In case anyone is concerned, fear not! I have not stopped eating breakfast on Sundays. Or Saturdays. Or ever. Ha! Excuse me while I laugh.
No, what I’ve been doing is recovering from Easter Sunday’s breakfast. In preparation for the holiday, Orthodox Christians worldwide fasted 55 days from any animal product – fish, meat, poultry, dairy. Yes, even cheese! With the arrival of Easter, out came the sticks of butter, slices of cheese, eggs and various forms of meats.
Let’s investigate the spread then, shall we? There was liver, which I’ve never been crazy about, but certain members of my family happily look forward to. Yes, that’s bone marrow. And guess who decided to bake some bread…
This is one of my favorite holiday breakfast dishes. Boil your eggs, sure – but this goes one step further. These bad boys have been fried in butter, and not just your run of the mill butter. These have spent quality time rolling in clarified butter. Hot out of the pot, smushed on some toast with cheese or cold the next morning – I love them.
But I sure don’t love peeling them all.
It’s cheese. Hello there, lovaboys. I will smush you into the nooks and crannies of my toast. And then I will eat you. And repeat.
There is no Egyptian holiday that can be deemed complete without mounds of kahk. These cookies are created with heaps of, you guessed it, butter and covered in powdered sugar. You can’t exactly sneak one of these before dinner. The history of kahk runs back to Pharaonic times, as do most aspects of Egyptian culture. The other flower-shaped cookies are petit fours and while often filled with jam, sometimes Nutella crashes the party. Or ducle de leche. It’s an equal opportunity cookie.
Why stop at breakfast? My thoughts exactly.
And we’re jumping in! Right up front is one of my favorite dishes in the world – cheese pie. Thin layers of phyllo dough brushed with melted butter (did I really need to say it?), a spread of mixed cheeses and then more layers of phyllo dough before it’s sent to the oven with well wishes. My grandmother used to make these in triangular form and I have the fondest childhood memories of peeling back the layers of phyllo. Now that I know how much work goes into making them, I realize just how much she loved me when she let me do this over and over and over again.
Turkey, roasted vegetables, sauteed mushrooms (yum) and pan grilled asparagus. Oh look, there’s a very seasonally decorated gravy pitcher.
You’d be hard pressed to find an Egyptian who doesn’t wax poetic about warak enab, more commonly known as stuffed grape leaves. They are a matter of pride and a labor of love. And they are delicious and devoured as easily as potato chips.
Macaroni Bechamel is one of the ultimate forms of Egyptian comfort food. Layers of penne, ground meat (we use turkey to make it family friendly), bechamel and other herbs and goodies.
On holidays, we like to make sure there’s enough food to feed a small army and oftentimes, we are feeding that many…plus a four-year old on a serious sugar high.
Shake out that hollow leg and make some room, because dessert is still to come!
This magical assembly of fruits is so much more than what it seems to be. This is a pavlova, and while it may have been named for the Russian ballerina, it’s made by my Aussie aunt and induces a Pavlovian response. We silence guests who are starting to say, I don’t think I could eat another bite. We tread carefully through the kitchen. Pavlovas start as a meringue, crisp on the outside and light marshmallow filling. Paula will slap me for saying that because the process begins hours before. Moving along. Once the meringue is prepared, the entire thing is coated from head to toe in whipped heavy cream.Who does the whipping? This girl. (Hey now) Next comes the grand laying of sliced fruit and a liberal drizzle of passionfruit juice. Sure, there are steps in between, but I can’t go about giving away all of my auntie’s secrets.
You’ve seen the photos. Can you blame me for needing a long recovery period?