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What'll be on your table this Easter?

Since I'm a college student, I'm definitely high-tailing it back home for Easter dinner. (can't exactly roast a rack of lamb in my ovenless dorm kitchenette). I was talking with my mom and trying to figure out a good menu -- any suggestions? Can't decide if we're going with ham, lamb, or something less conventional. I think I might choose a meat that requires grilling, since the weather here in Atlanta has been nice lately and it'll keep my brother occupied for several hours.

I've seen a few menus that looked interesting -- over at Epicurious, they've got a menu from Lidia Bastianich that involves roasting a lamb shoulder (never tried that before), braised artichokes with pecorino, and a yummy-sounding limoncello tiramisu.

What is everyone else planning?I'm definitely breaking out the mandarin orange digestifs.. but other than that, I'm not sure. We're only feeding 5, thank god.

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  1. I'm cooking an orange mustard glazed ham, roasted asparagus (if I can get it reasonably) or peas simmered with new potatoes, homemade rolls with honey butter and Ina Garten's Lime Meringue tart. At least, that's the plan so far...

    1. Going to my best friends and her family's and we had a great time planning the menu.

      2 Fried Turkey's
      2 Smoked Pork Shoulders
      Grilled Veggie Salad topped with Goat cheese and slivered almonds
      Sautéed Green Beans with garlic and parmesan cheese
      Potato salad with olive oil, roasted red peppers, sun dried tomatoes, black olives, artichokes, panchetta, parmesan cheese and fresh parsley
      Paw Paw Casserole
      Codfish cakes
      Hot Cross Buns
      Loquat Cake
      Keylime tart

      2 Replies
      1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

        Wow. An ambitious feast.

        What is paw paw casserole? And where do you get them? I paw paws in a dessert at a restaurant for the first time a few months ago and loved them.

        But I have never seen them for sale here ever. I gather they don't keep well and are rarely available except right where the trees grow. They must be frozen or preserved somehow outside their habitat, I'm assuming.

        1. re: karykat

          Paw paw casserole is made with the unripe fruit, so it's a savoury not sweet dish - usually layered with cheese and baked. Lots of people have the trees in their garden so you just go and pick a few.

          I've made loquat upside down cake - totally worth the fiddling with the seeds - what kind of cake are you making BGG?

      2. I'll probably do a grilled boneless leg of lamb (or whatever cut of lamb I dig out of my SIL's deep freeze that my parents left her and my brother), scalloped potatoes, and roasted green beans or asparagus. We will likely start with a salad (maybe spinach strawberry or grilled Cesar) and end with a dessert that involves fruit that can be picked out (my SIL hates fruit in things, but likes fruit separately). I tried making Reese's peanut butter cupcakes this weekend, but they aren't quite right.

        1. Mmm. These menus sound divine. So happy that spring ingredients are here! I'm definitely incorporating seasonal ingredients since I've discovered the (cheap!) joys of our mega-farmer's market here in town. I'm thinking lots of peas, asparagus, mint, et. al....

          Some of the things I'm considering so far:

          lemon crab salad over baby greens for a starter
          maybe a chilled soup.. mint/cucumber?
          pea ravioli for a side
          perhaps those pecorino artichokes
          maybe a primavera risotto
          found a divine-sounding recipe for mascarpone-ham-asparagus tarts (from epicurious) that I'm interested in trying
          and as far as desserts...
          if I can scrape up the last of the Meyer lemons at the market, I'd like to try a recipe for Meyer lemon cake with lavender creme...
          If the Meyers are all gone by now, it'll be a lavender & honey creme brulee, I think

          Still totally undecided on the menu but I know what our drinks will be! Ramos gin fizz in the morning (my family's from New Orleans so this is a must)... and the afternoons will bring out the digestifs. I said mandarin orange before, but now I'm thinking maybe the basil, mixed in with some good lemonade.. mmmm.

          1. Oh, all these menus look so good--and Eastery.

            Over my strenuous objections--I want to do lamb or some kind of roast pork--my family is insisting on braised short ribs despite the braising season being over, imo. Spring, folks, it's Spring!

