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I need a veggie suggestion for Easter brunch

For dinner we'll have carrot & leek soup, salad of greens topped with roasted beets and crisp fried carrot curls, ham, scalloped potatoes and asparagus with hollandaise.

For brunch I'm planning tossed greens, cheese soufflé and a cinnamon coffee cake. I'd like to add a veggie but I've already hit all the Spring notes I can think of for dinner. I'd do a zucchini carpaccio but one of the guests has an allergy to zucchini and my husband just doesn't like it.

What can you suggest?

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  1. To me, spinach and asparagus are as spring-y as it gets, and all I ever serve at Easter. Not much else locally available this time of year. I buy fresh from the farm stand, it's all they're selling right now.

    Why not creamed spinach or spinach salad with hard boiled eggs, instead of the fallish salad you have planned?

    2 Replies
    1. re: coll

      We live in SoCal and I've always been so disappointed with the spinach we get here. I don't think it ever gets cold enough for the varieties that have real flavor.

      Good spinach and parsnips are some of the things I still miss from the Northeast.

      1. re: rainey

        I never loved spinach until I started getting it from nearby, I always eat too much this time of year!

    2. An approach I use is to think through the rainbow-- ROYGBIV.
      You have R _______, O carrots; Y ______; G greens, leek, asparagus; B ______, I _______, V Beets; and then make sure I don't have too many on the "grayscale"- brown, beige, white.
      Here's a pretty nice page with fruits and veg sorted by colour:

      11 Replies
            1. re: rainey

              Eggplant, some carrots, some tomatoes, and there's a "blurple" cauliflower. And the starchy veg.s of potato and corn.

              1. re: Kris in Beijing

                i find those blue potatoes and carrots very off-putting.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  I can take the carrots and some purple things but it takes an act of will for me to eat purple potatoes too. ; > And then they don't turn out to be special enough to make it a worthwhile exercise.

                  There's something about blue in food that sets off a lot of subliminal warning systems.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    there are some very interesting South American recipes that involve blue potatoes among many other types. They aren't a recent freak of nature at all, were cultivated thousands of years ago, just comparatively new to the North American market and even more recently cultivated in the US. The blue version has a different profile of antioxidants.


                    I love to cook by color, in part, so a red, blue, yellow, and white potato combo is fun for me. So is a fruit salad of raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, pom seeds...golden raspberries as well, tiny red currants, gooseberries, and add in some kiwi slices....

                    Each to his/her own....I think white asparagus is a horrible idea, but many love it, and I don't want to see a blue tomato! Now, winter squash in all colors, I go for that, as well.

                    1. re: Madrid

                      i wasn't suggesting the blue/purple potatoes were new cultivars, even if they only broke stateside in the 80s.

                      1. re: Madrid

                        I agree with you, really, Madrid. I love to see more color in foods and I grow multicolored carrots, red & purple lettuces, "black" and yellow tomatoes and an heirloom purple "green" bean (turns green when cooked). They all have fabulous flavor and, I'm convinced, more or different nutritional value.

                        I just have all kinds of visceral reactions to blue food. I can remember, as a child, wanting to put blue frosting on a cake. Blue was my favorite color. When it came to eating it though, I just had a hard time doing it. I suspect that it has something to do with the color of spoilage. …tho I bless the first person to regard a blue cheese and say "I don't care. I'm going to give it a try." ; >

                        1. re: rainey

                          I get that blue prompts a visceral reaction in people when it's food. I suspect it's an innate biological reaction that helped preserve the species. I don't have it.....my favorite flavor of "kool pops" AKA freezie pops as a child was the blue one. No Idea why, they were all fake, chemical flavors. The blue especially fake, it was nothing like blueberry. I've also had a few blue margaritas.

                          I hope you have great Easter meals; your menu plans sound so good. I'm in Boston and so jealous of your growing season in Calif. Those heirloom purple green beans are wonderful; that's something we can get here. And the different colors of "mustard" greens, of which we see only one or two.

                          My son once had blue frosted cupcakes for his birthday, when he was 6, I think, and he became very alarmed after he went to the bathroom and the product was green. That blue frosting cannot be good for any living creature! He still remembers it vividly and comes to close to running away from any blue food.

                2. My immediate thought was asparagus, but I see you already have that. Now, this isn't a vegetable, but it is a fruit and served this way is more savory than sweet - cantaloupe carpaccio: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                  Another thought (although this one says summer to me more than spring) is a cucumber/avocado soup.

