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Easter in the garden


Last updated 4/5/2007 at Noon

One of the nice things about living in San Diego County is the warm weather during the Easter season, which makes it pleasant for outdoor dining. My brother’s in-laws are having an al fresco Easter lunch in their beautiful backyard filled with trickling streams and arbors with trailing flowers. It would be nice to have that, but if you are like me and have an average-sized backyard with nothing extraordinary to speak about, then it takes a little more work to create a festive atmosphere.

Start with a green lawn and build from there. I bought a white canopy last year at Rite Aid that works well over tables, but tables in the yard with no covering can also create a nice Easter meal setting. If you have a patio table already, great! If you have to purchase one, long plastic collapsible tables can be found at Wal-Mart in various sizes: 24”x48”, 20”x48” and 33”x33”.

Plastic disposable tablecloths are handy and come in a variety of colors – try lavender or yellow for a pastel springtime effect. Plastic tablecloths (54”x102”) are sold at Major Market.

Cover your table with the pastel plastic table covering, then place potted white Easter lilies or colorful tulips at either end of the table. For the centerpiece a yellow or lavender hat with a rim filled with white daisies makes an inexpensive and spring-like arrangement.

For napkin holders with an Easter flair, take colorful three-inch plastic Easter eggs and break apart. Stuff one end of a folded paper napkin in the large end, then place the small end of the egg in front to make a Easter napkin holder. (See photo illustration.)

If you want hassle-free cleanup, use plastic plates and cups. Major Market carries plastic Solo brand plates in a variety of colors and also has plastic cups.

Ham is a traditional Easter entrée and nothing jazzes up a ham more than raisin sauce. Connie Perdew has a recipe for a marvelous “Spiced Raisin Sauce” that she has been making for 50 years. Connie said that she originally found the recipe in a Sunset Magazine cookbook and has modified it slightly.

“If the ham is a little dry, it gives it some moisture,” she explained, “and the raisins sweeten it up and give it a little punch.”

Connie’s family loves the sauce, but she admits that some of her children’s spouses aren’t as infatuated with it. “It takes a bit getting used to,” she said.

Spiced Raisin Sauce

(Makes 3 cups)


1/4 cup butter

2 cups water

1/4 cup vinegar

2 tsp. dry mustard

3 tbsp. flour

1/3 cup brown sugar (packed)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. cloves

1 cup seedless raisins


Combine butter and one cup of water, vinegar and mustard.

Bring to a boil. Stir in flour, brown sugar, salt and spices into mixture. Then, add the raisins and cook slowly over low heat for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve hot over ham.


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