Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Eats

I miss ham. No, that's not a typo for "him" - I really DO miss "ham." It was always a staple at my house for Easter, but my husband's not much of a fan, so we improvised this holiday, thankfully staying within the pork family.  My husband, who's becoming quite the pit master, helped create an achiote/citrus pork butt that marinated overnight in achiote, orange juice, lime juice, cumin, etc. and was slow smoked until it started to shred. Tender, salty, tangy goodness served with a side of similarly-flavored sauce (spiked with a tiny bit of spiced rum).

Continuing the Latin theme, I made rice and pigeon peas  .  It was my first time making sofrito, and I just can't get over what a difference it made for the dish.  The sofrito lent a brightness and slight acidity to the rice beyond what just canned tomatoes would have.  As an aside, I'm really quite terrible at making rice.  As much as I love to cook, making good rice has always been a skill that escaped me.  I rely on my rice steamer to do the job for me instead of risking what is always either a crunchy or mushy result.  Using this recipe (which I actually halved for us) and my sister's suggestions (no stirring after adding liquid, boil with the lid off until the water is level with the rice, cover tightly and cook on low for 20 minutes, then shut off the heat for another 10 minutes before fluffing), I actually made stove top rice that was worthy of first AND second helpings!  As you'll see from the recipe, the rice also has green olives in it (thankfully I had enough for the dish since my oldest son ate half a jar of them), which just added another dimension to the rice too. 

We had to make deviled eggs, of course, and had options for both the olive and pickle camps in my household.  (BTW, the look on my oldest son's face was priceless when I explained to him that the eggs we had so painstakingly decorated the night before would find a final resting place in our tummies.) 

Last, but not least, came the cupcakes.  You'll notice the ones with coconut are suspiciously missing, but I'll deny consuming more than one of them.  While I wanted a more glamorous cake for our feast, giving my oldest the option, he'll choose cupcakes every time, so I at least "gilded" these gems with a cream cheese frosting enriched with some melted white chocolate.  They were lovingly frosted by my husband, then brilliantly decorated by the boy who now thinks Easter is his favorite holiday :-)


Robin said...

Mmm... cupcakes!!!! Sigh. I'm all about the sugar these days. This is not helping my already seriously expanded waistline. :P

I'm still on the search for the "perfect" cupcake recipe. Any recommendations?

HungryHappyHealthy said...

You didn't tell me about the gandules! I hope you love it as much as we do. FYI,since the recipe calls for such a ginormous amount of rice, I always make it and freeze it in batches. It reheats beautifully and also makes an excellent addition to quick burritos if you have some extra meat hanging around. Oh, and where is the shout out to me for passing it on? LOL