Friday, March 29, 2013

FFF: Hippity Hoppity, Easter's on its way.

Don't you just love chocolate-based holidays?

Before I put the lamb chops (see below) on the grill Sunday afternoon I'll be hiding clues to Easter baskets around the house.  Five things that will be going into baskets are below:

From Divine Chocolate comes one of my favorite "chocolate and (insert tasty thing here)" combinations.  Not so common to the US, but quite well-known to British (Crunchie) and Australian (Violet Crumble) candy lovers, 'honeycomb' refers to crunchy, light, air-bubbly toffee that quite literally melts in your mouth.  Encasing it in chocolate is practical and delicious, and I only hope that Divine will continue to offer some sort of chocolate/honeycomb combination after Easter.  Available in limited quantities for $7 each through Divine Chocolates.
Now on sale for $3.99,
Also made by Divine, but available on sale through Serrv comes a charming half-dozen carton of hollow milk chocolate eggs.  Available in pink or blue cartons, this is actually an Easter Egg Hunt Kit which contains 6 individually foil-wrapped (and generously sized) eggs.  

The green wrapper slips off and the underside reveals clue cues that can be cut apart for an Easter Egg Hunt.

$21 set of 3, Made in India,
Made in Kashmir by ASHA Handicrafts is one of several trios of papier-mache eggs available through Serrv.  (See their flowers and Victorian styles)  These recycled newspaper eggs feel sturdy but look delicate with hand-painted botanical bird designs.  The detail is lovely and the eggs would be a sweet addition to an Easter basket, a whimsical touch in a place-setting, or a thoughtful gift for a collector.  Trio of bird eggs, $21.

$18, set of 3, Made in Nepal,

For quite some time there has been a surprising lack of actual Easter Baskets (one top handle for little hands to hold) available from Fair Trade sources, but this year Serrv has offered an affordable set of hand-made paper baskets in green, aqua, and pink from the artisans of Get Paper Industry.  Get Paper Industry is a 125-member cooperative in Kathmandu that specializes in hand-made paper and paper products made from recycled materials. Get Paper has a deep commitment to the artisans that make up the cooperative, 91% of whom are women.   The patterned handle is easily attached with brass fasteners and can be removed after the holiday to use for small storage/organization around the house or office.  Set of three baskets, each measuring 5 x 5, 7" h with handle, $18.

$18, Made in Indonesia,

This Friday Five is heavy on Serrv offerings, but they do such a nice job with their holiday collections that it can't really be avoided.  Made by the Indonesian artisans of Pekerti, this beautiful Filigreed Cross hangs from an 18" silver-plated chain has a single crystal stone in the center and is delicate enough to give as a First Communion or Confirmation gift.

*A Little Lamb:  In addition to shopping Fair Trade whenever possible, I'm also committed to buying local and organic produce and food as often as possible.  Sequatchie Cove Farm had a stall at my local farmer's market a couple of weeks ago and while I was sampling their artisanal cheeses I noticed that they also offered grass-fed lamb raised in Tennessee.  For my mom, who loves lamb, I picked out a few chops for Easter and am excited to try them.  Organic and grass-fed meat is quite a bit more expensive than conventional meat, but you can really taste the difference.  With meat, as with many things, you get what you pay for. I am planning to welcome the grill into spring by preparing the petite chops a la Giada De Laurentiis:

2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Pinch cayenne pepper
Coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 lamb chops, about 3/4-inch thick
In a food processor fitted with a metal blade add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, cayenne, and salt. Pulse until combined. Pour in olive oil and pulse into a paste. Rub the paste on both sides of the lamb chops and let them marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator and allow the chops to come to room temperature; it will take about 20 minutes.
Heat a grill pan over high heat until almost smoking, add the chops and sear for about 2 minutes. Flip the chops over and cook for another 3 minutes for medium-rare and 3 1/2 minutes for medium.

*All images from source website.

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