In most households a glistening baked ham takes focus at the table on Easter Sunday. For many it’s a tradition that isn’t often broken for fear of a family riot. But Easter doesn’t have to be all about ham. If you’re willing to stray from tradition and try a new and different main dish, Food Network has some great ideas for your holiday meal.
How about a rack of lamb or a roast pork loin or maybe even turkey? Lamb is actually a very popular Easter main dish in other parts of the world and pork comes in at a pretty close second. The following recipes are perfect for any Easter gathering, with flavors that bridge the changing seasons. Who knows — your family might just surprise you and love the new dish even more than the ham.
Get the Easter main dish recipes
Today is the first day of spring, which means Easter isn’t far behind. Both the season and the holiday celebrate renewal. So it’s fitting that one of the symbols of the Easter holiday is bread, for the fact that it rises from the use of yeast. Sweet yeast breads are a tradition around Easter time and can take the form of buns, rolls and even braided loaves studded with multicolored Easter eggs. These beautiful baked goods are great for breakfast, brunch or an after-meal sweet treat with coffee or tea.
You may think that baking bread is hard. Well, yes, it does take some time to knead the dough and then there’s the period when you’re waiting for it to rise, but, the end result is worth the effort. Plus if you’re only baking bread once every year, then why not just jump in and do it? Food Network has five great Easter bread recipes that are sure to make your holiday that much more special.
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Is it possible to ascribe narcissism to a foodstuff? Do ingredients have egos? Is there vanity in a vegetable? The curious world of single-subject cookbooks suggests “yes!” Broccoli, did you really need an entire book? Hemp, wouldn’t a magazine feature have sufficed? Foods on sticks, where is your modesty?
Eggs are another story. There is no egotism in an egg book, not when you consider the crucial role eggs play in nearly every aspect of cooking, from breakfast to dinner, sweet to savory. Yes, eggs deserve a book — books! And books they’ve gotten. One online source lists 405 cookbooks on the subject.
At the Food Network Library, we keep a mere half dozen, but each is so wonderful in its own way that we just had to share. Here are four favorites from past and (recent) present: the best, the most-charming and the most-beautiful egg books from Food Network’s shelves.
We thought we had done and seen it all, but the past few days have been a whirlwind of great memories. It all started Saturday night: It was our daughter Shelbi’s junior prom, and she looked as beautiful as her mom as she left to enjoy her amazing and memorable night.
As the sun came up on Easter Sunday morning, we got up and started packing for our flight to Washington, D.C., to attend the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. As soon as we landed, we were like kids on Christmas morning. We arrived at our hotel and turned in early so we would be ready to roll first thing the next day.
The car arrived promptly at our hotel at 8 a.m. Monday, and it was only then that our excitement started to turn to nerves. We were going to the White House. Not just for a group tour, but to meet the first lady as her official guests at the White House Annual Easter Egg Roll. We were also invited to host two cooking demonstrations for all of the guests, as well as the first family — that’s enough to give anyone a bubbly stomach.
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Easter brunch is one of my favorite meals of the year. Yes, Thanksgiving and Christmas are great. And my birthday is high up on the list, too. But Easter has always been special for me.
When I was growing up in Tucson, Ariz., my family and I would head up to the club for brunch, participate in some extreme Easter egg hunting (I’d always win) and then I would basically stuff my face. Homemade omelets, pounds of roasted potatoes and smoked salmon galore. You name it and I probably ate it. But let’s be honest here — the best part of brunch really has to be the desserts. There are a few in particular that stand out, but in my opinion a truly phenomenal carrot cake tops then all.
I know making a fresh carrot cake can be a little time-consuming because you actually have to grate carrots. Gasp! I know, I know. It’s tough. But trust me, it’s worth the extra prep time.
Get the recipe for Coconut Carrot Cake Cupcakes
No matter how much candy you may find in your Easter basket or waiting for you in dozens of hidden eggs, on Easter Sunday there always seems to be room for another piece of something sweet, right? This holiday, after you finish another successful dinner of roast lamb or glazed ham, celebrate creative and traditional treats by baking up a few of Food Network’s favorite Easter desserts, like Coconut-Covered Bunny Cake, Hot Cross Buns, Carrot Cake and more. Kids and grownups alike will enjoy these after-dinner indulgences, and you’ll be pleased because they’re a cinch to put together.
