Reflections and Easter Favorites to Share

And so it begins. Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, the final week of Christ’s Sorrowful Passion. As we draw ever closer to Good Friday, our hearts grow heavy. But for now, we can race ahead to the joy that we know awaits us all.

As a child of simplier times, Easter holds very special memories. I don’t think a child can fully grasp the whole Christ has Risen message of Easter. What we remember are new clothes, a new hat, white shoes and an Easter Basket at the foot of the bed. We remember staying in our Sunday Best long after Mass. We remember a house bursting with our extended family. It’s that warm feeling of love that stays with us long after the candy is gone. I am grateful to God that the Easter I knew as a child my children were also able to experience. I’m sad that their children, and their children’s children might not have the same connection to tradition and faith.

Easter has changed over the years. While we still get together as a family, Hubby and I are the only remaining practicing Catholics in our immediate families. While there is still an Easter Egg Hunt at the farm, there are no little children hunting for colored eggs. And the meal isn’t a sit-down Easter Ham with all the trimmings. I do miss that.

But we’ve adapted over the years to the changing traditions. I’ve perfected dishes to share that can be placed out early and nibbled on throughout the day as people come and go. Hubby and I still hold to our traditions, and manage to work the more conventional Easter Gathering into our observation of Holy Week. While it’s not the Easter we had as children, that’s okay.

After all, the true meaning of Easter isn’t hiding eggs or slicing up that amazing ham. It’s about having faith, knowing there is a better tomorrow, heaven does exist and that we are loved beyond measure. It is about compassion and forgiveness. It is about rising up to be the best version of ourselves possible.

Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the Lord,
And make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory.

Easter Favorites to Share
Asparagus Ham Rollups
Giant Carrot Cheese Ball
Easter Lily Tea Sandwiches
Easter Bunny Spinach Dip
Pastel Easter Deviled Eggs
Easter Egg Fresh Fruit Platter

Asparagus Ham Rollups
16 Asparagus Spears, trimmed
1 medium Red Bell Pepper
8 oz Havarti Cheese
16 thin slices Deli Ham or Prosciutto
16 fresh Chives

Trim asparagus, set aside. Stem, core and slice bell pepper into 16 strips, set aside. Cut cheese into 16 strips, set aside.

In a large dry skillet over medium heat, char asparagus tips, turning as needed. Once nicely blistered, remove tips and set aside. 

In the now empty skillet, blister bell pepper strips, turning as needed. Remove strips and set aside.

To the empty skillet, add hot water. Quickly blanch chives. This will make chives pliable and easier to work with. Remove from water with a slotted spoon, pat dry.

Place an asparagus spear, red pepper strip and cheese strip on each piece of ham. Roll up tightly; tie with a chive. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Giant Carrot Cheese Ball
2 packages (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
4 slices cooked Bacon, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 cups Finely Shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese, divided
1 bunch of Curly Parsley
Ritz Crackers for serving

Place cream cheese, bacon, garlic salt, Worcestershire sauce and 1 cup of shredded cheese into a mixing bowl. Blend everything together .

Place cheese mixture on a large oval or oblong serving platter. Cover with plastic wrap, form into a carrot shape while the cheese is still somewhat soft. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

With a fresh piece of plastic wrap over the cheese, smooth and sculture into the final carrot shape. Cover the carrot with the remaining shredded cheese. Top with a bunch of parsley, slightly pushing it into the cheese ball.

Arrange crackers around cheeseball as desired when ready to serve.

Easter Lily Tea Sandwiches
1 (5.2 oz) package Garlic and Herbs Cheese, softened
3 oz Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/8 teaspoon White Pepper
48 slices White Bread
Paprika for color
2 Carrots, peeled
Green Onions for Garnish

In a small bowl, combine cheese, cream cheese, walnuts, and peppers. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.

Using a 2-1/2-inch cutter, cut 48 rounds from bread. With a rolling-pin, roll each bread round to 1/8-inch thickness.

Spread about 1 teaspoon cream cheese mixture on each bread round. Sprinkle center with paprika, and fold bottom of prepared bread round over, pinching end to seal.

Cut small pieces of carrot, and place in center of each sandwich for flower stamen. Garnish with green onion tops to form stems, if desired.

Easter Bunny Spinach Dip with Vegetables
Spinach Dip
1 (10 oz) package frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed
16 oz Sour Cream
1 cup Mayonnaise
1 package Knorr Vegetable Recipe Mix
1 (8 oz) can Water Chestnuts

Drain spinach, squeeze dry. Place spinach in a large mixing bowl. Stir in sour cream, mayonnaise, Knorr Vegetable Mix. Drain water chestnuts, finely mince. Add to the spinach dip. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Easter Bunny
1 large sourdough Bread Round (body
1 small Sourdough Bread Round (head)
1 loaf French Bread (ears)
Olives for garnish
Cream Cheese for garnish
Celery for garnish

Cut the top from the large sour dough round and hollow out to form a bread bowl for the dip.

