Garden Diary

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lenten Fasting, Easter Feasting

It has been a long, thorough! Lent this year. Except for the solemnities of St. Joseph and Annunciation and Sundays, it's been no meat, eggs or cheese since Ash Wednesday.

I spent Holy Saturday splitting my time between church services and preparing for tomorrows dinner. An Altar Service at St. Athanasius in the morning, followed by preparing the chapel for tomorrow, was preceded and followed by preparing dishes for Easter dinner.

I went to the Easter Vigil at the chapel of the Sisters of Jesus Christ Crucified, near our home. I had a little extra time, since my friend told me the service would start at 5:00 p.m., and I got there at 4:15 p.m. to help set up and prepare to serve. But the time was 6:00 p.m., so I spent an extra hour in the chapel praying the rosary, singing Vespers and rehearsing the Exultet (which I didn't have to sing, as there was a cantor for that).

Tonight, after the Easter Vigil, Laurie and I dined on Indian food we prepared at home. Basmati rice, a chickpea-mushroom curry, potatoes and peas, and kashmiri kofta, a type of lamb meatball.

Kasmiri koftas
  • 2 lb. (900 g) ground lamb
  • A piece of fresh ginger, about 1 1/2 inches (4cm) long and 1 inch (2.5cm) thick, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/8 - 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 5 Tbsp. plain yoghurt
  • 7-8 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 2-inch (2.5cm) stick of cinnamon
  • 5-6 whole cardamom pods (take the seeds out of the husks)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5-6 whole cloves
  • 1 cup (225ml) warm water

Combine lamb with ground spices, salt and 3 Tbsp. yoghurt in a bowl. Mix well.
Wet your hands and form 24 long koftas - sausage shapes, about 2 1/2 - 3 inches long and about 1 inch thick.

Heat the oil in a large, preferably non-stick frying pan. When hot, put in the cinnamon stick, cardamon pods, bay leaves and whole cloves. Stir for a few seconds. Put in the koftas in a single layer and fry them on medium heat until they are lightly browned on all sides. Beat the remaining yoghurt into the 1 cup of warm water. Pour this over the koftas and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat and simmer for half an hour. To serve, lift the koftas out of the pan onto a serving plate, leaving the whole spices behind. From Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking.

Laurie and I have done a bit more preparation for tomorrow, including the antipasto plate below which I just finished assembling.

The cheeses are parmesan, cheddar, double gloucester, gorgonzola, and feta. There are two types of salami (one rolled in ground pepper), prosciutto, and cherry peppers stuffed with mozzarella wrapped with prosciutto. The vegetables are green olives, some stuffed with pimiento, others with sun dried tomatoes; kalamata olives; marinated mushrooms; and pepperocini.

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