Happy Easter, for all the Easter celebrating-type peeps. I’m not religious at all, but I grew up Catholic, and went to a Catholic university, so Easter get-togethers with uni friends and their families are kind of a nice thing to do. If nothing else, it’s a super fun excuse for me to cook for a big gang, which I rarely get to do! I couldn’t decide what to make for the Easter feast, because what actually is traditional Easter food? Sure, I get the idea of ham and/or lamb, and I love me some lamb, but someone else already had the ham covered, and it was meant to be a picnic, so between the expense of lamb (not to mention two meat dishes that rhyme) and the difficulty of cooking and then transporting, I went another way.
Eggs seemed both appropriate and picnic-worthy, and I’ve never done deviled eggs before, so that was a fun project for me. I ended up going with a horseradish version to make it more fun, and they were delicious and got completely eaten — although I did learn the importance of cooking with eggs that aren’t too old. Peeling old eggs is all kinds of no fun! Here’s what I used:
A dozen hard boiled eggs
1/2 cup mayo
2 T horseradish
1 t dill weed
½ t ground mustard seed
1/4 t salt
Black pepper to taste
2 small green onions finely chopped
I used a ziplock baggie with the corner cut off to pipe the mixture into the egg whites, and garnished with a dash of paprika and more finely chopped green onion. Look, they came out pretty!
Less appropriate, but something the host was very interested in, was my spicy asian slaw. I’ve done this a few times before and it’s always been good, but this one worked extra well. The dressing is a mixture of soy sauce, plain white vinegar, sugar, salt, garlic, ginger, and some chili garlic paste to give it some heat. I play around with it till the ratios taste good, then mix in some olive oil. Before the oil goes in it also makes an excellent marinade for tofu, and I suppose other things as well. Plus, it’s vegan, yay! Here’s what else to do:
Shred 3-5 carrots
Slice 4-6 mushrooms
Shred about ½ head cabbage
Slice and quarter one cucumber. Realize at this point that a much larger container is going to be necessary, even though this happens every single time and I still always start it in the same bowl.
Chop 2-3 green onions
And then the secret weapon, toast sesame seeds to mix in, yum!
It’s best to make this a few hours before serving, so the mushrooms have time to get “cooked” by the dressing (or at least I like them that way). However, because the cucumbers tend to suck the flavor out over time, if you make it too far ahead it won’t be as good. Or you could always just add the cucumbers at the last minute. And I’m sure yellow and red bell peppers would look and taste lovely in this, except I don’t really care for them so I left it out.
For dessert, I made something kind of as a joke because the recipe I had seen looked terrifying yet delicious. It is known by the disturbing moniker of “pretzel salad,” and you can find tons of recipes online. I combined several for my version. Basically, you start with a bottom crust of crushed pretzels baked with sugar and butter.
You then add a middle layer of cream cheese and cool whip and more sugar.
For the final layer, frozen strawberries are suspended in double-strength jello.
It was surprisingly good, as one might expect for a salty-sweet-fruity dessert, but I don’t know that I’ll make it again, except maybe by request. A salad it ain’t, but at least it was quick and easy!