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Dedicated to the notion that one of the things that’s wrong with the world is that there aren’t enough waffles in it and everyone should sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes order “one for the table”.

Amy Ephron

  

 

 

 

The Circle of Life

by Laraine Newman
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laraine_newman_cameo_lg.jpgbig3.jpg When I was little, I had absolutely no idea what Easter represented.  All I knew was it had something to do with Jesus and you got chocolate bunnies for it.  My neighbor, Rory McManus told me Jesus was always by your side.  I loved that idea. Here was a magical being who could witness all my acts of kindness and maybe I’d get a reward of some kind. I don’t know, maybe all the candy I wanted, or maybe I’d be the kind of “pretty” boys fought over.

There was so much about Easter to love. Spring for one thing. I loved that time of year because of the colors.  Spring is beautiful in Los Angeles.  Our street was endowed with bougainvillea in every imaginable variations of pink, yellow, orange, red and purple. The ritual of dying boiled eggs along with the smell of vinegar was intoxicating, and another thing that involved color.  Pleasing ones.  Pastel ones. The candy around Easter time was the best.  

Dyeing Easter Eggs: Au Natural

by Susan Salzman
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EGGS coloredWhen it comes to holidays, I do not discriminate. Any excuse to bake massive amounts of new treats, purchase unnecessary packaging, ribbons, and lovely little boxes, then gift them to the those that I love gives me great joy. Easter creates endless possibilities. We don’t celebrate Easter, but why should my kids miss out on all the creativity that the holiday has to offer?

I had been reading about naturally dyeing eggs and I was trying to find an excuse to do this intensely laborious project. When I was asked by Levi’s kindergarten teacher for some cooking project ideas related to both Passover and Easter, it took me about 2 seconds to know exactly what I wanted to do with 25 kinders. Upon doing a little more research, I turned my kitchen into an Easter egg lab. Utilizing all my pots, pans, and bowls the mad scientist in me came alive and I could not have been in a more happy place.

Simple garden vegetables; beets, spinach, carrots, carrot tops, parsley, and cabbage make wonderful, rich colors. Storing the dyes in ball jars made transporting the materials to Levi’s class effortless. I waited to add the vinegar until right before the kids placed their eggs in the dyes of their choices. If you have the time, let the eggs rest in the dye for at least 30 minutes to an hour. The longer they sit, the richer the color.

It's a Tradition: Easter Lamb

by Brenda Athanus
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easter-lamb-recipes 1395649420We always eat lamb at our house for Easter. As a child we ate lamb twice on Easter, breakfast and dinner. Walking or rather hiking through snow for half a mile to our camp on the lake for our breakfast lamb feast. Yes, it took a while as we helped our father navigate with foot braces on both legs. It was my father’s happiest place on Earth, so he pushed himself to walk that long half-mile. My mother was happy to put together a ‘lovely’ breakfast in the middle of nowhere. In recycled grocery bags, we each ‘carried in’ marinated 2 inch thick chops, 2 per person, cherry tomatoes seasoned with garlic and oregano - ready for a quick skillet sauté and the cutest ‘breakfast’ size baking potatoes. The paper grocery bags had a duel purpose, they created a fire long enough to char 2 marshmallows each before they flamed out.

The first thing once the door was unlocked at camp was to take the fuse breaker out of its hiding place and electrify the place. My sister and I ran from room to room turning on heaters to high while my mother turned on one of the ovens to bake the little potatoes as my dad set the long harvest table he constructed. My sister and I played outside on the ice-covered lake and slid on beer trays down the hill as the scent of garlic and oregano grew stronger. We knew when breakfast was close as the smell of garlic went from sharp and pungent to mellow and sweet. We were always hungry - we ate non-stop because we played non-stop.

Consider the Lilies

by James Farmer III
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lilies1Perennial bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, and lilies bring about some of springtime’s best qualities - all making for exceptional cut flowers as well. Even wintertime’s brisk and chilly climate can provide glimpses of floral beauty with Hellebores heralding the coming spring and giving the gardener a glimpse of what is to come. When all things become new again, unthawing from winter’s chill, consider lilies for an accent and spark of year to year blooms for the home and garden.

Bulbaceous and herbaceous lilies alike make fantastic additions to the garden. Planting lily bulbs in the spring ensures sprays of flowers to perfume your garden and interiors as well. Asiatic or Oriental lilies found in florists and flower markets can easily be grown in your own garden. Just think how wonderful it can be to cut ‘Casa Blanca’ lilies direct from your own garden! Hundreds of varieties in numerous sizes, colors, bloom times, and aromas can fill the garden and then vases inside.

