My Mom is an incredible cook. This is not a matter of opinion, it is fact. She is also the ultimate host, the host by which all other hosts judge themselves, myself included. She has never been the “potato chip in a plastic bowl” kind of host. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it’s just not her style. If there are chips out at a party or holiday or event, my Mom made them, from scratch. She’s cray cray. She’s also amazing. My mom hosts every holiday for my family, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. She cooks, sometimes for weeks before, mostly traditional recipes that we all love and have come to rely on. Crave. Once in awhile she will toss in a new recipe to spice things up, but without fail when she does this my baby sister will complain.
So when my older sister Erika called me a week ago and suggested that we take over Easter dinner I was left speechless. Does Mom know? I asked. Yes, my sister said, Mom knows, she said maybe it is time for her to pass the baton to us for at least one holiday.
Before I continue, please let it be known that my Mom still cooked for 30 people on the Saturday before Easter and when I got home on Good Friday she had already made 8 loaves of her traditional homemade paska (Easter Bread), clam chowder, coconut cake, and a huge batch of pickled eggs – my favorite.
So it was Mom approved, and we were on. The kids were going to cook Easter dinner. “An ode to the spring vegetable”, my sister said, and proceeded to rattle off no less than 10 dishes that she thought we could make.
I should also mention, my sister is a chef, my sister-in-law is also culinary trained, y’all know I know my way around a kitchen, my brother can cook, and Jordan packed his knife sharpening stone right next to my bottle of harissa paste. So yeah, we all can cook. (Baby sister wasn’t home this year, if she was she would have jumped in with all of us. Also baby sister is in her 30’s and still the baby.)
If I had 8 hours to write this post and you had 5 hours to read it I would share all of the recipes we made. Instead let me give you the menu and a few highlights:
Ready? Take a deep breath:
Course 1: Spring Pea Soup with Maple Bacon (Kids: peas with maple bacon)
Course 2: Grilled Sugar Salmon with Sunchoke Puree, Asparagus and Grilled Lemon with a cucumber herb yogurt sauce and crunchy carrot tops (Kids: simple grilled salmon with asparagus)
Course 3: Homemade Gnocchi with Spring Greens, and Pernod Herbed Cream Sauce (Kids: homemade gnocchi with brown butter sauce)
Course 4: Za’atar Roasted Baby Lamb Chops with Purple Potatoes and Dukkah, Spicy Kohl Rabi Slaw, and Harissa Roasted Carrot and Scallion with a Walnut Carrot Top Pesto (Kids: lamb chops with simple carrots and potatoes)
And this is what Mom was like all day:
I think it’s safe to say she enjoyed taking a day off.
We were such a team. I was proud of us. Seriously you guys, I was super proud of us 🙂
Erika handled all of the complicated sauces, spice rubs, homemade gnocchi and basically anything overly fussy that a virgo will excel at (and I would mess up), she had Jordan (her Virgo counterpart) shadow her the entire time and my brother turned out to be a master gnocchi maker!
My sister in law is incredible on the grill, and was in charge of the salmon, grilled asparagus, she charred some gorgeous lemons, and expertly grilled carrot tops – which we all agreed should become a constant staple…soooooooo good!!! She also can clean a kitchen so fast your head will spin.
I handled all the veggies. Shocking, I know. This is where I really shine. I don’t want a recipe to follow I just want to be able to play with seasonal ingredients and make something yummy. I made the sunchoke puree, carrot top pesto, roasted potatoes, kohl rabi slaw, and the recipe that this whole post is about – yes it’s about only one recipe 😉 Harissa roasted carrots and scallions. But first a few more pictures 😉
Penelope – well she just hung out and waited for some scraps (side note: Penelope has her own instagram page. I couldn’t help it, It’s called “What About Me Guys” https://www.instagram.com/whataboutmeguys/)
I really loved how the carrots and scallions turned out. Gorgeous, a little bit wild looking, and super yummy, so I think you should make them too.
Harissa is a middle eastern spice that can be purchased as a paste in either a tube or a small can. It’s quite spicy and superbly delicious.
For this recipe you just whisk harissa with some olive oil and a little touch of honey to help balance out the heat.
Keep part of the green top of the carrot on, and roast them whole. My carrots weren’t full size they were medium. Depending on what size you roast you may need to increase the cook time, or if you can only find larger carrots go ahead and chop them smaller,
I found these gorgeous carrots at the Greenmarket in Union Square.
I think it’s safe to say we have begun a new tradition in the Pappa household: the Easter tasting menu, and knowing my sister we will never be allowed to repeat a dish. Thank goodness I have a whole year to think up new spring veggie sides 🙂
- 1 teaspoon of harissa paste
- I used the kind in the tube
- ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- 1 pound of beautiful spring carrots
- 1 bunch of scallion
- Preheat oven to 425
- In a small bowl whisk together the harissa paste, olive oil, and honey. Set aside.
- Prepare the carrots by removing the green tops (I reserve these and use for pesto), leaving only ¼ inch of green left. Wash well***
- Prepare the scallions by washing well and removing about 2 inches of the dark green top.
- Arrange carrots and scallions on a large sheet tray, drizzle with harissa mixture. Toss well to combine.
- Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until tender, stirring several times during cooking.
- Remove from oven and serve.
Never Miss a Post
get new recipes right to your inbox!