We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
Between the Bread’s Ricky Eisen gives advice for successful holiday hosting
Being in the catering business for 20-plus years will definitely make someone an expert, and that’s exactly what Ricky Eisen has become — a culinary pro. With hundreds of parties, events, and two successful businesses under her belt, it’s safe to say that when it comes to entertaining, she knows what she’s doing.
In honor of spring and Easter, Eisen has given us her tips of the trade for basket making, menu building, and decorating for the holiday. She incorporated ideas from both Cookie Panache and Between the Bread, her two businesses, and crafted her tips by reflecting on past experiences and keeping current trends in mind.
Without further ado, here are Eisen’s Easter tips:
For the Menu:
• Appetizer: Artichoke-filled baker’s purse over mesclun green with lemon-Parmesan vinaigrette.
• Entrée: Rosemary-scented lamb chops on potato gaufrette with grilled vegetables.
• Dessert: Strawberry and rhubarb tartlet topped with crème fraîche.
• Use pastels and flowers to brighten any Easter table setting. This basket-weave tabletop was created by using different brightly colored fabrics and it looks just like an Easter basket!
• Create an arrangement of different colored tulips that will make any table more welcoming. Substitute tulips for any other variety of brightly colored flowers.
• Eisen arranges bowls of candy, sweets, and jelly beans around the table. This not only adds another element of color but gives guests something to nibble on.
For the Easter Basket:
• Eisen used a gardening tin rather than a standard basket and filled it with moss for a more natural, organic feel. She placed store-bought butterflies in the moss for extra decoration and filled the basket with homemade cookies.
Entertaining on Easter: Simple Hosting Tips and Three Sample Menus
E aster is upon us in three weeks, and it is a time when many of us open our homes to friends and family. I adore entertaining on this long weekend in April because it usually brings the first really warm weather and promises of spring.
Last year I had Danny scrub down the picnic table while I squeezed fresh orange juice and made a batch of doughnuts with Noah. We served brunch on the back patio in the morning sunshine – our first al fresco meal of the season. I hope to do the same this year, although there is still -literally- two feet of snow out there, frozen solid. Cross your fingers for me.
If you’re welcoming guests on Easter weekend – or any day, for that matter – then these instant entertaining tips are for you. I’m a big believer in details, and know that even small gestures can make a big difference when receiving guests.
Following the tips, I’m sharing three menu suggestions for Easter. Whether you are planning a brunch, casual lunch or sit down dinner, you’ll find inspiration from some of my favorite dishes for entertaining.
Ten Simple Ways to Instantly Be a Better Host
Now, granted these are minor details, but that is the beauty of it – they are all completely doable. Your guests will leave knowing that they have been well cared for by an attentive host.
1. Greet guests. Yes, at the door. No, don’t send your six-year-old while you scramble around the kitchen. Your guests need to feel welcomed.
2. Start with a drink. Or at least offer one. Be it iced tea, Perrier, or a glass of wine, this is a great way to help guests feel at ease.
3. Add a seasonal decoration on the table. Keep it simple: spring flowers, seasonal fruit or vegetables, painted eggs, etc. Don’t over do it.
4. Warm plates. Keep oven at 150°F with your dinner plates inside until ready to serve. Hot plates will keep the food warm longer during the meal.
5. Change the butter dish. Please, guests don’t want to see your toast crumbs and streaks of jam. Keep the dish fresh and clean –and the butter soft.
6. Add ice. If drinks are meant to be chilled, see to it that they are.
7. Light candles. If appropriate. A sit-down evening meal, for example.
8. Assign seating. Verbally is fine, just before the meal begins. Or have the kids color place tags, but just don’t leave your guests to awkwardly place themselves. Telling them where to sit helps them to feel like they were planned for and appreciated.
9. Warm bread or buns. Ten minutes in a warm oven does wonders for the dinner rolls and makes them taste fresh. A nice crust doesn’t hurt either.
10. Keep room temperature comfortable. Dinner can be miserable if the floors are cold or the place is sweltering hot from the kitchen’s heat. Be aware of the room’s temperature (not just your own) and ask guests if they are comfortable.
