Oh that blessed Easter Bunny. The rodent equivalent of Santa Claus, was the tale ever meant to be literal--a giant rabbit? Many figurative stories have found themselves literally transformed around times of holiday. It's the sugar and wine. History has shown us that one should not read under such conditions. Regardless, any bunny, whether a large rodent, a mother, neighbor, brother, or friend desiring to bestow upon me the gift of chocolate and painted eggs is welcome on my secular celebration of the Christian Easter holiday. Easter, like Christmas, is a celebration in honor of family and friends, for what else is there to honor. Easter brunch is in its third year tradition--static only is the mimosa, the menu changes on the tide. This annee for the dual-hosting of Sunday brunch chez Tartar (upon request to be elevated from simply "T"), I proffer coconut tapioca with a fruit rouge compote, and zucchinis stuffed with a honey mustard salad of egg, eggplant, and petite pois.
Saturday morning--Tartar and I rendez-vous chez Starbucks with myriad spring issues of culinary magazines such as Elle à Table, Saveurs, and Regal to plan the menu in our fictitious catering state of mind. I still drink Americanos. We discuss limits, that being the microwave size oven--rack of lamb is out. The guests will number 6~7, the food will be light (no fois gras), Tartar will provide the Parisian basics: cheeses, tapenades, crustiants as well as a small poulet roti. Me--no basics. The culinary buzz this season is wrapped around coconut and green. Elle featured an article on a coconut flavored tapioca pudding. Idea one set--tapioca and coconut. Make it work. Vert vert vert: spinach purees, spring peas, and lentils are partout. While perusing through Saveurs, my eyes caught sight of small round zucchinis stuffed with an herbed fromage frais. Idea two--stuffed round zucchinis. We'll make it work.
Stuffed Zucchinis. We must have an egg salad. Egg salad stuffed zucchinis. Why not--egg, egg, egg plant, touché. I did not buy mayonnaise. I give thee the Salty Cod mayonnaise-less Easter Egg salad:
Ingredients: 6 round zucchinis. 1 large eggplant. Dozen hardboiled eggs. 1.5 cup frozen peas. 50g(+) spicy honey mustard. Salt. Pepper. table spoon green anise seeds. Laurier (bay leaves, crushed). Oil to sautée vegetables.
Method: Hard boil eggs. Slice the tops off of the zucchinis and gut with a spoon, save the caps. In a skillet, lightly sautee the gutted zucchini (sliced) and eggplant with salt, pepper, anise seeds, and bay leaves. Let cool. Mix together frozen peas with the zucchini, eggplant, and remaining oil in skillet. Chop eggs. Add eggs, mustard, and additional salt if needed. Stuff spoonfuls of salad into gutted zucchini, replace caps and arrange in empty egg cartons to just make it look oh so precious.
The one "must" at the brunch was and always will be mimosas, a relatively unknown cocktail in France. The four present Americans knew the concoction quite well, while to the Martiniquean and Brazilian it proved to be a first. Excellent. Mango-orange juice was a nice twist on the classic orange juice-champaign combination I must say though. (Mimosa means Something About a Cow in Portuguese. chouette! the other new word today: o queijo---fromage.)
Food yes yes, food is fine, but there are desserts. Tartar and I split the desert menu: she the lemon tarte, and I the tapioca. Coconut milk tapioca--are there two better things in the culinary world (ok marzipan, and mangos, and of course bacalhau, but anyways) tapioca is a grain gift from the gods--it is sans gluten. A miracle pearl that provides delicate pleasure to pudding and pies, and a soft sweat taste to pastries, cakes, and breads in place of wheat flour. Long live the tapioca pearl. This pudding: purely coconut--no vanilas or almond extracts or what have you, just the coconut. To accompany the pudding--which i decided to do egg-less to avoid the curse of cooked egg clumps--is a fruit rouge compote sauce. Id est strawberries and raspberries. Very easter. The presentation: over and hour at BHV (Bazarre Hotel de Ville, big department store) to find the perfect container. Terrine glasses are out of the question for a traveling foodie to aqcuire. Round bowls are undesirable to photograph, and glass infringes on the 50lbs checked luggage weight limit. Plastic. Square--and a lid. Chouette.
Note on my ego to brag about: when D, with a surprised look of "you know tapioca!?" (Brazilians don't think Americans eat tapioca. I knew this already from my Brasilian) asked where it was gasped when i pointed to the box on the table: "we eat that? I thought it was the centerpiece decoration!" Ah yes more more! I eat it up as my head inflates. hehe.
Tapioca au lait de la noix de coco: (I doubled to feed 6)
ingredients: 2.5 cups milk. 1.5 cups coconut milk (and the cream in the can). 3 tbsp tapioca pearls. 4 tbsp sugar.
Method: Bring milk to boil, add tapioca. Stir for 15~20 minutes. Add sugar, and coconut milk. Return to boil, reduce heat and stir at a simmer for 10 minutes. Cool.
Fruit sauce: In a skillet over low heat simmer 2 cups chopped strawberries and raspberries. Add .5 cups sugar, and simmer until reduced. Cool, poor in clear cube (bowl or individual pudding dishes or verine glasses) layer cooled tapioca on top, and refrigerate 2 hours. To serve pile on rasperries, and serve with light cigarette cookies or twists.
The brunch went well. Bordeaux graciously accompanied the mimosas. Touché. C brought a fruit salad of kiwi banana, apple, and golden raisin--only missing the mango. Martinique brought flowers. S brought her pretty face. D the chocolate--and some little chocolate eggs his mammie sent him from Brazil. Mmmmm--and his ipod. Chouette. Bresilien musique at an easter brunch in Paris with mango-orange mimosas--c'est la vie. C'est ma vie. Glad to have you a part of it.