has practically become a required event on Easter
Sunday. One menu suggestion includes peanut butter
chocolate chip muffins.
comes church, for those who go to church. Then comes brunch.
brunch has become almost as much a part of the Easter
celebration as chocolate, eggs and bunnies. It is a way to
continue that feel-good sense of contentment with friends,
family and loved ones.
you aren’t religious, it is a great excuse to come
together for a Sunday brunch, the best of all possible
brunch is about happiness; it is a pleasant, slow-paced way
to put off chores and think about the week ahead. Good food,
good company, eggs. Who could want anything more?
because of its religious connotations, Easter brunch always
seems to be the most enjoyable brunch of the year. Everyone
seems to be in a good mood. Spring has almost always
arrived. Flowers are blooming. And those little egg-shaped
chocolates wrapped in brightly colored foil certainly help.
So do jelly beans and Peeps.
this year’s Easter brunch, I decided to feature a single
dish that combines all three of the foods most closely
associated with the season: eggs, asparagus and ham.
and asparagus, of course, are related to spring, rebirth and
renewal, the not-so-subtle subtext that runs through the
Easter celebration. Lamb is eaten by some at Easter because
it is a springtime dish and because Jesus was called the
Lamb of God, but ham is popular for Easter because, well, it
recipe for Italian Scrambled Eggs with Asparagus and Ham
comes from the invaluable "Frog Commissary
Cookbook." The original version is made with prosciutto
rather than ham, and prosciutto is an unbeatable
accompaniment to asparagus. While the saltiness of
prosciutto brightens the flavor of the dish, the smoke in
ham does the same thing from another angle. I went with ham
here because of its associations with Easter.
dish is made especially memorable by employing a trick used
by restaurants to boost the flavor (and fat content) of
scrambled eggs. Just add pieces of cream cheese to the
beaten eggs, bringing a rich depth to the meal. Yes, it’s
decadent, but what the heck — it’s a holiday.
sumptuously textured entrée begs a side dish that is simple
and elegant, yet in its way just as delicious. The perfect
choice is a simpler version of one of my favorite ways to
have eaten a well-marbled piece of beef or tender lamb at my
house, there is a good chance you have been served
Oven-Roasted Potatoes with Onions and Rosemary. It’s a
standard; we probably make it too often, actually, but we
have found few other starches that are as simple yet as
rosemary would overpower the delicate egg dish, so I left it
out. We are left with Oven-Roasted Potatoes with Onions, a
deceptively easy dish, but one that pairs perfectly with any
egg dish. Essentially, it is a simpler and possibly
healthier version of hash browns. You cut up a potato into
bite-size pieces, toss them with plenty of salt and some
pepper, and pop them into the oven. Cook them for a bit, add
chopped onions, and cook until done.
a big fan of fruit salad, so I chose to make one for a first
course. Making a fruit salad is an art, and a sense of
culinary balance is needed, but it all begins with whatever
fruit looks freshest and best at the market. Buy that, and
make sure it will be ripe by the day of your brunch.
you have your fruit, there are a few rules to follow. The
most important principle is to present a variety of
different kinds of fruit. You’ll want at least one citrus
choice and probably at least one apple. Count on one portion
of fruit per person (one apple, one orange, one slice of
melon). Be sure to add a selection of berries, preferably at
least two different kinds, and don’t forget the grapes if
you like them.
in a handful or two of raisins, dried cranberries or other
dried fruit to inject a delightful contrast of textures and
— what the heck, it’s a holiday — sprinkle the top
with some nuts. I like almonds, but walnuts, pecans or
hazelnuts would work as well. And if you have chocolate
chips lying around, lonely and forlorn, throw those in, too.
make the fruit salad really special, top it with a Port
Reduction Glaze, a trick I learned from a restaurant in
Michigan. Take four parts of port and one part of sugar and
boil it away until it thickens and resembles syrup. Pour the
glaze sparingly over the fruit for a hint of unexpectedly
finally, every good brunch deserves dessert. I decided to
make Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins. Why? They are
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins. No other explanation
pressed, you could say that chocolate is a traditional treat
at Easter and that nothing goes with chocolate like peanut
butter. Besides, a great meal should end with a great
dessert, preferably one that can be made the night before.
the heck. It’s a holiday.
SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH ASPARAGUS AND HAM
tablespoons butter, divided
cups sliced mushrooms
pound ham or prosciutto, slivered or diced
teaspoon minced garlic
medium green pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
tablespoons minced fresh basil, or 1 teaspoon dried
teaspoon dried oregano
teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
ounces cream cheese, room temperature
ounces mozzarella, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
cup grated Parmesan cheese
a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the
mushrooms, ham, garlic and green pepper. Sauté over medium
heat until the vegetables are tender. Remove with a slotted
spoon and set aside. Blanch the asparagus in boiling salted
water until crisp-tender. Drain well and set aside. Whisk
together the eggs, basil, oregano, salt, pepper and red
pepper flakes. Cut the cream cheese in bits into the eggs.
Just before serving, heat the remaining 4 tablespoons of
butter in the skillet. Add the egg mixture. Cook over medium
heat while folding the mixture with a spatula to blend in
the cream cheese. When the eggs are half set, add the warm
vegetable-ham mixture, the mozzarella, Parmesan and warm
asparagus. Continue to cook while gently folding in the
cheese with the spatula. When the eggs are just done, serve
serving: 465 calories; 37g fat; 20g saturated fat; 410mg
cholesterol; 28g protein; 6g carbohydrate; 2g sugar; 1g
fiber; 600mg sodium; 350mg calcium.
from "The Frog Commissary Cookbook" by Steven
Poses, Anne Clark and Becky Roller
POTATOES WITH ONIONS
6 to 8 servings
pounds unpeeled all-purpose potatoes
cup corn oil
cups finely chopped onion
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut the potatoes into ½- to
¾-inch dice and toss them with the salt, pepper and corn
oil. Spread them in a single layer on rimmed baking sheet or
pan and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove pan from oven and combine the potatoes with the
onions. Return to the oven and continue to roast for 25
minutes or until browned and crisp. Stir occasionally.
serving: 320 calories; 19g fat; 2.5g saturated fat; no
cholesterol; 4g protein; 35g carbohydrate; 4g sugar; 4g
fiber; 895mg sodium; 40mg calcium.
adapted from "The Frog Commissary Cookbook," by
Steven Poses, Anne Clark and Becky Roller
SALAD WITH PORT REDUCTION GLAZE
orange or 1/2 grapefruit
wedge melon, your choice
cup raisins, craisins or other dried fruit
cup almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts
cup chocolate chips, optional
cup granulated sugar
For each additional person, add 1 serving of a large fruit
(1 mango, 1/2 cup pineapple, 1 kiwi fruit, another wedge of
melon, etc.) and another small handful of berries, raisins,
nuts and chocolate chips.
each fruit into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl.
Mix well. Shortly before serving, add nuts and chocolate
chips, if using.
make the port reduction, mix together port and sugar in a
small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a high simmer or
low boil, and reduce by 2/3 or 3/4 until the liquid clings
to the back of a spoon and when you draw your finger across
the spoon you can see the trail of its path. Allow to cool.
Add sparingly to fruit salad, and toss. Extra glaze can be
refrigerated for a week or 2.
serving: 265 calories; 9g fat; 0.5g saturated fat; no
cholesterol; 5g protein; 42g carbohydrate; 28g sugar; 7g
fiber; 6mg sodium; 85mg calcium.
Daniel Neman. Port reduction glaze recipe adapted from
Gabriel Vera of Lena restaurant, Ann Arbor, Mich.
BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP NUT MUFFINS
teaspoons baking powder
tablespoons butter, softened
cup creamy peanut butter, see note
packed brown sugar
(12 ounces) chocolate chips or mini-chocolate chips
To make these rich muffins with fewer calories, use
reduced-fat peanut butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Paper-line or grease 18 (2
1/2-inch) muffin tins.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Beat
butter, peanut butter and brown sugar in large mixing bowl
until creamy. Add eggs and milk; beat until smooth. Add
flour mixture to peanut butter mixture; beat until just
blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon batter into prepared
cups, filling 3/4 full.
Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted
in centers comes out slightly sticky. Cool in pans on wire
racks for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool
completely. Store in an airtight container.
muffin: 260 calories; 10g fat; 4.5g saturated fat; 21mg
cholesterol; 6g protein; 40g carbohydrate; 24g sugar; 2g
fiber; 220mg sodium; 45mg calcium.
adapted from Nestlé.