            So, we will be having braised shortribs w/mushrooms and pearl onions and polenta, asparagus with orange butter, roasted fennel, and a tossed green salad. For starters, mini crabcakes w/wasabi mayo and mimosas. After "dinner" (3:00), we'll be hosting an Easter Egg Hunt for kids in our family and a few neighbor kids--and then I'll serve dessert and coffee (and maybe a bit of champagne or wine). One dessert will be Christina Mason's Key Lime Raspberry Tart with Pistachio crust: http://culinspiration.wordpress.com/2...
            Still trying to decide on one or two others--probably pound cake w/strawberries and creme fraiche and maybe something else.

            collegekitchen--I made pea ravioli last Easter; it was a lot of work,; they were beautiful--but they all fell apart in the boiling water. I almost cried. So, if you make them, seal them very well!
            Primavera risotto--made that two Easters ago; was scrumptious and beautiful. May have to do that one night this week!

            Happy Eats and Happy Easter.

            8 Replies
            1. re: nomadchowwoman

              Still sounds lovely, ncw, even if your heart isn't into the braising!

              I'm planning on roasting or grilling two racks of lamb, that have been dry brined the evening before with kosher salt, some crushed garlic and lots of rosemary sprigs from my garden. Lemon orzo is a big hit here. More roasted or grilled asparagus with lemon, and a green salad of mache, arugula, baby romaine, and a lemon-thyme vinaigrette. There will be dishes of black olive relish and roasted provencal tomatoes, that will be made on Saturday. And I'm looking at a Lemon 1-2-3-4 cake, which is a lemon cake with rounds split and filled with lemon curd, topped with whipped cream and fresh berries.

              Am agonizing over the starting course: a fresh pea soup (that's a lot of peas) or a fava bean crostini (again, a lot of shelling). Or something else entirely? It may depend on the weather, long range, it looks cool, possibly wet. Waiting to see what the farmers bring in.

              1. re: Phurstluv

                That cake sounds fab! Maybe I could do that w/my strawberries instead of the pound cake, especially as I have a good bit of lemon curd in the fridge.

                And you are so right going with the lamb. And I am so wimpy, letting the mob rule!

                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                  Here's the link to the cake. It looks pretty and simple, hopefully even I can pull it off!


                  Why not braise some lamb shanks, instead of short ribs and make an osso buco? Can you fool them? LOL!

                  1. re: Phurstluv

                    I think I may try that too!

                    No, my sister is lobbying hard, but DH is the worst offender: he wants the same ones we had last week. He actually helped on those (most highly unusual!) so he knows just what goes in. Oh well, summer will be here shortly and none of us will be wanting anything so winter-y. And, as you well know, there's nothing like having a bunch of happy eaters at the table.

                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                      Oh well!! At least Mother's day isn't far behind!! LOL!

                2. re: Phurstluv

                  Would you share the lemon orzo recipe? Sounds like it would be great with lamb.

                  1. re: redthong

                    Sure. I have cooked it both ways before, as a pasta and as a rice. For this I sauteed about a cup of the orzo in olive oil until it was golden brown. Poured two cups of chicken broth over it and let it come to a boil, then reduce, cover, 20 mins. When it was done, tossed it with about 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, and 1/4 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice, and a tsp of the grated zest. Came out really well.

                3. re: nomadchowwoman

                  I'm so glad I took your advice and stayed away from the pea ravioli. It sounds delicious but we stuck with simple food this go-round, and it was a success! No crying in the kitchen!

                4. I am going to a potluck so who knows what's in store. I was asked to bring a butterflied leg of lamb that I marinated with coriander, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, mint, smoked paprika, lemon juice and olive oil. I am also working on devising a vegetarian biryani for the starch. Since I have Italian sausages that might otherwise go to waste, I am thinking of reprising filo appetizers that have always been a hit in Easters past: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... Given that I am also baking for the church, I may bring over a spicy chocolate mousse pie, homemade Peeps or hopiang ube (purple yam mooncakes), though several people are agitating for me to making my saffron and cardamom cake with pistachios and candied rose petals.

                  For cocktails I am still determined to get my pousse-cafe with rose sharbat to work for this Easter.

