Easter came way too soon this year, didn’t it? Up here, colleges didn’t schedule Spring Break to coincide with the holiday. I wish they did, because all the college kids just got settled back to campus and are (hopefully) refocusing on studies…and now there is a holiday weekend.
I don’t know if this odd scheduling is what left us rather unprepared and un-ready for an Easter weekend or if it was the bout of winter weather we had in the last week that teased us with Spring-like beauty but held out and sent one more dose of wintry mix our way last week.
But speaking of college spring break, we had a lovely spring like week. Even though only one college kid was home with us, they each had a nice relaxing break from their hectic college schedules. Because the holiday fell so soon this year, I have no Easter ham or Easter lamb roast this year, which is our traditional menu for the holiday.
What I did have last week, is a college boy who has been taking a semester of cooking lessons! To say that I am rather jealous of his lessons is accurate. He has a white chef uniform and everything. The kids in the course are put through the professional regiment of the first stages of being in a formal restaurant kitchen so they can understand all aspects of the hospitality industry. I get a steady, if very brief, dose of texts on what they are learning “in the kitchens or BOH…back of the house” that week. I do fancy that I may have a fellow foodie here that may foray more and more into the kitchen in the future.
What is so amusing to me is how much he enjoys talking about his classes. There are other topics he loves to discuss, like online gaming that regrettably make my eyes glaze over, but this topic…I am all ears! The class started with proper knife skills in cutting and then moved on to learning and mastering the various sauces. They’ve whipped up omelets and chilled custards and are assembling grander dishes at this point in the semester.
Over Spring Break week while he was home, I was delighted with his burgeoning culinary skills in our New Hampshire kitchen! He decided to make a large dish of Beef Stroganoff for us during the week. This was truly a first. Our child (er, young adult)… planning, listing, shopping, and then preparing a beautiful delicious dish for us…his parents!
Oh…and it was indeed so delicious. Beef Stroganoff has one of those sumptuous sauces,studded with mushrooms, sour cream, spices and ground beef. It smelled divine as he ladled the rich sauce over soft buttery egg noodles. We opened a bottle of bold red. I brought home a planting of sweet purple heather for the kitchen table and we tucked into his first homemade dinner.
So I don’t have my usual Easter spread this year but we were treated to such a special dish that I hardly lifted a finger to prepare.
On the drive back to college at the end of Spring Break week, we decided to play around in the lovely seaport town of Portsmouth, NH for a day. We lunched at The British Beer Company on Steak & Ale pies and sipped on cool glasses Angry Orchard Hard Apple Cider.
We strolled up Market St. and stopped in The Salt Cellar to pick up some vanilla bean as well as merlot wine infused salts. I’m going to have fun trying these out on a couple of dishes I would like to make. The feeling of spring was definitely in the air. Crocuses are just popping up their sweet little faces to the sky. People were wearing lighter jackets than usual and dogs were happily trotting along on the sidewalks enjoying getting an outing in the lovely weather.
I love the four seasons. As one moves from one season to the next, the reshaping of the earth is such a wonder to witness. Nothing is taken for granted it seems and each slight change in our surroundings is celebrated and adored as a spectacle of nature.
Down the north side of State St. in a quiet section of this bustling part of the city and only a few blocks from Prescott Park is a rather British looking red brick building with a green door outfitted in brass letters. It is the petite chocolatier shop called Bryne & Carlson.
With only the finest ingredients, Ellen & Christopher combine their confectionary skills to make small batch chocolates using elegant accents like crystallized flowers and candied violets gently pressed into their artisan chocolate bars. We had fun pointing to this chocolate here and that one there to fill up a little box of selections. We came home before Easter weekend with our parcel of wrapped sweets. In between pruning the apple orchard and cleaning out the fireplaces from their use over the winter months, we took breaks to enjoy rich bites of our carefully selected chocolates.
In fact, we enjoy strolling around Portsmouth so much, and since Easter seemed to creep up and surprise us this year, we decided to spend our Easter Sunday in this quaint pretty town again. We’re booked in at the urban chic oyster bar, Row 34, and plan on whiling away the day with a leisurely lunch with college kid #2 then continuing our discovery of the many tucked away shops up and down the Seaport District of Portsmouth.
Wherever you are, I’d love to know how you are spending your Easter holiday? Seafood, like oysters, will be a novel Easter treat for us this year, but I’m looking forward to dining out on a holiday and dressing up for a posh restaurant. What does your traditional Easter table look like?
Mentions in this post:
- 1 pound ground beef
- 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (2½ cups)
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- ¼ cup butter
- 1½ cups beef broth (from 32-ounce carton)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups sour cream
- 3 cups hot cooked egg noodles
- Cook mushrooms, onions and garlic in butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender; remove from skillet.
- Cook beef in same skillet until brown. Stir in 1 cup of the broth, the salt and Worcestershire sauce. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.
- Stir remaining ½ cup broth into flour; stir into beef mixture. Add onion mixture; heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in sour cream; heat until hot (do not boil). Serve over noodles.