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Archive for Easter

EASTER: Chocolate Gift Certificate

Here’s an easy solution to a gift emergency: a chocolate e-gift certificate.

If you’ve forgotten to bring a gift, or if you receive an unexpected gift and want to reciprocate, you don’t have to sneak out to the nearest store.

Instead, sneak onto the Internet and send a gift certificate via email. It will be in the giftee’s email box in minutes.

Chocomize.com sells ready-made and make-your-own chocolates. Our favorite is the customized chocolate bar, where you pick your chocolate (dark, milk or white) and up to five toppings—candies, fruits, nuts, spices and special decorations (crystallized flower petals, 24 karat gold flakes).

There are more than 70 topping choices. Special Easter toppings include caramel “quail eggs,” carrot cake candy corn, peanut butter speckled eggs and a white chocolate “Happy Easter” plaque.

Jelly beans are available year-round—along with Junior Mints, M&Ms, mini marshmallows, Oreo pieces, Pop Rocks, Reese’s Pieces, toffee bits and much more.

Head to Chocomize.com.

 

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A candy-covered hollow chocolate Easter egg with two chocolate truffles hidden inside.

 

  

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TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Layered Salad With Leftover Ham Or Turkey

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Toss today’s ham and hard-boiled eggs into tomorrow’s salad. Photo and recipe courtesy McCormick.

 

Here’s a tasty way to make tomorrow’s lunch or dinner from today’s leftover ham and hard-boiled eggs (and any peas and salad dressing, too).

When you don’t have Easter leftovers to make this layered salad, simply substitute other ingredients.

Check your pantry and fridge for avocado, bacon, beans, blue or other cheese, carrots, celery, cooked green beans and/or potatoes, corn, leftover chicken/turkey/steak, mushrooms, olives, pimento, seafood or tuna and layer away!

You can also include a fruit: apple, grapes or pineapple, for example.

If you have a glass bowl to display the pretty layers, so much the better. A straight-sided bowl like this one is especially nice. Or, this smart glass mixing bowl set from Pyrex does triple duty: mixing, serving and storing.

Prep time is 20 minutes, and the recipe can be made in advance.

 
RECIPE: LAYERED SALAD WITH HAM

Ingredients

  • 4 cups mixed salad greens
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • 2 cups cubed cooked ham or turkey
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PLACE the salad greens in the bottom of large serving bowl. Layer the tomatoes, 1 cup of cheese, peas, eggs, ham and onion over greens.

    2. MIX the mayonnaise, sour cream, dill weed and ground mustard in a medium bowl until well blended. Spread evenly over salad. Cover.

    3. REFRIGERATE for at least 1 hour or overnight until ready to serve. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup cheese just before serving.

     
      

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    EASTER: Bunny Sushi

    Kudos to the chef at Sushi Lounge (three locations in New Jersey) who created this Easter treat. (Based on their Facebook photos, there’s more than one creative chef behind the bar.)

    You can recreate it at home, with

  • A strip of nori (dried seaweed)
  • Sushi rice* or regular rice
  • Hard-boiled eggs for the head and arm
  • Tamago (omelet) for the pillow and blanket
  • Carrot flowers† for the blanket design and the nose
  • Celery or fennel for the ears
  • Bits of black olive for the eyes and mouth
  •  
    Whatever you’re eating on Easter, we wish you a joyous holiday.

     

    easter-bunny-sushi-sushiloungeNJ-230

    The Easter Bunny, tucking in after a long day. Photo courtesy Sushi Lounge | NJ.

     
     
     
    *Sushi rice is seasoned with rice vinegar. Here’s how to make it.

    †Make them with stainless steel vegetable cutters, that can also be used to cut vegetables, cake, bread croutons, etc.

      

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    TIP: Easy, Last Minute Easter Cake

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    Our inspiration was this Easter cake from
    Black Jet Baking Co., a small San Francisco
    baking company committed to making
    nostalgic treats and baked goods. Photo
    courtesy Good Eggs | SF.

     

    No dessert inspiration for Easter? Here’s an easy last-minute fix:

    SHOPPING LIST

  • Store-bought plain cake -or-
  • 1 box of cake mix (for a two-layer cake)
  • Decorations: jelly beans, multicolored sprinkles
  •  
    For The Cake Mix

  • Eggs and other ingredients specified on package directions
  • 1 pint whipping cream plus any flavorings
  •  
    Preparation For Cake Mix

    1. BAKE the cake mix in two layers, per package directions. While the cake cools…

    2. MAKE freshly whipped cream—classic, flavored with vanilla; lavender whipped cream, rum-accented, salted caramel whipped cream or other favorite flavor (recipes).

