Monday, April 11, 2011

Easter Menu: Smoked Salmon Casserole, Easter Bunny Carrots, Egg Cradles

Easter is fast approaching and yet somehow the holiday feels incredibly late this year! The following recipes are brunch recipes but if you plan on making a big Easter dinner, I recommend either my Pot Roast or Rib Eye recipe.  I had so much fun preparing this meal!  I made most of it last night and we have been eating the leftovers all day today. My first two macaroon attempts were complete failures but this afternoon the boys and I pulled it together and came up with a macaroon we all were happy with.  Before I share my recipes I’ll share with you our typical approach to Easter, sans the “traditional” candy stuffed plastic eggs and over-sized chocolate bunnies. 
My mom was a “health nut” so even growing up I did not associate Easter with candy.  My childhood memories of Easter are of my entire family huddled around the dining room table which was crowded with my mom’s old antique gold glass coffee mugs; all which were filled with shimmering liquid color and bobbing white eggs. We would all draw pictures on eggs with crayons and dunk, swirl and dip into the many pastels and brights in front of us.  After our million eggs were dry we would take turns hiding the little treasures outside in the yard as we all would scatter and look for the goods.  I remember my dad joking, “You have to find them all kids or the lawn mower will be spitting out rotten eggs next time I mow!!” We would have an egg toss, play Frisbee and take pictures in our “fancy” Easter clothes.  I didn’t even know that there was candy to be missed, it was simply a fun day with my family.
Years later my family has created our own traditions, very similar to my childhood Easter memories. We all dye eggs together and my husband and I will hide the eggs that we have created together along with several plastic eggs filled with pennies, nickels, and dimes. We hide a few “golden” eggs that have either quarters inside or a dollar.  The kids baskets I usually fill with fun little toys that I find at the $1 store and this year a few new art supplies, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and each kid will get a small chocolate bunny. Everything is hidden in my closet and not yet assembled so on Easter Sunday I’ll take pictures of their baskets and post them later in the day or on Monday.  In years past after the baskets and egg hunts we have gone to the park with a picnic, flown kites, and played baseball.  This year we plan on heading out for bowling with friends after the morning spent with the kids. A new tradition might be born! The focus will be on fun, food, and family and I doubt the kids will even realize that the day will be lacking jelly beans and marshmallow peeps.
Now on to the food!!

Smoked Salmon Casserole

4 ½ cups small cauliflower florets
1 cup asparagus, finely diced
4 oz smoked salmon, finely diced
10 eggs
¼ cup heavy cream or coconut milk
1/3 cup chives, finely diced
1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely diced
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
Preheat your oven to 350. Steam the cauliflower for 4-6 minutes or until the cauliflower florets are tender but not mushy.  While the cauliflower is steaming, dice the asparagus. Spread the steamed cauliflower on the bottom of a 9×13 glass baking dish.  Layer on the diced asparagus.  Next layer on the smoked salmon.  In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, dill, chives and black pepper. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the veggies and salmon and back in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until the casserole is done all the way through.  Cut into squares and serve. Serves 6-7.

Easter Bunny Carrots

7 small carrots with tops still attache
2 tablespoons coconut oil or grass fed organic butter
Sea salt to taste
Preheat oven to 350. Trim the tops off of the carrots leaving about 4-5 inches remaining. Peal the carrots and wash well, making sure all the dirt is removed around the tops.  Heat the coconut oil or butter in a large skillet and sear the carrots, turning often for 10-12 minutes or until the outside of the carrots start to caramelize.  Sprinkle the carrots with sea salt and finish the carrots in the oven on a baking sheet for another 10 minutes or until tender all the way through. Double or triple this recipe for a crowd!

Egg Cradles

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
1/4 cup grass fed organic butter or coconut oil
Sea salt to taste
12 eggs
2oz prosciutto
Diced chives for garnish
Preheat oven to 350.  Mix the grated sweet potatoes with the melted butter or coconut oil and with a bit of sea salt.  Grease a muffin tin with a little more butter or coconut oil. Using your hands, press the grated sweet potatoes into each muffin cup making sure the bottom and sides of each cup are covered with grated sweet potato, press down firmly when you are covering putting in the sweet potatoes to create a little potato basket.  Bake the sweet potatoes for 25-30 minutes.  Remove and crack an egg into each muffin cup, top each egg with a sprinkle of diced prosciutto and bake for another 10 minutes or until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny.  Use a butter knife to gently remove the egg cradles. Garnish the top of each with diced chives. Makes 12 egg cradles.