Menu 1: Easter Brunch
Fruit takes center stage in this comforting breakfast menu, while bold flavors like mint, maple and cinnamon awaken the taste buds. The kids will grab a scone and their smoothie and disappear out into the garden, but grown-ups will linger over the last piece of homemade Easter bread and cups of coffee.
Menu 2: Easter Lunch
Can’t decide between brunch and lunch? This menu straddles the two, keeping things light with a fresh salad, roasted fillet of salmon, and a savory tart. My mother’s recipe for rhubarb cake rounds out the seasonal aspect of the menu.
This menu would also work well for a buffet. The salmon can be served cold and is lovey with a tartar sauce.
Menu 3: Easter Dinner
Here a classic roast chicken is paired with a less-traditional side – baked leeks. An asparagus tart adds another seasonal green, while mashed potatoes and strawberry-rhubarb pie round out the comfort food factor.
Pot-Luck? Heading out for Easter?
If you are not entertaining on the long weekend, consider baking up a batch of these simple Easter cupcakes. They’re a guaranteed crowd-pleaser for people of all ages and easy enough for to make and decorate with children.
Recipe: Caramelized Onion, Mushroom & Goat Cheese Tart
- one 9-inch tart shell, chilled (half of this recipe for Rich Pie Crust)
- 1 recipe caramelized onions
- 1 cup crumbly goat cheese, (or sometimes I use garlic & herb Boursin, which is not goat, but cow)
- 1 1/2 cups sautéed mushrooms of your choice
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line the tart shell with aluminum foil and fill half full with dried beans. Spread them around to cover the bottom. Bake tart shell for about 10 minutes or until the edges start to brown.
- Remove from oven and lift up the edges of foil to remove beans. Tart will still be slightly doughy on the bottom.
- Spread onions all over the bottom of the tart shell to cover. Add sautéed mushrooms and spread evenly over onions.
- Crumble cheese over the top of the tart. Return to oven and bake for another 15 minutes or until the bottom crust is slightly golden.
- Remove from oven and serve warm.
Do ahead: The day before, make, roll and chill the tart dough and caramelize the onions.
Are you hosting an Easter event? What’s on the menu?
Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.
Minimize your kitchen tasks.
Hosting a late morning or early afternoon meal works best with recipes that don&apost require much day-of attention, especially if you&aposll be at an egg hunt or religious service in the morning. "I have two big pieces of advice when it comes to a successful menu," says Rooney. "Plan ahead and make it simple!" She suggests anchoring your meal with overnight French toast casserole and an easy frittata, and adding fruit salad, deviled eggs, and a store-bought ham to minimize your Easter morning to-do list. If your family expects its annual must-haves—lamb, green beans, carrot cake— include them, but don&apost hesitate to update the menu with new options, too. "I do think there is something nostalgic about serving the food you remember from growing up," says Rooney. "However, make it reflect you and what you love and think of during spring. A local farmers&apos market is the perfect place to be inspired by what produce is in season and what will make a delicious entrພ, as well as side dish."
Not everyone likes cooking for a crowd, so it&aposs fine to outsource the meal if you&aposre more comfortable with that. "If you are anxious about all the cooking and would prefer to leave it to the professionals, feel free to have the meal catered," says Rooney. "I recommend ordering dishes that can be picked up in advanced and heated in the morning so everything stays fresh and your schedule can stay flexible." Set up a mimosa bar with Champagne and several different juices, add flavored syrups at your coffee station, and put out fresh mint leaves and lemon slices with iced tea for DIY drinks your guests can serve themselves.
Dot and Stripe Stamped Eggs
Stamped eggs are fabulous because you can use what you already have at home — bubble wrap and cardboard. Dye the eggs as usual, then, using a foam brunch and acrylic paint, cover the strip of either bubble wrap or cardboard, and carefully roll the egg on the bubble wrap or cardboard piece and you'll have your beautifully decorated eggs!
Dyed Wooden Eggs
Wooden eggs are so beautiful because the natural grain of the wood is visible through the fabric dye. We love a wooden egg for many reasons — it's easy to dye, can be used year after year and they never go bad! Place these on a beautiful tray and tie a small, fresh flower around each egg for a spectacularly unique look.
