, , , , , , ,

Hoppy Easter! I feel like we say this about every holiday, but Easter is really one of our favorites at Blended Kitchen. Who wouldn’t love a holiday that revolves around baskets of goodies (aka chocolate)? There also seems to be a big emphasis on Easter brunches, and we absolutely love breakfast foods at any time of day. But our favorite part about Easter is really the Easter egg hunt. Which is probably why this meal revolves solely around eggs…

Our Easter celebration brunch is definitely an eggstravaganza! For pre-meal munchies, we have Cindy’s devilishly cute deviled eggs. Then for the main course, we’re serving up Ina Garten’s herb-baked eggs, Bobby Flay’s maple-peach (or orange, in our case) glazed ham and Giada De Laurentiis’ baked French toast with blueberries. We obviously got a little carried away with the Food Network stuff, huh? And even though our Easter baskets will be full of candies, we couldn’t help but treat ourselves to some adorable edible birds’ nests with Lindsey’s favorite Cadbury Mini-Eggs. This meal will make for an eggcelent Easter brunch!

Cindy’s Deviled Eggs
Cindy’s deviled eggs are the stuff of legends. While some deviled egg fillings use vinegar for a tart filling, or some use just yolks and mayo, Cindy’s is a sweeter, tangier version made with sweet relish and a hint of cream. We’ve never met a person who didn’t love these eggs (and ask for the recipe!) Even the nugget, who won’t accept “humps” in his mashed potatoes, loves these eggs. They are a true staple in our household – no event would be complete without them. But this time, Cindy’s made them even better – she used food coloring so that her deviled eggs actually look like Easter eggs. We just can’t get over how cute they are!

These ingredients come together to make devilishly cute eggs.

To make sure our eggs are cooked perfectly, we like to use this Egg-Perfect Egg Timer. If you don’t have one already, you should really get one!

Turn the stove on medium to make the hard boiled eggs.

They say don’t put all your eggs in one basket, but they never mentioned anything about a big pot, right?

Wait until the egg timer tells you the eggs are ready, then remove the eggs from the hot water.

Remove the shells from the eggs and cut each egg in half.

Scoop out the yolks into a separate bowl to begin making the filling.

Measure out 1/4 cup of mayo and add to the bowl of yolks.

Add the sweet relish to the mixture of mayo and egg yolk.

Add the cream, and mix all the ingredients with a hand mixer until smooth and creamy.

To dye the eggs, fill four small bowls with water, 1 tsp vinegar and the desired amount of food coloring. Let eggs soak for about 40 minutes, or until you’re satisfied with the color.

Remove the eggs from the dye and let dry on paper towels.

Fill a pastry bag (or a ziploc) with the creamy filling.

Squeeze the filling into the whites pastels of the eggs.

These deviled eggs couldn’t get more festive!

Here’s the recipe:
12 eggs hard boiled,  peeled and cooled
1/3 cup mayo
3 tbsp cream
1 tbsp sweet relish
food coloring for dyeing

To dye the eggs, fill four small bowls with water and add 1 tsp vinegar, as if you were dying Easter eggs. Add desired food coloring to the water. For the red, we added 6 drops of red food coloring to achieve the pink. The blue, green and yellow we used about 15 drops. Soak the whites only for about 40 minutes. For lighter colors, soak less or use less food coloring.

Cut hard boiled eggs in half and remove yolk. Put the yolks in a bowl and mash with a fork until it’s crumbly. Add the mayo, cream and sweet relish. Mix well. (We use a hand mixer with a whisk or beater attachment – it makes the filling even creamier.) Fill the eggs with the mixture either by spooning it in or piping it in with a cake decorator or plastic baggie.

With eggs as cute (and tasty!) as these, your guests will forget all about that Easter egg hunt.

Herb-Baked Eggs Ina Garten
We have to give a special thanks to our friend Bora in Phoenix for recommending this recipe to us. If not for her suggestion, we would never have tasted the garlicky goodness of these scrumptious baked eggs. The cream and butter lend these eggs a delicious richness, perfect for a special occasion. Just one taste of these eggs and you’ll be dreaming about them for days – trust us! We are still craving this dish for breakfast. And lunch. And dinner.

