Menu Ideas

The Holiday Shuffle

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I always knew getting married would mean compromises, especially when it came to family.Ever since I was a little kid, missing Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter was a big no-no. Birthdays could be shifted around a bit, and long periods of non visiting were acceptable (particularly when I lived in Philly) but nothing was more important than celebrating with family on these three days. When I got married to, not my high school sweetheart, but still a friend from my hometown, I thought how great life was. Both sets of parents lived within 10 minutes of each other. There was no need to travel halfway across the country, decide whose parents were “more important” to visit for each holiday, then switch it up the next year. It was all well and good in theory, but not so much in practice. Instead of splitting and alternating like many couples, we double celebrate each holiday. That means two Christmases, two Easters and yes, two very filling Thanksgivings. Two food centric events on the same day.

The first Thanksgiving was horrible. We visited my family first for a 2pm Supper, with plans to have a 7pm dinner with his family. I hadn’t mastered the art of “tasting” and went ahead and dove into my favorite dishes as I normally would. Dessert too. By the time dinner rolled around, I was stuffed, cranky and quite nappy. Over the years I’ve learned to restrict myself to a little of each dishes, or skip some all together, essential for getting through two monster meals in a day. My biggest gripe with the two family celebration is the reality that I’ll probably never host a major holiday in Brooklyn. Unless I borrowed someone else’s apartment (and maybe two other ovens, there’s no way both families could fit in our place. And hosting only one family would be pointless, because it would mean a short meal, followed by a long trip to New Jersey for Family Celebration #2.

Some people stress over hosting large dinner parties. I fantasize. I generally contribute to these meals through a single dish, dessert usually, because it’s easier to transport. This year I thought I had the perfect cupcake idea. A play on berry cupcakes to welcome the still sleepy spring, but lacking actual berries, since we still have a few months before they’re in season. As with much of my baking, booze was a welcome ingredient. I figured adding some berry liqueur or beer would give the illusion of berries, in addition to some homemade jam, leftover from last season. Raspberry liqueur cupcakes with lemon cream filling and honeyed icing, Blackberry wheat cupcakes filled with fresh jam, topped with vanilla buttercream icing. My husband’s coworkers and my classmates had plenty to sample, but the product never matched my vision, so I eventually abandoned the idea. I struggled to understand how stouts, wine and whiskey could work so well in a baked good, but lighter beers and liqueur seemed to fail me. Someday I’ll get it right.

Two days before Easter I’m still struggling to make the perfect dessert. It might be because most of my free time is spent salivating over sample Easter menus that litter my Pinterest, Facebook, WordPress Reader and Twitter feeds. It’s a hard life being a food blogger. I have to keep up with the competition, which means looking at food photos 24/7 and of course, I have to cook and bake constantly to test these recipes. While I continue pondering a worthy dessert, I figured it was only fair to give you a sense of what I’m dealing with through endless social media feeds. I present to you what I’d serve in my fantasy endless Easter brunch, and then some. A collection of my own recipes and some of my favorite bloggers.

MAIN DISHES

Cheesy Leek & Ham Quiche
Honey Baked Ham by Romancing the Bees
Butternut Squash, Spinach & Leek Tart
Beer Waffles with Cinnamon-Caramel Apples by Brown Eyed Baker

VEGGIES & SIDES

Carrot Salad with Harissa, Feta & Mint by Smitten Kitchen
Sweet & Savory Brussels Sprouts
Spring “Kitchen Sink” Risotto by Putney Farm

BAKED GOODS

Cream Scones with Homemade Berry Preserves
Bourbon Glazed Cinnamon Buns by Local Kitchen
Crumble Coffee Cake by Recipes Happen

DESSERT

Sweet & Salty Cake by Sassy Radish
Lemon Coconut White Chocolate Cookies
Nutella & Strawberry Cupcakes by Food n Thought Peddler

4 thoughts on “The Holiday Shuffle”

    1. Thanks so much! And funny enough, it was when I was so sick of root veggies and didn’t think I ever wanted to see a carrot again that I found that recipe. Puts a whole new twist rather than braising with your choice of meat.

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