This weekend was another quick trip back to the Bay Area to celebrate Easter with my family. Brian was awesome and put up with the “Fitzgerald Brothers” all weekend! Let’s just say when all three sisters are together there is a lot of cackling and bad singing. We love to give each other a hard time. Brian got roped into the teasing, as well. Nobody is safe in our house. Another thing we like to do in our family is eat. Every holiday is punctuated with a gorgeous meal… sometimes several meals.
My mom is an amazing cook. Her dad was an amazing cook. I think growing up in the hills of Tennessee, Grandpa was exposed to tricks of the trade you just cannot learn in any culinary school. Sure, it is becoming trendy to cook in this “homey” way with more farm-to-table and “rustic” style restaurants popping up in big cities, but I am telling you now, it is not the same. My mom will be the first to admit, there are certain dishes he used to make that she just can’t recreate. Partly because he never used a recipe, and partly because the cast iron pans he used infused years of flavors you just cannot duplicate. SIDE NOTE: Do not wash your cast iron pans with soap, People! I am so thankful he imparted a lot of his culinary wisdom on my mom. She taught me how to love cooking and the kitchen... and more importantly the delights of eating something new.
When I was contemplating what I wanted to do with culinary school, I decided that I didn’t need to learn all of the fancy techniques of the cooking side of the kitchen because of all of the tricks I had picked up from my mom after years of watching and assisting her in the kitchen. So instead I just went for Baking and Patisserie, the end of the kitchen where you do have to be more technical and by-the-book. My mom didn’t necessarily like nor dislike baking. She just preferred the savory over the sweet, so a lot of my baking leading up to school was self-taught (and wrong). My goal is always to utilize the techniques I learned in school to meld the familiar and comforting desserts of both sides of my family with flavors that are modern and exciting. I just want to do right by the Greenes and the Fitzpatricks!
So, enough with the rambling, where’s the recipe?! Well, there is no recipe this week, but I did want to share our Easter dinner with you. Mom and I joined forces to produce a delicious menu:
…Garlic and Rosemary Paste Lamb Shoulder > a healthy handful of garlic cloves, salt, fresh rosemary, and pepper ground into a paste, then rubbed all over a bone in lamb shoulder (we cooked ours in a convection oven)
…Lemon Butter Sauced Heirloom Potatoes > boiled whole baby potatoes dressed with melted butter, a generous squeeze of lemon, some salt, pepper, and chives
…Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Heirloom Carrots > chopped veg sprinkled with olive oil and seasonings, then roasted in a 400°F oven for 30-40 minutes
…And for dessert there were Apple and Cherry Pies with Vanilla Gelato > a post for another day...
Happy Eating Indeed!!