This dish is surprisingly simple – just a few classic ingredients!

Begin by cracking 3 eggs into each small bowl, but not the dish you’ll bake them in. We made 5 of these baked-egg dishes, so we had 5 separate small bowls for our eggs. Be careful not to break the yolks!

Place butter and cream into the bottom of your baking dishes, and put the baking dishes on a baking sheet.

Combine garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley and Parmesan and set aside.

Broil the butter and cream for about 3 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. When using your broiler, always prop the oven door open a little bit.

Pull the hot, broiled butter and cream-filled dishes out of the oven and carefully pour the eggs into the dishes.

Sprinkle a little more than 1 tsp of the herb mixture over the eggs.

Place the eggs back into the oven for up to 6 minutes, or until desired degree of doneness. The eggs will continue to cook once they’ve been taken out of the oven, so keep that in mind.

You know that dish that will win any man over? This could definitely be that dish, so keep this recipe in your back pocket at all times.

Here’s the recipe:
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan
6 extra-large eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Toasted French bread or brioche, for serving

Preheat the broiler for 5 minutes and place the oven rack 6 inches below the heat.

Combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley and Parmesan and set aside. Carefully crack 3 eggs into each of 2 small bowls or teacups (you won’t be baking them in these) without breaking the yolks. (It’s very important to have all the eggs ready to go before you start cooking.)

Place 2 individual gratin dishes on a baking sheet. Place 1 tablespoon of cream and 1/2 tablespoon of butter in each dish and place under the broiler for about 3 minutes, until hot and bubbly. When using your broiler, always prop the oven door open a little bit.  Quickly, but carefully, pour 3 eggs into each gratin dish and sprinkle evenly with the herb mixture, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place back under the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes, until the whites of the eggs are almost cooked. (Rotate the baking sheet once if they aren’t cooking evenly.) The eggs will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven. Allow to set for 60 seconds and serve hot with toasted bread.

Maple-Orange Glazed Ham Steaks Bobby Flay
Ham is an Easter classic in our family, and we wouldn’t think of having an Easter brunch without it. Plus, you know we love our pig candy! Bobby Flay helped us kick this brunch favorite up a notch with a sweet (and a little bit spicy) glaze. We found pre-cooked ham steaks at Dierberg’s (a local grocery store), and they were a convenient, super-quick addition to our Easter table.

We’re suckers for anything sweet and spicy, so this twist on ham steak really tickles our fancy.

Our grill isn’t set up yet, so we used a grill pan over two burners on the stove. Set the grill or grill pan to high heat.

Stir together orange marmalade, syrup, ancho powder and orange juice in a medium bowl.

Place the ham steaks on the grill on high heat.

Baste the ham steaks on both sides while on the grill. Continue to baste every few minutes, until ham steaks are heated through. This will take 8-10 minutes total.

Cut ham steaks into slices, kind of like bacon, so guests can take as much or as little as they like. Serve the ham steak with extra sauce on the side. It’s yummy and you’ll probably want to eat it with a spoon anyway.

Here’s the recipe:
1 cup peach marmalade (or orange, if you prefer – we couldn’t find peach marmalade in our grocery, so we used orange and it turned out great!)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 ham steaks, each 1-inch thick

Stir together the preserves, maple syrup, ancho powder and orange juice in a medium bowl.

Heat grill to high. Grill the steaks for 4 to 5 minutes on both sides, keeping the grill covered to heat through. Baste with the glaze every few minutes. Slice and serve.

Baked French Toast with Blueberries Giada De Laurentiis
French toast is kind of like having dessert for breakfast, so we automatically love it. But the thought of making separate slices of French toast for each one of our family members really made us consider ripping our hair out of our heads. Luckily, we won’t be bald on Easter, thanks to Giada’s decadent baked French toast casserole. This casserole can be made the night before (it’s better that way, actually), so you’re not rushing to put this together on Easter morning.

