We are experiencing that peculiar sweet spot in the year, when the blossoms on the trees are giving way to tiny chartreuse leaves, and the phlox awakening in my flower beds is vibrant and flowing, like soft puddles of color amid the winter worn soil. Today in my sewing class Linda brought Margaret a vase full of flowers from her garden, an amazing array of colors: tulips and daffodils and pink and purple hyacinths. All morning I nearly hyperventilated because I wanted to inhale that scent of springtime hyacinths. Libby is busy in her yard, cleaning out garden beds and sweeping off the porches. She hires my Treasures to use her groovy pooper scooper and clean up the trailings of the three resident dogs up there in the East Wing. They would do it for free, though. Silly kids! They will soon outgrow that!
In a few days, on Easter Sunday, we plan to gather at the East Wing (Lib’s house is the East Wing, ours is the West Wing in what we call the COMPOUND here in our cul-de-sac. They live just to the east of us. On Sundays I will text the masses and tell them what time we are eating and whether dinner will be served in the East or West Wing.)
We anticipate having a nice Easter gathering there on the north lawn of the East Wing. The weather is supposed to be lovely, so we can collect ourselves in her back yard, eat dinner, and converse in human clusters while the kids hunt Easter eggs.
These kind of gatherings call for at least one of Cindy Gardner’s salads. How we wish…don’t we wish… we had our Cindy and our Cyndy with us (Gardner and Hansen, both of whom joined the angels in the past year).
We are comforted, quite sincerely, by the belief that this HOLY WEEK guarantees us a reunion with both of them. Still, it stings that they are missing from our arms.
So in their honor, Lyndie, Cyndy Hansen’s daughter-in-love, will make rolls, and I will concoct one of the following recipes from Cindy Gardner. In honor of my mother in law, Helen Connors, Sarah will make Lime Jello salad (an Easter tradition) and the grandchildren will frost sugar cookies in lovely Easter shapes and colors in honor of Gram. (Yeah, our bellies are gonna be full! But so are our hearts!)
10 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
8 ounces grated sharp Cheddar cheese (1 cup)
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cashews (add just before serving)
Directions:Trim off the large leaves from the broccoli stem. Remove the tough stalk at the end and wash broccoli head thoroughly. Cut the head into very small flowerets. Place in a large bowl. Add the crumbled bacon, onion, raisins if using, and cheese. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, stirring well. Add to broccoli mixture and toss gently.
DIXIE SALAD (POMEGRANATE)
· 1 cup pomegranate seeds (about 2 pomegranates)
2 cups chopped apples (about 2 medium)
2 cups chopped apples (about 2 medium)
· 1 cup chopped pecans
· 1 cup whipping cream
· 2-4 tablespoons sugar
· 1 teaspoon vanilla
Whip cream with sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
Combine pomegranates, apples, pecans (and any additional desired fruit). Gently fold in whipped cream. Garnish with a few pomegranate seeds. Serves approximately 8. (Google "How to eat pomegranates" to learn how easy it can be to get these yummy seeds out of their pods)
· 8 ounces Acini De Pepe pasta
· 1 cup pineapple juice (reserved from pineapple tidbits)
· ½ cup sugar
· 1 tablespoon flour
· ¼ teaspoon salt
· 1 egg beaten
· ½ tablespoon lemon juice
· 22 ounces mandarin oranges, drained
· 20 ounces pineapple tidbits, drained and reserve juice
· 8 ounces crushed pineapple, drained
· 1½ cups miniature marshmallows
· ¾ cup coconut, shredded
· 8 ounces cool whip
Cook the Acini De Pepe pasta according to package directions. When done, rinse under cold water in strainer. Let cool.
In a saucepan over medium high heat stir together pineapple juice, sugar, flour, salt and egg. Cook and stir constantly until mixture thickens and is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Let cool.
In a large mixing bowl combine the pasta and thickened mixture. Then gently fold in the mandarin oranges, crushed pineapple, pineapple tidbits, marshmallows and coconut. Fold in cool whip. Refrigerate until serving. Serves approx. 12. This recipe can easily be doubled.