Color-Block Painted Wooden Eggs
These eggs are great for hiding in bushes or around the house. We painted hollow, wooden eggs using craft paint and filled them with little toys — they're a great nice alternative to candy. These are fun to mix and match, and you'll want to use them year after year.
You can see the full beautiful holiday brunch spread in the April issue of Martha Stewart Living.
Who doesn't like some goodies to take home? Offer guests COVID-smart essentials when they arrive to encourage them to practice good behavior. "In lieu of passed hors d&rsquooeuvres on trays, we&rsquore greeting guests with trays holding mini bottles of hand sanitizer and face masks," says Nass. Bonus points if the face masks are so chic your guests won't want to take them off&mdashNass offers ones that match her Chefanie table linens, so everyone can feel like part of the event.
Easter Dinner Tips
Planning Easter Dinner
Not quite sure where to begin when planning your holiday meal? This spring dinners video will not only show you some great recipes, but will also give you some decorating and centerpiece ideas to perk up your holiday table.
Nothing says Easter dinner like a succulent ham. Salty and smoky, this main attraction is the centerpiece at many Easter dinners. While there are the traditional brown sugar and spice glazes, there are also some other interesting options you might consider, such as Glazed Ham with Dijon-Pineapple Sauce, Cranberry-Glazed Ham, or Ham with Walnut Glaze.
Who can celebrate Easter without eggs!! For some, making hard-cooked eggs can be a daunting task. Check out the How to Boil an Egg video or follow these simple steps for a perfectly cooked egg every time: Place eggs in saucepan add enough water to completely cover eggs by at least 1 inch. Bring water boil cover. Remove saucepan from heat let stand 15 min. Drain eggs immediately place in bowl of ice water. Let stand until completely cooled, changing water if necessary. Perfectly hard-cooked eggs will have a firm yellow center with no greenish tinge. Hard-cooked eggs in their shells can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. Hard-cooked, colored eggs make great centerpieces or can be used as name plates for seating arrangements at the head table.
Looking for a few good deviled egg recipes to use up some of those hard-cooked eggs? Then look no further, check out these recipes as potential options for your Easter buffet table. Creamy Deviled Eggs, Easy Deviled Eggs, Easy Deviled Eggs & Ham.
Easter Dinner Menu Tips
If you are having people over, plan ahead and start early. Find recipes, such as Make-Ahead Spinach Phyllo Roll-Ups, that can be prepared in advance and frozen for up to 3 months. Then all you need to do is bake off before the guests arrive.
When planning your menu, think “variety.” Serve foods with an assortment of colors, flavors and textures.
If serving cold dips, such as Spinach Ranch Dip or PHILADELPHIA Tuscan Dip, make them one or two days ahead of time. Not only will this reduce your kitchen prep duties on the day of your holiday gathering, but the flavors of the dips will improve with the overnight refrigeration time.
Separate your sides into “make ahead” and “day of” recipes. For example, Classic Green Bean Casserole and Tracy’s Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes can be prepared as directed and refrigerated for a couple days before baking. Check individual recipes for exact instructions for finishing off the recipes in the oven.
When deciding what sides to have at your holiday meal, consider “What’s in season”. Our guide will help direct you to produce that is bountiful during the spring season. Typically when you buy produce in season, it is cheaper and will be the best quality too!
Trimming Fresh Asparagus: Asparagus spears snap off naturally where they are tough. Simply bend the spear near the bottom end, and it will break off at the right point. Or, remove an inch or so of the "woody" portion off the bottom of the stalks with a sharp knife. Check out these recipes that highlight this spring beauty: Easy Creamy Baked Asparagus, Asparagus, Tomato & Goat Cheese Salad, Cheesy Miracle Asparagus. Get more tips and recipes on our asparagus page.
Seasonal fruits not only make great desserts, but can also make beautiful springtime centerpieces for your Easter table. For a monochromatic theme, choose fruits that are of a similar color palate and place in a large bowl. For example, lemons or oranges are a warm and festive color for the season. Gather small oranges, kumquats or lemons. Arrange in a large clear glass bowl with some fresh greenery, and voila. a simple and fresh centerpiece.
