Easter Recipes from Rita

DO-AHEAD SPRINGTIME BRUNCH

Rita Nader Heikenfeld, CCP, CMH

TRI LAYER HERBED EGG CASSEROLE
You can layer the ingredients if you like, but even if you don't, layers will form as the casserole bakes.

Master Recipe:

1 dozen eggs, room temperature

3 cups milk

1 pound grated cheddar or your favorite cheese, shredded or cut into small dice

1 pound sausage, bacon, etc. cooked and drained (see below for add-ins)

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350.

Whisk eggs by hand or use a mixer to blend well.  Add milk and blend.  Add cheese and stir well.  Pour into sprayed or greased 9x13 pan - depending upon the size of the eggs, you will have enough to fill another small casserole, about 1 quart or so.  It will take about an hour or so, depending upon if you made it up the night before and you take it directly from the frig, etc.  Can be rewarmed in the microwave!!

Note: you can use less cheese, or none at all, if you wish

Good add ins:

  • 1 pound sausage or bacon sauteed, and drained
  • 1 pound good quality ham, cut into small dice
  • 8 ozs. sliced mushrooms, sauteed
  • Roasted red pepper strips
  • 2 shallots, sliced and sauteed
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 pound asparagus spears, sliced on diagonal and blanched
  • 8 oz or so chopped fresh spinach, sauteed or 1 box, 10 oz frozen leaf spinach, thawed and drained well, but not sauteed.
  • Zucchini, sliced thin, blanched

Note:  Good substitutions for the sausage are soy sausage and soy cheese.

Is a holiday ham on your table? If so, try one of these glazes, a little different from the norm but very good.  The glazes can be made ahead - just blend everything well.

MARMALADE HONEY GLAZE

2 cups dark brown sugar

1/2 cup grainy country mustard

1 cup orange marmalade

1/2 cup honey

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

MUSTARD PEACH GLAZE
1 jar peach preserves, about 16 oz

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon pumpkin or apple pie spice

2 teaspoons onion powder or 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes

Tips for glazing ham:

  • Wait until the ham is about 30 minutes from being done. This way the glaze won't burn due to its high sugar content.
  • Make a half recipe of extra glaze. Warm in a pan. Pass at the table for an extra boost of flavor.

FRESH BLUEBERRY SAUCE

Use fresh or frozen berries.  If using frozen, do not thaw.  Just increase cooking time.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

¼ to ½ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

2 cups blueberries

Juice and zest of one lemon

2 teaspoons cornstarch

In saucepan, cook butter, sugar, nutmeg and blueberries over low heat until mixture starts to boil and blueberries start to pop.  Meanwhile, combine lemon juice and cornstarch.  Whisk into blueberry mixture.  Cook on low until thickened.

TIPS FROM RITA'S  KITCHEN:  Freeze fresh berries unwashed  in single layer, uncovered,  on permanent baking mat and then pour into containers.  Or line a cookie sheet with foil, spray the foil, then proceed as directed.  To wash and thaw at the same time, rinse briefly under cool water to partially thaw and clean before using.

BROWN  SUGAR BROILED BACON.

Cut bacon in half.  Pat top of each piece into brown sugar, either light or dark. Shake off excess.  Broil several inches away from heat until crisp, turning once,  or bake at 375 - 400 about 20 minutes or so.

LIME CRANBERRY SMOOTHIES
2 cups cranapple or cranberry juice

1 cup orange juice

¼ cup whipping cream or fat free half & half

1 teaspoon lime juice

2 bananas, chunked up

1 cup crushed ice

Mint for garnish

Sugar to taste (only if bananas are not very ripe)

Whirl everything in blender until almost smooth.   Taste and adjust for sugar.  Serves 5-6 small portions.

BELGIAN WAFFLES
Waffles are light, leavened cousins of the ancient Communion wafer, which, like waffles, were once baked in irons and had the same honeycomb pattern.  The earliest waffle irons probably came from 13th century Germany or Holland. A Belgian waffle iron produces the deepest "pockets", creating lots of "nooks" for syrup and fruit.  Follow manufacturer's directions for preheating.  Most waffles take from 4-7 minutes to cook.  You may have to use more of a thicker batter than a thinner one since it doesn't spread as much.  A good rule to follow is to pour or spread the batter to within ¼" of the edge of the grids.  Don't open the iron until steam has subsided or ready light turns on.  Waffles can be kept warm on the oven rack in a single layer  (preheat oven to lowest setting) for 20 minutes.  Waffles freeze well.  Reheat in preheated 350 degree oven, still frozen, directly on the rack, for about 10 minutes.  Originally, Belgian waffles were made with yeast as the leavening.

2 egg whites, stiffly beaten

2 egg yolks

2 cups milk

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup Canola oil

Preheat waffle maker.  Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry.  Set aside.  Put rest of ingredients in mixer and beat on low until moistened. Increase to medium and beat until smooth.  Gently fold in whites using low speed or by hand.  Pour about ½ cup over grids.  Close and bake until golden.  Makes about 8 round waffles or 16 square, depending upon waffle iron.