Especially in the South, Easter is a holiday that rivals Thanksgiving and Christmas in culinary terms.
Here are some Easter dinner ideas from well-known local chefs and foodies:
Tanya Baker Glazed Ham
For years, Tanya Baker has chaired — and cooked for — a Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner offered to the community at Carver Community Center for free, serving hundreds for each meal.
To say she knows her way around a kitchen and what she likes for an Easter Sunday meal is an understatement. It starts with a well-cooked ham. For her, it’s simple: a frosting of brown sugar and Coca-Cola and pineapple. While many people add cherries, she doesn’t and wraps everything tightly in foil.
“I want it to have that ‘done’ look,” Baker said, “that tanned look.”
Ingredients are simple:
- Ham (pre-cooked is fine to save time)
- Brown sugar
- pineapple slices
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place ham on aluminum foil large enough to enclose the ham before placing in the oven.
Take about 1/2 cup of brown sugar and mix with just enough Coca-Cola to create a glaze that coats the ham well, top to bottom and side to side. It doesn’t take a lot of soda, Baker said, to make a glaze that sticks to the ham. “You don’t want it sloppy,” she said.
Spread well and then place pineapple slices on the top and sides of the ham and wrap very tightly in the foil.
Baker said she prefers an uncooked, pre-sliced ham that needs to cook at 350 degrees for an hour.
If you buy a pre-cooked ham, it will take 20-25 minutes in the oven.
If the ham isn’t pre-cut, Baker recommends poking a few holes in it to allow the cola and brown sugar icing to seep in.
“That’s if you like it sweet like I do,” she said.
Pages, by Laura ‘Fleur de Lolly’ Tolbert
Laura Tolbert, also known as Fleur de Lolly, has been sharing recipes, table setting ideas and advice for fellow foodies and beginners on her blog fleurdelolly.blogspot.com for more than eight years.
She won the statewide Duke Mayonnaise 100th Anniversary Recipe Contest for her Alabama White BBQ Sauce. She is also a Certified Barbeque Judge for the Kansas City BBQ Society.
You can reach her at facebook.com/fleurde.lolly.5, on Instagram and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Her Easter table may look better than yours, but you can try some of her favorite sites.
Sour cream and chive potatoes
- 4 medium potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 eggs, beaten well
- 2 tablespoons cream
- 3 tablespoons chopped chives
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
Place the potato slices in a large saucepan and cover with water. Add ½ teaspoon of salt. Bring to a gentle boil and cook until just tender when pierced with a knife. Drain well. Arrange the potatoes in a buttered, shallow 1½ liter casserole dish.
Combine the sour cream with the beaten eggs, heavy cream, chives, salt and pepper, and cheese. Pour the mixture slowly over the potatoes in the casserole dish. Stir gently to ensure all potatoes are covered. Sprinkle with some more grated cheese and additional chopped chives, if desired.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned.
Spring salad with green peas
- 1 (20 or 24 ounce) package frozen green peas (thawed)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
- 1/4 cup finely chopped green bell peppers
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup finely chopped ham
- 1/2 cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
Mix all ingredients (except bacon) until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve and sprinkle with crumbled bacon just before serving.
Green Beans, by Prudence Hilburn
Here are some recipes for a classic southern side from a classic southern chef. The late Prudence Hilburn of Piedmont has won more than 30 national culinary awards and has written several cookbooks including Simply Southern and More.
Hilburn passed away in 2018. Here are some of her green recipes previously published in The Gadsden Times.
Disguised bunches of green beans
- Whole canned green beans, drained well
- Bacon, 1/3 to 1/2 strips for each bunch
- Catalina or French dressing
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Make small bundles of 5 to 6 whole green beans. Wrap strips of bacon around each bundle and place in a baking dish. Pour Catalina or French dressing over the bundles. Bake until the bacon is done. Remove from the pan and serve immediately.
NOTE: If you want a crunchy texture, use fresh green beans instead of canned beans.
Quick and easy green beans
- 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) sliced green beans
- 1 cup sliced smoked sausage (about 1/4-inch-thick slices)
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 can chopped water chestnuts, drained (optional)
Mix all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes.
Old fashioned southern green beans
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds fresh green beans, snapped
- 1 liter of water
- 1/4 pound salt pork
- 2 tablespoons oil
- Black pepper, to taste
Combine green beans, water, and salt pork in a large cast iron saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until beans are tender and most of the water has evaporated. Add oil and mix. Taste and add black pepper if needed.
Hummingbird Cake from Beautiful Rainbow Café
Beautiful Rainbow Café is a beautiful story. The café at Gadsden Public Library is run by teachers and students with special needs from Gadsden City High School.
Students in this award-winning educational program learn skills many have used to land jobs at local restaurants while working in the kitchen on reading, math, and science skills.
The cafe’s vegetarian recipes use ingredients from local business and farm partners. Here is the recipe for Beautiful Rainbow Hummingbird Cake.
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 ⅓ cups Blood Orange-Infused Olive Oil from King’s Olive Oil Company
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 2 cups and 1 tablespoon flour
- 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 2 ripe bananas
- 8 ounces. crushed pineapple with juice
- 1 cup chopped pecans
Place 2 cups of brown sugar in blender.
Add 1 ⅓ cups Blood Orange-Infused Olive Oil from King’s Olive Oil Company.
Add 3 eggs and mix with a mixer attachment.
Blend until combined. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla.
In another bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: 2 cups flour and 1 tablespoon flour, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1½ teaspoons salt.
Using the back of your hand method, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix.
In another bowl, mix together 2 ripe bananas and 1 8 ounce can of mashed pineapple with juice and 1 cup chopped pecans. Stir this into your batter.
Spray cake pans with nonstick spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. Pour the batter into the pans and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes or until the cake is done.
Using a whisk attachment attached to a mixer, combine 2 sticks softened butter, ¾ cup softened cream cheese, 2 cups powdered sugar, and ½ cup Dayspring Dairy caramel. Blend until smooth
Contact Gadsden Times reporter Donna Thornton at 256-393-3284 or email@example.com.