50 Easter Decorating Ideas
Banish winter blahs and brighten up your home indoors and out with fresh flowers, cheery spring colors and whimsical Easter-themed touches.
Pair Peeps + Posies
Greet the season by dangling a festive floral wreath on your front door. This darling design is sure to steal your heart, mixing delicate dogwoods with textured branches and a pair of petite love birds, front and center.
Create an Adorable Egg Countdown
Create excitement for the season by creating an Easter Sunday countdown calendar out of colorful, plastic eggs. Upcycle a wicker basket from the back of your closet, and lay down faux moss as your base. Add twelve, numbered eggs to the moss and sweeten the deal by adding a small candy treat to enjoy with the passing of each day.
Cotton-Bottom Curb Appeal
It doesn&rsquot get much sweeter than this. Create a cute, cotton-bottomed door hanger using two embroidery hoops, pastel fabric and ribbon, and polish it off with pretty, faux pearl embellishments.
Bring Out the Bunny Vase
Pro tip: Keep your eye out year-round for unique finds that you can style for the spring and summer holiday season. This funky, bunny bookend is sold as a set for kids' rooms but works overtime as a whimsical vase that would look amazing as part of a Sunday centerpiece.
Layer on the Pastels
Invite light into your home by layering preppy prints, pastel hues and gauzy fabrics. It&rsquos easy for us to envision hosting Easter in this blue and white living room. The airy space sports its Sunday best with lush hydrangea arrangements, pale pink throws and Chinoiserie porcelain, galore.
Tinker With Antique Treasures
Take out your treasured spring and summer tchotchkes, and style them with colorful, fresh-cut blooms. We adore the way this vibrant display features a pair of pretty, vintage birds, glossy white pitchers and an antique milk glass vase.
Take a Modern Approach
Skip the pastels and stick to a sea of neutral hues, instead. We&rsquore obsessed with the earthy tones used to create this mossy, modern centerpiece. Opting for muted or neutral colors will give your display more of an elevated, adult quality and ensures it will coordinate with your existing and future seasonal decor.
Style With Spring Staples
Nothing says springtime like sunny yellow tulips and a nest full of robin's eggs. Set the scene for the season and recreate this festive, Easter wreath for your front door using faux tulips and supplies from your local craft store.
Wow With Whimsical Details
Infuse your coffee table or kitchen counter with Easter spirit with a fresh floral display. We&rsquore obsessed with this hydrangea arrangement that features a rustic wire basket and pastel egg base. The cute cake-stand-turned-bunny terrarium comes in at a close second.
Play Up Pastels
Play up the airy, Easter color palette by swapping out your staple terra-cotta or rattan planters with their colorful counterparts. This prickly pack dresses up the otherwise white mantel with a wash of pretty pastel color.
Try a Sunny Bunny Tablescape
Celebrate the season of sunshine by recreating this sunny bunny table display. A crisp yellow and white lattice tablecloth serves as the perfect backdrop to vintage serveware, miniature egg baskets and a handsome bunny figurine.
Brighten Your Bedside Table
Begin Easter season with fresh perspective and renewed ambition. One way to get there is by refreshing your bedroom design for spring. Toss any dark or bulky bedside accessories, and deck out your nightstand with crisp accents like this chic, white-on-white lamp and dreamy, fresh iris arrangement.
Ready to really commit to the season? Swap out simple hardware with some refined, rabbit alternatives like the brackets seen here. Trust us, all those small and subtle details add up to big style results and create a space sure to stand out from the rest.
Float Your Florals
Fill the floating shelves in your kitchen with a bounty of overflowing blooms from your garden. Create an organic and elegant display by arranging the fresh-cuts in varied vases and unique, vintage pitchers. Take note from interior designer Leann Ford and pair soft, periwinkle posies with vibrant turquoise accents to create a chic Easter appeal.
Head to the nearest craft store to recreate this darling, dangling Easter nest, ASAP. Use ribbon or twine to hang your nest from door handles, drawer knobs or wall hooks in your mudroom. We love this project because it's easy to customize to your personal style and current Easter decor, whether it's bright and cheery or subtle and sophisticated with pastels.