Start with a collection of a few of your favorite colors and scents or add to a successful assortment already growing in the garden. Lasting for nearly a week as a cut flower and dousing the garden with intoxicating perfumes, lilies spice up the air and atmosphere of the gardening lifestyle.

One for the Table's Easter Sides Extravaganza

by The Editors
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It's not that Easter is really about excess, because it isn't. But we always think it's a lot of fun to have a lot of sides at Sunday dinner even if you just eat a little bit of each one...and since it's a 3-day weekend (or a 5-day weekend for some of us), we figured it was time to get cooking.

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Nora Ephron's Apricot Jello Mold

Sauteed Asparagus with Hazelnut Crumble

Brown Sugar Baked Beans

Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Hot Pepper

Jaime Oliver's Carrots

Green Beans with Toasted Almonds

Cheese Grits

Creamy Scalloped Potatoes

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Sage and Walnut Topping

Easy Macaroni & Cheese

The Grill's Creamed Spinach

Traditional Italian Easter Rice Pie

by Susan Russo
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ricepie.jpg"Hi, Mom. Can I have your recipe for rice pie?"

"You mean Nan's recipe? I've always made Nan's recipe."

"OK, then can I have Nan's recipe for rice pie?"

"What for, your ba - log?"

"Yeah, I want to do a post on Italian Easter pies."

"Ooh, isn't that nice, honey."

(silence)


"So, do you still have the recipe?"

"Yeah, first you start with -- "

"What, you found the recipe already?"

"Aaaa-y I've been makin' rice pies for so many years, I know it by heart. First, you start with 2 dozen eggs, then you add --"

How Armenians Do Easter

by Nancy Mehagian
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borekI have to admit I'm a little miffed that the Greeks seem to get all the attention for their Easter traditions. Armenians roast lamb and even dye their eggs red. My mother never baked those eggs into a loaf of bread but we did play a game with them called egg tapping, another one of those Pagan rites taken over by the early Christians. The point of the game is to break your opponent's egg without cracking your own.

One of my favorite dishes always served at Easter is Cheese Beorag, the Armenian version of Spanakopita. Our family even came up with their own version of this cheese and filo ecstasy that makes a perfect addition to an Easter Brunch. It's easy, can be made ahead of time and baked just before you are ready to serve it and I've yet to come across anyone who didn't love it and come back for more.

Deviled Egg-Hummus Spread

by Cathy Pollak
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Deviled-Egg-Hummus-SpreadI always associate deviled eggs with the holidays. I guess many people do. They are kind of the perfect passed appetizer. However, I find myself making the spread version more than the common halved lengthwise and stuffed adaptation. I like this way better and more of the egg taste we all love.

When I told my husband I was adding hummus to my deviled eggs, he told me not to. It sounded weird to him, even though he has no issue with hummus. I disagreed and felt it would be the perfect melding of flavors. 

Let's face it, trendy deviled eggs are in and these were awesome. My goal was to allow the taste of the egg and the hummus to shine through. I didn't want competing flavors.

We loved them...even the husband who told me not to make them in the first place. Win for me.

Celebrate Easter with Bunny (Buns) for Breakfast

by Sue Doeden
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bunny buns 016I made hot cross buns last week. I used a recipe from a class I took years ago that focused on breads and rolls made with yeast dough. The sweet, egg- and butter-rich buns have mashed potatoes worked into the dough. I’ve got to believe it’s the potatoes that produce a soft, moist dough. Hot cross buns are an Easter tradition in many homes.

When I was doing some research on hot cross buns, Google directed me to JustHungry, a food blog I’d never visited. There I found some cute Hot Cross Easter Bunny Buns. Made of the same dough that the author used for her hot cross buns, they were shaped with chubby little faces and long bunny ears. Best of all, the author included step-by-step photo instructions, from rolling the dough, to creating the ears  and faces.

I knew I had to try making the little bunny buns myself. With one batch of dough, I was able to create 12 Breakfast Bunny Buns. Each one came out of the oven with its own charm. The ears were long and funny, some pointing straight up, some a little bent and some a bit uneven. Their little currant eyes made them simply irresistible.

Upcoming Food & Wine Events

by The Editors
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APRIL 19, 2014 - Les Marchands 2nd Annual Santa Barbara Wine Futures Tasting

lesmarchandsMore than 50 of the hottest local wineries will gather for an exclusive tasting next door to Les Marchands at 131 Anacapa Street, which will be transformed into an indoor tasting room. Attendees have the rare opportunity to be among the first to taste and purchase special cuvees available prior to release at a 20% discount off standard retail price.

The Santa Barbara County Wine Futures Tasting will shine a light on the emerging local wine area and allow consumers and trade to secure allocations of the most dynamic and relevant producers of the region. Notable producers Au Bon Climat, Qupe, The Ojai Vineyard, as well as recent standout projects Sandhi and Tyler Winery participated in the inaugural 2013 tasting.

