Easter Sunday Filled with Tradition

On the first day of the week, at the first sign of dawn, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
Luke 24:1-3

Chances are, most religious practices and faiths are misunderstood. This is especially true when viewed from the outside, from our particular point of view. I’ve had people say “You’re Catholic, so you’re not Christian”. The first organized Christian Faith was Catholic – Catholic means Universal. But I get what they mean. When we hear “Christian” we tend to think Protestant, Born Again or Non-Denomination. We (as a collective society) don’t think Catholic or Mormon, we think Bible Belt Southern Baptist. And that’s okay. If we went around correcting all the misconceptions about our particular faith, that’s all we’d do.

When Kiddo was a much younger kid, we hired a tutor to help him with his math. We met with the tutor in her home. I’ve never been one to arrive on time – I’m the one who is there early. I’ve never liked running through the door just in the nick of time.

Back then, Kiddo was also preparing for his First Communion. Remembering my own Catechism Instruction, I wanted to be ready. I remember wanting to know why – why do we do this and not that – why to we accept this and not that – what is the reason behind it all. Show me, teach me, help me to understand. Instead of getting answers, I was told “Because the Church says to do this or think that . . .” Because I said so is a lousy answer. It was not the answer I wanted Kiddo to hear when he asked why. So I read books – lots and lots of books that were designed to answer Why. I became a walking encyclopedia on my faith.

One of the books that I carried with me was my Catholic Bible. When the “why” books referred to a particular verse, I looked it up and read it for myself. Call it fact-checking.

Anyway, each time we arrived at the tutor’s home, we waited. There was another women in the living room, waiting for her daughter who was the student just ahead of Kiddo. Each day, we sat quietly. I read, she looked around. Finally she could not contain herself any longer. “You know, you really should try reading the real Bible – you know, the Holy One. It’s the King James Bible, written by Jesus’ brother, James.” What could I say except thank you, I’ll look into that.

There are times when correcting someone about a misconception is worthwhile. There are times when it’s a waste of breath. How could I have set her straight? Really, I ask you where would I even begin?

For most of us, Easter is a day of great spiritual meaning. For some, Easter Sunday has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with tradition. Whatever it means to you I wish you a Happy Easter. Enjoy.

Traditional Easter Supper
Honey-Glazed Smoked Ham
Cheddar Au Gratin Potatoes
Browned-Butter Glazed Carrots
Char-Braised Basil Asparagus
Fresh Dinner Rolls

Black Olives

Because it’s not a Holiday unless children have Black Olives to stick on their fingertips – making life complete

Honey-Glazed Smoked Ham
7 lb fully cooked, bone-in Smoked Ham
2 cups Water
2 tablespoons fresh Rosemary
1 Garlic Clove
1/2 cup Honey
1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
2 tablespoons Butter

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Cover a shallow roasting pan with heavy-duty foil. Place a wire rack in the roasting pan, set aside.

Trim skin off ham, leaving thin layer of fat. Score fat in diamond pattern.

Set ham, fat side up on the rack in the prepared roasting pan. Add water to pan. Cover top of ham with parchment paper, then whole pan with foil. Roast in the heated oven for 2 hours or according to instructions on ham package, until the ham reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees

While the ham cooks, strip the needles from the fresh rosemary, mince and set aside. Peel garlic, finely mince and set aside.

In a small saucepan off heat, whisk together honey, mustard, rosemary, garlic and cayenne. Set aside until ready to use.

Remove ham from the oven, remove from pan and set aside. Reserve 1/2 cup of the drippings, discard remaining drippings in pan.

Return ham, uncovered, to pan. Add half of the reserved drippings and butter to honey mixture in the saucepan. Stir, allowing the residual heat from the drippings to melt butter. Brush honey mixture liberally over ham; roast for 20 minutes, basting again after 10 minutes.

Transfer ham to a serving platter, tent with foil and let stand for 15 minutes before carving.

Pour all the drippings in the pan to the remaining glaze. Heat over medium heat until bubbly. Pour glaze into gravy boat to serve with the ham.