Mix Veggie Garden Bounty + Spring Blooms
When it comes to creating your Easter centerpiece this year, we encourage you to arrange outside the (flower) box. Bring together aromatic roses and fluffy peonies with an equally dazzling cabbage or kale bloom. These unexpected, veggie accents are ideal for Easter arrangements because they bring unique texture to the display and make a subtle nod towards rabbits and their vegetable garden stomping grounds.
Force Bulbs in Chalkboard Pots
Add a cheery pop of spring color to your foyer, living room, kitchen &mdash or anywhere. Chalkboard spray paint and inexpensive terra cotta pots are all you need. Once the bulbs have finished blooming indoors, plant them in your garden so you can enjoy their flowers for many springs to come.
With lamb and spring fruit and vegetables at their peak, it's no surprise they take centre stage on most Easter menus. With that in mind, we've taken a look at few Easter classics given a twist in the expert hands of Michelin starred chefs, where the simplicity of spring ingredients are allowed to shine.
Scottish chef Tom kitchen champions the season's asparagus while Ozzie chef Peter Gilmore showcases what happens when you let the simplicity of a selection of vegetables do the talking in his stunning salad, and the classic combination of asparagus and salmon is put through its paces by a talented young chef in our trio of starters.
Clare Smyth showcases her signature carrot lamb with the mains, alongside honey roast ham and a succulent porchetta, and don't miss out on perfecting the best roast potatoes.
Magnus Nilsson is on dessert with a delicate and seasonally inspired rhubarb and elderflower and strawberry pudding. And for all those traditionalists, there's an unmissable best simnel cake and chocolate mousse recipe.
6 Easter, Passover, and "Hey, It's Spring!" Entertaining Tips
No matter what you're celebrating this week, putting together a beautiful table (or desk, or cocktail party, or holiday meal) boils down to a few key things: Keeping it simple, highlighting what's seasonal, and incorporating something playful. You could, for example.
1. Repurpose pretty jars as minimalist vases. This is a tiny Inglehoffer mustard jar I hoard jars unapologetically, and this is the time of year I get to look smug instead of crazy for doing so. Small, interesting glass vessels are perfect for a single flowering branch or flawless bloom.
2. Use natural dyeing techniques for your Easter eggs. After working on a story on environmental contaminants for an issue of the magazine, I'm all about reducing my use of chemicals this is an easy way to start. Martha Stewart, Easter's unofficial queen, has pulled together tricks for dyeing with onion skins (for a mottled look), red cabbage (for bluish eggs), turmeric (for yellow eggs), beets (for pink eggs), and coffee (for brown eggs) click here for detailed instructions. Speaking of eggs.
3. Try Ashley Christensen's Smoky Deviled Eggs Recipe. (featuring one of my all-time favorite ingredients: pimenton, or smoked Spanish paprika, available at Whole Foods Markets and specialty stores). The greatest deviled eggs of all time are at a bar called the Dutch Goose near the Stanford campus, of course, but that recipe has been a secret for more than forty years. Check out the Goose if you find yourself in Northern California - and tide yourself over in the meantime with Ashley's recipe, which also features a rich hit of crème fraîche.
4. Fill your home with tulips. The high season for these guys is right now, which means they can be had for next to nothing at local farmers' markets (click here to find one near you). They're a particularly good flower choice if you're a pet owner most varieties of lilies, on the other hand, are highly toxic to both cats and dogs (click here for the ASPCA's full list of toxic plants).
5. Bring a sparkling wine to the holiday table. I've always felt champagne was more than a bit overrated, but over the last few years I've had several marvelous sparkling wines they pair more comfortably with food, I find, and their flavor notes are often more interesting. This season I had the chance to sample Montenisa Franciacorta Brut (about $40/bottle), a lovely wine with notes of peaches and apple which works as both an aperitif and as an accompaniment to antipasti or light appetizers. According to Alessia Antinori (whose family produces the Montenisa Brut and has been in the wine business for more than 625 years), you should plan on one bottle of wine for every five guests if you have leftovers, either re-cork or use a vacuum pump with a rubber valve stopper. A half-empty bottle will keep in the refrigerator for two days.
