And the holidays just keep on rolling in! Earlier in the week we had temps in the high 80’s; unbelievable for this time of year. Needless to say we loved every minute of it. Mother Nature set off a chain of beautiful springtime events. Robins are everywhere and flowers and trees are blooming. Getting into an Easter mood is no problem. Here are a few ideas to think about for your Easter or other spring celebrations.
Use light colors or pastels: pinks, blues, yellows, greens, and light purples. Construct a centerpiece of fresh tulips and daffodils in several small vases. Or, place the flowers in a vase filled with dyed eggs. Another longer lasting alternative is to use silk flowers and plastic fillable eggs to fill the vase.
Fill small baskets with edible Easter grass. This candy grass can be found at most Target and Wal-Mart Stores. Once the grass is in the baskets, add miniature chocolate eggs, plastic eggs filled with coins, or other small candies. The filled baskets can be placed at each place setting or on a side table for guests to take home. Drape pastel streamers made of ribbons or crepe paper across chairs, window frames, and even doorways to brighten up the party area. These decorations minus any bunnies or eggs can last way past Easter. Think of how much fun you can have just by changing out a few things. Or, maybe that’s just me.
Basic serving pieces are a great investment when entertaining, especially if you do it often. A set of white dinnerware to serve 4-8 is a good base to start with. Using white as a blank canvas allows for unlimited color and pattern possibilities. Watch for sales, and frequent thrift and dollar stores to pick up holiday specific pieces or items to match your theme. Inexpensive flatware in a wide range of colors and patterns can also found on eBay and Amazon.com. If you’ve recently hit the lottery or been left a large sum of money by a long lost relative, check out Horchow.
As with most holidays, a traditional meal is often served at Easter. That being said, there’s nothing wrong with adding one or two different dishes for a change of pace. Keep in mind that when you’re expecting company keep new recipes simple. This isn’t the time to channel Martha. If possible, try it before the big day to make sure no adjustments are needed. Here’s a sample menu, mixing traditional and something new and different.
Brie and Sliced Pears
Maple Glazed Salmon
Stir Fried Asparagus
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Spinach Salad w/Feta Cheese Slivered Almonds Raspberries & Raspberry Vinaigrette
Sugar Snap Peas
Fume Blanc and Pinot Noir
No Easter party is complete without dessert. This one is delicious and light, just right to complement the meal.
Shortbread Lemon Tart
¼ cup lemon juice
1 ¼ cup sugar
1 TBS grated orange peel
¼ cup butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar
½ cup ground hazelnuts (or almonds)
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1 tsp orange peel
½ cup cold butter, cut into pieces
Additional powdered sugar for dusting
For the filling; in a blender, combine the eggs, lemon juice, sugar and orange peel. Cover and blend on high until smooth. Add butter; cover and process on high just until smooth. Set aside. In a food processor, combine the flour, powdered sugar, nuts, lemon and orange peels and the butter; cover and process until mixture forms a ball.
Press pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Pour filling into crust. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on wire rack. Just before serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes 10-12 servings.