and onion) in my roasting pan to give the sauce a rich flavor. If you choose to use garlic or shallots in your mirepoix, you could cook them the same way. After roasting, mash the vegetables, but don’t puree.
Because this is a classic sauce, you use the classic thickener—flour. There are two ways to do this. The most often used is a roux. A roux is flour cooked in an equal amount of fat. In French or Italian cooking, butter is the fat of choice. Other styles of cooking use oils. If you’re making the bordelaise for red meat, brown the roux. If it is for white meat, cook the roux for only one or two minutes and stop while it is still blond.
Another classic means of thickening a small amount of sauce with flour is Beurre Manie (kneaded butter). With your hands, mix one stick of butter (softened but not melted) and 1/3 cup of flour together. When you finish, it should be the consistency of play dough. While the sauce is boiling, pinch a bit of the beurre manie off and whisk it into the liquid. Let it cook for a minute. Keep adding the beurre manie, one pinch at a time, until the sauce is as thick as you want it to be. A bordelaise is not a heavy sauce or a gravy. You only want it to be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. Strain it right before using. This sauce works well not only with lamb, but beef, pork or duck.
Place the remainder of beurre manie in a jar and save it in your refrigerator for the next time you need to thicken a sauce.
Tip: The salad on our home page will make a perfect first course for this Easter entree.
The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ at the beginning of the 1st century brought the kind of joy that requires a multitude of bells, a carillon ringing through the countryside, heralding hope. It was a hope so real that most of Jesus’ apostles sacrificed their lives for it.
The Son of God became a man. He taught, healed, was rejected, murdered and finally, raised from the dead for one purpose: to bring us into the Trinity’s joyous circle of love. In his excellent book The Reason for God, Tim Keller says, “The inner life of the Triune God. . .is characterized by mutual self-giving. Each of the divine persons centers on the others. None demands the others revolve around Him. . .Each. . .loves, adores, defers and rejoices in the others. That creates a dynamic pulsating dance of joy and love.”
And that’s the kind of joy God has for us. Aren’t you glad? [RuthAnn]