Easter is a moveable feast, tied to the Spring Equinox and the first full moon of spring. The earliest believers in the Church of Asia Minor wished to keep the observance of Easter tied to the Jewish Passover. After all, it was the observance of Passover that brought Christ and his followers to Jerusalem.
Easter Sunday could fall anywhere between March 22 and April 25. We know that Christ arrived in Jerusalem the Sunday before Easter. Therefore Palm Sunday could be as early as March 15 or as late as April 18. The fact that Easter and the traditions surrounding Holy Week are so closely tied to the Jewish Passover is an acknowledgement of Christ’s Jewish roots.
Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week. It is a celebration to commemorate Christ’s triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. I cannot help but to pause for a moment. While those surrounding Him were filled with jubilation, He knew what awaited His physical body. He knew the suffering that lay ahead.
Today we will hold the palm branches to symbolize the branches placed in front of Jesus as He entered Jerusalem. They will be dried, then burned to create the blessed ashes for next year’s Ash Wednesday. Palm Sunday is the fulfillment of a prophecy found in the Old Testament.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. – Zechariah 9:9
And they brought the ass and the colt, and laid their garments upon them, and made him sit thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way: and others cut boughs from the trees, and strewed them in the way: And the multitudes that went before and that followed, cried, saying: Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. – Matthew 21:7-9
Gather ’round your table and celebrate the joy of this day with a special supper. For me personally, today brings yet another reason for celebration. Today marks what would have been my mother’s 89 Birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom.
Palm Sunday Supper
Arugula Fruited Salad
Citrus Roast Chicken
Chocolate Mousse Berry Crowned Cake
Arugula Fruited Salad
16 oz Arugula
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Kosher Salt to taste
fresh Black Pepper to taste
8 oz Goat Cheese
Rinse and drain arugula. Place in a mixing bowl. Cut lemon, juice over the arugula. Sprinkle olive oil over the lemon arugula. Season with salt and pepper. Lightly toss, set aside.
Rinse, hull and slice strawberries, set aside. Peel oranges, break into segments, set aside.
Chill salad plates. Even divide a small mound of the dressed arugula in the center of each plates. Divide the strawberries and oranges in a decorative manor around the arugula. Crumble goat cheese on top of the arugula, serve and enjoy.
Citrus Roast Chicken Supper
6 Garlic Cloves
3 lbs Baby Red Potatoes
6 medium Carrots
6 Green Onions
1 medium Lemon
1 small Navel Orange
1 (6 lb) Chicken Roaster
4 fresh Thyme Sprigs
4 fresh Dill Sprigs
2 fresh Rosemary Springs
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
3 cups Chicken Stock
Fresh Dill for garnish
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Peel garlic, cut into quarters and set aside. Scrub potatoes, cut in half and set aside. Peel carrots, halve lengthwise, then cut into 1-inch pieces. Set carrots aside. Trim roots of green onions. Cut onions into 2-inch pieces and set aside. Cut lemon and orange in half, set aside.
Place chicken on a cutting board, Tuck wings under the chicken. With a sharp knife, cut 24 small slits in the breast, legs and thighs. Insert garlic into the slits.
Place potatoes and carrots in a shallow roasting pan. Top with herb sprigs. Place chicken, breast side up, over vegetables with herbs.
Gently squeeze juice from the citrus fruits over the chicken and vegetables. Place squeezed fruits inside the chicken cavity. Tie leg together.
Roast in the heated oven for about 2 hours, or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 160-derees. Scatter green onions into the roasting pan. Continue to cook another 20 minutes or until thermometer reads 170-degrees.
Remove roasted chicken from oven, place on a platter. Tent with foil and let rest for 15 minutes.
Place chicken stock in a saucepan. Ladle pan drippings over a strainer to add to the stock. Bring to a boil, lower heat. Remove about a half a cup of stock to a glass measuring cup. Whisk in flour, pour back into saucepan. Let simmer, thickening, until ready to serve. Taste and adjust flavors with salt and pepper if desired.
Arrange vegetables around chicken, discarding the roasted herbs. Garnish platter with fresh dill, serve with thickened stock gravy and enjoy.
Chocolate Mousse Berry Crowned Cake
1 box Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
3 large Eggs
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 cup Milk
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Prepare chocolate cake mix as directed on the package by adding eggs, vegetable oil, and water and milk together in a stand mixer. Pour into a 10-inch springform pan. Bake cake in the heated oven for about 40 minutes. Insert cake tester in the center. When tester comes out clean, remove cake from oven.
Remove springform side, leaving cake on the pan bottom. Cool cake completely. Slice a sliver off of the top of the cake to make a flat surface. Lock side of pan back in place to help hold shape until ready to serve.
2 pints Strawberries
8 oz. Whipped Topping
Cut green tops from the strawberries. Set aside 2 of the most uniformed, best looking strawberries for the finishing garnish.
Slice 1-1/2 pints of strawberries in half, enough to circle the top edge of the cake. Thinly slice the remaining strawberries. Place the halved strawberries around the perimeter standing up, cut side facing out. Cover the top of the cake with the sliced strawberries. Top strawberries with the whipped topping. Cover and place in the refrigerator.
Prepare the chocolate mousse.
2 tablespoons Butter
3 oz Extra Dark Chocolate Chips
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 tablespoons Brandy
2 tablespoons Sugar, divided
Let butter soften. Cut each tablespoon into small pieces, set aside.
Separate egg whites from yolks. Place whites in a heat-proof bowl, set aside. Hold yolks in a small bowl, set aside.
Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth.
Whisk the butter into the melted chocolate, 1 tablespoon at a time. Stir in the vanilla, Brandy and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Stir until well incorporated.
Whisk in the yolks one at a time, making sure each is incorporated before adding the next. Set the mixture aside.
Bring a saucepot of water to a simmer. Place bowl of egg whites over the simmer water. Whisk until the whites are slightly warm, about 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the saucepan, then beat hard until stiff peaks form. Slowly add remaining tablespoon of sugar; continue to beat until shiny. Whisk a quarter of the whites into the chocolate mixture, then gently fold in the rest of the remaining whites. Take care not to overwork the mousse.
Carefully spoon mousse over the whipped topping on the surface of the cake. Spread out with an off-set spatula. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
Chocolate Curls as desired
Mint Leaves as desired
Sprinkle chocolate curls in the center over the mousse. Arrange reserved strawberries for a garnish, add mint leaves for a splash of color.
Carefully remove the springform pan. Transfer cake to a cake platter and serve.