Spring & Easter

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 they are sure cute. I imagined them sitting on a nest of chocolate and thought baked donuts would be the perfect perch.

My kids eyes lit up when they walked in and saw these. I had to fight them off while I photographing as they wanted to just dig in and try them. I don't blame them.

The brown Peeps are chocolate mousse-flavored and very yummy. The chicks have also been pre-dipped in milk or dark chocolate.

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peepstreeMy adopted home town, Bethlehem, PA calls itself the Christmas City, a title that, in fact, it shares with a number of other cities named not only Bethlehem but Santa Claus (Arizona) and Jolly (Kentucky). But there is another title that belongs to this city alone: Bethlehem, PA is the home of the Peep.

Living in Bethlehem means that just about all of your holidays will be celebrated in the shadow of the Peep. Want to see a movie at the city’s only indie theater during Christmas week? First you’ll have to wend your way around a fifteen-foot- tall tree made entirely of green Peep chicks. As for New Year’s Eve, you can celebrate by watching a giant (85 pound) yellow Peep drop, as fireworks go off in the background. Of course, Easter is the academy-award season of the Peep, and who will ever forget the local paper’s front-page coverage of the Passion-Week diorama in which all roles were played by Peeps?

Bethlehem, PA is the site of JustBorn, where the iconic Easter candy came into its own. Sam Born, the company’s founder, moved his candy manufacturing and retail business from Brooklyn, NY to Bethlehem in 1932. In 1953, JustBorn acquired the Rodda Candy Company, “known for its jelly bean technology.” Even more important, Rodda also produced, “a small line of marshmallow products that interested the JustBorn family.”

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deviledeggsWhat's Easter without Easter eggs? Hide them. Roll them. And, best of all, eat them. Of the many dishes associated with Easter, deviled eggs have always been high on my list. Traditional deviled eggs are delicious but with some adventuresome spices, hardboiled Easter eggs take center stage on this festive occasion.

Our fingers stained blue, red and yellow, my sister and I loved dyeing and decorating Easter eggs. Our parents would hide the eggs around the house and outside. I'd race against my sister, each of us hoping to find more than the other.

Ultimately when we had delivered the eggs back into the kitchen, our mother turned our colored eggs into deviled eggs with a simple recipe: peel off the shells, cut the eggs in half and remove the yolks. Chop up the yolks, add a bit of mayonnaise, season with salt and pepper and spoon the mixture back onto the egg white halves.

When were kids those flavors were good enough. But for my adult palate, deviled eggs need spicing up. With experimentation, I discovered that doing something as simple as adding cayenne or Mexican chili ancho powder gives mild-mannered eggs a mouth-pleasing heat. Sweeten the flavor up a notch by stirring in finely chopped currants or borrow from Indian cuisine and mix in curry powder that has first been dry roasted in a sauté pan.

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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 --"

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