Easter came a little later this year, but as a good friend likes to remind me, God is seldom early but He is never late! I am not sure how true this is, but it does seem to describe pretty well my own perception of His action in our lives. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if He was early in everything that He does. In fact, isn’t He pretty much the first mover?
But children and liturgical musicians are especially conscious of the duration of Lent and especially the hours and minutes of Holy Week; children because they have a heightened and agonizing anticipation of the joy and magic of Easter morning, liturgical musicians because of the heightened and non-stop pressure of preparing music for every major liturgical event during Holy Week.
Nonetheless, at last Easter came!
After playing the organ for the Easter Vigil and the two Morning Masses, I can’t tell you how much I enjoy coming home for the midday Easter Brunch!
While I was still playing the organ, Stephanie was able to meet the exhausted patience of our littlest children with an Easter Morning table that was loaded with Easter treats.
Unfortunately I missed that, but when I returned home, my eyes were met with this far more appetizing sight (to my way of thinking)! Children imagine heaven as a place with candy, toys and treats, whereas adults like me think of heaven as an eternal banquet.
Granted that both views probably err (in their respective over emphases on the bodily nature of the reality) nonetheless, I still think my view of eternal bliss is more elevated than that of my five year old son, Francis.
And I am not adverse to having rabbits running around on my Easter banquet table.
Meanwhile, back in the kitchen things are happening. A scene of beauty!
Now this little bowl of goodness is a mixture of apricot suffused with some citrus and is ready to be inserted into the puff pastry.
Actually, this is the pastry that has been stuffed with a creamy cheesy filling.
This is the one with the apricot concoction.
Back in the kitchen, a couple of pans of eggs are being prepared for Eggs Blackstone!
The English muffins topped with tomato and bacon must be the Blackstone part of the dish.
My daughter Anna prepared her incomparable Hollandaise sauce
The finished product!
Fruit of some sort is an Easter Brunch staple. This year in addition to other ordinary fruit platter features, ours included papaya and figs!
Stephanie prepared smoothies for the kids and I prepared Mimosas for the adults.
As we have mentioned in years past, the one challenge of having an Easter Brunch is that one needs to somehow get everything cleared away and prepared for Easter dinner. Additionally, one needs to prepare one’s appetite for it. I did this by taking a three mile walk with Gracie, Frannie, and Peter. When we returned, I took a two hour nap and arrived back on the scene.
While I was napping, the chefs and kitchen help were tiding things over with some cheeses, fig spread, a little hard salami paired with a semi- dry Riesling.
Cecilia set the table, and I carefully extracted the cork from the 2016 bottle of Syrah from Owen Roe winery. My dear brother in law, Carl, had given me this bottle back in September which I had carefully preserved for the occasion.
The wine itself is aptly and magically called Ex Umbris. And on the back of the bottle there is this enigmatic Latin inscription:
Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem
My read on this is that the wine is nothing more than an emblem for man’s life on this earth as he passes through – a stranger and sojourner- to his eternal home!
Since the winemaker is an old friend from college, and since I have now finished this exquisite bottle, I feel compelled to rekindle our old friendship as soon as possible. To that end, I include the wine maker’s notes in full!
The color of deep eggplant, this beautiful bold Syrah will keep our Ex Umbris fans wanting more! If the nose filled with dark chocolate, hazelnut and caramel aromas isn’t enough, the robust plum, black cherry, licorice and hints of tobacco will surely please any palate.Pair with blackened, grilled ribeye, a juicy leg of lamb or your family slow-cooker stew.
This Syrah will age and is still quite youthful with gripping tannins and layers of dusty earth. We recommend decanting and enjoying with a hearty meal and holding onto a few bottles to open in a few years.
You can see the image of this bottle at the end of the table in front of my plate
Now for dinner, Stephanie prepared Boeuf en Croute which is a sort of the French version of Beef Wellington. Here you can see how she lovingly wrapped the two large beef roasts in a beautiful special dough.
Meanwhile, she prepared Tuscan Roasted Potatoes and Lemon! I’ve never had this dish before, and as you can see, the dish includes a fairly generous amount of lemon.
After baking to a light golden brown, this dish absorbs the lemon, and it was as much as I could to keep from eating the supple tender lemon peels themselves.
As the all important third component to the meal, the part without which one might wonder if the rule of two and three had been properly observed, the chef prepared Roasted Asparagus with Garlic, Rosemary, and Goat Cheese!
Meanwhile, the flaky crust of the Boeuf en Croute had turned golden brown and we took it out of the oven to sit and re-absorb all of its juices.
Lucy and Gracie prepared armies of these buttery Croissant rolls.
Perfect! But I do need to resharpen my carving knife.
Here again is that unassuming bottle of Ex Umbris.
And, if this was not already enough …. there is yet an entire Boeuf en Croute left over!