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Easter best: Celebrate tradition with ham and all the sides

by Kelly Brant | March 21, 2018 at 1:48 a.m.
Devilish Deviled Eggs

Easter feasts are about tradition and celebrating the season.

We could think of no better way to do both than to share our favorite/best Easter and Easter-appropriate recipes.

Our menu:

Devilish Deviled Eggs

Slow Cooker Honey-Spiced Ham

Braised Green Onions

Roasted Radishes With Brown Butter

Pea Salad With Cheddar and Mint

Frank Miles' Jail House Rolls

Fluffy Coconut Cupcakes

Strawberry Pudding

Wine columnist Lorri Hambuchen says any of the following varietals would work well with this menu: California sparkling or Champagne; pinot grigio, rose, sauvignon blanc, light-bodied unoaked chardonnay or pinot noir.

For many it simply isn't Easter -- or a worthy get-together for that matter -- without a platter of deviled eggs. This recipe adapted from from Garden & Gun publisher Rebecca Darwin is one of the best deviled egg recipes we've tried and ranks among our most requested recipes.

Devilish Deviled Eggs

8 eggs

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard

¼ cup sriracha hot sauce

1 teaspoon rendered bacon fat OR softened butter

Salt and ground black pepper

Hot sauce, snipped chives or paprika, for garnish

Fill a large pot with 1 inch of water. Place steamer insert inside, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add eggs to steamer basket, cover, and cook 12 minutes. Immediately transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before peeling under cool running water.

Slice eggs in half lengthwise. Remove yolks to a food processor or medium bowl. Arrange whites on a serving platter.

To the yolks, add the mayonnaise, mustard, sriracha and rendered bacon fat or butter; season to taste with salt and pepper. Puree or mash until smooth. Transfer mixture to a piping bag. Pipe mixture into whites. Garnish with hot sauce, chives or paprika as desired.

Makes 16 deviled eggs.

Ham is often the main attraction at an Easter feast.

And when it comes to what type of ham, choices abound. There are smoked, cured, boneless, whole, half, bone-in, spiral cut, country, city, fresh, fully cooked, partially cooked, picnic (which is technically not a ham), and the list goes on.

How much ham to buy depends largely on whether you want leftovers. A general guide is 1/4 to 1/3 pound per person if serving a boneless ham; 1/3 to 1/2 pound for partially boned; and 3/4 to 1 pound per person for a bone-in ham.

If you're willing to sacrifice looks for flavor, a picnic ham prepared in the slow cooker is hard to beat. This recipe needs no attention or basting. Just place the ham in the cooker, pour in the seasoning and walk away -- or go to bed and let the ham cook as you sleep. You'll wake to a house filled with a delectable aroma.

Slow Cooker Honey-Spiced Ham

1 (6- to 8-pound) bone-in, cured but uncooked picnic ham (see note)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup honey

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 heaping teaspoon garam masala spice blend

Place ham, flat side down, on a roasting rack and place rack in the cooking vessel of a 5-quart or larger slow cooker. If you don't have a roasting rack, tie ham using kitchen twine, so that you'll have a way to lift the cooked meat from the cooker without it falling apart.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour mixture over ham. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours or until ham reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Note: If you prefer a true ham, this recipe will still work, but you should reduce the cooking time to about 6 hours.

Onions are rarely the star of a dish, but this one promotes them from supporting players to headliners. Leeks are also delicious using this preparation method.

Braised Green Onions

2 ½ tablespoons butter, at room temperature, divided use

1 pound green onions (about 5 bunches, or 3 dozen onions)

1 ½ teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh tarragon OR 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

Coarse salt and ground black pepper

½ lemon

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

Trim the root ends and 1 ½ inches off the green tops of the onions. Arrange half of the onions in the baking dish so the bulb ends are lined up at one end and the greens are toward the middle. Place the other half of the onions in the opposite direction, so you end up with a double layer of onion greens across the center of the dish and a single layer of bulbs at each end of the dish.

Pour in ½ cup water. Cut the remaining butter into slivers and dot it over the top of the onions. Season with tarragon (or parsley), salt and pepper. Cover the dish tightly with foil, and slide onto the middle rack in the oven. Braise undisturbed until fragrant and tender, 35 to 40 minutes.

Remove the foil from the dish, and increase the oven heat to 450 degrees. Roast the onions for 10 minutes, then shake the pan back and forth to coat the onions with the glaze that will have formed. Continue roasting until the liquid evaporates and the edges of the onions are beginning to brown, another 5 minutes or so. Squeeze over a few drops of lemon juice to taste, and serve hot or warm.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Radishes are not the first vegetable we think of in terms of roasting, but roasted is now our favorite way to eat them.