                  5 Replies
                    1. re: JungMann

                      Homemade peeps?!! Have you done them before? Sounds very fanciful.

                      1. re: karykat

                        I have not done Peeps before, but I have all the equipment and it sounds easy enough, so long as I don't touch the fluff with my bare hands. And if it turns out they don't pipe well, I'll just make them into squares. The main question is how to flavor them.

                        1. re: JungMann

                          Hmmmm. So you are going to pipe them into Peep shapes. If you decide to go with that option, let us know how it works.

                          1. re: karykat

                            I started the peeps this morning, but the church asked me to come in early as they needed another musician. Facing an early start for rehearsal, I heeded your warning re:piping and made the marshmallows the conventional way. It was still rewarding, though, watching folks cautiously bite into pieces of marshmallow, widen their eyes when they tasted roses, and pop the whole thing in their mouths.

                            I also made curried shortbread; yellow split pea cakes, one half of which I flavored with cardamom to the surprise of everyone who tasted them and several in a vegan style; as well as the hopiang ube, the shockingly bright purple and moist pastry of which thrilled everyone and had shifty-eyed Filipino expats sneaking cookies into their purses.

                    2. this lamb recipe is different, grilled, and soooooo delicious. my friend who doesn't care for lamb even liked it prepared this way.


                      1. I'm serving 10 kids and 5 adults so I'm trying to keep it simple and inexpensive.
                        maple mustard glazed ham
                        hashbrown casserole (I may switch to scalloped potatoes with carmelized onions but the kids really love this one....maybe both....)
                        roasted asparagus with pine nuts and garlic
                        spinach salad with strawberries, glazed pecans, goat cheese and poppyseed dressing
                        butternut squash and sweet potato puree
                        and I'm trying a recipe for cherry tomotoes and peal onions that are roasted together

                        A friend is bringing a dessert that she says will be kid friendly so I thought I might also make a boozy dessert for the adults. Maybe the margarita chiffon cake from epicurious with strawberries. I also have a margarita cheese cake recipe kicking around somewhere but it's more fussy. I think I need simple.

                        1. Ham... I only make it Christmas morning to eat for breakfast while opening gifts with biscuits and Easter dinner.

                          The rest depend on mood. This year will probably be with buttermilk biscuits, corn on the cob, collard greens with ham hock, and peach cobbler for dessert. There are only two this year and I leave the leftovers with my love in Kentucky.

                          1. Asparagus Gruyere tarts
                            Ham with brown sugar/pineapple dijon mustard glaze
                            Southern potato salad
                            Fried Chicken (Thomas Keller's recipe)
                            Turnip Greens
                            Green Salad
                            Deviled Eggs
                            Angel biscuits
                            Lamb cake (Cocunut)
                            Strawberry Mascarpone Tart

                            1. Well, we've got the wherewithal for four dinners for 4 days. Havnt decided what will get done on what day - but there'll be a spag. bol., roast lamb, prawn salad & something with chicken breasts. Pretty much similar to any other 4 day period.

                              1. Candy. :-) The Easter Bunny spews all over it during the night. Otherwise, nothing much, as we almost always go out for dinner on Easter, if we do anything celebratory at all. As it almost always means one of the FIRST nice days of spring in this lousy climate, none of us are inclined to stay indoors behind the stove, but are drawn outdoors for the day.

                                1. I bought a boneless leg of lamb at Costco last week that I was going to hack up into steaks. It's supposed to be gorgeous here this weekend so I'm thinking about firing up the grill and doing a nice lamb steak (beef for my husband since he doesn't like lamb--I know, heretic) with a spring greens and watercress salad topped with a French vinaigrette. Spring has sprung!

                                  1. Roasted salmon w sweet chili sauce glaze, broccoli rabe w porcini mushroom saute, sweet potato, coleslaw and almond cake.

                                    1. After some confusion and possibly not having Easter dinner, it's on and it's glazed ham, potato salad, collards, mac n' cheese, mashed sweets, lemon cake and apple pie.

                                      An odd assortment and the apple pie is a little out of season, but we are po' folk these days and we're grateful for any nice meal we can have with friends.

