by Julie Badger Jensen
With the lengthening of days, Spring arrives. It comes with the scent of lilacs, soaring golden butterflies, piles of strawberries fresh from the garden, and young asparagus, mushrooms, or watercress growing along the riverbanks. Many consider it to be nature’s most glorious season . . . refreshing the spirit with sweet-smelling air and delicate buds.
It is a time of rebirth . . . a time to rejoice as we find meaningful ways to celebrate Easter and help us grow in love and appreciation for the Savior. If we approach the season with enthusiasm and thankfulness, children will learn to love the holiday for the right reasons. We can remind them of the symbolism of rolls that “rise” and eggs, chicks, and bunnies which represent rebirth.
The scent of hyacinths mingles with wonderful aromas from the kitchen as we gather for Easter Brunch. Bouquets of nodding tulips, violets and primrose brighten the table and a menu as fresh as spring itself is welcome.
Ham and Egg Squares seem the perfect choice. Delicious and traditional, this dish can be prepared the day before and popped into the oven Easter morning. Overnight caramel pecan rolls will melt in your mouth . . . amazingly simple. Three wonders of Spring . . . luscious sweet strawberries, mellow mushrooms and willowy asparagus spears grace the table with the true tastes of Spring. Served in their simple form, these dishes leave you free to “smell the flowers”, take a walk in the woods, or visit with family and friends. Choose from two festive make-ahead desserts . . . an Easter Basket Cake or clair Eggs. If a Brunch does not fit your schedule, simply substitute baked ham for Ham and Egg Squares for an Easter Dinner.
Feel the joy as you celebrate together AROUND THE TABLE in a spirit of love for the Savior and His priceless gifts to us.
BAKED HAM AND EGG SQUARES
Scrumptious blend of flavors
Make a day ahead
24 slices square sandwich bread
1 / 2 cup butter
1 1 / 2 cup ground ham
1 / 4 cup onion, chopped
1 / 2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 tsp. mustard
3 cups milk
Watercress for garnishing
Remove crusts from bread slices and lightly butter both sides. Mix ground ham, onion cheese and mustard thoroughly. Spread filling on 12 slices of bread. Put “lids” on bread squares. Place squares in a greased 9 x 14″ pan.
Beat together eggs and milk. Pour over squares in pan. Refrigerate overnight. In the morning, bake at 300 degrees for one hour.
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
Heat the soup and sour cream together over low heat, stirring constantly. Spoon sauce over individual ham and egg squares. Garnish with watercress. Makes 12 squares.
Look for tight heads and
hardly any woody stem
2 lbs. fresh asparagus, ends trimmed
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Cook asparagus in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain. Rinse asparagus under cold water. Drain well. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Serves 6.
BUTTERSCOTCH BUNDT PAN ROLLS
Sticky, sweet & delicious
18 to 20 Rhodes frozen rolls
1 (3 oz.) pkg. butterscotch pudding (not instant)
1 / 2 cup brown sugar
1 / 2 cup chopped pecans
1 / 2 cup melted butter
Arrange frozen rolls in a greased Bundt pan. Sprinkle pudding, brown sugar and pecans over rolls. Drizzle butter over all. Cover with damp towel and let rise overnight or about 12 hours. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool 10 to 20 minutes before inverting to a serving plate.
Red, ripe and ravishing
Serve with stems in their simple form
Plan on several per person
1 qt. strawberries
1 cup sour cream
1 cup brown sugar
Dip strawberries in sour cream and then brown sugar . . . Enjoy!
2/3 cup red vinegar
2/3 cup salad oil
2 small Bermuda onions, sliced and separated into rings
2 tsp. salt
4 tsp. parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp. prepared mustard
2 Tbs. brown sugar
2 lbs. whole mushrooms, cleaned
Combine all ingredients except mushrooms in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add mushrooms and simmer for 5 minutes. Chill and serve.
Will likely become a tradition
1 cup water
1 / 2 cup butter
1 cup flour
In saucepan, bring water and butter to boil. Add flour all at once and stir vigorously with wooden spoon over low heat until mixture leaves pan and forms ball (about 1-2 minutes). Remove pan from heat. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating vigorously after each addition until smooth. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet, allowing room for expansion. Shape with a spatula into “egg” shape. (Makes 8-10). Bake in 400-degree oven for about 30 minutes or until puffed and golden. Remove and cool on wire rack.
1 6-oz. pkg. Vanilla Instant Pudding
2 cups milk
1 / 2 pint whipping cream, whipped
Make pudding as directed on package using only 2 cups milk. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Gently blend with whipped cream.
To fill, cut horizontally with sharp knife removing lid. Scoop out any soft dough. Fill shells generously. Replace lids. Frost the lids with a chocolate frosting of your choice. Decorate as you wish or garnish with a small edible flower.
(Note: Shells and filling can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Fill the shells the day of serving.)
EASTER BASKET CAKE
Colorful, fast & fantastic
1 pkg. yellow or devil’s food cake mix or cake mix of your choice.
3 1 / 2 cups frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
4 cups flaked coconut
Green food coloring
Yellow food coloring
Prepare cake mix as directed on package. Bake in a well-greased 10″ bundt pan. Cool. To remove, loosen edges with a knife and turn cake upside down to resemble a basket.
Tint coconut: Place 2 cups coconut in a plastic bag. Mix 1 / 2 tsp. milk or water with a few drops of green food coloring. Secure bag tightly and shake until evenly coated. Repeat above steps for making yellow colored coconut.
Frost cake with whipped topping. Press yellow coconut on sides of cake to resemble straw basket. Sprinkle green coconut over top of cake.
Make handle by bending a spring branch and inserting ends into top of cake at opposite sides. Garnish with jellybeans and small chocolate eggs. Store cake in refrigerator. May also be adapted to individual cup cake baskets.
2005 Meridian Magazine. All Rights Reserved.