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Easter is a time for families and friends to gather and observe traditions, like going to church, enjoying favorite recipes, sharing stories and participating in community egg hunts. But for the majority of Americans, this coming Easter Sunday will be the strangest in recent memory.

In coming days, the meals will be challenging. From virtual happy hours to virtual dinner parties, the way we're choosing to fight the isolation of self-quarantining has reached new heights. But virtual Easter dinners?

That's how Kim Hayes will be having Easter brunch this year with eggs Benedict, asparagus quiche and Bloody Marys — in front of her computer.

"It'll be a Zoom brunch with friends and family," she says.

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Contributed Photo / Amanda Varnell, owner of Dish T'Pass.

Zoom, a video-conferencing service once used mostly for online meetings, is now serving as an avenue for families to eat together though far apart. It's just one way people are coming up with solutions to Easter dinner as a large family gathering this year.

Elvia Piccolo will be spending Easter Sunday with her 98-year-old mother. That's it, so dinner will consist of a ham —very small, she says — along with sweet potato puree and a simple salad. Even with a scaled-back menu, she knows there will be leftovers. Such is the case for many of us this year.

"Easter is going to be different this year — that's for sure," says Amanda Varnell, owner of Dish T'Pass, a local catering company/cooking school. "But as we settle into 'social distancing' and turn our focus inward to our homes and our immediate loved ones, I think the time can be even more meaningful. Days that are not rushed by early morning alarms and jam-packed calendars can allow for us to slow down, breathe and actually take note of the beauty in the mundane."

Varnell's been a part of several conversations revolving around the idea of how to connect safely with family and friends. Zoom is one way. Facebook and its Messenger video service are two others she recommends. All are ways to "share" a meal and create an entirely new set of memories.

Catering companies and restaurants offering takeout will be busy preparing Easter dinners this year, helping you with meal preparation as the stock on grocery shelves is diminished and the waiting list lengthens for curbside grocery pickup for those hesitant to go inside.

Dish T'Pass is no different. But the company will also offer Bunny Cake kits that kids will love to help create, and kits for Resurrection Rolls that you can make yourself. The story of the Resurrection comes with each kit and will be something easily shared at your family table — even if this year it's via social media. Instructions on how to order can be found on Facebook and Instagram (@dishtpass).

"Everyone I know is planning to refrain from large gatherings and opting instead for virtual egg hunts and dinner parties," Varnell adds.

So, if you're planning on dining solo or with your partner and want to honor the tradition of Easter dinner, here are some recipes that may help to inspire.

 

Deviled Egg Potato Salad

10 eggs

6 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup yellow mustard

1/2 cup sweet pickle relish

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 stalks celery, diced

1 small sweet onion, diced

1 green onion, green top only, chopped, optional, for garnish

1/2 teaspoon paprika, optional, for garnish

Place eggs in a large pot over medium-high heat, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then cover and remove from heat. Let the eggs stand in the hot water for 15 minutes, then place the eggs in a bowl of cold water. Once cool, peel the eggs, and set aside.

Place cubed potatoes in a large pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse in cold water until cool; set aside.

Cut the eggs in half, remove the yolks and place them in a large mixing bowl. Coarsely chop the egg whites, and set aside.

Mash the egg yolks with a fork, and add mayonnaise, mustard, relish, salt and pepper; mix until combined.

Fold in hard-boiled eggs, cooked potatoes, diced celery and diced onion; mix until incorporated.

Sprinkle chopped green onion and paprika on top for garnish, cover and refrigerate until serving.

 

Parmesan Zucchini Fritters With Herbed Dipping Sauce

2 medium zucchini

1 large egg

2 ounces grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Black pepper, to taste

Herbed dipping sauce:

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 teaspoons chopped parsley

1 tablespoon fresh mint

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grate zucchini; squeeze as dry as possible with paper towels, and transfer to a bowl. Add egg, parmesan, panko, garlic and pepper; stir to combine. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of mixture onto a greased baking sheet, and gently flatten. Bake, flipping halfway through, until golden brown and crisp, 18 to 20 minutes. Serve with dipping sauce.

For dipping sauce: Combine all ingredients, mixing well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Note: Alternately, the fritters may be fried in olive or canola oil.

 

Asparagus Quiche

1 tube crescent rolls

2 teaspoons prepared mustard

1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1/4 cup butter, cubed

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon each dried Italian seasoning

Separate crescent dough into eight triangles; place in an ungreased 9-inch pie plate with points toward the center. Press onto the bottom and up the sides to form a crust; seal perforations. Spread with mustard; set aside.

In a large skillet, saute the asparagus, onion and mushrooms in butter until asparagus is crisp-tender. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; stir in asparagus mixture. Pour into crust.

Bake in preheated 375-degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Email Anne Braly at abraly@timesfreepress.com.

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