Roasted Radishes

With Brown Butter

3 bunches radishes

2 tablespoons olive oil

Coarse salt and ground black pepper

3 tablespoons butter

½ lemon, juiced

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

If the radishes still have their leafy tops attached, cut off all but ¼- to ½- inch of the tops.

Cut radishes in half, stem to root. Place radishes in a large bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Arrange radishes in a single layer, cut side down, on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast 18 minutes or until radishes are golden brown.

About 5 minutes before radishes are ready, melt the butter over medium low heat in a small saucepan. Cook, swirling pan constantly, until butter begins to turn golden brown and takes on a nutty aroma. Immediately remove from heat.

Pour butter over radishes, then drizzle with lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Pea Salad With Cheddar and Mint

3 cups frozen shelled green peas, partly thawed

1/2 bunch green onions, finely chopped

1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

2 ½ ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cut into tiny cubes (about ½ cup)

¼ cup plain Greek yogurt OR sour cream OR mayonnaise, or more to taste

Pinch ground red pepper (cayenne)

Salt and ground black pepper

4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, optional

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

Makes about 8 servings.

Frank Miles' Jail House Rolls

2 envelopes active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

1 cup mashed potatoes

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted, PLUS more for brushing dough

3 eggs, slightly beaten

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 cup granulated sugar

7 cups all-purpose flour

To make the dough: Pour yeast granules into lukewarm water and stir gently until dissolved. In a large bowl, mix together the mashed potatoes, melted butter, beaten eggs, salt and sugar. Blend in flour. Add yeast water and mix well.

Put into a large bowl and cover with a cold damp cloth. Let dough rest in the refrigerator overnight.

To prepare the dough for baking: Grease muffin tin(s). Pinch off amount of dough needed. Place dough on a slightly floured cloth or board and roll out to a 1/2-inch thickness. Brush dough with melted butter (be generous). Cut into 1-by-3-inch strips. Roll strips and put 3 in each muffin tin cup. Let rise in warm place until doubled in size, usually 1 to 2 hours. Brush tops lightly with butter. Bake at 400 degrees 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Watch to make sure they don't over-bake.

This cupcake recipe is vegan, which means it contains no eggs, dairy or other animal products. But you'd never know they're missing. They're that good.

Fluffy Coconut Cupcakes

1 ¾ cups cake flour or all-purpose flour

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup canned coconut milk

1/3 to ½ cup unrefined coconut oil, liquefied (see note)

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Coconut Frosting (recipe follows)

Shredded coconut, for decorating

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pans with 12 paper cupcake liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together coconut milk, oil, vanilla and vinegar. Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture and whisk until just combined. Do not over-mix. Fill the cupcake wells about two-thirds full with batter.

Bake at 350 for 18 to 25 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in near the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool cupcakes completely before frosting. Sprinkle frosted cupcakes with shredded coconut.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Note: To liquefy the oil, heat it for a few seconds or place the jar in a warm area of the kitchen.

Coconut Frosting

½ cup unrefined coconut oil

1 ½ to 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 to 3 tablespoons canned coconut milk

Beat the coconut oil with an electric mixer until smooth. With the mixer on low, add 1 ½ cups of the confectioners' sugar, the vanilla and 2 tablespoons coconut milk and beat until the frosting is spreadable. If necessary, add more milk and/or sugar to achieve the desired consistency. Beat on high for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.

Recipe adapted from

Just like banana pudding but with fresh strawberries. Of course, you could make it with bananas if you like.

Strawberry Pudding

48 Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies (2 packages)

1 ½ pounds strawberries, hulled and sliced, plus more for serving

2 cups milk

1 (5-ounce) box instant French vanilla pudding

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

2 cups heavy cream

Line the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with half of the cookies. Layer the sliced strawberries over cookies and around the perimeter of the dish; set aside.

In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a hand-held electric mixer.

In a separate bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk and mix until smooth.

In a third bowl, beat heavy cream to stiff peaks.

Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and gently mix to combine. Pour mixture over the cookies and strawberries. Using rubber spatula, spread to smooth. Cover with the remaining cookies. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with more sliced strawberries, if desired.

Makes 24 servings.

Recipe adapted from

Photo by Democrat-Gazette file photo
Roasted Radishes With Brown Butter
Photo by Staton Breidenthal
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Easter feast photo.
Photo by Democrat-Gazette file photo
Fluffy Coconut Cupcakes

Food on 03/21/2018

Print Headline: Easter best: Celebrate tradition with ham and all the sides


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