Archives for March 2012

Easter Brunch Recipe Round-Up

Easter brunch around my table usually means warm madeleines or scones, freshly-made fruit juice, and platters of eggs, potatoes and new asparagus. Young tulips are a must for dressing up the table, and if we can afford to splurge on a bottle of Prosecco to splash in the juice, we do.

It is my one chance to entertain on the long weekend, as we always head to the in-laws for the official Easter dinner, and I relish the opportunity to serve up a casual meal that gives a nod to spring. If I’m lucky, it will be warm enough this year to eat al fresco and the children can run around the yard while we kick back after the meal with coffees.

My brunch menu typically leans more toward breakfast fare than lunch simply because I’m a mother to young children – and they’ll eat anything doused in maple syrup. Okay, I’m kidding a bit, but if you’re a mother, you’ll probably agree that it is a lot easier to get a table of picky palates revved up over pancakes and scrambled eggs than a mushroom tart or asparagus soufflé.

These menu ideas are a mixture of dead simple and slightly more elaborate recipes. Hopefully you’ll find inspiration to take a risk and plan your own Easter (or spring) brunch.

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Easter Pavlovas with Lemon Whipped Cream and Vanilla-Rhubarb Compote

Written by Cheri of Kitchen Simplicity.

Pavlovas are a perfect Easter dessert for so many reasons. 1) The majority of the work can be done a couple of days before serving. 2) You can make individual servings or one large dessert. 3) You can top it with whatever variety of toppings you like – or even serve it buffet style with a variety of toppings and everyone can customize their own.

For these Easter pavlovas I decided to embrace spring head on. I spread the mini pavlovas into egg shapes and topped them with a bright lemon whipped cream and a tart vanilla-rhubarb compote. If you prefer something more traditional you can form these into a round shape to resemble an Easter basket instead.

Pavlovas might look and sound intimidating but they’re really quite simple to make. Follow the tips below for extra assurance of success.

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Understanding Egg Labels 101

Editor’s Note: With the arrival of Clara, I’m taking a short maternity blogging break. I’m excited to welcome several guest writers, among them, Katie of Kitchen Stewardship. Welcome, Katie!

It brings my heart great joy to see frolicking chickens. You may think I’m exaggerating, but the chickens at my favorite farm prefer to hang out in trees and lay their eggs anywhere but the hen house, so “frolicking” is pretty accurate.

The eggs laid by these happy chickens are truly the best in my city – a deep yellow, almost orange yolk, and so much flavor it spoils me. I find other eggs almost tasteless now that I’ve experienced the product of hens who eat bugs and grass, run around, and act like the chickens God created them to be.

I’m sure going straight to the farmer is not a realistic option for everyone, so when you’re standing in front of the egg display at the supermarket, how do you choose from among the baffling number of options presented to you?
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Weekend Links (The Food + Baby Edition)

“Always kiss your children goodnight, even if they’re already asleep.” H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

The Best Party Trick Ever: How to Make Thirty Minute Mozzarella

The following is a guest post from Andrew Wilder of Eating Rules. Welcome, Andrew!

A couple of years ago at a Fourth of July party, I pulled off one of my best party tricks ever.

Showing up with a gallon of milk in hand, I asked my friends if I could borrow their kitchen. Spying the other items in my bag — a bunch of fresh basil and cherry tomatoes — they knew I had something good in store. They eagerly let me take over.

Half an hour later, I emerged victorious from the kitchen with a platter of fresh caprese, made with still-warm mozzarella.

I’ve been using this “30-minute Mozzarella” recipe, from Ricki Carroll’s book, Home Cheese Making, for a few years now.  I’ll admit, it comes out slightly different each time (the type of milk, how quickly you heat it, and how much you stretch it will affect both the flavor and texture), but it’s always been a big hit. [Read more…]