Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Pops

My father-in-law is in town for Easter.  I call him Pop, Pops, George, Cranky George, or Jorge, depending on the situation.  When Big G comes over, you never know what's going to happen.  Discussion could go from jovial to Cold War in 10 seconds flat.  Laughter is rampant and tears may also be shed, but that usually only happens after several beers.  It's lively, never pedestrian, potentially angering, but hey - we're family.  One thing that's also for certain - there will always be good food.

Pop is quite a good cook.  We have envisioned a line of foodstuff called Cranky George, and I know just the logo that will go with it.  George often has a goading smirk that's well-masked as a smile, but I know better.  It comes out when he's just made a comment that he knows should get under my skin, and he's waiting, hoping, for an overreaction on my part.  I used to take the bait, but I've gained wisdom in the years...

So Pop said he'd take care of two of three dinners of Easter weekend - both of them family classics.  The first was roasted clams.  I insist on soaking the clams in fresh water to purge the sand that they may still harbor.  The first time I suggested this, Cranky George said I was wasting my time, and so we sopped up deliciously grainy clam soup - wonderfully garlicky and briny, with a light crunch brought forth by sand to offer a unique texture.  I never listened to him after that...

We soaked, purged, threw in a roasting pan with 2 bulbs of diced garlic, tablespoons of butter, and a good healthy pour of white wine.  At one point, I was dicing one bulb of garlic when Cranky George looked at me and said, "Do you think we need more?  Is there such a thing as too much garlic?"  I responded, "I don't think anyone has died from a garlic overdose.  Let's do it."  And it turned out to be a perfect amount and no one died.

Roasted at 400 degrees until the little guys opened, and they went straight to the table to be savagely consumed by three ravenous foodophiles.  Wonderfully garlicky and briny, without the light crunch of sand, and we were in clammy heaven.  Except that upon looking at this picture, I wish I would have tossed it with parsley which was sitting all lonely in my fridge and some red pepper flakes.  Oh well, no sense crying over underused seasonings.

 George also makes his own bread and has become quite adept at it.  Here, he made whole wheat bread and rolled them in sesame seeds.  Do these look professional, or what?  They were brought over half-baked, and we browned them up in the oven with the clams.  Crunchy on the outside - you know, the good kind of crunchy - and soft and fluffy on the inside.
So kudos to Pops!  Tonight, we partake in his ribs specialty.  He's in the kitchen now, working on the collard greens and crankily making a mess, I'm sure.  But wisdom has also told me to not go in there and look.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

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