Last year, we hosted my husband’s side for Easter Eve dinner. The celebration came to be because his parents had conflicting plans Easter night, when we usually gather for dinner, after a very filling brunch at my mom’s house. We’re both blessed and cursed to have both sides of our family live so close. Blessed to be able to see them whenever we please, but holidays often become a bit stressful. Rather than do what normal couples do and alternate each year, we attempt to do both. Splitting the Easter celebration between both Saturday and Sunday made it a dream. We had plenty of quality time with each side and didn’t feel rushed or overly stressed. So nice, that I proposed we do the same thing this year, what I hope becomes a family tradition.
What’s better than dessert? Individual desserts! No need to compromise or share plus less guilt from the miniaturized treat. I’ve always been a huge fan of cupcakes. You can bring a variety to a party and everyone can enjoy their favorite flavor. How could any other mini dessert not be as amazing?
My husband’s absolute favorite dessert is ricotta cheesecake. I make it as often as possible for larger events, but it’s not a very practical dessert for two people. Even eating a slice a day, not that we should, for a whole week, I’m still not sure we’d be able to consume the whole thing before it starts to spoil. Then, while browsing through the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, I discovered an amazing fact that would forever change our dessert plans. “A 6-inch cake pan holds nearly exactly half the volume of batter as a more standard 9-inch cake pan.”
Last weekend was my mom’s…29th Birthday. Somehow time has reversed and it’s gotten to the point where I’m actually a year older than her. I’m not an expert, but I’m fairly certain those numbers don’t quite add up, but we’ll let it slide. So my family came to Brooklyn for dinner. Food is always a good way to entice visits. The problem with a late April menu is, while it’s clearly been spring for a few weeks now, Spring fruits and veggies are still trying to catch on. The menu was a bit limited–mixed greens from greenhouse gardens, carrots from last year’s harvest, potatoes (there’s always potatoes) and lamb stuffed with bitter spring greens. On the positive side, I was able to bring some brightness to the menu thanks to my new foraging skills. Over the past few weeks I’ve gone a bit crazy with violets–jelly, syrup, candies–and I might have just one more recipe up my sleeve if I can find some more flowers this weekend. I figured what best to celebrate the awakening of spring than with some edible flowers?
Cooking for family is stressful. I don’t know if it’s because they put too much pressure on me, or I put too much pressure on myself, or if it’s just all in my head. But when it comes to cooking for family, there is undeniable failure. I forget everything, it’s as if I’ve never cooked before. Simple mistakes are made. I once made mashed potatoes that were more like a soup because I continued to add milk. I once made a cake with gummy lumpy icing (tasted good, looked awful) because I couldn’t take the time to make it right. There are meals and dishes I make when it’s just my husband and I that are amazing. I cook without concern, adding a sprinkle of this and that, never being able to replicate it again. I was testing a chicken tikka masala dish the other day that I choked up to a complete failure. I diligently took notes and photographed the steps until it was supposed to be finished, tasted and nearly cried. I kept adding things, cream, spice, tomato paste, completely forgetting to measure to record. The result was the most authentic tasting tikka masala any Polish girl could have pulled off. Without pressure I can do magic, but I have yet to do justice to a dish if family is around.