Joyful Easter menus
Last updated 4/5/2007 at Noon
Easter baskets, Easter bonnets and Easter brunches, lunches and dinners… what a lovely and joyful day for family and friends to share.
For cooks, this is the day to splurge on flowers for the house and table, the finest of linens and extensive, if not elaborate, menus.
A few years ago I created a series of menus that received oodles of praise, so here they are for you to enjoy this Easter season.
The preparation and serving notes are included so that everyone… cooks included… has the time to enjoy this blessed day, too!
As more and more area bakeries and supermarkets have an ever-increasing variety of convenience foods available, the cook doesn’t have to do “everything”… choose the menu, choose what you want to prepare and make arrangements now to purchase items to complete the menu.
For dessert, there would be umpteen choices. I suggest the simplest of all: Fruit, Cake and Whipped Cream Dessert. It’s easy, and delicious, and seems to be enjoyed by guests of all ages. The directions for Perfect Whipped Cream may seem unusual. It is an adaptation from Cook’s Illustrated magazine. However unusual it may seem, the method works. It was developed by the test crew at Cook’s Illustrated, who strive for perfection as assuredly as any devoted cook might.
With Easter’s most
Fruit, Cake and
Whipped Cream Dessert
Strawberries, bananas, blueberries or raspberries (or any combination)
Angel food cake or pound cake, cubed
“Perfect Whipped Cream” (recipe follows)
For the dessert, rinse and dry fruit as appropriate. Peel bananas and slice thickly. Sweeten slightly with sugar, raw brown sugar or Splenda.
Cut cake into large-ish cubes. Place cake cubes on platter; top with fruit. Frost thickly with Perfect Whipped Cream. Garnish with mint leaves and serve.
Perfect Whipped Cream
1 pint chilled heavy cream
2 tbsp. super-fine sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
Chill non-reactive (stainless steel or glass are good choices) 2-quart container and beaters for electric mixer in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
Add cream, sugar and vanilla to bowl and start beating at low speed. Beat at low until small bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and continue beating until beaters start to leave a trail. Increase speed to high and beat until cream is smooth, thick and nearly doubled in volume. If necessary, finish beating by hand to adjust consistency. Avoid over-beating, as this could cause the whipped cream to become granular and separate.
If it is necessary to prepared whipped cream in advance: Whip cream as described. Transfer to a fine sieve or strainer set over a bowl and cover. Refrigerate up to 8 hours.
Herb Roasted Leg of Lamb
Couscous with Pine Nuts and Chopped Mint
Sautee of Zucchini and Red Bell Pepper
Artichoke Hearts on Bed of Red Leaf Lettuce
Creamy Garlic Salad Dressing
Crusty French-style Bread
Butter, Olives, Pickled Crab Apples
Fruit and Custard Tarts
Notes: Day ahead set table, prepare couscous ingredients, wash and trim vegetables and salad. Remove lamb from oven and allow to rest 15-20 minutes, covered, for easiest carving.
Traditional Spring Feast
Honey Glazed Ham
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Green Peas and Tiny Onions in Cream Sauce
Chilled Asparagus Spears on Watercress
with garnish of roasted red pepper and chopped hard-cooked egg
Toasted Sesame Seed Salad Dressing
Sweet Corn Muffins
Whipped Honey Butter
Olives, Pickles, Stuffed Celery
Mixed Fruit with Lemon Yogurt Sauce, Fresh Raspberry Garnish
Notes: Make cream sauce for vegetables in advance.
Elegant Easter Supper
Roast Cornish Game Hens
Pan Sautee New Potatoes with Chervil and Sage
Carrots, Broccoli and Cauliflower
Cheddar Cheese sauce
with spring lettuce, grape tomatoes, pistachios, ripe olives
Parker House Rolls
Fruit, Cake and Whipped Cream Dessert
Notes: Make cheese sauce the day before. Carrots, broccoli and cauliflower may also be made the day ahead by blanching in boiling water 4 minutes and a deep chill in ice water until no heat remains. Drain well and refrigerate overnight in plastic bag with paper toweling at the bottom. Warm only to serving temperature.
Simply Stunning Salmon Dinner
Baked Salmon Fillet
Rice Pilaf with Almonds and Herbs
Avocado, Orange sections, Hearts of Palm on Boston Lettuce
Honey Orange and Celery Seed Salad Dressing
Sesame Seed Breadsticks
Butter, Olives, Carrot sticks
Crème Brule or Baked Custard with Caramel Sauce
Notes: Asparagus will taste fresher and cook more quickly if peeled prior to steaming. Baked Custard may be prepared the day ahead and chilled overnight.
Joyful Easter Brunch
Sliced Ham, Sage Sausage and Apple-Smoked Bacon
Sliced sautéed Red Potatoes and Red Onions
Steamed Asparagus Spears and Broccoli
(or melted butter with fresh grated lemon rind)
Hot Cross Buns, Croissants
Butter, Jam, Jelly
Pickles, Olives, Stuffed Celery
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Lemon Meringue Pie
Notes: Do preparation work for all vegetables the day ahead. Set table and items for serving the day ahead. Consider buying breads and desserts from bakery or supermarket.