Easter Turned into an Epicurious.com Freak Out

I know I promised not to rely on epicrack.com (I mean epicurious.com). But, I just couldn’t help myself when creating our Easter brunch. With the exception of one recipe, everything we made was based in part or wholly on a recipe from that infernally wonderful site.

My sister and I started the planning with a nod to the Southern cuisine. (Primarily because my mother requested that I make a shrimp and grits recipe she just loves.) But, it ended up being a hodge-podge of spring. And, isn’t that what Easter is all about? We, in the Northern climes, dress in absurdly spring-like clothing while shivering down to our boots. We gorge ourselves on chocolate eggs and jellied beans. We look forward to a bunny bringing us eggs. Just smoosh anything spring into this holiday festival.

Our brunch menu (as usual) was excessive. I’m going to share the recipes that I actually made and captured in pictures. The links are the actual recipes on epicrack. The ones below are my modifications.

  • Cornbread muffins with maple butter
  • Shrimp and grits (no pics, so no recipe review.. but it’s a good one)
  • Roasted pepper and asparagus egg bake (my mom and sister did this one)
  • Baked ham with mustard glaze (it’s ham with a glaze)
  • Beet salad
  • Asparagus salad
  • Fruit salad with lime and yogurt dressing
  • Cookies, cheese cake, and coffee cake (I never make dessert so, no pics of this)
  • Cocktail: Gin and grapefruit juice (and, as we all know, I’d never make a cocktail out of gin… this was all Emily… all of the drinkers loved it)

Cornbread Muffins with Maple Butter

Maple butter

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 T pure maple syrup (preferably grade B)

Muffins

  • 1 C yellow cornmeal
  • 1 C unbleached all purpose flour
  • ¼ C sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • ¼ t salt
  • 1 C buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 5 T unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly

For maple butter

Using electric mixer, beat butter in medium bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in maple syrup until well blended and smooth. Can be made up to a week ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

For muffins

Preheat oven to 375°. Butter 12 regular (⅓-cup) muffin cups. Sift cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk and egg in another medium bowl; whisk in melted butter. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients; stir just until incorporated (do not overmix). Divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups. Bake muffins until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 15 minutes (muffins will be pale). Cool on rack 10 minutes. Serve with maple butter.

Results

Corn Muffins

Yes, those are egg-shaped plates, decorated specifically for Easter.

This is a pretty easy cornbread muffin recipe, but you could make it even easier if you used a box mix. I know, I know… how horrible! But, if you’re in a rush, a mix is pretty quick and the muffin is nothing to write home about. The butter, on the other hand, is awesome. I tried to put it in a pretty mold with a bird, but it didn’t quite come out that well. No worries, the taste made up for it.

Beet Carpaccio with Goat Cheese and Mint Vinaigrette

  • 12 2-inch beets, trimmed
  • 1 C crumbled soft fresh goat cheese (about 5 oz)
  • 2 T minced shallot
  • ⅓ C unseasoned rice vinegar
  • ⅓ C chopped fresh mint
  • ¼ C olive oil
  • 1½ t sugar
  • ¼ C chopped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 350°. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place beets on sheet (if using both light- and dark-colored beets, place them on separate sheets to prevent discoloration). Sprinkle beets lightly with water. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until beets are tender when pierced with fork, about 40 minutes. Cool on sheet. Peel beets. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Place in resealable plastic bag; chill.)

Using cheese slicer or knife, slice beets very thinly. Slightly overlap slices on platter. Sprinkle with cheese, then shallot, salt, and pepper. Whisk vinegar, mint, oil, and sugar in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over beets. Sprinkle with chives.

Results

So, after we were halfway through making this, Em and I looked at each other and said, “We should have gotten golden beets as well.” Just didn’t think about it until we were placing them on the platter. The golden beets would have made a nice contrast to the dark beets. And, probably wouldn’t have been quite such a mess.

Also, next time, not doing the chives in chopped format. I’ll make them long and lean for decorative purposes only.

Beets on a platter

Asparagus, Green Onion, and Cucumber Salad

Dressing

  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 2 t red wine vinegar
  • ½ t Dijon mustard
  • ½ t coarse kosher salt
  • ¼ t freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ C extra-virgin olive oil

Salad

  • 2½ lbs medium asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 bunches green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1 T fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 3 T spring greens, chopped
  • 1 T fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 T fresh mint, chopped

For dressing

Whisk first 5 ingredients in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Can be made a day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature and re-whisk before using.

For salad

Fill large bowl with lightly salted ice water; stir until salt dissolves. Cook asparagus in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain, reserving 3 cups cooking liquid. Transfer asparagus to bowl of salted ice water to cool. Place green onions in another large bowl; pour hot reserved asparagus cooking liquid over onions and let stand until cool, about 30 minutes. Drain asparagus and green onions well. Transfer onions to clean kitchen towel and squeeze dry. Asparagus and onions can be made a day ahead. Wrap separately in several layers of paper towels, then enclose in resealable plastic bags and refrigerate.

Combine green onions, cucumbers, and herbs in mixing bowl. Add dressing; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange asparagus on platter. Spoon cucumber mixture over and serve.

Results

This is a whole lotta asparagus. I even cut down from the original recipe. We had seven adults, and we still had tons and tons of leftovers. Seriously, who eats this much asparagus? The dressing is good with the cucumbers, but I found the soggified green onions in boiling water unnecessary, to say the least.

Asparagus and cucumber salad

I guess there’s just so many better ways to serve asparagus—especially in the spring.

Fruit Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing

  • ½ C plain yogurt (I used whole… full of fat yumminess)
  • ¼ C fresh lime juice
  • ¼ C honey
  • 1 t grated lime peel
  • 2 C diced peeled cantaloupe
  • 2 C diced peeled honeydew melon
  • 2 C seedless red or green grapes
  • 2 C diced peeled cored pineapple
  • 1½ C diced peeled papaya
  • 1 C halved hulled strawberries

Whisk first four ingredients in small bowl to blend; set dressing aside. Combine remaining ingredients in large bowl. Cover dressing and fruit separately and chill until ready to serve, up to 6 hours.

Mix dressing into fruit. Let stand 15 minutes to blend flavors.

Results

Fabulous and easy. Not enough yogurt to make me sick, but enough to give it a bit of creamy tartness. Obviously, you can use whatever fruit you have on hand. Two cups isn’t a lot, so this is a great recipe if you regularly buy pre-cut fruit (instead of a whole melon, for example).

Fruit Salad

So, that’s it. Our Easter blow-out, brunch style. Happy spring!

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  1. #1 by Emily on 4.12.2012 - 6:05 pm

    I should also point out that in addition to all of the dishes that were just listed, we also had an Italian deli meat and olives plate…it’s a tradition; and a smoked salmon and bagels plate with traditional accompaniments…cucumber, red onions, capers and cream cheese. Two types of cream cheese. I would concur on the overkill/abundance statement.
    Recipewise, the asparagus and cucumber dish had an excellent flavor. As an improvement, I would chop the asparagus up to mix in with the cucumber “relish” topper. I think that it wold be far more successful.

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