CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

April 10, 2014

DINING: Decorating for the Easter table

By Loretta Gillespie
The Cullman Times

— Easter is just around the corner and just happens to be one of my favorite holidays. The renewal of life is emerging all around us, everything getting green, bulbs pushing up through soil that was cold and dull only a couple of weeks ago, and blooming shrubs and trees paint the landscape with pastel colors.

In the kitchen there’s plenty to do. Decorating for Easter is fun for kids and adults. Getting out those eggs for dying, bringing out Easter baskets to be filled, making cupcakes and cookies in the shape of chickens, lambs and bunnies, and planning an Easter menu involves a lot of preparation.

The best thing about Easter is that, unlike Christmas meals, you can eat a lot of your Easter decorations!

From boiled eggs to bunny cakes, chick cookies and cupcakes, to elaborate meals with the traditional Easter ham, potato salad and lemon pound cake, to new recipes and twists on old favorites - lets explore even more creative options for this year’s Easter feast!



Chickie Eggs

This is one of the cutest ideas I’ve seen in a long time. By carefully making jagged edges on your boiled egg and pulling the two pieces apart, you can make it look like a hatching chick.

Here is the method: Boil your eggs and peel them. If possible, save as many complete halves of the shells as possible for another project.

Using a sharp paring knife, go lightly around the middle of the egg, holding it up so that the small end is on top. Go around from one side to the other making jagged edges, cutting only through the white part.

Gently pull the edges apart. If some spots don’t want to release, just take the point of your paring knife and cut a little deeper.  

On the bottom of the rounder half, barely cut across to form a flat surface so that your egg will sit up straight.

You should have two halves, both with jagged edges, one with a flat bottom, the other will be the top.

Remove the yolk. Mash with mayonnaise until smooth. Add a few drops of yellow food coloring if desired.

With a teaspoon, place the yolk mixture into the bottom half of the egg. Put enough yolk inside to push through the jagged edges just a bit. Top with remaining half of the egg.

It should begin to look like a baby chick emerging from the center. Make two small eyes with bits of chopped black olive. Form the chick’s beak with bits of shredded carrot. The beak can be opened or closed, or make some of each. It should look like two eyes and a beak peering out of the shell.

Take a toothpick and pull a little of the yolk out to form wings on some.

Make some with tops, and some without. For the ones without tops, form a head and extend the wings out a little further. You can use any broken egg whites for this one, as this chick will appear to be almost free of the shell. Place on a bed of shredded lettuce.



Egg Shell Candles

You can make beautiful individual candles with those peeled egg shell halves.

Dye several of them in pale pastel colors according to directions on egg dye package.

Air dry on paper towels. When completely dry, fill with melted wax. I use the wax from my scent burner.

Take a small length of wick (which you can purchase at a craft store) then tie one end around a wooden shish-kabob skewer. Cut the other end approximately the depth of the egg shell half, probably an inch or less. Lay the tied end across the egg shell with the wick centered in the middle. When wax is hardened, snip with scissors where the wick is tied to the skewer. The wick should be less than half inch long above the top of the wax.

Place one egg shell candle near each place setting in an egg cup or a small bowl. Names can be scripted on with a colorful marker (bright pink on pink, blue on blue, gold on yellow, etc., or use silver marker for all), and used as place markers.

Always make sure that lit candles are attended.

 

Sunshine Orange Easter Rolls

These rolls complement your Easter breakfast table, adding the scent of freshly baked bread spiced with orange zest! Yummmm!

Ingredients;

Zest of three oranges, Valencias are best

1/2 cup granulated sugar

Juice of three oranges

1 cup (more or less) confectioners’ sugar

1 large roll of canned biscuits, not the flaky kind

1/2 stick of butter

Cupcake liners



Spray cupcake liners and place in cupcake tin. Preheat oven to 350º.Roll out each biscuit into a long oval. Sprinkle each oval with sugar and orange zest. Dot with three triangles of butter (start with a square about the size of a pat served in a restaurant, then divide into thirds for each roll).

Roll up in the shape of a crescent roll. Twist to fit and place in cupcake liner.

Sprinkle a little more sugar, any leftover orange zest and a little dot of butter on top of each.

Bake at 350º for about 14-16 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

While rolls are cooling, stir juice from oranges into one cup of powdered sugar. You might not need all of the juice, just add a little at a time to make a thick paste. Top each slightly cooled roll with sugar glaze.

 

Decorating with Easter edibles. Setting a festive Easter table is fun and shows off your collections. Use pastels mixed with white dishes. If you have colored glasses in green or pink, use them so that the light will dance through them and onto your table.

If you have vintage egg cups, intersperse them around the table filled with the egg shell candles (above) or with eggs painted with the names of your family and friends.

Break out the good linens for this tablescape!