The Socially Distant Easter Menu

If that isn’t a depressing headline, I don’t know what is. Here in South Florida, we’re into what should be Week 4 of the stay-at-home order, although the state itself didn’t declare a full shutdown until last Friday. From the looks of traffic, I’m not sure if everyone is listening.

For those of us who are heeding the mandate, the unnamed days are feeling longer and restlessness has evolved to anxiety and often, anger. I myself can fully understand why we no longer cage animals. I’m even starting to question the idea of zoo “habitats” — maybe captivity should only apply to animals that can’t survive in the wild.

Pandemic

I was curious to know when was the last time that people couldn’t go to church on Easter Sunday. DYK the year? In 1918, during the Spanish Flu. Read more here. Although dubbed the Spanish Flu, the virus originated in New York.

Feeding Five Under 25 $ — A Fast, Family Meal

Let’s face it. The people who are telling us what to do with our “extra” time, may not be managing a family indoors or feeling a pandemic-related, psychological fatigue. So, today’s meal inspiration and pairing isn’t either labor intensive or expensive. However, it will look and taste great!

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Fennel Salad and Tomato Orzo paired with Pinot Noir

The bacon wrapped pork tenderloin recipe can be found on BonAppetit.com.

  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, make a paste from the finely chopped garlic cloves, rosemary, fennel, olive oil and salt and pepper.

Rub the mixture onto the pork tenderloin and wrap the pork with about 6 pieces of applewood smoked bacon to completely cover it.

Add the whole garlic cloves to the baking pan and drizzle with olive oil.

Refrigerate for a few hours.

Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking at 425º. Since I have a double oven and the top oven is not full size,  found that 425º was too high for the entire baking time. About halfway through, I reduce the oven to 375º.

Orzo with Tomatoes (adapted from NY Times Cooking)

  • 6 cups of water (and salt)
  • 1 c of orzo (feeds 5)
  • 4 plum tomatoes, cored and diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • olive oil
  • parsley and/or basil chopped (total 1 cup)
  • ¼ Parmesan cheese

Cook orzo based on package directions. Drain.

In the same pot (dried), gently sauté the tomatoes and garlic.

Stir in the orzo to coat evenly with oil and distribute the tomatoes.

Remove from heat and add parsley/basil and cheese. Cover and keep warm.

Note: this is a great prepare ahead side dish easily warmed in the microwave or on low heat stirring frequently.

Shaved Fennel Salad (from Simply Recipes)

  • 1 fennel bulb, shaved paper thin with a mandolin
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp of chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat-leafed parsley
  • 2 tbsp shaved Parmesan cheese

Gently toss together all of the ingredients.

Note: I prefer to top the salad with the shaved Parmesan rather than toss it in, especially if making it ahead of time.

The Wine: 2017 Comtes de Saint-Martin Bourgogne

I was looking for a French wine made of 100% Pinot Noir and turned to my favorite, local wine shop for advice: Wine by the Bay. Great value (under $25, yay), but an even greater wine that was a perfect pairing to the Socially Distant Easter Menu.  Think of this wine as that first breath of warm, spring air filled with a delicate song of new life.

A little bit of wine info because I can’t resist an opportunity to learn. Comtes de Saint-Martin is located in Beaune where you can enjoy Bourgogne (Burgundy) wines, hike, bike through the vineyards and enjoy fine dining.

It’s impossible to find anything about this winery or the wine. Should you wish to read more about Pinot Noir, native to Bourgogne, and its distinct characteristics visit this link.

I’m never too old for an Easter Egg Hunt, especially when searching for Cadbury Creme Eggs!

A Different Kind of Celebration

Whether or not you celebrate Easter or Passover, at least try to remember that it’s Spring. Although we shall mourn the loss of many, let’s turn to the beauty of bud break and birds chirping and remember that…

“Spring is when you feel like whistling, even with a shoe full of slush.”

– Doug Larson

Recommended Reading

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