6. Get inspired by one of Kitchen Window's Matzo Pie recipes. The good folks at NPR are commemorating Passover this year with four tasty variations on mina, a Sephardic dish they call "a Passover-friendly, Ottoman-inflected take on lasagna" try it Turkish-style with ground beef, lamb, and crushed tomatoes, as a spanikopita with spinach, feta, and fresh dill, with a minty, lemony leek-and-asparagus filling (which can be made dairy-free for a kosher meat meal), or with Roman-inspired potato, pea, and artichoke filling with gremolata. Happy Easter, Passover, and Spring, all!
Ina Garten’s Entertaining Tips
If anyone’s a pro at holiday entertaining, it’s cookbook author and Food Network star Ina Garten . She’s the chef behind our Hanukkah menu this year, so we took the opportunity to ask her for all her best party tips — from menu planning and serving to festive decorations and music. Keep reading to learn how to pull off a stress-free holiday get-together so you can enjoy quality time with loved ones.
What are a few ways you manage to stay stress-free while entertaining over the holidays?
The key to staying stress-free (a seemingly impossible dream!) is to plan the menu really carefully. I make a list of everything I want to make, and all my guests’ preferences, and then just start crossing things off. First, can I reasonably make all these dishes in one oven at the same time? Second, can I make one dinner that everyone can eat without making an alternative dish for the person who’s allergic to fish? And third, do I really need four vegetables and a complicated first course? I’ll cross two off.
Another easy solution is to skip the first course altogether. I serve the main course first, then a wonderful ripe cheese plus a green salad with mustard vinaigrette, and finally a decadent dessert. Now I’m not sitting and eating my soup while I’m wondering how in the world I’m going to carve the meat and get everything hot to the table while my guests are waiting.
How do you decorate your home over the holidays? Any tips?
I actually keep holiday decorations to a minimum. I love lots of candles at night and a few vases of seasonal flowers, but I’d rather spend my time making a delicious dinner for friends than decorating the chandeliers with garlands of evergreens that need to be vacuumed up the very next day.
What kind of music do you play during dinner or parties?
I think music is really important for a party—it gets everyone in the holiday spirit the minute they arrive. I love the series of CDs mixed by the French Hotel Costes – they’re a combination of American, French, Moroccan music and they have a wonderful upbeat energy. During dinner, I like to play Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra quietly in the background, and then later, while we’re having coffee, I’ll play Cesaria Evora, which gets everyone going again.
Do you have a go-to cocktail you like to make?
I’m secretly known for my Whiskey Sours. Unlike cocktails in many restaurants, mine are made with freshly squeezed lemon juice, lime juice, and good Bourbon. Sometimes I serve them in chilled martini glasses, which make them even more fun. It’s the kind of cocktail that really gets a party off to a good start.
What do you bring to other people’s homes as host or hostess gifts?
My favorite gift to bring people, if I have time to cook, is my homemade salted caramels. If I don’t have time to make them, I’ll order a box of chocolate-covered salted caramels from Fran’s in Seattle to bring to the host. I want to be sure to be invited back!
Main Course Tips
Sunny Anderson: Cover your ham to keep it moist.
When cooking ham, start by brushing on half the glaze and wrapping it tightly in foil. Pour water into the bottom of the pan to help keep it from drying out. Once it's close to cooked you can unwrap it and add additional layers of flavorful glaze.
Five 5-Ingredient-or-Less Ham Glazes
I love to have fun with recipes by adding tasty twists to familiar foods. Here, ham gets five different five-ingredient-or-less glazes to suit whatever flavor profile you're hoping to achieve.
Ryan Scott: Roast your lamb in one pan with vegetables.
1-Pan Easter Lamb Roast with Root Vegetables and Harissa
I love cooking for a crowd, and this recipe makes it easy and is probably the only way I want to cook lamb. You don't get any gamey smell while roasting and having the whole meal in one pan is kinda my thing.
Also, I don't use a roasting rack, but instead pile loads of vegetables (like whole carrots, quartered rutabagas and halved parsnips). The veggies will get blistered on the bottom from the hot roasting pan and soak up all the juices from the leg of lamb roasting to medium rare-medium on top.