Preparing the Easter Feast

“Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast.” 1 Cor. 5:7,8.

A lot goes into the Easter dinner at my house. Yianni is making a video of the day, but until that’s done, I thought I would share with you some of my shortcuts. I create the Easter dinner pretty much on my own and I’m not ashamed to say I use as many shortcuts as possible. Even with several shortcuts, my Easter dinner still requires a lot of planning, shopping and a big part of the day in the kitchen.

Easter Dinner Menu
Greek salad with olives, feta cheese, beets and garbanzos
Orzo salad – a delicious contribution from our friend Henry
Green beans with mushrooms – a buttery and decadent casserole from my Daughter-in-law Erin
“Spanakopita” spinach pie
Roasted potatoes and carrots
Rice pilaf and tzatziki sauce
Roast Leg of Lamb
Served with Red and White wine
Baklava and”Koulourakia” butter cookies
Served with Coffee

Leg of Lamb Yianni called ahead and ordered the leg of lamb from Wolverine Packing Company in Detroit’s Eastern Market. On Easter morning I prepared the lamb by inserting garlic cloves just under the surface layer of fat and covering it with a wet pesto rub. Then I let the lamb sit at room temperature for several hours before it went into the oven.  The pesto is store bought. I use Costco’s Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto. I bake the 8 pound leg of lamb “low and slow” at 325° for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. It turns out moist and delicious. With the lamb I serve rice pilaf and tzatziki sauce.

Tsoureki – Egg bread and Red eggsThe traditional egg bread for Greek Easter is tsoureki. I went to the Hellenic Bakery in Livonia to pick up a couple of loaves last Tuesday morning and they had sold out for the day. I was so disappointed because the bakery is quite a distance from my home. I was successful, however, in finding the Greek red dye for the eggs. Here are my photos of that process.

So the trip wasn’t a total loss, I picked up some Baklava too. Later, I was happy to find Egg bread at my local grocery store from Stahl’s bakery. If you want to see how tsoureki is baked authentically, check out this post from my blogger friend Peter Minakis.

On my way back from the Hellenic Bakery I stopped off at the Mediterranean Market & Bakery in Farmington Hills [they don’t have a website]. It was my first visit to this store and I was pleasantly surprised at their array of Middle Eastern foods. I purchased some delicious cookies there that are extremely similar to the Koulourakia (butter cookies) I make every year at Christmas.

“Spanakopita” Spinach Pie

Everyone in my family loves spinach pie. I buy mine from “Cuisine Adventures” at the frozen foods section in Costco. They’re great. 48 pieces in a box, 20 minutes in the oven and very delicious.

So, those are some of my shortcuts. If you live near me you can visit the stores I mentioned and try some of these ethnic delights. Keep an eye out for the next video that will give a sense of our day of cooking and family festivities. Hope you all had a Happy Easter. Christos Anesti!

“Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death and granting life to those in the tombs” the Greek Orthodox Easter hymn, “Christos Anesti”.