A go-to, last-minute dessert, Food Network Kitchens’ Easter Bunny Cake (pictured above) is a no-bake recipe that can be made in just one hour, thanks to pre-baked or store-bought cake. After building the bunny and covering it in creamy buttercream frosting and sweet coconut, embellish it with any extra Easter candy you have on hand, like licorice and jelly beans. Check out how the Kitchens assembles their realistic-looking rabbit.
A holiday staple in many homes, Easter Egg Bread is light, flaky and bursting with a refreshing light lemon flavor. Food.com’s recipe yields a golden-brown loaf that is dotted with colorful shelled eggs and drizzled with a sweet citrus glaze. Save leftover slices of bread for breakfast tomorrow and spread each with a thin layer of room-temperature butter before enjoying.
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Peeps get all the glory this month (just check out this Peep Cake), but their plain-old marshmallow cousins can get dressed up for Easter, too. We found this fun trick in the new cookbook Sugarlicious ($18; Harlequin) by Meaghan Mountford: Insert lollipop sticks into marshmallows, then submerge one marshmallow at a time in water. Blot off the excess water with a paper towel, hold the marshmallow over a plate and shake sprinkles over it to coat. Prop up in a cup or foam block to dry.
(Photograph by Charles Masters)
Oddly, my most vivid memory of a leg of lamb comes from my years of living in France and not my childhood kitchen. I was strolling in an open-air market and stopped in fascination in front of a rotisserie. There, in the midst of tables of fresh vegetables, I stood, transfixed. An enormous leg of lamb was slowly turning and was the deepest golden brown. At the bottom were various fingerling potatoes and onions that clearly had been cooked in the drippings. I honestly wasn’t sure what looked better, the meat or the vegetables.
I have been imitating that experience ever since. I save the rosemary to be mixed in with the vegetables and the cooking juices once the meat is cooked. I find that when rosemary is cooked too long, it tastes medicinal instead of herbaceous and fresh.
Get Alex’s recipe
When I was growing up, my parents really enjoyed making a big deal out of Easter. Being that they were Jewish (Mom) and Unitarian (Dad), they weren’t really interested in sharing the religious part of it, but they loved building up the mythology of the Easter Bunny and the arrival of spring. What can I say? We were a secular household that loved a reason to celebrate.
Because of this, preparations for Easter typically began weeks before the actual day. It usually started with an increase in scrambled-egg consumption as my dad began blowing eggs empty to keep the shells for decorating. Soon after, my mom would fill the Easter baskets with fresh potting soil and plant real grass in them (she was too much of a hippie to use plastic “grass”). Then, notes from the Easter Bunny would appear and my parents would claim early-morning sightings.
There would be a Saturday dedicated to coloring eggs (often with natural dyes) and an afternoon devoted to baking sugar cookies cut into the shapes of bunnies, eggs and baskets.
Finally, Easter arrived. My sister and I would wake early in order to begin the hunt for our baskets. There would be a note on the dining room table with the first hint and the race would be on. One memorable year my parents even managed to imprint fake bunny footprints all over the yard.
Before you mix your egg wash, read these tips
Almost as famed as the Thanksgiving turkey, the holiday ham is just as impressive, but far easier and quicker to cook than its winged counterpart. Easter Sunday is a little more than a week away, and if you’ll be celebrating, you probably have begun to contemplate how you’ll prepare the star of your meal, the ham. Will you save time by opting for a precooked package or purchase a raw ham and slowly bake it yourself? How about seasonings and glazes — which is best and when should you add each? What’s the proper way to slice a ham around its center bone? We have those answers and more, plus five no-fail ham recipes that guarantee classic, flavorful results every time.
What to Buy: Ready to eat as soon as they’ve been warmed, precooked hams are not a bad bet if you are pressed for time, are feeding a large crowd or simply wish to take it easy in the kitchen this year. Precooked hams can be covered with sticky, delicious glazes the same way raw hams can. Buying a fresh ham, however, allows you to trim any unnecessary fat before cooking and to control the amount of sodium in your meat.
Rubs vs. glazes, plus recipes