Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Planning Your Easter Menu

I love celebrating any holiday that involves delicious food, but Easter holds a special place in my heart (and stomach) because it marks the beginning of Spring. Although Easter arrives late this year and Toronto hasn't seen many sunny days in 2011 yet, knowing that Easter is only a few days away reminds me that warm weather is just around the corner as well! When planning an Easter menu I keep those same cheery thoughts of Spring in my mind to find my inspiration. After a long, dark, and cold winter, Springs lively colour palette and fresh flavours couldnt be more warmly received. Bold vivid colours, bright flavours, and a selection of dishes as abundant as the many flowers who's buds we'll soon see sprouting from the trees and ground are what I think of when I think of an Easter menu. Whether you celebrate Easter with a large potluck or an intimate dinner, my Easter menu options are perfect for any Easter celebration! Not only do many of the recipes mimic the colour palette of spring, they are also simple, with many of them giving you the option of making the dish in advance.

I like to think light when coming up with my sides and starters for Easter. After months and months of indulging in comfort food, having a selection of light snacks, veggies, and salads is the only route I want to go come April. I like to have a well rounded selection of sides when entertaining so I try to choose at least one "starch" option to make sure my guests leave feeling satisfied, at least one vegetables side, and at least one salad. Below I have provided a few options from each section. All of these sides may be prepared the day before serving to keep you stress-free come Easter Sunday.

In my family we always look forward to eating my Oma's delicious Ginger Ale Glazed ham for Easter, but over the years we have happily introduced other protein options in addition to Oma's infamous ham. Pulled pork is a great option for those who like pork but may not be a fan of ham, this recipe also allows you to make the star of your dish up to a day in advance. For those that can't eat red meat, my Maple Glazed Salmon the perfect sweet and savory option. Don't forget to whip up some hot Cheddar Bacon and Chive Biscuits to serve alongside your entree!

What's Easter without a sweet finale? My squares, cakes, and biscotti are sure to please any sweet tooth, but are especially handy when transporting your desserts to a friend or family members home. If you're having a more intimate gathering my Lemon Ricotta Crepes with Berry Icewine Sauce are a guaranteed show stopper.

I like to freeze fresh herbs and edible flowers inside of ice cubes to add a special touch to punch, soda, and even plain ol' water. It's a super simple little touch that everyone will notice!

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