published Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Side Orders: Plan Easter dining out now

Several restaurants in town will be exploding with Easter flavors on Sunday. So, if you're planning on eating out, call now to make reservations. Tables fill up quite quickly.

Broad Street Grille at The Chattanoogan: The buffet tables will be brimming with Easter offerings, many with a hint of tastes from the Big Easy -- Cajun Bloody Mary shrimp, mini muffaletta sandwiches and Creole smoked catfish sashay alongside Creole mustard-crusted lamb, blackened catfish, jambalaya pasta with shrimp and crayfish, Creole Caesar salad and chicken and andouille gumbo. There also will be separate stations for waffles, omelets and apricot-glazed ham. Save room for a trip to the popular chocolate fountain with dippers such as sweet fresh strawberries and Rice Krispies squares. Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Price: $35 adults and $18 for children under 12. Reservations: 424-3700.

TerraMae Appalachian Bistro: Enjoy a three-course Easter brunch surrounded by the charm of the historic Stone Fort Inn. Begin with a choice of breads and deviled eggs, then move onto the first full course of soup, salad or maple-bourbon salmon. Second-course choices are short ribs, duck confit, pecan-plank stuffed trout or braised lamb shanks, each served with a selection of side dishes. The final course is the sweetest: warm strawberry fritters with lemon cream, coconut stack cake or chocolate brownie s'mores with hot fudge sauce. Specialty cocktails will also be available for $5 each. Price: $35 adults, $13 for 12 and under. Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Reservations: 267-7866.

Chattanooga Choo Choo: Take your little bunnies and hop on board the Choo Choo for a gourmet selection of Easter favorites, starting with appetizers including baked brie with fresh berries, hickory-smoked ham roulade with pineapple cream cheese and deviled eggs. There will also be a variety of salads, from vegetables to ones made with seafood, fruit and chicken. Featured entrees include steamship round of beef, chicken picatta with lemon and capers, rosemary lamb stew, fried chicken and smoked ham with apple glaze. A tremendous dessert buffet rounds out the meal. There also will be a special buffet for kids only. It all happens beneath the Grande Dome from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Price: $27.95 adults, $23.95 seniors 65 and up and $13.95 for 12 and under. Reservations: 308-2481.

Bluff View Art District: Enjoy Easter in the Art District with brunch at Back Inn Cafe. Offerings on the special menu include Benton's country ham with eggs Benedict, French toast with strawberry compote, spring veggie frittata, sesame-crusted tuna ahi, shrimp and grits, free-range chicken breast, filet with lump crab stuffing, lobster bisque, grilled salmon Caesar salad and much more. Prices are a la carte. Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Reservations: 265-5033.


What food is sold the week before Easter more than any other? Most likely it's eggs. We dye them, boil them, devil them, stuff them, chop them ... you name it. And, according to the American Egg Board, the versatility of eggs takes them well beyond breakfast. In fact, the chef's hat, called a toque, is said to have a pleat for each of the many ways you can prepare eggs, or so says the Egg Board.

We associate eggs with Easter, though, because eggs were adopted as a symbol of Christ's resurrection. But even before that, eggs were a part of springtime festivals to welcome the sun's rising from its long winter sleep.

For a while, we were hearing that eggs were bad for you, being a contributor to high cholesterol. But in recent years, eggs' image has improved. According to figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, eggs now have 14 percent less cholesterol and 64 percent more vitamin D than before.

And, the Egg Board says, we can eat one egg a day and stay within current cholesterol guidelines. This is even more true if you limit the number of high-cholesterol foods you have during the day.

According to Incredible Egg.org, eggs are loaded with protein which directly affects muscle mass, something we all need as we age. They also have antioxidants, which offer a number of health benefits and have been touted as a possible preventative of diseases ranging from cancer to Alzheimer's. All that in one little egg. And they just have 70 calories apiece.

There's one particular egg dish I love: quiche. In any form. There are so many ways to prepare it and it's adaptable to many different ingredients. Would I call it the "kitchen sink" of egg dishes? Possibly.

If you don't have Swiss cheese, you can use cheddar. If you don't have bacon, use ham or visa versa. Even chicken. You can add spinach, broccoli, green peppers or other veggies. But the one thing you can't leave out or make a substitution for is eggs.

Mini Quiches

Crust

1 cup flour

3 ounces cream cheese

1/2 cup butter (no substitute)

Filling

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 to 1/2 cup finely diced country ham

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

Dash pepper

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/2 cup Swiss cheese or white cheddar (or combination of both)

For the crust, mix the flour, cheese and butter together. Chill for 1 hour. Roll into 12 balls, each for 1 crust.

For the filling, sauté the onions in the oil. Cool. Add the ham, cayenne pepper, sour cream, salt and pepper. Taste to check for seasoning levels. Add egg and cheese. Mix to combine.

Shape little crusts in 12 mini-cupcake tins. Add filling. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

Note: This recipe doubles and triples easily. Any leftover dough may be frozen for other uses. The quiches freeze well, too. Bake, let cool, then put it in resealable freezer bags. Let it thaw then reheat in aluminum foil.

Contact Anne Braly at abraly@timesfreepress.com.

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