Easter Brunch 2016

I don’t take my Easter dinner as seriously as Thanksgiving or Christmas, but whenever there are a lot of hungry mouths at the table (14 this year), I have to make sure I have enough food, and enough of the food that particular people will/can eat, including little kids and vegetarians.

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Let’s start with some deviled eggs. Normally, my deviled eggs are an impulse recipe, but this year I followed the recipe in Dora Charles’ new cookbook. They were a hit. Several family members remarked on how good they were.

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Dr. Pepper ham. I’m not a ham fan, but for some family members, Easter wouldn’t be Easter without it. Ham should be easy to cook, but it’s always a challenge for me. This year, I got it out on time and it stayed pretty moist. Serving it on a platter with mustard greens makes it look fancier than it is.

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Mississippi Roast, on potato rolls. I’ve made this both ways now, once with Sam Sifton’s recipe using your own seasonings, and once the “official” way, with a couple packets of seasoning mixes. It’s good either way, but the “official” version is a little saltier than I prefer. I knew that going to church would keep me out of the kitchen for a stretch this morning, so a dish like this was a big help. I started it last night, and by about 6:00 this morning, it was ready to go, and I could just let it sit in the crockpot on warm.

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Roasted asparagus and Brussels sprouts. Asparagus is a good springtime vegetable, and after the terrorist attacks in Brussels this past week, the sprouts were intended as a sign of solidarity. My green vegetable for holiday meals usually rotates between peas, green beans, or broccoli, so I wanted to mix it up a bit and make sure I’m not in a rut.

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What do you even call this? The Food.com recipe I used called it an Egg Casserole. I called it an Egg Bake. My youngest son called it an Egg Strata. In any case, I wanted something that could serve as a main dish for my middle son & his wife, the vegetarians. The recipe called for sausage or ham, and I thought about making two separate dishes, one with meat and one without. But I decided to skip the meat.

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Mashed cauliflower. I don’t like cauliflower. I don’t care for the taste, and the broccoli breath and unfragrant flatulence are pretty gross. But recently, I’ve discovered that I really like it in puréed form. This too was a hit with the family.

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The main advantage of mashed sweet potatoes is that they can be prepped the night before, although they’re not as pretty as sliced candied yams. I tried a little improvisation in addition to the usual butter & brown sugar, and pecans: I added some dried raspberries and cranberries. These gave the dish a little different texture, and the raspberries in particular caught folks by surprise.

10985174_10209356528175884_1809578254505673899_n I kept dessert very simple. Instead of baking pies, I went with these peach dumpling crescent rolls, served with vanilla ice cream. The crescent rolls make for easy individual servings, and the whole thing seems to go together faster than my usual cobblers or buckles.

The typical crescent roll recipes call for some sort of lemon-lime soda, like 7Up, Sprite, or Mountain Dew. Whichever I choose, I use a Mexican version, i.e., with real sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup. It probably doesn’t make any difference, but I think the real stuff tastes better than the HFCS, so that’s how it is.

Behind the dessert is a cup of “suicide koolaid.” This one’s a mix of fruit punch, cherry, and grape, plus an extra dose of sugar. Well, it’s Easter, right? So it must be ok. There was also lemonade for the more faint of heart.

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Author: Dan Anderson

I'm an Iowa boy by choice. I love cooking and I love history, so I thought I'd put the two together.

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