All Posts In Holidays

Down-Home Comfort — Fresh Easter Ham with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 18th, 2014

Fresh ham is nothing like the boozy bourbon-soaked and smoked holiday ham or the candy-sweet spiral wonder. It’s essentially a pork roast with a bone — a rather big pork roast with a bone — but a pork roast nonetheless. It’s simply the upper hind leg of a pig, not processed or cured using salt or brine, nor smoked as most hams are. Fresh ham tastes like a really moist pork loin or center-cut pork chops. And, when prepared and roasted properly, a fresh ham is capped by an exquisite, burnished-gold piece of crispy skin. It’s the perfect marriage of a bone-in pork chop and cracklin’ pork belly. Fresh ham means down-home comfort, especially when served with roasted sweet potatoes.

How did serving ham for Easter become a custom? Mediterranean celebrations, including the Jewish Passover, traditionally call for lamb at spring feasts. However, in northern Europe, pigs were the primary protein and ham was often served instead for special meals. Pigs were slaughtered in the fall and the meat was salted, smoked and cured over the winter. The resulting hams were ready to eat in the spring. At the point when refrigeration became widely available and curing hams wasn’t a necessity, someone came up with the grand idea of cooking fresh ham. I am glad they did.

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How to Decorate Easter Eggs with Sprinkles

by in Holidays, How-to, April 17th, 2014

Sprinkles turn regular old eggs into amazing, dye-free, edible works of art, with minimal effort and maximum fun. These hard-boiled eggs bejeweled with pastel-colored nonpareils make an extra-special addition to any Easter egg hunt or Easter basket. Here’s how to make them. Read more

Easy Easter Sides

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 17th, 2014

Creamy Spring Peas with Pancetta

Fast forward to Sunday morning, when the Easter bunny has come and gone, the last eggs in the yard have been hunted and the heads of marshmallow Peeps have been nibbled off. After such a busy morning, the only thing left to do is eat. This Sunday, load up on seasonal side dishes that stack up to your family’s Easter ham. Not only are the ingredient lists oh so spring, they’re also as easy to make as it gets.

If you haven’t snatched up some in-season peas at the market yet, there’s never been a better time. Food Network Magazine’s Creamy Spring Peas with Pancetta (pictured above) combines a trio of fresh English peas, crunchy sugar snap peas and sliced snow peas with pancetta and cream.

Cooked down with white wine till soft and sweet, Creamed Vidalia Onions by Food Network Magazine are a sure brunch standout. The additions of cream and savory breadcrumbs don’t hurt either.

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A Beatrix Potter Inspired Easter Party

by in Entertaining, Holidays, April 16th, 2014

A Beatrix Potter Inspired Easter Partyby Camille Styles (photos by Kate LeSueur)

I love hosting parties with guests of all ages — they’re the perfect opportunity to get creative, explore a fun theme, and add a touch of whimsy to the decor for an event. For this year’s Easter celebration, I wanted to create an outdoor event that would be fun for kids and parents alike. I didn’t have to look further than my daughter’s own nursery to find inspiration — the illustrated works of Beatrix Potter. The English author’s collection of sweetly illustrated children’s tales provided just the right tone for my backyard bash, and her Tale of Peter Rabbit was the perfect source of cotton tailed inspiration. With fun carrot-and-ranch snacks served in tiny terra-cotta pots, homemade bunny-tail bunting, and fresh centerpieces made from garden vegetables, this was one Easter celebration that we’re pretty sure Peter himself would approve of!

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How to Rise Above Bread for 8 Days of Passover

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 16th, 2014

Salmon with Baby Artichokes

Last night marked the last of this year’s Passover Seders. If you’re celebrating, that means your first shards of matzo and bowls of matzo ball soup are behind you. But what happens between now and the big break on the eighth day? Zapping matzo pizza in the microwave may hold you over for the first couple days, but it won’t be long before you start craving something more. This year, load up on spring veggies and hearty proteins for dynamic, satisfying meals that leave nothing to miss. That way, you can make it till the end without a carb-craving meltdown — or a matzo-induced belly ache. Read more

Best 5 Easter Ham Recipes

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 15th, 2014

Roasted Fresh Ham with Cider GlazeThe beauty of a ham is that, like a Thanksgiving turkey, it’s a big-batch entree that can feed all of your holiday guests at once, so there’s no need to prepare individual servings of dinner. But also like a turkey, ham needs a bit of dressing up before it’s ready to take center stage at your Easter feast, and in most recipes that next-level addition comes in the form of a glaze. Sweet, spicy, tangy or nearly anywhere in between, glazes complement the natural richness of ham and can play to your guests’ tastes. Check out Food Network’s top-five Easter hams below to find wow-worthy recipes that are a cinch to prepare from Trisha, Melissa, Ina and more chefs.

