Ronnie Paul
Special to The Union

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March 26, 2013
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An ‘oh-so- elegantly’ easy Easter

It’s almost Easter, and my daughter’s given up hope that we’ll celebrate by trekking in Machu Picchu. The truth is that mountain peaks, strenuous walking and sleeping bag accommodations in straw-bed hostels were never my thing.

Even at the height of youthful enthusiasm, my sojourns generally found me ambling in Parisian museums and British castles.

Another deterrent was the thought of the interminable plane ride and the sleepless hours I’d spend with my elbows squashed between two armrests and my legs practically tucked into a fetal position.

Friends have suggested that I take a light sleeping pill, but then who would control the flight? To help steer — especially in bumpy weather — I have to continually lean left and right.

I also need to stay alert for black clouds and lightning bolts that may loom in the distance.

Although I won’t travel to an exotic place for Easter this year, I’ll definitely adventure. First, a morning trek through the house searching behind couch pillows and in corner windowsills for hidden chocolate eggs.

Next, I’ll hike the back yard, my eyes pealed for the colorful eggs we dyed yesterday.

I’ll also journey back through childhood memories when eating marzipan candy shaped like a basket, and looking through the peephole of an old-fashioned spun sugar egg.

I hope your adventures include sampling these new Easter dinner recipes.

Ronnie Paul is a freelance writer in Nevada City.

Spinach-Scallion Quiche

Serves 8

Don’t tell your guests, but this oh-so-elegant quiche is actually easy to make.

1 1/2 cups white flour

1 4-ounce stick salted butter, cut in pieces

3 tablespoons ice water

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon olive oil

9 ounces fresh spinach, chopped

6 scallions, sliced in thin Os

4 eggs, beaten

1 cup milk

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

A few gratings of nutmeg

Salt and pepper

1 1/2 cups loosely packed grated Jarlsberg cheese

Whirl the flour, butter, water and Dijon in a Cuisinart until it forms a coherent ball.

Wrap it in wax paper and chill while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

This crust is for a 10-inch deep dish pie pan.

If you’re a roller, go for it. I press the dough with my palm and fit it into the pan. Work the dough up the sides and crimp the top with your fingers.

Sauté the spinach and scallions in oil until the spinach wilts.

Combine the eggs, milk, sour cream, mustard, nutmeg and salt and pepper to make a smooth custard.

Sprinkle the cheese on the bottom of the crust followed by the sautéed veggies.

Pour on the custard and bake for 45 minutes in a 375 degree oven until the top is golden and the center is set. Voila!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with A Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Serves 6

I really shouldn’t mention that before tasting these, a certain someone in my family actually claimed hating this marvelous veggie.

16 ounces Brussels sprouts, cut in half length-wise

8 ounces peeled baby carrots

Marinade

Mix together:

9 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons Dijon

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Toss the Brussels sprouts and carrots with the marinade, and spread them on a baking sheet.

The veggies may not get done at the same time, so it’s a good idea to toss them in separate bowls and keep them apart on the baking sheet.

Bake them for 20 minutes at 375 degrees until the veggies are very tender.

Whether hot-out-of-the-oven or at room temperature, these veggies will melt in your mouth.

Spinach Salad with Blueberries

Serves 4-6

I hoard on-sale blueberries. The ungobbled freeze beautifully.

5 ounces baby spinach leaves

3 ounces Feta cheese, cut in small cubes

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives

1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion

2 tablespoons raw pine nuts

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Dressing

Whisk together:

3 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

For such an exotic salad, these directions are embarrassingly easy. Mix the salad ingredients together, toss with the dressing, and serve.

Baked Rice

4 Servings

After all those chocolate eggs, make way for good Easter carbs.

3 tablespoons olive oil

8 ounces thinly sliced mushrooms

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 cup chopped parsley

4 garlic cloves, pressed

Salt and pepper

1 cup raw Basmati rice

1 1/2 cups boiling hot veggie broth

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Sauté the mushrooms, onion, parsley, garlic, and salt and pepper until the onions are translucent.

Add the Basmati and sauté for a few minutes until it’s coated with oil.

Pour the mixture in an oiled 9 X 13-inch glass pan.

Pour on the broth, cover tightly with foil, and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees until the rice is tender.


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The Union Updated Mar 26, 2013 10:42PM Published Mar 27, 2013 05:49PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.