Easter was wonderful this year, especially because of my brother's menu. He is a great talent in the kitchen, and excels when he challenges himself with new recipes, while inventing his own delicious creations. He studied and lived in Chicago and San Francisco in the 90s and came home anxious to make us all something new he tried. I ate cactus for the first (and not the last) time, thanks to him.
I say this menu rivals the finest restaurants serving Easter brunch:
Orange and ginger glazed ham
Fall-off-the-bone short ribs
Sausage and mascarpone stuffed mushrooms
I regret not having photos for his homemade macaroni and cheese with goat cheese and rosemary, or Julia Child's Green Beans with Tarragon Cream. Those were the only two dishes our cousin asked take back to college. He also served an olive and pepper tray and homemade herbed crostini.
If that wasn't enough for 13 folks to dive into a collective food coma, mom then served her family-famous cheesecakes.
A traditional cheesecake with fresh raspberries and a raspberry glaze, and
a chocolate cheesecake with a cookie crust, chocolate ganache and shavings.
It's a wonder we still had room for all of this tastiness after an afternoon of our favorite appetizers. Cousins brought a cheese board, a veggie tray and deviled eggs. I made a version of Buffalo Chicken Dip (post to come soon). And, my Aunt made a family demanded tradition - her french onion chip dip. She swears that she follows a basic recipe on a French onion soup package, yet none of us have been able to copy it. If any Clevelanders remember how good Lawson's chip did was, it's better. My husband is crazy for it. He double checks with me each time we get ready for a family holiday if "The Dip" will be there. Especially since he has joined the family, it has always been there, and always will be. In fact, my Aunt now makes a double batch.
Thank goodness the weather was nice enough for some of us to walk around the block a few times. We needed it.
It was delicious and decadent, indeed.