Tickets for the 2014 Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant’s Santa Barbara County Wine Futures Tasting are $70 for advance purchase on the Les Marchands website or $80 at the door. Noon-4pm.

 

Spring Vegetable Saute

by Evan Kleiman
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springsauteThis is what spring looks like.  Truly.  So why not make a dish that takes the best of those green, grassy, sweet flavors, adds garlic, great olive oil and a hit of salt and serve it up in one dish? The subtle beauty of all these colors of green tangled together help us understand the idea of renewal inherent in the spring holiday celebrations of Easter or Passover.

In Italy it’s called cianfotta, the all purpose dish that changes with the seasons as new vegetables appear and leave the markets.  This saute is one of my master recipes. Serve it as a side dish.  Or to make it a bit more substantial for vegetarians add a handful of toasted pine nuts or almonds.  For a one course dinner add nuts and a bit of soft or aged goat cheese.  

This recipe is a template.  You can add sliced and trimmed baby artichokes or fava beans.  You may omit the mint or use onions instead of leeks.  Some folks leave out the lettuce.  It’s up to you.

White Wine-Braised Lamb Shanks

by Joseph Erdos
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easterlambchopsIt's almost hard to believe that winter is gone and spring is actually here. The weather has been so unpredictable lately that if it wasn't for the blooming flowers and trees, we'd still think it were fall or winter. But it's the time to celebrate renewal and nothing says it more than the Easter holidays, which are just days away.

Easter celebrations vary from culture to culture and religion to religion. And then of course there's Passover. But what ties all these religions together is the presence of food and interestingly it's common to find lamb served at both a Seder and at an Easter dinner. It has symbolic ties to both Judaism and Christianity. So this year I'm making braised lamb shanks for the holiday, which is synonymous with Passover.

My Spanish-style recipe is both suitable for Passover and Easter. The lamb is braised in sherry vinegar and white wine, both of which add an acidic tang to balance the richness of the meat. Also included are garlic and onions and the spices cumin and paprika. The braising liquid is partially puréed to create a creamy gravy without the use of cream. I pair the lamb with creamed white beans and sautéed kale for a hearty holiday meal. Your family will love this meal whether you celebrate Passover or Easter.

 

Stories Below1

Peeps Chocolate Donut Nests
by Cathy Pollak

Peeps-Chocolate-Donut-Nests-from-Noble-Pig-1Easter is almost here and while many of us are planning the main meal, whether that's brunch or dinner, we can't forget about treating the kids (or adults) to something sweet for breakfast while they are hunting for those eggs. 

I'm not sure if these Peeps Chocolate Dipped Marshmallow Chicks are new this year (I haven't seen them before), but...

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Hungarian Braided Sweet Bread
by Joseph Erdos

braidbreadI finally got the urge to bake bread for the first time yesterday. I decided to make a traditional Hungarian kalács that my mother and her mother before her used to make for Easter. It can be made for any holiday, but it has the most symbolism on Easter particularly because it's made with eggs. But also if the dough is formed into a wreath it...

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Mom's Recipe for Italian Lemon Egg Biscuits
by Susan Russo

lemoncookiesMy mother was a 30-year-old new mom when she made her first batch of Italian lemon egg biscuits. She wrapped a few in cellophane and gave them to my older brother to give to his kindergarten teacher. The story goes that the teacher called up my mom begging for the recipe, claiming they were the best cookies she had ever tasted.

Since that day,...

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Creamy Scalloped Potatoes
by Sue Doeden

blender-scalloped-potatoes.jpgIn many homes on Easter Sunday, a succulent ham shank, crusted with brown sugar and mustard, is brought to the dinner table glazed and bubbling, surrounded by creamy scalloped potatoes. This will...

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Easter Asparagus: Keep it Simple by Roasting or Grilling
by Susie Middleton

asparagusI realized today that I haven’t given a lick of thought to what we’ll have for Easter dinner—nor have I set aside time to develop a new Easter side dish to post for you all on the blog. My...

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Perfect for Easter Hot Cross Buns
by James Moore

hotcrossbuns.jpgThere are many stories regarding the history of Hot Cross Buns. One interesting one comes from Alan Davidson's "The Oxford Companion to Food". He says that the Saxon invaders in Britain chomped on...

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How to Make Easter Pizza Chena
by Susan Russo

chenafinalThis week, Italian women everywhere will be knee deep in eggs, butter, sugar, and ricotta cheese -- it's time for making Easter pies. Easter, as with most holidays for Italians, is a time for...

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Spring Begins at Descanso Gardens

by Lisa Dinsmore

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