5. Baked Ham with Brown Sugar-Honey Glaze — Made with just two ingredients — brown sugar and honey — Trisha’s fuss-free glaze tops the ham well into the cooking process, so the sugars don’t burn before the meat is cooked.

4. Ginger-Peach-Glazed Ham — Food Network Magazine recommends letting the ham chill in a ginger-spiced brine for at least 24 hours before cooking it and finishing it with a sweetened Dijon topping.

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12 Easter Ideas for Kids

by in Family, Holidays, April 15th, 2014

12 Easter Ideas for KidsWith just enough spring sun to warm their little cheeks, Easter is one of the sweetest days of the year for kids — and these are some of our favorite ways to celebrate. We’ve got surprisingly simple cookies, cupcakes, brownies and even a few sugar-free options. Here’s to a happy Easter ahead!

1. Easter Bunny Cake: Complete with coconut “fur,” this bunny cake is surprisingly simple to make (hint: It starts with a boxed cake mix!)

2. Little Lamb Pull-Apart Cupcakes: As a busy mom of three small fries, I love the idea of a specially shaped dessert I can actually make. Starting with a simple batch of 24 cupcakes, this recipe lays out exactly how to do it.

3. Giant Easter Egg Cookie: Another crowd-pleaser for busy cooks, this awesome egg can be as easy as baking a batch of store-bought cookie dough.

4. Hard-Boiled-Egg Chicken Family (pictured above): The lengthiest step in this easy creation is boiling the eggs. If you’ve got the eggs, a carrot and a few chia seeds, you can do this one in minutes.

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Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

by in Holidays, How-to, April 14th, 2014

Perfect Hard Boiled EggsDissolving little tablets of dye into vinegar-spiked water and dipping hard-boiled eggs into the bowls was a rite of passage growing up. For my own children, though, it’s a foreign experience. It’s a myth you might say, like the Easter Bunny himself. We actually ate the cooked eggs growing up, and while egg salad was never my thing, I did love eating the freshly peeled eggs with a sprinkling of salt. It’s still my favorite way to enjoy them, with my Mediterranean Tuna Salad coming in as a close second.

My girls aren’t fans of eating hard-boiled eggs, though, regardless of how they’re prepared. Because one woman can eat only so many hard-boiled eggs, we usually skip the whole ritual. This year we’re mixing things up for the Easter holiday and driving to Toronto to celebrate with friends. Egg coloring will be in full swing. The girls will get to dip, tie-dye and color away, and I’ll be ready with some of my favorite recipes to put all those leftover Easter treasures to delicious use.

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Butternut Squash and Watercress Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette — The Weekender

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 11th, 2014

Butternut Squash and Watercress Salad with Champagne VinaigretteWhen I was growing up, Passover wasn’t a holiday we celebrated with any regularity. My mom was Jewish, but she had grown up in a very secular branch of the family. Occasionally we would attend a Seder at our Unitarian church (they were very into the world religions back in the 1980s), but it was not an annual thing.

Once I moved to Philadelphia, however, I found myself surrounded by family that, while still pretty New Age and multicultural, was far more observant when it came to the Jewish holidays.

And so Passover has become a staple holiday on my yearly calendar, second only to Thanksgiving in terms of eating. The meal is coordinated by my mom’s first cousin Amy, and she distributes dish assignments at least a month prior to the meal (so that people can practice and get things just right).

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Best 5 Scalloped Potato Recipes

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 8th, 2014

Scalloped Potato GratinEaster is just a few weeks away, and while you may already know that a crowd-pleasing ham or juicy lamb chops will be the star of your spread, it’s time to focus on the all-important side dishes to round out the meal. Both simple to prepare with everyday ingredients and endlessly family friendly, scalloped potatoes are a holiday staple, and whether you stick with a classic rendition featuring cheese and cream, or dress them up with fresh vegetables or meat, they’re sure to wow guests this spring. Check out Food Network’s top-five scalloped potato recipes below from The Pioneer Woman, Bobby, Tyler and more Food Network chefs to find out how they serve this tried-and-true indulgence.

5. Scalloped Potatoes and Ham — Follow Ree’s lead and beef up big-batch scalloped potatoes by layering diced ham among thinly sliced russets and creamy Monterey Jack cheese.

4. Scalloped Potatoes with Tomatoes and Bell Peppers — After quickly broiling the fresh vegetables to bring out their natural sweetness, tomatoes, peppers and onions are baked in a rich potato casserole with a breadcrumb-Gruyere topping for an added crunchy texture and a nutty flavor.

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