Cheddar Au Gratin Potatoes
6 medium Russet Potatoes
1 medium White Onion
2-1/2 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup Monterey Jack Cheese
1/4 cup Butter
1 tablespoon Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
2-1/2 cups Milk
1/2 cup Dry Breadcrumbs
Paprika for color

Heat oven to 350-degrees. Peel potatoes and slice into thin disks using a food processor or vegetable slicer. Cut enough potatoes to measure 4 cups. Place sliced potatoes into cold water until ready to use, then drain well when ready to cook.

Peel and dice onion, set aside. Grate Cheddar Cheese, reserve 1/2 cup. Set aside. Grate Jack cheese, set aside.

Heat butter in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions in hot butter until soft, about 2 minutes. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until bubbly; remove from heat.

Stir in milk and 2 cups of the Cheddar cheese and all of the Monterrey Jack Cheese. Return to heat and cook until boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute.

Drain potatoes in a colander and shake to remove excess water. Spread potatoes in an ungreased 1-1/2 quart casserole dish. Pour cheese sauce over potatoes. Bake, uncovered, 1 hour.

Mix reserved Cheddar Cheese, breadcrumbs and paprika (just enough for a nice color). Remove potatoes from oven, check for doneness. Potatoes should be nearly cooked through, almost fork tender.

Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over top of potatoes; return to oven to bake an additional 15 minutes or until top is brown, bubbly and potatoes are cooked through.

Let casserole rest about 10 minutes before serving to allow cheese sauce to thicken.

Browned-Butter Glazed Carrots
1 bunch Baby Carrots, tops intact
2 tablespoons Water
Pinch of Salt
4 tablespoons Butter
4 tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon Kahlua

Trim tops of carrots, leaving about 1 inch of the “green” intact. Wash and peel carrots. Place in a microwave safe dish. Add water and a pinch of salt. Microwave on HIGH for 3-5 minutes, until carrots are tender-crisp.

Heat empty skillet until almost smoking. Remove skillet from heat, add butter. Butter will begin to brown almost immediately. Swirl pan around and let butter become a light amber color. Add brown sugar, swirl until sugar has dissolved to create a nice glaze.

Add Kahlua, swirl pan to blend. Place carrots in pan with butter. Swirl to coat carrots, spooning the glaze over the carrots. You really want the glaze to be thick and shiny rather than have the carrots swimming in syrup. Place pan on low heat. Continue to swirl until carrots are nicely glazed and everything is hot.

Transfer to serving platter, allowing excess glaze to drip back into the pan. Serve immediately.

Char-Braised Basil Asparagus
1 lb Asparagus
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Butter
1 tablespoon Minced Garlic
1 teaspoon Dried Basil
1/2 Lemon
Fresh Basil for garnish

Rinse the asparagus and trim off the ends, leaving spears about 8 inches long. Season asparagus with salt and pepper, set aside.

In a large frying pan, heat the Olive Oil and butter to sizzling. Turn down the heat to medium, add minced garlic and dried basil. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add asparagus.

Using a broad spatula, turn the spears over from time to time until they are browned and become tender, about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the asparagus.

While the asparagus chars, cut the lemon in half. Reserve half for another use or slice into rounds for a garnish. Juice remaining half into a small bowl, set aside.

Stack basil leaves, roll tightly into a cigar-shape. Thinly slice to create small ribbons. Set aside.

Just before serving, pour lemon juice over the asparagus. The pan will spurt and sizzle. Roll the asparagus in the sizzling juice, then transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with basil and serve at once.

Fresh Dinner Rolls
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Warm Water
2 tablespoons Active Dry Yeast
2 teaspoons Sugar
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
1/4 cup Honey
1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 Egg
3-1/2 cups Bread Flour

Measure 1 cup water in a glass measuring cup. Add 2 additional tablespoons of water to the glass. Heat in the microwave to 110 degrees, about 30 seconds depending upon microwave.

In the bowl of a stand-up mixer, combine the water, yeast, sugar and oil. Mix with a paddle attachment, then allow it to rest for 15 minutes.

While the yeast mixture rests, spray a 9-inch by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper, then lightly spray the paper and set aside.

Once the yeast has proofed, switch to the dough hook to mix in the honey, salt, egg and flour.

Knead with hook until well incorporated and dough is soft and smooth. This will only take a few minutes.

Form dough into 12 balls and place on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Uncover the rolls, bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve and enjoy.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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