I love Easter and this year we’re celebrating with good friends Rudy and Dorita Pina and Francine and Jim Manspeaker over a Greek/Middle Eastern menu.
One of Rudy and Dorita’s twin daughters name is Paloma. In her honor I found a recipe for a drink called Paloma Cocktail. I’m changing it up a bit and using vodka instead of tequila. It sounds so refreshing.
12 oz. grapefruit vodka
3 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
12 oz. freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
Pinch of salt
Crushed ice for serving. Slices of pink grapefruit and lime for garnishing.
24. oz. grapefruit soda, such as Jarritos, Squirt or Fresca
Mix first 3 ingredients in a larger shaker with a few ice cubes. You may have to do this in 2 batches. Even my largest shaker is exactly 24 oz. and you want room for ice and shaking. Add a pinch of salt and crushed ice to each glass. Fill each glass 3/4 full with the vodka mixture. Stir. Top with grapefruit soda and a slice of grapefruit and lime. Paloma Cocktail!
STARTERS WILL INCLUDE:
Smoky Roasted Red Pepper Hummus served with Lavosh Crackers.
Flat Bread with Labneh, black and green olives, and mint.
I’m going to make all, but the Lavosh crackers and Labneh. Labneh is a soft Middle Eastern cheese made from strained yogurt. It is silky smooth and has a richer flavor than regular Greek-style yogurt. I have never made flat bread so this will be fun! Once you make the dough and form it, you top with Labneh, olives and mint and bake. It sounds fabulous. Recipe soon to follow!
Shrimp Kababs-Skewered Shrimp, Red Pepper, Scallions roasted over a mesquite fire. Served with lemon vinaigrette and oregano.
Lamb Koftas grilled over the fire with Yogurt Sauce made with the Labneh, freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, oregano, chives, and flaky salt.
Homemade Pita Bread.
I have never made pita bread either so another fun challenge! Koftas are a Middle Eastern form of meatball. Also popular in North African and many Asian cuisines. Rather than round like a meatball, their shape is oblong. They are packed with spices and can be made in advance and grilled once company arrives. I will also grill these on a stick.
Watermelon Caprese Salad topped with chiffonade of basil.
Lentil Salad. My French green lentils just arrived. I will make this ahead of time, too. This salad is also packed with tons of flavorful spices, veggies, herbs, and a very sexy dressing that includes Za’atar. The herbs and spices in Za’atar vary greatly depending on where you are in the Middle East. Some family recipes are guarded closely and passed down over generations. I’m buying mine on Amazon.
Roasted Asparagus with lemon zest. This will be served at room temperature.
I know this sounds like a lot of food, but it will be eaten slowly over the entire afternoon combined with lots of good conversation, laughter and love.
Lebanese Baklava. Instead of traditional Greek Baklava, I am making Lebanese Baklava in honor of Rudy’s Lebanese heritage. The Greek version is made with a honey based syrup and additional spices and generally very sweet. The Lebanese version, also quite sweet, is made with a simple syrup mixture scented with orange blossom and rose water.
That’s it for the Rabbitt’s 2023 Easter celebration.
Wishing you all a very Happy Easter!