Thursday, April 2, 2009

April Showers Mean the Holidays

By Millicent K. Brody

I’m starting to stress. April showers bring Passover and Easter and millions of dishes, glasses, plates, and silverware. But in spite of all the pots, pans, and hours spent on preparation, I believe holidays are always special. I continually look forward to friends and family gathering to celebrate any occasion.

And like every year, I stress over the one significant question: Should I order out...or do it all myself? And as always, my mother comes to me from the underworld with her usual smirk, and says, “You don’t have to have anyone do for you what you can do for yourself.”

Of course, after doing the holidays, and that includes Christmas, (I love Christmas), I basically have the menus etched inside my brain, but this year I really want to do something a bit different.

Along with brisket, which I prepare with lots of carrots, mushrooms, onions, and potatoes, I decided to ask my cousin Carole for her most delicious vegetable casserole. Next, I begged Rob Russo, who, with his family, owns Girasole in Bound Brook, to share his recipe for herb roasted lamb. What’s for dessert? I’m heading to Swiss Pastry Shoppe in Scotch Plains for an array of their fabulous chocolate covered macaroons. I’ll do a fruit platter, and mix it all up with what else? Ice cream!

Herb Roasted Lamb Tenderloin
Girasole, 502 W. Union Ave. Bound Brook: 732-469-1080
4 lb. New Zealand rack of lamb, trimmed and deboned
2T. Olive Oil
6 Rosemary sprigs
8 Large Thyme Sprigs
8 Large Sage sprigs
1/2 C. finely chopped shallots
2T. finely chopped garlic
3 T. Dijon mustard

1/3 C. dry Vermouth
2 t. Dijon mustard
1 1/3 C. reduced chicken broth
1/2 t. unsalted butter
1 1/2 T/ all purpose flour

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Dry loin of lamb. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Place in flameproof roasting pan and place over burner to brown.

Transfer to larger roasting pan. Add shallots, garlic and 1 T. Oil. Smear over meat. Lay herb sprigs on top of meat. Roast 1 hour

Carole Chopin’s Vegetable Casserole
5 T. butter or light olive oil
1 C. chopped onions
1/2 C. chopped celery
1 1/2 C. grated carrots
2 boxes frozen, chopped, defrosted and drained broccoli
3/4 C. matzoh meal
3 eggs
1/2 C. chopped mushrooms
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté vegetables at least 10 minutes or until soft

Add beaten eggs, matzoh meal, and seasoning

Spray 9x9 square pan. Add vegetable mixture. (Add any left over vegetables lurking in the refrig).

Bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Tips for Holiday Food Shopping:
Shop Smart--Read the flyers; Check prices, even at the Big Box stores. For those who are simply crazed and need a helping hand, see Steve Geller, general manager at Livingston Bagel, and order a 5-course Passover Dinner, ($21.95 per person). At Culinary Creations in Hillsborough, buffet packages run from $15.95 per person to $24.95 for a full buffet. All start with garden salad, roasted leg of lamb or turkey, corresponding vegetables, and dessert. Ask for Tim Mason: 908.281.3894.

Burrini’s Old World Market, Sussex Turnpike, Randolph: 973.895.6100.

Livingston Bagel, 37 East. Northfield Rd., Livingston: 973.994.1915

Wegmans: Bridgewater, Cherry Hill, Manalapan, Mt. Laurel, Ocean, Princeton, Woodbridge

Your local Shop Rite, Kings, and Stop & Shop offer savings for Passover and Easter

Swiss Pastry Shoppe, 1711 E. 2nd St., Scotch Plains; 908.322.4751


Anonymous said...

Happy Passover Millie & Monroe

Debby B from Westfield

CrystalBallRealEstate said...

I always enjoy Bradys' columns - does she have a blog of her own?