One of my favorite things about holidays is continuing on and adding to family traditions. As I’ve grown into being a real live grownup, these traditions have become more and more important to me. They help me keep my father and Papou’s memories alive and have inspired me to instill and maintain tradition in my own life. We’ve always celebrated Greek Easter (or as my Papou called it, “the real Easter”), which comes with some heavy family tradition. My absolute favorite tradition being, the cracking of red Easter eggs called, tsougrisma. To play each person is given an egg and then another person taps one end of their egg while saying “Christos anesti”. Next, the person taps their egg back saying “alithos anesti”. The family member with an un-cracked end left wins the game and is assured that s/he will have good luck for the rest of the year. I have a slight competitive streak (biggest understatement of the year) so, naturally, I love this game. However, my uncle Greg has figured out some unbeatable strategy in the last few years and wins every year. It drives me absolutely crazy!
Today we’re going to do a special Thursday posting that combines my favorite Greek entrée with modern Easter décor ideas that bring splashes of bright spring color and are really easy to make. We were asked to share our modern Easter ideas with Casa Sugar, so make sure to check us out there as well! This recipe comes from my family's cookbook that my Yia yia was kind enough to put together for us years ago. So whether you're celebrating American Easter or Greek Easter, get ready to ditch those pastels and get ready for one beautiful holiday gathering.
Roast Leg of Lamb
by Penelope Kookootsedes and Nancy Christy
What you need:
- 1 leg of lamb, 5-6 lbs.
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ lemon
- 1 pinch oregano
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- ¼ water
What to do:
Preheat oven to 350. Wash leg of lamb under cool water. Using a fork, poke holes into the meat and place the garlic pieces into each hole. Next combine salt and pepper and put into 4 or 5 holes on the meat. Squeeze lemon juice over meat. Take remaining salt and pepper mixture and oregano and rub over meat. Place meat onto rack and place in a flat pan. Add ¼ cup of water to the pan.
Bake the lamb for 25 minutes per pound. Never cook any longer than 2 ½ hours, otherwise the meat will get too dry. Make sure to watch so that the broth does not get too dark. My yiayia says that it should be a little darker than chicken broth and lighter than beef broth. If it does, add a little water. You can also use this broth on potatoes or manestra later.
and the decor.....
Silver Easter Eggs in a Bucket:
This is a great alternative to the traditional dyed Easter Eggs. Spray paint the eggs silver or gold and put them in a metal bucket. I found this one at my local hardware store for only a few bucks. Fill the bucket with evergreen and top it with the eggs.
Eggs in Flea Market Mini-goblets:
I used the same silver eggs and found these vintage mini-goblets at the little flea market in the East Village. Arrange strands of greenery and place the egg in the center.
Fresh Flowers in Mason Jars:
We believe that fresh flowers are a must at any kind of gathering. If you need lower table arrangements, mason jars are the perfect solution. Choose flowers that go with the rest of your decor's color palette i.e. tablecloth, dishes, eggs, etc.
Fabric Wrapped Chocolate Surprise:
Sweet little surprises aren't just for the little ones. At 28 years old, I still love surprises and most especially ones that include sweets. Save some trees and wrap little chocolates in scrap fabric and ribbon. Complete your place settings by placing a chocolate surprise on each dinner plate.