                    1. re: Gastronomos

                      Oh yea, steamed in the microwave for ten minutes then quarter and grill or broil, basting with oil so they don't dry out.... Ad serve with drawn butter, lemon slices, and we just did these a few weeks ago and I also made a roasted garlic aioli....YUM!

                      1. re: Gastronomos

                        love artichokes, esp with hollandaise, avgolemono or lemon mayo.

                        Realize the OP will be serving the asparagus with hollandaise at dinner, but Easter is one of those days when I wouldn't mind having hollandaise at brunch and dinner!

                          1. re: rainey

                            not the best photography, but artichokes in a light avgolemono sauce:

                            1. re: Gastronomos

                              Also love this classic Greek spring dish, artichokes with fava beans and dill:

                              Kalo Paska, Gastronomos!

                      2. Or can you get fresh peas yet? That might work. You can do a crostini with a pea purée & feta. Or fava beans, those work nicely with salty cheese also.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                          The problem with peas is they start going starchy as soon as you pick them.

                          We have peas growing in the garden and they're absolute green candy but there aren't more than a handful of pods on any given day and we're having 8-10 for Easter. Meanwhile, having fresh picked ones makes it awfully difficult to settle for starchy. =o

                          Great idea tho, if we could pull it off.

                          1. re: rainey

                            frozen peas? organic trader joe's are wonderful -- sweet and good texture!

                            1. re: alkapal

                              I always use frozen peas. They're the one thing I can think of that are consistently better than "fresh" when I can't pick my own. …and then it turns out to be a handful that I shell and eat raw in the garden. ; >

                        2. Thanks for all your ideas. I think I'm going to halve and braise or grill some shallots.

                          1. hi rainey,

                            with the cheese souffle, I would like a simple baked tomato topped with herb breadcrumbs and a few button mushrooms that have been roasted with a bit of butter. I love your menu!

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: MrsPatmore

                              I second the baked tomato and roasted mushrooms, you could also add some roasted spring onions. http://www.countryliving.com/recipefi...

                              Peas are also very much a spring vegetable. Maybe something like this snap pea, cherry tomatoes and shallots:

                                1. re: MrsPatmore

                                  i like the acidic, sweet tomato played against the rich cheese.

                                2. My sister is having the ham, scalloped potatoes and biscuits, so I'm bringing a broccoli salad with tomatoes and red onion..

                                  1. Radishes.

                                    I like them roasted, just halve/quarter them, toss lightly with olive oil with s&p, and roast until tender and lightly golden. I usually do a slower oven, 325 or so. Yum

                                    Or they make a lovely garnish with asparagus when quick pickled

                                    1. Morels - ragout with peas, morel, leeks, etc....

                                      Baby artichokes sautéed w/ garlic, lemon, topped w/ parmesan.

                                        1. Assuming Eggs are on the ok list, a Bisquik style Quiche would compliment..add some onion,and if you want sweet, apple and/or cut up pineapple.......or broccoli and maybe some sautéed mushrooms and peppers(red?)..or asparagus..steamed for 6-7 mins and chopped. I use Jarlsberg cheese

                                          1. A quick sautee of sugar snap peas, radishes cut in half or quarters, chopped scallions, a quick buttery white wine pan sauce drizzled over it.

                                            1. How about a cold corn salad? Corn, red peppers, celery, etc. It would be bright on the plate. A vegetable that I also enjoy is sugar snap peas and they are good raw with a dip or steamed up.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Ruthie789

                                                corn is out of season. would seem odd at an easter brunch to me. (of course there is frozen corn, but…it just seems odd). although… last sunday at the seafood market in washington, d.c., they were -- of course -- selling steamed corn with their steamed crabs (those frozen cobbettes, i am certain).

                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                  I use frozen in salads. It is something seen in Quebec with ham, in particular corn relish. It does go well together.

                                                  1. re: Ruthie789

                                                    you get me thinking….grilled ham and cheese with corn relish -- esp. a spicy one -- sounds good. i guess one needs enough cheese to "glue down" the corn, though.

                                                    ooh, gives me an idea for a ham, cheese and corn croquette (or fritter), made with some fine cornmeal, as one would make a hushpuppy. (can you tell i haven't had breakfast yet?).

                                              2. I just made the BEST veggie side dish tonight, I took it from the Trader Joes board. This will only work if you have a Trader Joes accessable.
                                                1 (or 2) head(s) of cauliflower, broken up into smallish chucks
                                                toss with olive oil, salt, parm, and Trader Joes Dukkah (you can probably find a recipe for that online if you don't have a Trader Joes nearby, it's basically a nut and spice mix)
                                                Roast at 400 untill the edges start to get dark. SO good!!! Can be served hot or room temp.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: schrutefarms

                                                  Sounds great! I'm not sure it's as Springy as I had hoped for brunch but I'm putting the recipe in my file to try it with a Summer BBQ.