    3. DECORATE decorate with jelly beans and sprinkles.
     
    Not enough chocolate in your Easter basket? Try chocolate whipped cream (recipe below).

     

    RECIPE: STABILIZED CHOCOLATE WHIPPED CREAM

    If you’re going to fill and frost a cake, you need whipped cream that’s been stabilized with gelatin to keep its shape. If you want vanilla whipped cream, substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract for the chocolate and skip Steps 1-3 and add the gelatin to both cups of cream in Step 5.

    Ingredients

  • 4 ounces milk or 60% cacao dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (use a good chocolate bar)
  • 3 tablespoons sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 8 teaspoons cold water
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the chocolate in a medium bowl; set aside.

    2. COMBINE the sugar and 1 cup of the cream in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.

     

    3. POUR the hot cream mixture over the chopped chocolate and stir until chocolate has melted. Transfer to the bowl an electric mixer and let cool.

    4. COMBINE the gelatin and cold water in a small pan and let stand until thick. Then place over low heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin dissolves. Remove from the heat and cool, but do not allow the gelatin to set.

    5. ADD the second cup of cream and whip on medium speed (ideally with whisk beaters). While slowly beating, add the gelatin to the whipping cream mixture. Whip at high speed until stiff.
     
    RECIPE: REGULAR CHOCOLATE WHIPPED CREAM

    Ingredients

  • 4 ounces milk or 60% cacao dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (use a good chocolate bar)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
  •  

    chocolate-whipped-cream-cookiemadness.net-230

    For a cake filling, make a stabilized whipped cream with gelatin. Photo courtesy CookieMadness.net.

     
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the chocolate in a medium bowl; set aside.

    2. COMBINE the sugar and 1 cup of the cream in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.

    3. POUR the hot cream mixture over the chopped chocolate and stir until chocolate has melted. Transfer to the bowl an electric mixer and let cool.

    4. ADD the second cup of cream and whip on medium speed (ideally with whisk beaters) until thick.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Go Nuts With Non-Chocolate Easter Treats

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    Fill an Easter basket with all six flavors.
    Photo courtesy Ricky’s Lucky Nuts.

     

    It’s hard to believe, but not everyone likes chocolate. Our friend Maria, for example would rather have something salty, or a combination of sweet and salty.

    So she, and other salt fans, are getting salted nut treats in their Easter baskets.

    RICKY’S LUCKY NUTS

    We don’t know why they’re lucky, but they sure taste good! One of the co-founders is a chef and restaurateur who knows how to please palates.

    Ricky’s, of Durango, Colorado, takes non-GMO jumbo runner peanuts from Texas and turns them into distinctively flavored, all-natural treats. Flavors include:

  • Black Pepper & Sea Salt
  • Real Coffee
  • Spicy Chile Chipotle
  • Sweet & Smoky BBQ
  • Sweet Chai
  • Thai Red Curry
  •  
    Even the sweet flavors have enough balance to please the yen for savory.

    The packages, in a rainbow of different colors, deliver 7 grams of protein per ounce and a host of vitamins and minerals from this nutrient-dense food. Take that, chocolate bunny!

    Fill an Easter basket with one or more packages of each flavor. Get them at RickysLuckyNuts.com.

    Beyond snacking from the pack from the pack, toss them into salads (green and grain), mix them into cooked rice, add them to stir-frys and create ice cream sundaes (or toss them on a plain scoop). Yum!

     

    PLANTERS NEW TART FLAVORS

    Planters is known for salty nuts, sweet nuts and spicy nuts. Add to that tart nuts!

    Two zesty new flavors deliver a pleasing pucker to persnickity palates.

  • Planters Sea Salt & Vinegar Peanuts look like regular peanuts; but oh, what a nice punch of vinegar!
  • Planters Chili Lime Peanuts have a red-orange tint from the chili powder, which adds moderate heat to natural lime flavor.
  •  
    In pastel colors (green for Chili Lime, blue for Sea Salt & Vinegar), they deserve a place in any Easter basket.

    As with Ricky’s, each serving contains seven grams of protein and the other peanut nutrients.

    The flavors are packaged in six-ounce cans with re-sealable tops. You can find them at retailers nationwide.

     

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    One of two delicious new flavors from Planters. Photo courtesy Planters Nuts..

     

      

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