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Easter Made Easy
By Susan Nye – Around the Table
Are you tired of holiday dinners that take
a week to prepare? You know the kind.  By the time your guests arrive, you’re so
stressed out that you can hardly think straight. And by the time dinner is served,
you’re exhausted and ready for bed.

It doesn’t have to be that way. No, I’m not suggesting you make reservations.
After all, there’s nothing like being home for the holidays. Why not declare a
potluck and share the work? Or simplify? Or do a little bit of both?

I fell in love with Italian cooking when I was just a little kid. At the time, the only
thing I knew about Italian food was spaghetti, veal Parmesan, chicken cacciatore
and pizza. I thought Italian food was all about big kettles of tomato sauce that
simmered away for hours. By the time I was in high school or maybe it was
college, I figured out that there was a bit more to the story. That’s when I
discovered veal saltimbocca, tiramisu and a few other interesting dishes. Several
years later I visited Italy and realized there was a whole lot more.

So now you’re asking, “What does Italian cooking have to do with making
Easter easy?

Everything. Italian cooking is all about fresh ingredients, simply and beautifully
prepared.  Simple dishes exquisitely cooked with fresh ingredients; that’s the
solution to your Easter dilemma.

New Hampshire is a long way from sunny Italy. Here the ground is covered
with snow and frozen mud. The first little yellow crocuses may have popped out
of the ground during the recent heat wave but it is still too early to find much
fresh, local produce. I don’t care. For Easter, I’ll be scouring the market for fresh
ingredients. Even if the strawberries and asparagus are grown in California or
Florida, they are a welcome sign that spring and summer are coming.

Here are a few suggestions for an elegant, easy and delicious Easter:

To Start:

As soon as one of your guests asks. “Can I bring anything?” Without even the
slightest hesitation, answer, “Yes! Thank you! An appetizer would be great.”

The Main Course:

Three simple dishes. Grilled butterflied leg of lamb, roasted asparagus with
walnuts and lemon roasted potatoes.

You can and should marinate the lamb ahead of time. Let the lamb marinate in
the refrigerator overnight and then hand the grilling off to your spouse, brother-
in-law, uncle, father or a willing friend.

The asparagus and potatoes take minutes to prep and not much longer to cook.
And if someone wanders into the kitchen offering to help, accept. While the grill
is heating up, pop the potatoes in the oven. Once the lamb is off the grill and
resting, throw the asparagus in the oven. If you are like me, you will need two
timers, one for the potatoes, the other for the asparagus. The only way I can
juggle cooking, chatting and laughing at the same time is to use a timer or two or

Sweet Finale:

Wash and slice some ripe, red strawberries. If you like, toss them in a tablespoon
or two of Grand Marnier or Cointreau. If you must, add a little honey or sugar.
Serve the berries with vanilla ice cream. It’s a holiday so don’t skimp on the ice
cream. And one final, tip: decorate your table with chocolate bunnies. They’re
great to nibble on with your strawberries! Again, buy the good stuff but take a
good, long walk to offset the indulgence.

That’s it, that’s all, except to say relax, eat, laugh, be merry … and bon appétit!   

Grilled Lamb
Lemon Roasted Potatoes
Roasted Asparagus and Walnuts

About the author: Susan Nye writes, cooks and lives in New London, NH. Visit her web
site at
Susan Nye to learn about her new Eat Well–Do Good project. For cooking tips and
more, you can
follow Susan on Twitter and watch Susan cook on YouTube.
The Heart of New England
Celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine ~ New Hampshire ~ Vermont
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