As mentioned previously, I am flying solo this Easter. I'm really enjoying it, actually. I thought I'd be morose the whole time, thinking about the fun and frivolity at Oma's house, full of Peanuts One through Five, and Mama and Papa Nut, too. (There is always a giggle or two to be had whenever Mama Nut - my sister, you know - and I are in the same room together)
To be honest, when they send me text messages rife with pictures of the latest gustatory treat, in this case, blue cheese and pear paninis, I think to myself, "Gosh, that sure does look yummy" as I swirl my spoon in the bowl of cereal that was this morning's breakfast. But I'm enjoying myself immensely, including the meal preparation. But more on that anon.
I peeled myself out of bed at a decidedly cranky hour this morning, and toodled off down the highway to attend the early Easter morning Mass. The presider was the elderly but oh so sweet Father F., whose homilies I always enjoy because of his old school enthusiasm. "My dear friends in Christ" he calls us. He's so full of love of God that I am abashed when I take Communion from his hands. My big treat for leaving a warm house before the birds were conscious is the drive home through the country side. Have I mentioned to you before just how much I love living here? Lake Town is in the same region as Sohoe (Slice of Heaven on Earth) and it truly is a place that demonstrates the artistic and aesthetic ability of Him who created it. It delights my eyes and gladdens my spirit. Naturally I arrive home feeling at peace with my fellow man. Even the man who nearly took off my bumper on that last turn before heading down the hill. Yes, even him.
A pleasant interval was spent arranging tulips and pussy willows - inexpertly, I grant you, but it's a touch of home, for mom would always do the same thing: buy fresh flowers and tuck them out of sight, to be brought out for Easter Sunday. Tulips are my favourite flower, and seeing them in their pretty glass vase reminds me that spring really and truly is not far off.
The event that loomed largest in my mind was the main meal. Now, dear reader, you may have gleaned from various stories through the years that I'm not gifted in the kitchen. I want to change that, though, and become at least competent. So, to challenge myself, I purchased a chicken. A whole, entire, uncooked, bird. Thankfully it came already plucked and gutted, otherwise the story would end there.
I realize it's really not a big deal to roast a bird. People do it all the time with no great mishaps. I've seen it done at least once a year all my life, so how is it that I've never done it myself? I'm wily that way, that's how. I investigated a few recipes to get a sense of what was expected of me, and nearly gave it up when I realized I don't own skewers to keep its neck closed, or kitchen twine to bind its legs. Nor do I have a meat thermometer, so was salmonella inevitable?
To ease the pressure from the rest of the meal, I planned to accompany the fowl with vegetables I've prepared dozens of times: roasted potatoes, and steamed carrots and green beans. Nothing could be simpler!
Turns out the bird was the most successful bit. I seasoned it, slathered it in mayonnaise mixed with a little dijon, stuffed most of a lemon up its fundament (please do excuse the imagery) and bunged it in the oven, left it alone for nearly an hour and a half, and it was done to a turn. The steamed veggies were nearly raw, however, and the potatoes were practically carbonized. Another first was a really good gravy made from the pan drippings, a lemon wedge,and a splash of sherry.
Turns out a really good gravy goes with everything. Even a white t-shirt.
The carcass is now simmering on the stove, in theory turning itself into a broth. What I think I'm going to do with a big pot of broth, I've no idea, but the Easter chicken is going to give until its got nothing left to give.