1 April 2010

Celebrate Easter....with a Varied Menu



No matter how you celebrate Easter it is a special time of year to get together with family and friends and celebrate a new beginning.  Did you know that the holiday celebrations have their roots in pagan religion? This tradition particularly comes from the old European festival of “Ostara” or “Eostre” that celebrated the death of long and cold winter months and the birth of Spring and looked forward to the fertile months of summer. Its strongest association is with the egg...a symbol of birth and regeneration. Easter is a celebration of Spring and rebirth in more ways than one.  As a child I remember the joy of receiving a chocolate Easter egg from Reid's Candy Store in my home town. They no longer make the eggs but they are still in business as a tribute to the past. We celebrated by going to church, staging Easter Egg hunts, and of course eating delicious foods shared with those near and dear to our heart.


The roast lamb dinner that many of us savour on Easter Sunday goes back earlier than Easter to the first Passover. The sacrificial lamb was roasted and eaten, together with unleavened bread and bitter herbs in hopes that the angel of God would pass over their homes and bring no harm.  Christians often refer to Jesus as The Lamb of God. All traditions seem to merge on this holiest of weekends.

In North America, ham is also a traditional Easter food. In the early days, meat was slaughtered in the fall. With no refrigeration the fresh pork that wasn't consumed during the winter months before Lent was cured for Spring. The curing process was lengthy, and the first hams were ready around the time that Easter rolled around. Therefore, ham was a natural choice for the celebratory Easter dinner as a sign of a new season and new beginnings.

As with all festivals food plays an important part in Easter celebrations.  Ham and lamb are traditional foods served for Easter dinner but we have been known to have a delicious roast beef, whole salmon or turkey (if we don't still have leftovers in the freezer after the Christmas holidays). The days are longer and our markets are beginning to burst at the seams with the colours of the bountiful fruits and vegetables of the season. For those who are lucky enough to live near a farmers market as I am, we would be hard pressed not to be aware of which fruits are at the peak of their season.. Pods of fresh peas and stalks of beautifully green asparagus will cook beautifully in a sauce of lemon zest, butter and mint. This is the time to enjoy fresh rhubarb, sweet garden peas and furled fiddleheads . It is the season for escarole and a wide variety of lettuce handplucked from the garden for green salads. The delightful fragrance of chives, mint, chervil and tarragon fill the air to season your dishes. All of these tastes of Spring are bursting from our gardens, forests, markets and window boxes and will be easy to incorporate into our holiday menu. Set your table with your prettiest china, make sure you have tiny spring bouquets at each place setting, and enjoy your time together with your family and friends.

Here are some suggestions to change up your Easter menu....

Windowpane Potato Chips

Windowpane Potato Chips
 Rolo me Abelophylla with Avgolomeno
Za'atar
Spinach, Ricotta and Feta Quiches
Turkey and Trimming Pinwheels
Marinated Caprese on a Stick
Garlic Scape Vichyssoise
Asparagus Soup with Mint Pistou
Spanakopita
Crab Cakes with Red Pepper Aioli

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Rosemary-Crusted Rack of Lamb with Balsamic Sauce

Rosemary-Crusted Rack of Lamb with Balsamic Sauce
Grilled Lamb Chops with Tzatziki
Feta and Lemon-Stuffed Lamb with Potato-Parsnip Mash
Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb and Vegetables with Lemon-Herb Dressing
Herb Crusted Saddle Of Lamb With Minted Peas -Dragon's Kitchen
Pistachio Crusted Rack of Lamb - Our Kitchen
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Top Sirloin

Top Sirloin with Sauce

 Top Sirloin Roast with Chimichurri Sauce
Prime Rib with Two-Mushroom Gravy & Herbed Yorkshire Pudding
Bourbon and Brown Sugar Flank Steak with Garlic-Chive Mashed Potatoes
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Balsamic Glazed Ham with Curried Pears
Rustic Roast Pork with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Fresh Ham with Honey and Cloves - Saveur
Apricot Ginger-Glazed Ham - Saveur
Honey Butter Ham - About.com

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Bakes Herbed Stuffed Salmon

Baked Herbed Stuffed Salmon
Crispy Salmon with Risotto and Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Val's Salmon in Filo
Seafood Salmon Roulade
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Scalloped Potatoes

Chuck Hughe's Potato "Risotto"
Criss Cross Potatoes
Tartiflette
Creamy Mashed Potatoes with Chives
Potatoes Grand Mere - About.com
Fresh Herb and Pea Risotto
Spring Has Sprung Risotto
Aglaia Kremezi's Orzo Risotto with Zucchini, Dill and Feta
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Photo from Saveur - Anita Calero