On a large serving platter, place large hollowed out bread bow. Place smaller round above large round to create the bunny’s head. Form the eyes and nose from olives. To give the eyes and nose more depth, fill with a little cream cheese that has been colored. (I used pink for the nose, blue for the eyes). Create the whiskers from strips of celery. Use a slice of celery to form the mouth. Cut the French Bread Loaf in half to form ears. Secure pieces with small cocktail picks.

Vegetables for serving
1 bunch Asparagus, trimmed
2 Cucumbers, sliced thin
16 oz Baby Carrots

Trim asparagus. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch asparagus, then plunge into an ice bath to stop cooking process. Wrap and chill until ready to serve. Score cucumbers with a fork to create grooves in the outer peel. Thinly slice, wrap and refrigerated until ready to serve.

Arrange sliced cucumbers, bread from the body and baby carrots around the bunny as desired. Fill the hollowed body with spinach dip. If desired, additional sourdough baguette rounds may be served with the bunny for those who like bread with their spinach dip.

Pastel Easter Deviled Eggs
Deviled Eggs
10 hard-boiled Eggs
6 tablespoons Mayonnaise, more if needed
2 teaspoons Dijon-Style Mustard
2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste

Put cold eggs in large pot and cover in COLD water about 1 to 2 inches higher than the eggs. Add a halt pinch of salt and about a tablespoon of vinegar for two reasons: makes it easier to peel and keeps the eggs from cracking.

Heat on high until rolling boil. If using a gas stove, lower the heart to medium — if electric, have another range ready to go on medium heat. Continue on medium for one minute. Take of heat, cover, and set a timer for 12 minutes.

Crack eggs on the counter, but do not peel. Plunge into an ice-water bath to stop cooking process. Let eggs chill for 20 minutes, then peel. Cut eggs in half, scoop out yolk and place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. Set whites aside.

Chop yolks until fluffy and resemble bread crumbs. Add mayonnaise and mustard and mix until creamy. Mix in red wine vinegar one tablespoon at a time and season to taste. Store filling in refrigerator until ready to fill “colored” egg whites.

Colored Egg Whites
Food Coloring, desired colors
1 teaspoon White Vinegar for each color
1 cup Water for each color
Large cup or mug for each color

Mix water, food coloring and vinegar to each cup or mug – one for each desired color. Dip egg whites into dye until desired color is reached. Place whites up-side-down on a paper towel lined plate and gently pat dry. Transfer eggs to serving dish.

Fill the egg white halves with yolk mixture. Chill for several hours before serving.

Easter Egg Fresh Fruit Platter
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
22 large ripe Strawberries, or as needed
10 oz package good-quality Chocolate Chips

Note: Semi-Sweet or Milk Chocolate Chips are fine, which ever you prefer. I sometimes mix the two.

Well in advance, wash strawberries, then dry very well. Arrange strawberries on a baking rack to allow air to circulate and help dry further. If there is moisture on the berries, the chocolate will not stick, so this is very important.

Reserve about 1-1/2 tablespoons of the chocolate chips to temper the melted chocolate, set aside.Fill a saucepan about a quarter of the way full with water, bring to a low, gentle boil. Reduce heat to the lowest setting. Place top of a double boiler or large heat-proof glass bowl over the water. Make sure bowl fits tightly and that the water is below the bottom of the bowl.

Add all but the reserved chocolate chips to the bowl. Stir constantly until the chocolate chips have melted and the chocolate is smooth. Remove bowl from heat, add reserved chips to temper the chocolate. Stir until the added chips have melted and the chocolate is smooth once more.

Working with one strawberry at a time, hold the strawberry by the stem. Dip into the melted chocolate, lift and twist slightly, allowing excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Place dipped strawberry on the parchment paper. Repeat until all the strawberries have been dipped.Chill the strawberries until chocolate has set, about 15 minutes.

Fruit for the Platter
1 small Cantaloupe
4 Kiwi
2 cups fresh Pineapple Chunks
1 pint Raspberries

Cut cantaloupe in half, remove seeds. Cut each half into 2 or 3 half-moon slices depending upon size of the melon. Peel, cut into bite-size pieces and set aside.

Peel kiwi, slice and set aside. Drain pineapple chunks if in liquid, pat dry and set aside. Rinse raspberries. Pick over the berries to use the best, most firm. Let berries air-dry.

Using an oval or egg-shaped platter, arrange fruit to resemble an Easter Egg with sections of melon, berries, pineapple and kiwi as desired. Line the rim of the platter with the dipped strawberries. Serve and enjoy.

Remember, the Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards His flock

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.

2 thoughts on “Reflections and Easter Favorites to Share”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: