A glorious Easter feast

Easter is early this year­­ April 4th! I've always enjoyed Easter, maybe more than Christmas­­ a reason to celebrate with family and friends, a joyous time of new beginnings. Growing up, Easter was celebrated with the traditional food, the meal centered around ham. Looking through my cookbooks and history books of food and cooking I was not able to come up with a reason why we have traditionally used ham on Easter.

For those of you looking for something different, I've put together some of my favorite recipes that could be used with or without meat. And I'm sprinkling things with some holiday health tips that will help you feel less like a stuffed and roasted pig with an apple in its mouth, and more like a youngster headed out for an afternoon of Easter egg hunting.

Jeweled Rice

2 c brown or basmati rice, rinsed well

1/2c corn kernels

1c blanched almonds

2-1/2c spring or filtered water with a pinch of salt

3/4c unsweetened dried apricots

1/4c brown rice syrup

sprigs of fresh parsley, minced

Bring to a boil rice, corn, almonds water, add salt and cover loosely. Cook for 25 minutes, or until rice is tender. Soak apricots in warm water for 30 minutes, drain. In a small saucepan, combine apricots, 1/4c spring water and brown rice syrup. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When rice is cooled combine with fruit mixture, stir in parsley and garnish with a twig of parsley. Serves 4­6

Farmhouse Style Potato Carrot Medley

3 med. carrots, peeled and sliced

6 med potatoes, peeled and quartered­­ for a different texture, you may leave skins on

1 clove garlic

1/4c nonfat yogurt

1/2tsp salt

pepper to taste

Steam potatoes, carrots and garlic together until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. While hot, mash add yogurt gradually, then season.

Watercress and Pear Salad

2 bunches watercress, rinsed and left whole

2 ripe pears

1/4c sweet cooking wine

2/3c pecans, lightly toasted then chopped


3 TBSP umeboshi vinegar

2 tsp prepared mustard

1 TBSP brown rice syrup

1/4c sesame tahini

Bring a pot of water to boil and blanch watercress. Drain, slice and set aside. Halve and seed pears, cover with water and splash with sweet cooking wine. Bring to a boil and turn off heat. Pears should be fork tender. Drain and set aside. Whisk together dressing ingredients. To serve, arrange watercress on salad plates. Place pear half in center. Just before serving sprinkle with toasted nuts and generous drizzle of dressing. Serve warm.

Trying to eat more lightly, more healthily? Remember these things:

Focus family time around activities other than food­­ walking, egg hunts, music or board games.

Be aware of your hunger level. Are you eating because you are hungry or because food is available?

Have a sensible snack or breakfast prior to your feast meal.

Always cook with the freshest ingredients.

Buy fresh or dried herbs in small amounts; their flavor deteriorates after three months

Happy cooking, and Happy Easter!

Till next time, Rebecca.

Posted to Zephyr Online March 27, 1999
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