Grilled Asparagus with Lemon and Chive Dressing
Crustless Zucchini Pie
 Peas and Lettuce - Saveur
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Flaky Dinner Rolls
Parker House Rolls - About.com


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Opera Cake with Edible Pansies

Strawberries and Cream Cheese Tart
Sponge Cake with Mascarpone Cream and Strawberries
Opera Cake with Edible Candied Pansies
Explosive Turtle Cheesecake
Coeur a la Creme with Raspberry and Grand Marnier Sauce
Sylvia Jurys Creme Brulee
Chocolate Pate with Mascerated Strawberries
Val's Rhubarb Cheesecake
Torta di Riso - Susan of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy
Lemon Meringue Pie - Peter at Kalofagas

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips

29 comments:

  1. So much of that looks so good I wouldn't even know what to make! I'm drooling on that lamb though.

    It's going to be ham at Mom's house this year. It looks like we just might be having some lovely spring weather to go with the day. *crosses fingers*

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  2. I love Easter Vall, all look delicious!! Have a nice and Happy Easter dear, gloria

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  3. Val, this is a beautiful post! The food and recipes you've shared inspire thoughts & memories of Easter dinner with family and friends. Love holiday dinners like these!

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  4. A beautiful and informative post! Your recipes are very tempting!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  5. Great post!! Other than the "always must be on the table" Italian traditional Easter foods, the rest of our menu is still being argued about! LOL
    xoxo Pattie

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  6. Val, very kind of you to post some suggestions for those still contemplating an Easter menu.

    Thanks for including the pie.

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  7. Thanks for all of the wonderful Easter recipe ideas! The stuffed salmon looks especially terrific!

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  8. A great write up Val...no matter how you choose to celebrate Easter one can never go hungry with all these suggestions! Happy Easter!

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  9. Wow Valli! What a fabulous post of menu items for Easter!!!

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  10. Val - You have a new blog design!! Very nice! I love the Easter buffet you set forth, especially those window pane potatoes. I've yet to try them but I love the idea.

    Happy Spring to you and your daughter.

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  11. What a great write up, Val! So many wonderful dishes to choose from. Hope you have a very happy Easter!

    P.S. Love your new look!

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  12. Everything looks gorgeous - I remember getting those beautiful eggs....
    Now I look for the beautiful lamb!

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  13. What a buffet spread.....Val, happy Easter dear friend!! You inspire me, but I have said that a million times before!

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  14. Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions, Val. I don't even know where to start. I want to try everything but the rack of lamb caught my eye. And the vibrant spring peas. Yum.

    Happy Easter to you and your family.

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  15. This is a great collection of ideas and recipes!

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  16. Love those windowpanes potatoes!

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  17. What wonderful Easter meal suggestions.
    I hope you enjoy your weekend!

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  18. What a glorious looking feast.

    Happy Easter and thanks for sharing all these wonderful dishes with us.

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  19. What a great blog post on Easter. I love all the food choices you have. I wrote a post about Easter as a kid an my memories. Check it out: http://delishhh.com/?p=772

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  20. Wow, I feel like I'm at a restaurant looking at a menu. What great choices! Those windowpane potato chips are amazing!

    Happy Easter!

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  21. Thank you for the many suggestions! I don't know where to begin...the ham looks lovely with the fresh asparagus on the side. That is a starting point for me!

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  22. Everything looks wonderful and lots of great ideas for all of us too.

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  23. Val, lovely suggestions for an Easter feast. The lamb looks particularily inviting.

    Hope you and your family have a wonderful weekend. Happy Easter.
    Sam

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  24. What a refreshing Spring-Summer template! I love the picture of the windowpane chips. So beautiful!

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  25. Oh my gosh! It all looks delicious and food does play an important part in celebrations! Thanks for all the info, very interesting! Happy Easter!

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  26. What a wonderful welcome to Spring... the rebirth of all things new. I love what you laid out...great reflections and droolicious food!

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  27. What a beautiful Easter menu... Happy Spring Valli! :)

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  28. Your chips are gorgeous! The beautiful spring flowers drew me in.I love purple and blue flowers - irises, grape hyacinths, lilacs and sweetpeas. All smell of spring and are my favourites... your post was beautiful. Happy new beginnings to you... and I love the new look of your site. Fresh!
    :)
    Valerie

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Welcome to my home. Thank you so much for choosing to stay a while and for sharing our lives through food. I appreciate all your comments, suggestions, daily encouragement and support.

Val

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