Sunday, April 16, 2017

Yellow Squash Roses & Ice Cube Misadventures: Easter 2017

It stormed here both while I was cooking and while we were eating dinner, so all the more reason to enjoy a colorful and sunny Easter table today.  I forgot to make the mashed cauliflower, my Daffodils from the grocery store barely opened before dying, the Dandelions wilted, the edible-flower-filled ice cubes melted almost instantly and became a loose-flower mess inside our water glasses, and in the last-minute rush to finish, I forgot both to season the quinoa and to add the leftover edible flowers to the salads, but--!--the meal came together, everything tasted good--even the quinoa once I'd seasoned it after our first couple bites--and the table was pretty enough to make me happy even if not quite as flower-filled as I'd intended. 
I was originally going to make tomato roses as garnish but then saw online on various sites that stripes of squash work too, and since the yellow of squash seemed more springy than the red of tomatoes, I went with the squash.  One yellow squash made four of these roses.  I just sliced the squash into thin strips of various lengths, microwaved the strips for about a minute to soften them enough to make them pliable, then patted them dry and rolled them up into the wells of a muffin pan, the shortest strip in the center of each soon-to-be-rose, and the other strips around it until the well was filled with the rolled-up strips.  I wanted to be sure to keep a nice golden color on each squash-rose so mixed some turmeric into a beaten egg and drizzled that mixture over each one too.  For the last few minutes of maybe a thirty-minute-total bake-time, I sprinkled some cheddar shreds between the squash strip-petalsThey kept their shape even after being transferred to the plates, which delighted me.  (It's the little things.  :)   )  I shaped spinach patties into leaves, although I see now that raw spinach leaves likely would have given me more of the look I was envisioning for these.  I have to think this would work with carrot-strips and any other vegetable or fruit that would soften enough to be rolled.  For a first attempt, I'm quite pleased. 
I also made the balsamic carrots that I first posted here last year, ultimately-seasoned quinoa, a mushroom stuffing dish that seems to grace all our holiday tables and deserves its own post one of these days, although it's not remotely photogenic, green beans sauteed in garlic and olive oil, side salads, and our usual Easter dessert of robin's-egg-blue-colored peanut M&M candy "eggs" inside peanut butter/marshmallow/pretzel "nests." I dye my hard-boiled eggs inside too but left one uncolored to slice for our salads and added the blue and pink ones to our plates.  After years of eating my deviled eggs at Easter, Mike finally told me he prefers hard-boiled ones, and I don't have a preference, so I skipped the filling this time around and just left them plain.  Since I color the egg-white part regardless, they add a pop of color either way. 
I found the two red potatoes closest to being egg-shaped and fried slices of them to add to our salads, along with yellow, orange, and red grape tomatoes.  
The edible flowers that were supposed to dot the tops of the salads were forgotten and remain in the fridge to be used elsewhere this weekAlas.  The last few minutes of holiday meal-preparations are always so chaotic, even with all the planning and list-making. 
The edible-flower-filled ice cubes looked gorgeous in the trays but melted almost as soon as water hit them.  'Not impressive.  Maybe if the water had been ice water kept in the fridge, the cubes would have lasted a bit longer, but I doubt they'd have lasted long enough even then to make me want to try this again.  With mint leaves or lemon bits frozen into the cubes intended for iced tea, sure.  With flowers specifically chosen to complement the flavor of the drink they'll be going into, yes.  Flower-filled ice cubes for bowls just to chill bottled drinks, of courseBut not like this again.  
I added oats to the recipe--such as it is--to the nests this year to make them more like healthy no-bakes than candy.  Two microwaved marshmallows, a few broken pretzels sticks, about two tablespoons of peanut butter, and maybe a fourth-cup of rolled oats were enough to make these three nests come together.  The bags of pastel-colored/Easter peanut-filled M&Ms always include a few gorgeous aqua ones that already look like little  eggs, so they're my go-to for this dessert
'A sweet end to a sweet weekend, and a colorful Easter after a rather dreary and depression-filled start to this year.  Here's to flowers and faith and life's many other lovely blessings.  


La Table De Nana said...

You outdid yourself:)♥

racheld said...

Oh, My Dearie!! What a BRIGHT, cheery, LUSCIOUS lunch! The very epitome of an Easter repast! And your sweet spirit just shines through the cooking and the arranging and all the preparations---floppy flowers or no.

It's simply scrumptious, picture and word, and I'm so pleased and honored to be invited to peek into this splendid soiree.

Ours was a bright, sunny afternoon upstairs in the breeze-blown sheers and the sun and the pastels and all the noise of four of the GRANDS and their parents and all of us so glad to see each other. What an afternoon!

So glad to see you having such a bright, lively time and such a wonderful Easter.


Lisa said...

Happy Easter, Val. You certainly worked hard on this! The flower-in-the-ice-cube thing is disappointing for sure - they always look so nice in the magazines! Who knew?
I'm glad it tasted good - most important - and of course, your table is always charming.

Val said...

Thank you, Monique, Rachel, and Lisa. :) It was a much-needed pretty day, yes. 'Glad you had a good day, Rachel. ♥