What’s On The Menu: Easter

I don’t host many holiday gatherings, so when I do, I like to make them extra special. Our Easter dinner will be small, just seven of us, and I’m not making anything terribly original, but it’s about 90% fresh and local, and that makes me happy.

Here’s what we’re having:

I ordered the ham and the cupcakes from vendors at my local farmers’ market. I’m using Lydia’s recipe for Homemade Honey Baked Ham. It’s really hard to find truly pastured ham, but Countrytime Farm does just that.

For the record, the label “All Natural” means next to nothing. There are no official regulations for this term, as there are for certified organic products. Animal products raised with the use of artificial hormones and genetically modified organisms can be labeled natural.

The term on this label that IS important is “Pastured” and of course “raised without animal by-products or antibiotics” is crucial information as well. I also went to their website to check out their farming philosophy. This page is the one that really impressed me, and now I buy most of my pork from them.

So that’s your food labeling lesson for today. Movingrightalong…

It’s taking every ounce of willpower I have in me not to dive into that cupcake sitting on my counter.

Usually do my own baking, but Betsy makes the most delectable gluten free cupcakes so I decided to place an order so I can enjoy dessert with my family this Easter. I purchased a G-Free cupcake for me and six regular cupcakes for the rest of my guests. They will look so pretty set out on a cake plate tomorrow.

I made Mary’s bacon deviled eggs with eggs I bought at the farm last week. This is actually the second time I’ve made them. I gave the recipe a trial run on Thursday, and they were gone before I could blink. Even the kids like them — well 2 of the 3 kids, anyway. (One of my daughters detests eggs in any form.) This morning I made another batch, and I’m guarding these with my life so they make it to the table tomorrow.

Okay, true confessions, the bacon in the eggs is from Trader Joe’s, so maybe my meal is only 85% local.

I’ll be making my favorite mac-and-cheese recipe with gluten-free Tinkyada brown rice pasta and the cheddar I got at Spring Water Farm. The kids don’t mind the G-Free pasta at all, which made this mama’s heart sing. I can enjoy mac-and-cheese again. Woo!

The asparagus is homegrown, and it’s DIVINE. We had some from the same farm last week so I went this morning and picked up some more. I’ll roast it in olive oil with a bit of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. The trick is not to overcook it.

I might make a spinach salad if I get real ambitious, but I’m not counting on that.

Not pictured: When I was at the market, I also picked up a loaf of fresh artisan bread from a local bakery as well as our favorite salmon spread from Wild For Salmon. This spread is divine. I’ll serve it with crackers as an appetizer with the deviled eggs.

The salmon may not be caught locally, but the company who sells it is based here in PA. They spend several months every summer fishing in Alaska and bring it back to sell at the farmers’ markets in our area during the rest of the year. I buy a filet and a carton of the spread every time I’m at the market. It’s the best price I can find for wild salmon, and I know it’s the real deal. Salmon is so nutritious, it should be a regular part of everyone’s diet.

Gosh, I’m just full of lectures today!

So I’ve made the eggs, I don’t have to bake, the ham will be cooked after church tomorrow, and all that I’ll have to do is make the mac-and-cheese and roast the asparagus. I think I’m in pretty good shape.

I’ve even got my table already set.

What is on YOUR Easter Dinner Menu?