Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Easter, Round Two

So Mister's mother, two sisters and a soon-to-be brother-in-law (I think we won't be related but he's a nice guy so I'll claim him!) were at our apartment Sunday for Easter. Mister's mother is Greek Orthodox (sometimes Russian, depending upon the community she finds), so she celebrated a week later than Rome this year.

In preparation for this visit, as Mister's older sister and fiance had never seen our apartment, Mister and I cleaned like fury. Saturday, I washed tons of dishes and cleaned the kitchen top to bottom, all while prepping bread and intending to make rice pie (we put the oven on self-clean instead, and that takes 3.5 hours. Nothing else was getting baked THAT night!). While doing this, Mister was running loads of laundry and putting away the massive piles of laundry that were on our floor. Did you know that you can WALK in our bedroom now? Shocking! Our energy fizzled out, and that was all that we tackled Saturday.

Sunday, we cleaned the rest of the house. I beat carpets outside, dusted all of the baseboards and chair rails (they're white -- it's super obvious when they're dusty), cleaned the bathroom top to bottom, and cooked. Mister got the main task of removing all of the schlock from the main rooms and either finding homes, or consolidating them in the study.

I did not take pictures of the food, because a) there was no one unified time when all the food was out and b) I was so busy chatting I didn't think about it.

But the food score! Mister's mother brought: greek meatballs, candy, baklava, eggs (which stayed in the car?), and greek olives which we never got into.

We bought or made: sourdough bread (made), bagels and cream cheese (bought), crackers and cheese (bought and didn't eat), horseradish and beets (made), rice pie (made), roast lamb (made), kielbasa (bought). I think that's about it. There was lots of food, to say the least.

Thanks to my beloved Rimi, our roast lamb turned out delicious! This was the way we cooked it (in her words):
I'd say about five to eight cloves of garlic, depending how large your leg of lamb is, plus half your average supermarket bunch of oregano, plus the juice of one lemon/half an orange/one small tangerine, plus a little bit of the sun-dried (or lightly toasted) peel of said lemon/orange, grated -- but taste this before adding to make sure it isn't bitter -- and some salt, olive oil, and black pepper.

Personally, I like rubbing in a little pureed or plain chopped tomato myself, but you'll have to decide whether you like tomatoes in the mix. Someone once told me adding some de-seeded, diced olives to the roasting mix is also a great idea, but I've never tried this myself. The basic trick lies in the citrus juice, garlic, oregano, and oil, and in making enough incisions all over the lamb and really rubbing the spices in. If you manage to do that, you're set :-)

We roasted it surrounded by potatoes and a few shallots. We might have cooked it a little long, but it was delicious and tender. We also added a bit more lemon juice and olive oil and marinated it over night to really work that flavoring in. Mister said that the lemon peel really did the trick. Thanks!

All in all, everyone liked our house, our hospitality and our aptitude for cooking. I do so love hosting events.

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