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April 2007 Issue
Make These Easter Treats Your Easter Feast!
by Donna Hager
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Easter Day and the Easter recipes we choose to cook play an important role in our lives.

Easter is about life; it's about springtime and welcoming back the flowers and birds; it's about a warmer sun on our backs and a renewed faith in all the good we want and believe in for everyone. Easter is a day to be with family. Easter is about love.

Yes, some people will think about new suits and new dresses and as a time for chocolate bunnies, marshmallow chicks, and colored eggs. Certainly a number of children will. But for me, Easter is about being with family and friends and enjoying a great meal with them.

I recently saw a statistic that says, despite the fact that the better restaurants seem packed with people on Easter, only 35 per cent of Americans go out for their Easter meal. That means 65 per cent of us either stay at home and cook or we are the guests of relatives who are doing so.

I will be cooking and preparing Easter dinner at my house this year for the first time in 24 years! I finally have a fully trained, very competent staff at my restaurant. They will handle everything at the business, allowing me to cook for my family, relatives and friends. I consider this a great honor, not a burden. This is one of the things I do best, and I enjoy it!

One of the most interesting things about Easter is that it is somewhat of a "melting pot" holiday, with traditions from many cultures and religions. But there is no doubt about it, food plays a big part of celebrations in every culture.

Not sure what to serve for Easter dinner? The recipes on this page are traditional Easter recipes, or would make good components to an Easter dinner. But don't stop your recipe search here on this page. This is only a sampling of what you will find on my website.

Ham is a traditional main course at this time of year, so I have included a wonderful ham recipe here, along with a secret restaurant appetizer recipe, a starch and vegetable to accompany the ham and a recipe for dessert - a fabulous Triple Chocolate And Vanilla Cheesecake.

But on my website I have many other Easter recipes from which to choose. Mix and match components of these menus or other recipes on the website to create your own perfect Easter dinner.

This Crab Artichoke Dip Appetizer is the all-time best selling appetizer at my restaurant, despite the fact that crab is expensive. The combination of ingredients is what drives the price but it is so good my restaurant guests buy it frequently. They have asked me for this crab recipe many times and, until now, it has always been one of my secret restaurant recipes.

 

Hot Crab Artichoke Dip

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cups of mayonnaise
  • 3/4 pound of Dungeness crab
  • 1 cup quartered artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 cup white onions, diced
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons green onions, minced
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper, minced
  • 2 tablespoons celery, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese
In a mixer, whip the cream cheese until soft but not airy.

While the cream cheese is mixing, prepare the crab, artichoke hearts, onions, garlic, red pepper, celery, parsley and cheeses.

When the cream cheese is softened, fold in the remaining ingredients, adding the cheeses last. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Bake in a baking dish in a pre-heated 375 degree F oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned on top and bubbly around the edges.

Serve with thinly sliced French bread and/or artisan crackers.

  • Yields: 8-10 servings
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes
 

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