Monday, April 21, 2014

A Family Affair - Potluck Easter

They say that many hands make light work. "They" would be right. With the weather steadily warming and the first buds appearing on the trees, the mood seemed right for a more casual and stress-free Easter holiday - a celebration requiring less fuss in the kitchen, and leaving more time for enjoying the outdoors. When you're looking to keep it simple, a potluck holiday is a great solution. I hope you enjoy our Easter 2014 recap. A good time (and a great mealwas had by all!

To start, a light and springy appetizer platter that we enjoyed al fresco:

Crostini with Fresh Ricotta, Sautéed & Fresh Ramps, and Pistachios
Photo: NK

Now for the How To:

Spring Crostini, Photo NK
Spring Crostini Platter
Serves 6 as a light appetizer

1 good quality crusty Baguette:
Slice it into 1/3 inch thick slices, brush with Olive Oil and a sprinkle of Coarse Salt and grill until some char marks appear. 

1 bunch of Ramps: 
Half of them chopped into 1/2 in pieces and sautéed in a little bit of olive oil before being finished with a sprinkle of salt. Slice some of the remainder of the uncooked ramps into 1/4 inch pieces, and set aside several whole ramps for a beautiful, edible garnish.

8 Oz fine quality homemade or store-bought Ricotta Cheese 
(we chose the amazing whole milk Ricotta Salvatore BKLYN via Freshdirect. (It's Martha Stewart's favorite!) Drizzle the Ricotta with Olive Oil and sprinkle with Coarse Salt and some Black Pepper.

Finely Chopped Pistachios 
Fresh Grated Parmigiana Cheese Curls
Fine Quality Fig Balsamic Vinegar or Balsamic Reduction
Honey or Truffle Honey 

To Serve: simply put it all together and let your guests assemble their own crostini! It's helpful to show a few example toasts to get them started. Voila!

Let's move on to the big Easter Feast:

All hands on deck for a delicious Easter feast, Photo: NK

Potluck Easter "Credits" & Recipes 

Ina Garten's Roasted Fennel with Parmesan, center front - by yours truly.  Recipe HERE
Minted Peas, middle (cooked with a bit of mint jelly & a dollop of salted butter),by mom.
Mashed Turnips, center left, heated with butter & some cinnamon, from Southland
Cranberry, bottom right - straight from the can, baby. 
Waldorf Salad, top left, delicious, crunchy & refreshing - by my mom-in-law. Recipe HERE
Stuffed Pork Loin with Cheese & Herbs, top right, from La Torre Pork Store of Brooklyn,cooked by mom.
Apple Sauce, top right, from the jar. 
Stuffing with Sausage, Pecans, and Green Apples, middle top, by mom. 
Creamy Horseradish Potato Salad, top left, by my sis-in-law. Recipe HERE

Bunny Cake & Easter Bread, Photo: NK
Potluck Easter may have been comparatively easy, but there was one of us who did do some majorly involved baking and prep work, and boy did it pay off. 

My sister-in-law Marjie's long awaited and UBER adorable "Bunny Butt Cake" made for the the most wonderfully whimsical and tasty dessert. Because sometimes, you're just in the mood for an adorable rabbit tush on your table. How cute is this cake?? Click HERE for the Betty Crocker Recipe. A clever and perfect execution resulted in a cake that went along great with the Italian Easter Bread that my mom-in-law brought us.

Thanks again to everyone for a great meal.

Until next year!

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