Lee Mathis
Grand Junction Free Press Food Columnist

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March 28, 2013
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FOOD: Easter, a time to eat and reconnect

This Sunday is Easter Sunday and while it is still celebrated worldwide, much of the glitz and glamour that used to surround the holiday seems to have been muted in recent years.

When I grew up outside Atlantic City, they used to have a spectacular Easter Parade down the Atlantic City Boardwalk. This event started back in 1876 and grew every year, up to where in the 1920s, they estimated the crowds and strollers at over 200,000 people!

This was when people could get their "dress" on, a time to not only celebrate Easter, but the coming out of the East Coast coastal winters. Ladies would dress their finest, hats were the rage, men would be in their Sunday best.

Times change; one of my favorite sayings is that if you do not evolve, you become a dinosaur and are soon extinct. And while I still agree with 90% of that saying, some things from history past are not all bad!

But Easter is also a time for family gatherings, whether it is spiritual or not; a time to break bread with your family and friends; time for the young ones to hunt for their Easter Eggs; and time for some serious eats! It could be a lavish Easter Brunch with all kinds of eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and more; a more traditional Easter Dinner with baked hams; going out to one of the many great restaurants that we have here in the valley; or even just getting together with friends and family. Ester is a great time to reconnect, and, of course, eat some tasty foods!

Lee is the founder and owner of Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes and Catering. He can be reached via email at decadencecheesecakes@mindspring.com, on the web at www.decadencecheesecakes.com, or by calling 970-256-4688. Also, find him on the web by searching Facebook, Pinterest or by visiting Twitter (@decadenceGJ).

Yield: Serves 4

Cook time: 25 minutes

1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons melted butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mixed berries, syrup, whipped cream and powdered sugar for serving

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch oven safe skillet with butter and set aside.

2. Gradually add flour to beaten eggs, mix with a fork. Stir in milk, vanilla extract, butter and salt. Pour batter into prepared skillet.

3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into wedges and serve warm with berries, syrup, whipped cream and powdered sugar.

Yield: Serves 10

Cook time: 50-55 minutes

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced

2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, for sprinkling on top of cake

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch springform pan or pie plate. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together into a medium bowl. Set aside.

2. Put butter and 1 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in egg, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.

3. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Arrange strawberry slices on top of batter. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over berries.

4. Bake cake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 50-55 minutes. Let cool in pan. To serve, cut into wedges. Store cake at room temperature, for up to two days.

Courtesy: Two Peas and Their Pod

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The Post Independent Updated Mar 28, 2013 02:36PM Published Mar 28, 2013 02:35PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.