                                                  Thanks so much for the suggestion.

                                                2. minted pea salad -- use good frozen peas. you can add snap peas for texture.

                                                  1. i just came across this lovely-sounding lemon tarragon pea salad recipe (in a feature about using frozen veggies) http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/lemon...

                                                    looks delicious and simple.

                                                    (ps, not contradicting your guest's assertion of an allergy, but i have never heard of a zucchini allergy.)

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                      Me either! But when someone tells you they have one, what are you going to do?

                                                      Irritates me since I think zuke carpaccio would have been perfect but she's my son's girlfriend of many years and I really love her (otherwise). ; >

                                                      1. re: rainey

                                                        yes, i just saw a beautiful zucchini "carpaccio" type salad on pinterest and twitter. here it is, grilled zucchini salad with sea salt and lemon. dead easy, & light and refreshing http://www.pookspantry.com/grilled-zu...

                                                        save it for yourself and/or a girls' luncheon! ;)

                                                    2. I just found this and think it looks so bright and pretty for spring: http://www.chow.com/recipes/10463-gre...

                                                      this one, too: http://www.foodrepublic.com/2012/05/0...

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                        Ding, ding, ding! I think we have a winner!

                                                        I got a small ton of shallots. I think I'll still halve and grill them but I'll get some small haricot and use some of my shallots in this too.

                                                        Thanks for the link!

                                                      2. i loved grilled artichokes. so easy and so good.

                                                        1. I know you are doing asparagus at dinner buy why not a totally different preperation? This came up on the WFD thread and I thought it sounded wonderful and very springy.

                                                          Shaved asparagus


                                                          1. fava beans. fresh peas and pea greens. not a veg, but strawberries are great in a savory salad.

                                                            1. Why not roasted asparagus with lemon zest. With a cheese soufflé a hint of acid may help

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: oiboy

                                                                op is having asparagus the night before so doesn't want to repeat...

                                                              2. Have you tried the "Absurdly Addictive Asparagus" recipe from the Food52 site? Always a winner although I do sometimes gild the lily by adding some caramelized shallots. You can sub toasted chopped pistachios or Marcona almonds (if feeling well-heeled) for a change up.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: KateBChi

                                                                  Thank you for the last minute save! I had been planning on grilling mine wrapped with prosciutto, but the weather is sort of colder than expected for this time of year. I even have pistachios and pancetta on hand!

                                                                2. Steamed peas with sauteed mushrooms.

                                                                  1. I'm not recommending this (it's new to me) but it sure looks interesting.

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: BangorDin

                                                                      i frequently make pea puree, but cannot stand tahini. sesame, avocado or walnut oil all are nice in there. most often i use mascarpone cheese and fresh mint or thai basil. it's lovely.

                                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                        This is more of a dip than a side dish but it is delicious, nonetheless, and always a hit. I serve it with pita chips.


                                                                        1. re: valerie

                                                                          looks like they use water/stock where i use mascarpone. adjusting the liquid amount will make the recipe thicker if you want it more spreadable.

                                                                      2. re: BangorDin

                                                                        You know, it looks really interesting as a dip and I'm intrigued by the combination of flavors but I'm not so sure one really soft food is the best compliment for another really soft food.

                                                                        Thanks for the recipe, tho. ; >

                                                                      3. Leeks in vinaigrette with a chopped egg garnish are also very springy, and could serve as a tart counterpoint to the soufflé and greens.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. How about ramps? Are you able to find those?

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                            I *wish*! Good -- if inaccessible -- choice!

                                                                            1. re: rainey

                                                                              Oh that's too bad. I'm going to look for them here at my farmers market tomorrow after Mass. You're in LA, right? Which farmers markets are close to you? I'm on the Westside.

                                                                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                I'm near the Calabasas and Encino markets but, to tell you the truth, I've got far too much to do between now and tomorrow to do any shopping at this point.

                                                                                Still, I'm encouraged to hear that they can be had in Los Angeles. I haven't seen them before but I'll look harder. ; >

                                                                          2. Not exactly a veggie dish (actually, not at all) but deviled eggs would be appropriate!!

                                                                            1. Fiddleheads speak of spring to me. Pea tendrils are also great.