                                      Happy Easter to all!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                                        Bushwickgirl, your menu makes me happy! Now wish I had planned a lemon cake.

                                        At any rate, it's late, but here's my menu:

                                        Relish Tray-black and green olives, gherkies, dill pickles, deviled eggs
                                        polish sausage and sauerkraut
                                        honey baked ham
                                        au gratin potatoes
                                        asparagus w/hollandiase
                                        noodle kugel
                                        Green Salad with Strawberries, Blue Cheese and Pecans
                                        carrot cake
                                        lambie butter
                                        yeast rolls
                                        apricot sweet tea

                                      2. Ham, potato salad, mac-n-cheese, roasted asparagus, broccoli salad, deviled eggs, strawberry shortcake

                                        1. We ended up with a LOT of food (and leftovers) for just five people.. but it was a wonderful, wonderful afternoon.

                                          A nice big ham, served with dijon and peach salsa on black pepper croissants (weird combination but very tasty).
                                          A huge dish of lemon pappardelle tossed in olive oil and Meyer lemon zest and topped with shrimp.
                                          Roasted asparagus
                                          Simple baby greens salad with strawberries, blackberries, chevre
                                          Basil lemonade
                                          Coconut cake and tiny blueberry tarts for dessert.

                                          We stuffed ourselves silly. It was hot outside and inside, but the winter rye grass in the yard made a nice bed for post-feast nap.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: collegekitchen

                                            Dijon/peach salsa/black pepper croissants sounds delicious to me--do does it all.

                                          2. Honey glazed ham
                                            Au Gratin potatoes
                                            Zucchini/Cottage casserole
                                            Fresh green salad
                                            Flourless Chocolate Cake
                                            Apple Pie
                                            Sugar Free Blackberry Pie
                                            Lots of good wine
                                            Gold foil wrapped chocolate bunnies for each guest to take home

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: todao

                                              Sounds good. How do you make your blackberry pie? Top crust? Thickener?
                                              I love blackberries, but the one time I tried blackberry pie, it wasn't very good. I think I just substituted black- for blueberries that time.

                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                I prefer to use tapioca as a thickening agent in berry pies and I think a top crust is essential; probably because I believe the crust is the best part of any pie.
                                                The amount of tapioca varies with the amount of juice I estimate is in the fruit (including any residual water that may be on the fruit from rinsing and whether I'm using fresh or frozen berries) so I can't make any specific recommendations in that regard. Someday I'm going to have to measure that ingredient so I can better respond to those kinds of questions. Sorry for the failure. I will say that a tablespoon of tapioca goes a very long way as a thickening agent and that its thickening influence increases as it cools so, if you decide to experiment with it, start small and increase the amount by about 50% with each new version of your recipe.

                                            2. We had a large group of people so had to serve buffet style.

                                              Smoked salmon canapes and miniature gougeres
                                              Stuffed Beef Filet.... stuffing of mushroom duxelles, spinach and soft blue cheese
                                              Risotto cakes
                                              Small eggplant towers...smoked tomato sauce, spinach, fresh basil and feta cheese
                                              platter of asparagus and sugar snap peas
                                              spinach salad....strawberries, roasted pecans, tomatoes
                                              Cheese platter with grapes and assorted nuts with specialty breads
                                              puff pastry pear tart with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream

                                              1. We had 10 for Easter, and it is our biggest holiday celebration of the year. We do a 7 course symbolic meal. This year it was:
                                                Easter eggs (can't call them deviled eggs on Easter can you?)
                                                Asparagus with egg mimosa
                                                Chicken 'noodle' soup
                                                Lamb three ways with beet greens and mushroom risotto,
                                                St. Agur cheese with smoked nuts and asian pear chutney
                                                Chocolate mouse, rosemary caramel, cherry cake
                                                Milk and cereal cookies

                                                Full pics and details below, but it was a lovely time.


                                                1. i got this rabbit ,what a pest ,it was leaving all these oval things all over the yard.i talked with the neighbors ,same thing .im gonna bbq em with a honey glace after marinating him in a yogurt cranberry and salt brine for a while.works good for poultry as well