This baked French toast is almost like eating bread pudding for breakfast. The delicious cinnamon-sugar topping and the luscious blueberries take this dish over the top. Drizzle a little syrup and maybe a dab of whipped cream (it is a holiday, after all!) on the dish and you will be in heaven. This dish is popular with kids and adults alike, so make a nice big batch! Ours was completely gone by the end of the meal because people came back for seconds… and thirds.

Look! More eggs!

Begin by buttering your baking dish.

Crack 6 eggs into a bowl.

Beat the eggs until frothy. We used our hand mixer to make sure they were well-beaten.

Add the milk and continue to beat the eggs until they’re nice and frothy. They should look something like this when they’re ready.

Add maple syrup to the egg mixture.

Next, mix in the cinnamon.

Add the zest of one lemon to the bowl.

Chop up the bread into 1-inch cubes. The original recipe called for 8 ounces of bread, but we doubled it after reading recipe reviews that said there was too much liquid with only 8 ounces.

Pour the egg mixture over the cubes of bread.

Stir the egg mixture and the bread cubes together, until the bread has soaked up the liquid evenly.

Stir in the blueberries.

Spread the mixture evenly in your baking dish and let rest overnight.

Before you place the French toast into the oven, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top.

Bake the casserole for about 45 minutes in a 350° degree oven. The casserole should be firm when done, and shouldn’t wiggle when you shake it.

Serve the French toast warm, drizzled with syrup or a dollop of whipped cream.

Here’s the recipe:
Butter, for greasing
6 eggs
3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup maple syrup, plus extra for serving
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus 1 tablespoon
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 lemon, zested
16 ounces day-old challah or sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups (12 ounces) fresh or frozen, thawed, and drained blueberries
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and lemon zest. Add the bread cubes and mix until coated. Stir in the blueberries. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl, mix together the remaining cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the egg mixture in an even layer. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden and the filling is set.

Spoon onto serving plates and drizzle with maple syrup and/or whipped cream.

Birds’ Nests Food.com | January 22, 2008
These little nests are ridiculously easy to make and taste pretty darn good, too. The chow mein noodles are crunchy and a little bit salty, which provides the perfect contrast to the gooey marshmallows that serve as the glue for the nests. The Cadbury Mini-Eggs on top are Lindsey’s favorite part – they remind her of studying abroad in Scotland. If you’re anything like her, you should probably buy an extra bag of the mini-eggs so that you have enough left over after munching to top these adorable nests. Another bonus of these cute desserts? Kids absolutely love helping you make them, so get the whole family involved!

It really doesn’t get easier (or yummier) than this.

Melt butter over medium heat.

Add marshmallows to the butter.

Stir the marshmallows and butter until melted and smooth, like the photo above.

Add the noodles to the marshmallow mixture.

Mix the noodles and marshmallows together until the marshmallows hold the noodles together like a glue. This is very similar to making Rice Krispies treats.

Let the mixture cool slightly and scoop into the muffin tin, shaping the noodles into mini nests.

Place several candy eggs in each nest.

Garnish each nest with a Peep as a “momma bird,” and get ready to have friends and family ooh and ahh over these cute desserts.

Here’s the recipe:
4 cups crunchy chow mein noodles
1/4 cup butter
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 (8 ounce) package candy coated chocolate eggs
2 packages marshmallow peeps
cooking spray

Heat butter and marshmallows over medium heat, stirring until melted. Add noodles to the marshmallow mixture and stir till completely coated, like would do when making Rice Krispies treats.

Spray a 12-cup muffin tin then hands with cooking spray.

Place mixture into muffin cups and shape with hands to form “nests.” Fill nests with candy eggs and perch one Peep on the side of each nest.

Place nests on a tray and put back in the fridge till completely set.

Next week: We might finally break into Cindy’s new Pioneer Woman cookbook!

Nom. nom. nom.